So much amazing racing this week, with the best drivers in the best cars fighting for the best finishes. It’s unfathomable that there are so many stellar drivers running throughout the world in so many epic racing events. A few hundred professional drivers hit the tracks this weekend and put on a handful of excellent shows. Any weekend with a handful of sprint races, a WRC rally, a Formula 1 race, a 6 hour endurance race in New York, NASCAR, TCR, GRC, European Truck, and a Formula E title battle all in the same 3 day period, and that’s a good weekend. Even without the fireworks and hot dogs on the grill.
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!
Formula 1 Bang-Up In Austria
Formula E Bang-Up In London
If Your IMSA Lasts Longer Than 6 Hours, Consult Your Physician
Blancpain Sprint At The N-Ring
European Truck At The N-Ring
Rally Poland Almost Produces Huge Underdog Upset
TCR Wisits Modther Rahshya
GRC Celebrates The Troops
NASCAR Goes Full Murica At Daytona
Formula 1 – Red Bull Ring, Austria
The Austrian Grand Prix was won by Lewis Hamilton after some interesting developments that saw Vettel out of the lead with a puncture, and later Rosberg out of the lead with a smashed up front wing on Lewis’ sidepod. If Lewis is working some voodoo, he’s got some serious juju. Hamilton nabbed the pole position, and managed to keep that lead coming out of turn one. From there, it was all a shemozzle if ever there were one.
Nico Rosberg started 6th on the grid after a gearbox change after his shunt in final practice resulted in a start line penalty. At the start he moved up one position, and soon after passed Jenson Button for 4th. Rosberg pitted on lap 10 to shed his Ultra Soft tires for Softs, Hamilton stayed out making his Ultra Soft tires last a bit longer while still finding pace at the front of the field. He may have waited a little too long, however. When Lewis finally pitted on lap 21, Rosberg had his gap down to just 11 seconds, and then exited the pits behind Rosberg.
Raikkonnen pitted for tires on lap 22, handing the lead of the race to Seb Vettel. Unfortunately, on lap 27 Vettel’s right rear tire disintegrated while he was going in a straight line down the main straight. Pirelli claims debris was the cause of the wild blowout. When the safety car was deployed, it was Rosberg leading over Hamilton. A slow tire change stop for Hamilton saw Rosberg continue to fade into the distance. Max Verstappen, on a one-stop strategy was ahead of Rosberg and Hamilton, who both had to make their way past. Rosberg got the worst of it and the contretemps allowed Hamilton to catch up. By the time both got past, Hamilton was right on Rosberg’s rear wing. Then this happened.
Sorry for the terrible video. It would only make sense for Formula 1 to have their own YouTube channel to show highlights and stuff, but NOOOOOOO. #ThanksBernie/#ThanksObama/#ThanksOBernie
Anyway, this was 100% Rosberg’s fault. Hamilton had no reason to expect that Rosberg would run him out so wide, especially when Hamilton had his nosecone ahead into the lead running into the corner. He had to turn into the corner at some point, and nearly did so at the white line.
Also, a Manor scored a point with Wehrlein driving. Oh, and the Red Bull kiddos wore Lederhosen.
Formula E – London
Going into Sunday’s race, the title was down to the line. Lucas di Grassi had a 3 point lead over Sebastien Buemi, then Buemi scored the pole position (worth 3 points) leaving them on equal standing as the green flag dropped. Then it happened.
Lucas had started on the second row, as the front row had been locked out by Buemi and his teammate Nicolas Prost. Going into the third corner, as Buemi braked, di Grassi ran right up over the back of him. Both cars were effectively out of the race, and di Grassi would win the championship on the merit of having won more races than Buemi. But not so fast, this is Formula E, where two championship points are awarded for the fastest lap of the race. Buemi limped his injured car back to the pits and swapped out for a second one. He then proceeded to pound out around the track and eventually set the fastest lap on the penultimate lap of the race. With just one lap to go, Buemi set the lap of his life and managed to win the entire FIA Formula E world championship with that single lap. What a manic finish to an incredible season.
Lucas di Grassi claims that Buemi brake checked him into the corner where they made contact, and I guess we’ll never really know the truth, but based on the video, it just looks like Lucas plain effed up. I normally respect di Grassi and his stellar driving talent, but in this instance, I’m conflicted. Here are his words on the issue.
Lucas Di Grassi –
“I had a very good start, I knew I had to be aggressive against Prost if I had any chance to fight Seb for the next 33 laps. I knew if I was behind Prost it would be a struggle.
I was very aggressive with him, we ended up touching a little bit, Seb braked almost 50 meters too early compared to me and Nico and when I realised I locked my wheels and had an incident.
That’s not how the first corner should have been, but with these conditions, cold tires and cold brakes, I had to be aggressive and that’s what happened.”
Congratulations to Buemi, I suppose.
IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship – 6 Hours Of Watkins Glen
What started out as a stellar race for the LMP2-based competitors ended up with a familiar result of the Action Express Racing cars running 1-2 to the flag. The P2 contingent locked out the top 4 spots in qualifying, and led most of the race between the Ligiers and the Mazdas. That’s right, the Mazdas were insanely competitive at Watkins Glen, and were running really well for most of the race. Similarly, the Patron team was running a great race, and the Pipo Derani machine was churning out fast laps at the front of the pack. The track really favored the LMP2 cars, but the Daytona Prototypes were difficult to pass as they had an acceleration advantage.
The Mazdas had difficulties in the pits with a less than desirable fuel strategy outcome, a couple of slow stops, and one car ultimately succumbed to an electrical issue with just 30 minutes to go and the other suffered a late race spin and could not get restarted. Similarly, the Patron car was looking good until a late race spin/fire caused the whole thing to go away from them. The Mike Shank Ligier was on a late race charge with Olivier Pla running a lap nearly a second faster than pole in the final stint. Unfortunately he could not mount a charge on the Action Express Corvette DPs, as they had the out-of-the-corner grunt they needed to keep him behind. At the line he was only 16 hundredths behind, settling for third on the podium.
In the LMPC class, it was the Starworks Motorsports car of Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow who took the class win from pole. The pair ultimately finished 7th overall, just 2 laps out of the overall lead. The pair ran a stellar race, barely facing any competition, and certainly no issues for the entire 6 hours.
In GTLM, it was Ford taking their third straight victory after Laguna Seca and Le Mans. Richard Westbrook stuck the car on pole and converted that into a race win with teammate Ryan Briscoe. The Fords had a fuel mileage advantage over the BMW M6s that helped them complete a team 1-2. In the final couple of minutes, Joey Hand made a desperate off-piste excursion in his Ford to pass former teammate Bill Auberlen’s BMW M6 for second. Interestingly, 9 of the 10 cars in class finished on the lead lap. Also interestingly, it was only the two Fords and the #100 BMW that saw any lap times below 1:42.
In GTD, the also-Le-Mans-Winning-Team Scuderia Corsa won with their Ferrari 488 GT3. Though the Audis were faster than the Ferraris, every one of them had issues with blown tires for one reason or another.
If you want to watch the whole race, here is the Fox Sports broadcast.
Part 1 –
Part 2 –
Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge – Watkins Glen
For the second time in two consecutive races, it was a Porsche podium sweep in the GS category, as the Cayman GT4 found its way around all of the Mustang and Aston Martin competition. The car is clearly dominant in this ruleset, and the drivers mounted inside are nothing to shy away from either. Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels made the victory stick with Hindman completing a three-wide pass with just 4 minutes left in the race. Marc Miller, who had been leading at the time, got majorly held up with traffic, and was balked all the way back to third, where he finished. The Bodymotion Cayman won the prior race as well, and the CJ Wilson Racing Caymans make up the other two podium positions.
In the ST category, it was also an All-Cayman affair, as a trio of 987-generation base model Caymans found their way to the front. Spencer Pumpelly and Nick Galante won their class in the RS1 Cayman. With an hour to go in the race, Pumpelly moved into the lead and stayed there for the rest of the race, winning with a pretty impressive gap.
Yokohama GT3 Cup Challenge – Watkins Glen
The USA and Canada travelling band of wealthy Porsche drivers met up in New York for a tete-a-tete, and it went about as expected.
Canadian driver Daniel Morad drove to the win in race one. Scott Hargrove, also Canadian, won race 2. However, I just wanted an excuse to post this.
At the start of race 1, there was a big crash. Orey Fidani managed to thread the needle through the busted cars. Check it out.
NASCAR – Daytona
This was Tony Stewart’s Dale tribute helmet for this weekend’s Daytona race. So badass. #Smoketimidator
In a race that could be described as a crash-fest, there was a typical “Big One” at Daytona that took half of the field out of the race. Jamie McMurray had a bobble that saw him dropping back and falling right into the oncoming grille of Jimmie Johnson. Contact between the two saw McMurray turn 90 degrees right directly in front of the oncoming field. The fact that both drivers were inside the top-10 at the time of contact meant that nearly 35 drivers were coming their way. Ultimately 22 cars were involved in the incident.
After the pile-up, it was Brad Keselowski who ultimately survived until the finish to take the win. At the final lap, Keselowski faced a three-wide battle for the lead, which he ultimately won, as Kyle Busch, Trevor Bayne, and Joey Logano pushed him over the finish line.
Blancpain Sprint – Nurburgring
The qualifying race saw the quick but fading Audi R8 of Enzo Ide defend the lead from the McLaren of Rob Bell. They had an excellent dice in the final minutes, it was great racing.
Starting from second in Sunday’s main race, Rob Bell made quick work of passing Enzo Ide for the lead, and he never looked back. The pair of Bell and Alvaro Parente took the victory in convincing fashion. Behind Bell and Parente, however was a wall of cars running deep, as some of the best racers from around the world of GT were chasing them down. In the final minutes of the 1 hour sprint, it was Rene Rast, Bernd Schneider, Chris Mies, Marco Seefried, and Maximilian Buhk running line astern. It was truly a spectacle to behold. There were crazy dogfights happening for position all over the field, and it was a pretty amazing one-hour race.
Here’s the whole race. Watch it, I promise it is worth it.
European Truck – Nurburgring
European Truck has a new promoter, and they are now posting their races in their entirety on YouTube. Live streaming is also offered. Excellent. Check them out here.
Race 1 –
Race 2 –
TCR – Sochi, Russia
How the Race Ran, Via TCR PR –
Former European Touring Car Cup winner Nikolay Karamyshev claimed his first race win of the season since he joined Lukoil Racing in the SMP Russian Circuit Racing Series.
Irek Minnakhmetovstarted from pole on the reverse grid, but he was soon overtaken by the championship’s top players: Karamyshev, Roman Golikov, Dmitry Bragin and Aleksey Dudukalo.
Golikov, Bragin and Dudukalo were in a close fight for the second place, which helped Karamyshev to build a gap. On lap 2 Dudukalo made a move in the attempt of overtaking Bragin, but they clashed and lost pace.
Bragin rejoined in third, while Dudukalo dropped behind some other cars; Golikov benefitted from the situation to create a margin that Bragin, eventually, did not manage to fill. Karamyshev, Golikov and Bragin finished in the order, while Dudukalo retired on the last-but-one lap because of a puncture.
After four of the series’ seven race meetings, Bragin leads the standings with a slim gap of 38 points ahead of Dudukalo; Golikov lies in third place, 84 points behind the leader.
WRC – Rally Poland
At Special Stage 2, Estonian driver Ott Tanak took over the lead of the rally, and maintained that margin of victory over the Volkswagens and Hyundais through the penultimate stage of the event. Unfortunatley Tanak suffered a tire failure with only a few miles remaining and ultimately lost 40 seconds, handing his lead to the Volkswagen II team driver Andreas Mikkelsen. Mikkelsen went on to win only his second WRC event, while Tanak finished second (still his best finish), ahead of Hayden Paddon’s i20.
Also this happened. The car made it to the next stop, and was repaired.
Global RallyCross – The Base
Ford racer Brian Deegan almost won his first race in 5 years, but that was taken away from him on the final lap by Volkswagen driver Scott Speed with a late race pass. With the win, Speed took his first victory of 2016. Tanner Foust continued his amazing streak of heat wins and semifinals. On the other side of the list, it was Pat Sandell who won his first heat, Seb Eriksson won round two (Honda’s first victory in GRC), and Steve Arpin won the semifinal.
In the main, the rain came bucketing down, and the drivers were all forced onto their BFG Rains. Foust and Speed took off from the first two spots and moved into a VW 1-2. Brian Deegan made a move stick around the outside of Speed, and settled into second. Surprisingly, Deegan was elevated to the lead when Foust pulled off course with a mechanical failure. Speed took his Joker Lap early, and clicked off hot laps as Deegan lost his turbocharger, and continued on without the extra boost. When Deegan took his Joker Lap, Speed had made up enough of a gap to move back into the lead and ultimately the victory.
Things You Should Watch
Pikes Peak Onboards? Yeah, we got Pikes Peak Onboards!
1. The winning run from Romain Dumas’ Norma Honda
2. Rhys Millen’s New Electric Record Breaking Run
3. Kevin Wesley’s Ill Fated Hot Rod Viper Run
Unfortunately Kevin had a cylinder decide to eat itself a couple of miles from the top, and was forced to continue up the hill on only 5 of his 10 cylinders. It doesn’t sound good. Watch the whole thing. I’m pretty sure he would have won the class if he hadn’t had the failure. He finished second in class to a new Acura NSX with turbos and electric motors by just over 30 seconds.
Tim Cindric Onboard Camera PWC Road Atlanta
Goodwood FoS Shootout –
A NASCAR Truck At Goodwood? Why not?
Porsche 911R At Goodwood
Kenny Brack McLaren P1 LM
360 degree video from Mattias Ekstrom’s Audi S1 rallycross racer
SVRA Vintage Weekend At The Brickyard –
Things You Should Read
I went to Le Mans with Michelin and FLATSIXES.com. Read All About It Here.
A Lena Gade interview from Vice Sports.
Tommy Kendall Reflects On His GTP Crash, Discussion With Marshall Pruett.
Robin Miller Talks About The “Mount Rushmore Of Racing”.
Garage 59 McLaren Adding Third McLaren at 24H Spa for Derani, Tappy, and Senna.
I hope you had a happy 4th. Discuss in the comments below.