This was another spectacular weekend for racing fanatics like myself. There was just something to watch every second of every day, no big deal, really. I’m exhausted from all the motorsport, but I’m looking forward to next week when we’ll see even more. These are good problems to have, people. Indycar, NASCAR, ELMS, MotoGP, Formula Drift, DTM, 24 Hours of Paul Ricard, VLN, Super Formula, Brazil V8 Stock Cars, plus a bunch of news and cool YouTube videos, this is an extra big motorsport news column for you. (It’s a bunch of work, please read it?)
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 Goes On A Timbits Run
Super Formula Ascends Mount Fuji
European LMS Gets Some Wings
24 Hours of Paul Ricard Goes Full “White Porsche”
NASCAR Gets Loud(on)
VLN Goes For Nurburgers Again
MotoGP Gets Sached
DTM Isn’t In Deutchland Anymore
Stock Car Brasil Goes To Another Brazilian Track (How Many They Got?)
Other News, Press Releases, And Other Stuff
IndyCar – Toronto
Will Power and Tim Cindric turned an unlikely strategy into a victory over race favorite Scott Dixon in Toronto this weekend. Dixon scored pole position and started the race well, leading deep into the 85 lap street event. After winning last weekend, Josef Newgarden couldn’t hold on with a broken hand and caused a late race caution when he hit the wall. You could tell it was painful for him, so hopefully he recovers well. That caution was extremely untimely for Dixon and completely scuppered his pit strategy. Fortunately for Power, however, he’d just entered the pits when the caution came out, and that gave him exactly what he needed to win the motor race. When the race went back to green, Power stretched his lead over Simon Pagenaud by about 8 seconds until the checkered came out. Great race, great fight, the points standings are getting interesting. James Hinchcliffe finally broke his bad luck streak in Toronto, scoring a well deserved podium.
Super Formula – Fuji
The other major national open wheel series running this weekend, Super Formula in Japan, similarly didn’t disappoint. In a season that is absolutely nuts as points championships go, this was a great points haul for Joao Paulo de Oliveira, who took his first win (and first points score of the season) this weekend at Fuji.
De Oliveira started from third on the grid, but was quickly into the lead past Stoffel Vandoorne and Hiroaki Ishiura. Vandoorne had a big lockup going into turn one, dropping him two further spots as Kaz Nakajima and Bertrand Baguette (Berty Breadsticks, as some like to call him) moved through into second and third. Nakajima made a move on the lead and dispatched Joao Paulo to second quickly on lap 5.
Kazuki had a great lead and was extending it well, until lap 7 when a full course caution came out for Yuji Kunimoto’s car stopped on course. Nakajima kept his lead through the pit cycle and after the restart, however De Oliveira found a lot more pace in the second half of the race, gradually cutting into Nakajima’s lead. On lap 51, the Brazilian made a dive down the inside at turn one and stuck it into the lead of the race, where he cruised to the finish. This was his first win since Fuji last year.
If you want to see a weird points battle, this is what one looks like.
Here is a commentary-less highlight package. Grab a spotter’s guide and check it out. De Oliveira’s pass for the lead is at about 9:40.
European LMS – Spielberg
Thiriet by TDS was all about the DOMINATION at the Red Bull Ring this weekend. Rio Hirakawa, Pierre Thiriet, and Mathias Beche looked supremely confident in their second straight ELMS win, as they lapped the entire field through the course of the 4 hour event, then pitted for a nose change shortly before the end, as they had a busted headlight that was required to be changed, they had plenty of time in hand to make such a change happen, and why not look your best?
The Panis-Barthez #23 car had the pole position, and took an early lead in the race with Timothe Buret. Buret suffered a series of unfortunate events after leading for about half an hour, that dropped the team well back. This allowed Eurasia’s Tristan Gommendy into the lead. At the first pit stops, the Eurasia car dropped to second and the Thiriet Oreca moved into the lead with Pierre aboard his namesake car. Later, swapping out for Hirakawa, the Thiriet car moved over 30 seconds clear of the field. Mathias Beche stretched that lead out to well over a minute, gaining a lap on second. Thiriet finished the race, rejoining in the lead after the nose change, and coasted to the finish.
In the LMP3 class, Duqueine Engineering took the provisional victory, but then had it stripped and handed to United Autosports post race.
JMW Motorsports, who were not given a Le Mans invitation, showed how much they deserved one by taking a dominant LMGTE victory, spending the majority of the race in the lead.
NASCAR – Loudon
Matt Kenseth took his 38th career Cup victory this weekend at Loudon, beating Tony Stewart (his resurgence is awesome, isn’t it?) to the line by a massive nearly 2 second margin. Most of the race Kyle Busch was battling with Martin Truex for the lead, but neither could make their strategy play out. In the closing stages, Truex had his trans stuck in 4th gear, which was truly problematic on the restarts from a series of late race cautions, ultimately finishing 16th. Busch, likewise had problems on the restarts and could finish no higher than 8th. Stewart moved through the field to finish second, a result he can really be happy with.
After the race, it was found that Kenseth’s car did not comply with the regulations, and the team will be docked points and fined. NASCAR does not strip race victories, as they want the fans to know that the driver they saw cross the line in first is the winner. Kenseth’s points docking shouldn’t really matter in the long run, as he’s already solidly positioned in the Chase.
Kenseth on his victory –
“You’re always pleased to be in Victory Lane. The farther down the road you get, the better they feel for sure. Thanks to everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing; I’ve said it a million times, but I’m blessed with this opportunity to be over here with the guys I get to work with…
Jason and the team made great, great adjustments today. I didn’t do a very good job qualifying, after round one today, it was pretty much money. We just had to get there. It was a fun day.”
MotoGP – German GP
Marc Marquez won the Sachsenring round of the MotoGP championship in a very wet start, but drying, race. Early on in the race he was dropped to 10th with a trip through the gravel at turn 8. Marquez made a VERY early gamble stop to get onto slicks well before anyone else. After a superb ride and very aggressive final stint, Marc ultimately finished the race 10 seconds clear of the rest of the field. Dovizioso led most of the race, but lost out on the strategy gamble, finishing third behind Cal Crutchlow.
Formula Drift – Montreal
Setting up a very contentious finish to the season points championship, Frederic Aasbo took this weekend’s Drift victory and now trails Vaughn Gittin by just three points. He drifted better, I guess? I don’t really understand drifting. More smoke? Did he do a 360 or something?
DTM – Zandvoort
Race 1 –
Robert Wickins drove his Mercedes from pole position to a comfortable victory in round one at Zandvoort (I just like saying Zandvoort, it sounds so cool…). Wickins moved away from pole to cover BMW’s Marco Wittmann, keeping his lead into the first safety car that came out for a start line incident. Adrien Tambay almost stalled at the start and got plowed by Maxi Gotz, who was pushed by Martin Tomczyk. Tomczyk later received a drive through penalty for the contact.
After the race returned to green, Wickins easily cleared the 1-second DRS gap, and from that point it was easy to see nobody would catch him.
Race 2 –
With Tambay injured, Audi’s sports car ace Rene Rast got a shot at the big leagues, and he didn’t disappoint. While he didn’t finish well, he did finish, which is more than some of the others can say.
At the front of the battle, it was Jamie Green pushing his Audi to the victory, as he fended off early advances from Saturday’s winner Wickens. After the mandatory pit stop, Wickens had issues and Green cruised to the finish. No real story here, unfortunately.
24H Series – 24 Hours of Paul Ricard
In the 24 Hour series (and other sports car endurance races) there is something known as “the White Porsche”. Basically there is a history of unassuming white painted Porsche racers simply pounding out the laps and winning the race. At Paul Ricard, this happened again. The Precote-Herberth Porsche 911 GT3 R came home a whopping 14 laps clear of second place. The car was driven by Alfred Renauer, Robert Renauer, Daniel Alleman, and Ralf Bohn. Second place went to Ram Racing’s Mercedes AMG GT3, and Hofor Racing’s old Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 came home in third and taking the Am class victory.
Porsche also took the SP2 class honors with a 991 Cup car entered by Lorient Racing, and the SP3 class with ALFAB Racing’s Cayman GT4 Clubsport. PARSH DOMINATE!
I tuned in to this race for a few hours, and Precote-Herberth was already up by a lap just a few hours in. Yep. That’s how you win an endurance race, just keep your nose clean. Look at that victory picture, not a scratch on her.
I love these Stock Car Brasil reports over on Motorsport.com. Clearly not a native English speaker, and it’s great.
Brazilian V8 Stock Car drivers put an excellent show this Sunday afternoon in Cascavel at the fastest circuit of the calendar. After two thrilling races, Cacá Bueno and Rubens Barrichello go home to wait until the next round with a winner trophy each. From the grandstands or the TV screen, who stood to watch could see great battles, some spins and a lot of speed.
Good on Rubinho and Bueno. Read the full report here, it’s great.
VLN – Round 5 Nurburgring
An exciting VLN showdown for the ages with Chris Mies and Jorg Bergmeister fighting it out tooth-and-nail for the lead. On the final lap, it was Mies putting the move on Bergmeister along the Dottinger Hohe and made the pass stick with a higher top speed at Tiergarten. By the finish, it was a gap of only 6 tenths. Mies’ Land Motorsport Audi R8 has been quite good this year, and his teammate Connor de Phillippi (American!) set him up quite well for the run to the finish. Bergmeister, who had teamed with Michael Ammermueller in the Manthey Racing Porsche GT3 R, was aiming for the victory, but the veteran Porsche ace fell just short.
Full Race Report on VLN.DE.
Things You Should Read
Robb Holland is pretty much the coolest, right? Well, here’s his account of Pikes Peak weekend.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. sat out the Loudon race because of a concussion. I, for one, am glad that NASCAR (and the Hendrick Team) is taking head injury seriously.
Maranello Motorsport is the first team to formally lodge an entry to the Bathurst 12 next February. They’ve won before, chances are they’ll do well.
Speaking of Bathurst 12, McLaren looks to defend their title with possible factory-supported Pro, Pro-Am, and GT4 entries.
Here’s Spencer Pumpelly’s race weekend recap from CTMP. It’s good. Read it.
Porsche is updating their 2016 WeatherTech Sports Car Championship effort by backdating to their old tire.
Downey Dirty Rally Team undeterred by truck fire, Presses On Regardless.
Here’s a historical comparison graph of lap times at Watkins Glen. It’s neat to look at.
Things You Should Watch
Vintage F1, because it’s Monday.
Lexus Debuts New GT3 Car In A 30-Second TV Spot
Petrolicious Video About A Delta S4. Cool Car, Cool Video.
Magnus Walker Goes To Rennsport Australia.
Vale Is Now On The “GoPro Team”.
Speaking of GoPro, This Course is NUTS!
Here’s a Blancpain Pit Stop in Detail.
Things You Should Buy
This Fiat 500 Spec B car seems like the deal of the century. The cage and safety equipment alone are worth the purchase price, toss in an extra set of wheels, a few suspension bits, and some exhaust work, and you’ve got an excellent start to a junior racing series career. It looks like World Challenge might be killing the TCB class, but it should still be legal for NASA and SCCA Spec-B classes. For $6500, can you complain?