With the holidays in there to interfere, it’s been a couple of weeks since we had a Motorsport News update, but since there was some racing this weekend, let’s kick that back off again, shall we? We had a nice little 4-hour sports car race in Asia, a bit of E-sim-racing in Las Vegas, a major IMSA test at Daytona, Porsche testing in Spain, and a whole lot of other news that we’ve missed since we last had news. Oh, and don’t forget those glorious YouTube clips you all love, I’d never forget those.
Read along to see what good stuff happened this weekend. Summer is winding down a bit, and the racing is running to the end of the championships, so we’ll do our best to help keep your finger on the pulse. Just be aware of the fact that this post is filled with spoilers. Giant carbon-fiber, multi-element, DRS-equipped, Gurney-flapped, Spoilers! Oh, and be sure to tune in to The DFL Show, our racing podcast, every Thursday at 7:30 AM here on Hooniverse.
Dakar So Far
Roaring At Daytona
Buried In Buriram
Racing At The Consumer Electronics Show
Bathurst 12 Hour Grid Shaping Up
SO MUCH NEWS
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The Dakar Rally
I’m only going to be covering the car class, and even then quite briefly. If you want a better view of what is going on, go read the daily reports from Red Bull.
Day 1 – Nasser Al-Attiyah crossed the line for the first stage in the lead, despite a potentially scary moment near the end of the day where he “smelled smoke and fire for the last 10 kilometers”. Seb Loeb did the Seb Loeb thing of calmly running and staying out of trouble to finish 6th on the day, later saying “It’s not time to make a move yet”.
Day 2 – Constituting some 500 miles of rough terrain, the second day was torturous. Seb made good on his promise and made his move, storming the day by coming home a minute and a half ahead of Al-Attiyah with Carlos Sainz close behind in third.
Day 3 – Stephane Peterhansel ran up to the victory on the day, leading a Peugeot 1-2-3 stage victory ahead of Carlos Sainz and Seb Loeb. Toyota, meanwhile, suffered significant setbacks with Nasser Al-Attiyah breaking the right rear of his car on a huge pothole, but somehow managing to make it to the stage finish some 2 hours later than the leaders. The team later decided to retire Nasser’s Toyota from the race this year. Giniel De Villiers had an on-course issue that cost him a lot of time, as well.
Day 4 – Cyril Despres took the fourth stage victory (Peugeot’s third straight), his first stage win on four-wheels after having won the rally five times on a bike. Carlos Sainz entered the day in the lead of the race on time, but rolled his Pug on its lid, costing him more than 2 hours and effectively ending his 2017 campaign. Peterhansel and Loeb also had some on-course issues that cost them time, but they’re still well within the hunt.
Day 5 – Weather conditions hurt all competitors on the fifth stage, as the skies opened up and absolutely flooded everyone. The timed section of the stage was actually cut short thanks to the tough conditions, originally a 400km course the competitors were given only 200km to deal with. Ultimately it was Seb Loeb who overcame the weather and held off a late charge by Nani Roma to take the 5th stage victory. Peterhansel took the overall time lead after this one, leading Loeb by just one minute and 9 seconds. Carlos Sainz was forced to withdraw his effort thanks to a broken car and an insurmountable time delay on stage 4.
Day 6 – The weather conditions did not abate from day 5, and everything on the 6th stage was so muddy that the rally organizers canceled the day’s stage for the safety of all competitors involved.
Day 7 – Sunday is a rest day, allowing competitors to gear up for an attack on the La Paz to Uyuni leg for Monday, a total of 622 kilometers. Good luck, one and all. We’ll have the complete final results next week.
For a bunch of cool photos from week one, check out this rundown on motorsport.com.
IMSA – The Roar Before The 24
IMSA’s big pre-season test went down this weekend, and it made for some pretty interesting goings on. For the most part, the cars were pretty reliable, except for that one Corvette that burned down on the banking.
This was the first public on-track excursion for the new DPI cars in the Prototype class, the new mid-engine Porsche 911 RSR in the GTLM class, and the new Lexus & Acura GT3s in the GTD class. Mazda’s new prototype started out in 2016 fashion, running only two laps between the two cars in the first session of the season, thanks to various electrical issues and a front suspension failure. Neel Jani dominated proceedings, setting the fastest lap in sessions one and two in the Rebellion entered Oreca 07 Gibson. This was Jani’s first time at Daytona. In GTLM, it was the Corvettes ahead of the Ford GTs and everyone else behind.
Three sessions throughout the day gave Rebellion three more opportunities to top the timetables, and they did just that, with Neel laying down a 1:38.944 during the night session. Mazda managed to get their prototype program together and run a bunch of laps on Saturday to make up for lost time on Friday, ultimately seeing Tristan Nunez setting the second fastest time of day a couple tenths off Jani’s pace. Two separate red-flag stoppages were called on Saturday, the first for Joao Barbosa’s Cadillac DPi stopping on course and the second due to a collision between Patrick Pilet’s GTLM-class mid-engine Porsche 911 RSR, and the GTD-classed #98 Aston Martin Vantage. Speaking of GTLM, it was Scott Dixon’s flying efforts that took the Ford GTs to the top of the timesheets with a 1:44.558, two-tenths quicker than Corvette’s Friday-topping pace.
In the first session of the day on Sunday, Marcel Fassler (former Audi LMP1 pilot, *shakes fist* DIESELGATE!!!) escaped injury when his Corvette GTLM burst into flames. The cause of the fire is unknown, and much of the rest of the session was held under red flag to clean up the mess.
Asian Le Mans Seris – The 4 Hours of Buriram
Jackie Chan DC Racing’s Gustavo Menezes, Ho-Pin Tung, and Thomas Laurent (Oreca 03R Nissan) are one step closer to winning the AsLMS championship with a victory at Buriram. They’re heading into the final round of the season at Sepang with a pair of victories, and are absolutely the favorites to win. Their victory was ultimately completed with a margin of 1:22.332 over the Algarve Pro Racing team of Matt McMurry, Andrea Roda, and Andreas Pizzitola (Ligier JSP2). The Race Performance team, which won the Fuji round of the championship, were sitting third when they were forced to affect repairs in the garage with just 45 minutes remaining in the race.
In LMP3 it was the ARC Bratislava team dominating with a pair of Ginetta-built prototypes.
In GT, it was again DH Racing taking a 1-2 finish with their dominant Ferrari 488s. Team BBT rounded out the podium, making it a Ferrari 488 1-2-3 in Buriram.
Consumer Electronics Show – The Vegas Sim eRace Showdown
In order to promote sim racing and Formula E, the FIA held a race between 20 Formula E drivers and 10 professional sim racers with a grand total of one million dollars in prizes available ($200,000 to the winner). As is often the case with FIA-sanctioned events, the victory was actually under investigation following the race, thanks to a technical glitch. Let’s see if we can break this down for you properly.
Sim-racer Bono Huis started from pole position and got off to a good start ahead of the field maintaining the lead for his first stint ahead of Formula E racer Felix Rosenqvist. Finnish driver Olli Pahkala was one of three drivers gifted with “Fan Boost”, which was supposed to give him a short power boost for five laps. It would seem that his fan boost lasted far longer per lap than it should have, and went on for an additional lap, giving Pahkala a 3-second per lap advantage over the rest of the field. At the end of the race, Olli was nearly 12 seconds ahead of the field. During the podium celebrations, Olli felt weird about his victory, and Bono Huis (who ultimately finished second behind Pahkala) was visibly upset about being cheated out of an extra hundred grand prize. After an investigation, a 12-second penalty was levied against Pahkala, demoting him to third behind Rosenqvist.
The Bathurst 12 Hour Grid
As of late December, the Aussie race will showcase a pair of Aston Martin Vantages, seven Audi R8s, a trio of Bentley Continentals, three BMW M6s, a pair of Ferrari 488 GT3s, Three Lamborghini Huracans, Four McLaren 650s GT3s, three Mercedes AMG GT3s, four Nissan GT-Rs, and six Porsche GT3Rs across the A-class Pro and Am categories. This is shaping up to be possibly the biggest GT3 race of the year. Maybe the biggest sports car race of the year. This is seriously NUTS!
This is everything you need to know about this race: Garth Tander will join factory Audi drivers Christopher Mies and Christopher Haase in a JAMEC-PEM entered Audi Customer Sport racing Audi R8 GT3 in next month’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. Some of the best factory-backed racers and some of the best GT3 cars in the world will be meeting up to sprint around a mountain in Australia for half a day. This is going to be amazing.
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In other news, MillerCoors is now “The Official Beer & Cider Of Indycar”