Hooniverse Motorsport News For August 1, 2016

There was so much to look at this week, that most racing fans had their heads spinning and their high-speed internet working overtime. There was an endurance race in Belgium, F1 in Germany, IndyCar and PWC were pounding out laps at the coolest place in Ohio, GRC went to the nation’s capital for some dirty fun, WRC went to Finland for some dirty fun, and NASCAR got wet in Pennsylvania.
Read along to see what good stuff happened this weekend. We’ve got it all. Summer is in full swing, and the racing will only continue to get hotter from here, 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 in case you missed it, I am also hosting a new motorsport podcast these days…
IndyCar National Convention In Ohio
Pirelli World Challenge Picks Up The Seconds
Sports cars make it a Spa Day
F1 Speaks German
BTCC Gets Snetty
GRC Body Politic
WRC Has The Finnish Line In Sight

Pirelli World Challenge – Mid Ohio

Race 1 –
Alvaro Parente took his K-Pax Flying Lizard McLaren to victory circle again at Mid Ohio after a decisive move down the inside of teammate Austin Cindric to pump himself up into the lead. The McLarens were just untouchable in race 1, and the pair finished 1-2 following a caution-fraught race. Spencer Pumpelly brought out a long caution after side-to-side contact saw his Acura TLX GT punted deep into the gravel. Following that caution, Bryan Heitkotter managed to move past Jon Fogarty to get into the 3rd position. Shortly thereafter, however, another caution was invoked as Pat Long uncharacteristically got into the back of Colin Thompson and sent Kyle Marcelli spinning. Long later received a black flag and drive-through penalty for his actions.
Race 2 – 
In race 2, it was Cadillac’s Michael Cooper who took advantage of K-Pax throwing all of the prior day’s good luck out the window. Cooper made hay while the sun shone early in the race, making a pass on Parente around the outside of turn one lap one, with his good start and Parente’s poor one making the opportunity. Taking similar advantage, Ryan Eversley followed Cooper through into second, dropping Alvaro back to third. With Parente, the current points leader hitting lapped GTA traffic, the resulting pit stop cost him major points, ultimately finishing 14th. Similarly Pat Long, currently in second on points, finished 9th.
Michael Schein won both GTA races in his Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Alec Udell also won both GT Cup class races.
Acura Tests NSX GT3 – 
Acura NSX GT3 Racecar
Acura’s new sports car racer made its public debut this weekend at Mid Ohio during a Pirelli World Challenge practice session. The car was run at the team’s home track with veteran international driver Peter Kox aboard, while the rest of the team made some shuffling moves. Peter Cunningham, who has raced in World Challenge since the series’ inception back in 1990, has been moved to a testing role for the NSX, and his race car will now be taken over by Spence, who is quite good friends with Acura’s other driver Eversley. Eversley, meanwhile, requested that his car be outfitted with P.D.’s signature day-glo orange mirror housings, as a tribute to him.
See an awesome gallery of photos here on sportscar365.com.

IndyCar – Mid Ohio

Simon Pagenaud managed to overcome excruciating pain as well as the competition, to score another convincing victory at Mid Ohio, and score some much-needed points. Pagenaud suffered from a mysterious lower-back pain that he described as being stabbed with a knife while driving, which manifested early on Saturday. Even with that pain, Simon took pole, and led most of the race to take the win.
Also Scott Dixon effectively ended his championship bid this season with this move. With this early-race shemozzle, Dixon managed to score himself DFL points, making the gap to Pagenaud pretty damn difficult. Castroneves claims it was Dixon’s fault. Dixon is pretty adamant that Helio is to blame.

Blancpain Endurance – 24 Hours of Spa

BMW won their second consecutive Spa 24, despite being anything but the favorite to do so. A thrilling battle took place this weekend between BMW and Bentley for the lead of this endurance motor race, which ultimately ended with BMW’s Rowe Racing (Alexander Sims, Philipp Eng, and Maxime Martin) taking the BMW M6 GT3 to the win (in 2015, it was BMW’s Marc VDS Z4 GT3).
The German factory-backed team won out by just 2 minutes over the Auto Sport Promotion Mercedes AMG GT3. This was the 23rd time BMW has won the Spa endurance race, which is amazing if you ask me. The race, with many cars still on the lead lap, ultimately came down to the correct decision on pit strategy, as the rain started up again (it’s Spa, there’s always a threat of rain) with just 30 minutes to go. The M-sport Bentleys chose wrong in the confusion and ended up fourth, while the Rowe guys got it right and won the race overall.
During qualifying the Mercedes AMGs served to show their strength, gridding up 1-2-3-4-5-6, but they were shown to have illegal engine mapping and were relegated to the back of the grid and given a 5-minute stop and hold penalty. For them to ultimately end up on the podium is pretty astounding.
The pro-am class went to the Imsa Performance Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Pilet, Maxime Jousse, Thierry Comac and team owner Raymond Narac.
The Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 took the Am Cup class win with Marco Zanuttini, Vadmin Gilitin, Liam Talbot and Nicola Cadei.
Full Results available here.
Sportscar365 also has an amazing gallery of Spa 24 images, which you should leaf through. Good stuff.

Formula 1 – German Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has won the German Grand Prix this year, making this his 6th victory from the last 7 races, which is an amazing record, frankly. Lewis, with this win, has extended his points lead, and heads into the summer break on a high.
At the start, Nico Rosberg had pole, but lost the lead with a poor start and Lewis pipped him into turn 1, and the Red Bull duo followed through, dropping Rosberg to 4th. From that point, it was just Lewis as usual, controlling the race from the front, and never really looking back.
Rosberg attempted a bullish pass down the inside of Max Verstappen, running too deep into the corner and pushing him wide at the exit. This was deemed to be penalty worthy, and the FIA handed the Merc driver a 5-second hold at his next pit stop. He ultimately finished 4th.
Ricciardo drank champagne out of his shoe. I like Ricciardo more with every passing race. What a nutter.

Global Rallycross – Washington DC

Scott Speed
In a massive weekend for the American, Scott Speed performed perfectly to take a rain-soaked GRC victory in Washington DC. The field was stacked against him, but he managed to come out victorious through a series of intense battles for the lead. Scott Speed swept qualifying, every heat he was in, and the main, making it a perfect weekend. It’s fair to say that both he and his Volkswagen were performing in top form.
Scott Speed on his win:

“Thank you so much to the fans who came out here at our nation’s capital,” an elated Speed said from the top step of the podium. “There’s no question that this is the race that we all look forward to the most. It’s such great racing here, and we are back in the hunt—two wins and we are on a great roll!”

In an interesting turn of events, we’ll be interviewing Mr. Speed this coming Thursday. If you have something you’d like me to ask him, please comment below.

NASCAR – Pocono

Due to rain in the area, the NASCAR event was postponed until today. Sorry, I can’t report on the future…

World Rally Championship – Rally Finland

Kris Meeke took his second WRC rally victory of the season in Finland this week, with a comfortable lead over Jari-Matti Latvala in the closing stages of the event. Meeke lost almost 4 seconds to Latvala in the final “Power Stage”, but having had more than half a minute in hand before the stage started, he could afford to lose that time. Craig Breen, a 26 year old Irishman, completed the podium (his first top-three) in his Citroen, ahead of the factory Hyundais of Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon.

British Touring Car Championship – Snetterton

It seems apparent that BTCC cars are getting faster every year, as Gordon Shedden smashed the Snet track record when he recorded his pole lap of 1m55.627s, which was almost half a second faster than Turkington’s 2015 pole time.
Race 1 –
Colin Turkington won race 1 in his Subaru LEVORG. He got away from the grid well with his rear wheel drive advantage, but Shedden maintained his lead. Turk made the pass on lap 8 at Agostini/Hamilton, and began to pull away from Shedden’s Civic. This was Colin’s third victory of the season, and elevates him to 9th in the championship standings.
Race 2 –
Mat Jackson took a frantic short race 2 victory ahead of race 1 winner Turkington. At the start of this race, a nasty multi-car incident happened on the main straight, and the race was red flagged. Because of this flagging, the race was shortened by two laps to just 10 when they finally got restarted. At the restart, Jackson jumped from third to the lead with a great start and passes on Shedden at Riches corner and Turkington at Hamilton. From there he just never lost the lead.
Race 3 –
Gordon Shedden finally made good on that massive pole position, taking the victory in race three of the weekend. It was a dramatic last-lap pass on Rob Collard that got him the win, but got it he did. This race was also shortened to just 10 laps, and Shedden did everything he could to make the best use of those 10 laps. Starting race 3 from third, Shedden moved into second on lap 3, then spent the rest of the race chasing down Collard’s BMW. For the final lap the two cars were mere milimeters apart, and Shedden finally made the pass stick with huge side-to-side contact at Oggies corner. Just a half second was all the margin he had at the flag.

Things You Should Read.

WeatherTech Racing adds a second car for upcoming IMSA Road America Round. 
IndyCar adds Gateway to 2017 provisional schedule.
Despite 19 point lead, Hamilton doesn’t “feel” like the F1 points leader.
Rosberg thought his penalty-worthy moved was “Awesome”.
Michelin’s Magic “Single Stint” Tire.
Stefane Ratel Wants Kyalami 9 Hour Race for 2018
Porsche Launches Full-SRO-GT4 Compliant “Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR” Kit
Pirelli World Challenge confirms strange 2017 schedule

Things You Should Watch

Continental Tire Challenge FULL RACE

The Smoking Tire Shows you how to use Data!

Spa 24 Timelapse

Inside a BTCC Ford

Nissan Pit Stop POV from the tire changer

Formula E Crashfest

Strategy study with Nismo

Jari-Matti Latvala’s VW Polo R

Gooding & Company Is Selling This Amazing Porsche 935


In other news, Combos are still the official ‘Cheese Filled Snack of NASCAR’.
[Sources and Photos from DailySportsCar.com, SportsCar365.com, Racer.com, Motorsport.com, and nasportscar.com]

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  1. nanoop Avatar

    Great summary, as always!
    Btw., that’s actually a cool new Beetle – I need those tack-on headlamp stickers for my luggage.

  2. salguod Avatar

    On the Dixon crash, what are the rules or general guidelines there? Is anyone clearly in the right there?
    He was clearly next to Helio, but not too far up along side. Helio is set up to cut in and hit the apex of the keyhole* and I can imagine would logically assume that Dixon didn’t make the pass so he ought to back off. On the other hand, Dixon’s there and Helio turns right into him.
    * When I drove Mid Ohio this past summer, the keyhole was frustrating to me. They had it set up with the added zig-zag prior, effectively turning the keyhole into 2 turns, or at least 2 apexes. You really needed to downshift somewhere in there to be set up to take the biggest advantage of the long straight but I could never figure out how to do so and hit both apexes and, you know, not crash. And I wasn’t even trying to pass anyone.

    1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
      Bradley Brownell

      Nothing was worthy of a penalty, but Helio does shit like this all the time, and Dixon should have known better.