This week there was something truly amazing going down in Colorado, and this time it didn’t involve a vote to legalize something. There was other racing elsewhere, and that was cool too, but seriously Pikes Peak was the coolest thing to happen all year, and we’ll get to that soon. There was some NASCAR action, sports cars and open wheelers in Wisconsin, Blancpain at Paul Ricard, MotoGP had an unlikely winner in Holland, DTM with F3, WTCC, Stock Car Brasil, VLN, and some vintage hillclimb over in the UK. There was a ton of action over the weekend, and it was great.
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!
Pikes Peak International Hillclimb
NASCAR Goes To Commiefornia
PWC and Indycar Get Cheesy
Blancpain Visits Uncle Paul
MotoGP Goes Dutch On Victory
DTM Finds Mrs. Noris
F3 Chases Ze Germans
WTCC Runs Down A Flock Of Portugeese
VLN Calls Up Another Round Of Nurburgers
Stock Car Brasil Stays In Brazil
Some of the Stuff That Happened At Goodwood
In what is possibly the most badass move anyone has ever made, Romain Dumas has captured the overall victory at Le Mans and the overall victory at Pikes Peak within 7 days of each other. Dumas boarded a plane on Tuesday morning in Paris and landed in Denver to begin final preparation for the hillclimb. He won the race before back in 2014, but this time he went some 15 seconds faster in the same car. While he isn’t quite up to Seb Loeb’s 2013 record breaking time, he is now one of only three cars to have summited the mountain in under 9 minutes. His Norma prototype with Honda K20 Turbo power is pretty awesome. Though slightly less awesome without the Haribo sponsorship of two years ago…
Rhys Millen is the third car to run in under 9 minutes, and the only one to have done so with electric power.
In the Time Attack 1 class, a Porsche 911 GT3R took the win.
Time Attack 2 featured the brute force Hot Rod Viper ACR, which unfortunately lost to the technology, electricity, and turbos of a new Acura NSX.
Full timing results can be found here.
NASCAR – Sonoma
I love it when the stock cars go left and right. Sonoma is always a great round of the Sprint/Nextel/Winston Cup series. It almost always comes down to the last lap, and this one was no different.
Tony Stewart qualified 10th, and took a bath in the standings by the middle of the race, slowly falling down the order. In the final section of the race, Stewart took a gamble on a potential caution for debris, and pitted out of sequence. When everyone else pitted, he stayed out and took over the lead of the race. Stewart held off the pack at the restart, and another restart after that as well.
Then the following battle ensued with Denny Hamlin.
This is Stewart’s final year in the series, and gives him his first win in over 3 years.
Here’s what Stewart had to say about the race, as told by Racer.com
“Especially at a place you’re going to for the last time, it means a bunch. It’s special, trust me.
I made mistakes the last two laps. I had just a little bit too much rear brake for Turn 7, and wheel-hopped it two laps in a row. But, I felt a nudge when I got down there and (Hamlin) knew where it was and he did the right thing doing it there; but if I could get to him, he knew what was coming. He told me he was proud of me. He knows what it means. We were teammates for a long time and we respect each other a lot.”
Good on ya, Smoke. Enjoy the win.
IndyCar – Road America
IndyCar met up at one of my favorite tracks, in a return to the circuit for the first time in a long time.
The race, in the final segment, was shaping up to be a knock-down-drag-out fight between Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, it was what the fans had come to see. Unfortunately, Pagenaud developed a nasty misfire with just a few laps remaining, and dropped from second to 13th by the flag. Fortunately for the fans, Tony Kanaan stepped up and mounted a bunch of pressure on Power in the closing stage.
Kanaan was on the grippier Firestone Reds, while Power was struggling on older Firestone Blacks. Kanaan was ripping off fast lap after fast lap and mounted a serious charge, but the best he could do was come within 7 tenths of a second at the checkered flag.
Scott Dixon’s car ground to a halt on lap 6, and he scores no points. This moves Dixon from second in the points down to 4th. Meanwhile, Will Power has vaulted from 7th to 3rd in one weekend.
Pirelli World Challenge – Road America
It would seem that Acura/HPD has figured out how to make their TLX-GT work just in time to throw it out and start over with the NSX GT3 next year.
Bentley’s Adderly Fong had taken the pole position for race 1, but Realtime Acura driver Ryan Eversely muscled by at turn one and never looked back. Shortly thereafter, Peter Cunningham in the second Acura moved into second and made it an Acura 1-2 finish at Road America.
Eversely on his win (PWC PR) –
“I got a good start and Adderley (Fong) and I went into turn one side-by-side. I think the Acura had a little bit more in the straight and I grabbed the lead. He tried a big maneuver in Turn 5 and almost took us both out. But I was able to get away at that point. After PD (Cunningham) was in second, I knew I wouldn’t have any trouble with anyone else like that. I was trying not to have Mr. Road America himself catch me.”
Get out your brooms, Ryan Eversely is on a clean sweep of the weekend at Road America! After nabbing the fastest lap in race 1, Ryan started the second race on pole, and blasted away from everyone to a lights-to-flag victory. There was a 25 minute caution flag to clean up a wrecked Viper, which likely helped Ryan’s cause. There was a charging GT-R on his ass as the caution flag came out, but Bryan Heitkotter’s car eventually fell out with mechanical problems.
Blancpain GT – Paul Ricard
The race was won by the Garage 59 McLaren with Rob Bell, Come Ledogar, and Shane van Gisbergen driving. The race came to them with superior pit strategy (pitting under yellow at just the right moment), as the leading Bentley of Maxime Soulet, Andy Soucek, and Wolfgang Reip fell out with a late race pit stop fire. Sitting second was the AF Corse Ferrari of Lathouras/Rugolo/Pier Guidi, and they were poised to take over the lead, though their chances were taken out in the last pit stop as they pitted under green, while the McLaren made a caution stop.
A better race recap can be found at DailySportsCar.com.
If you want to watch the whole race, you can do so here, courtesy of NISMO
MotoGP – Assen
This race was a wet nightmare for many of the riders, and resulted in a surprise victor. Much like in F1, rain is the great equalizer on bikes. The riders are brought to the fore as power and aerodynamics are made much less important, and rider control becomes the most important dynamic. In this case, Jack Miller rode his Marc VDS Honda well above its Satalite Team status would indicate, and took the outright victory.
The race started wet but drying, and Yonny Hernandez moved into the lead, then crashed out. Then Danilo Petrucci moved into the lead as a wet weather ace. Then the sky opened and the race was red flagged.
The race restarted with 12 laps sprint. Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of second, while Valentino Rossi built a very comfortable lead. Rossi then tumbled out of the lead promoting Marc Marquez to the lead. Miller’s bike handling skills outshone the Spaniard’s, as he blasted past into the lead.
Read more here.
DTM – Norisring
Edoardo Mortara won race 1 to become the first repeat victor of the 2016 DTM season. Christian Vietoris started from pole and was followed closely by Mattias Ekstrom. Ekstrom made a mistake allowing Robert Wickens into second.
On the following lap, Ekstrom made a dive up the inside of Wickens and smashed into both the Canadian and the leading Vietoris, taking the three of them out of contention in the sprint race. Fourth placed Edoardo Mortara moved into the lead, who took the car to victory.
Tom Blomqvist started race 2 from pole, after Ekstrom (fastest in qualifying) was given a penalty for the race 1 contact. Nico Muller, meanwhile made a stellar pass on Paul di Resta at the start, and was the only one who could keep pace with Blomqvist. Muller managed to knock off some fast laps on warm tires as Blomqvist pitted for fresh rubber. A full 9 laps later, Muller came in for new slicks and returned to the race just inches ahead of Tom. From there on, it was Muller leading until the flag, giving Audi two wins on the weekend.
Formula 3 – Norisring
This wasn’t super important, so here’s the cliff’s notes.
Canadian Lance Stroll took his third straight F3 Euro victory this weekend in race 1, leading away from poll to the flag. Main rivals Callum Ilott and Joel Eriksson collided.
A crash filled race saw Antooine Hubert convert a pole position into his first series victory. Lance Stroll was right on Hubert’s rear wing for the whole race, but Hubert managed to nail three straight safety car restarts to keep his lead until the flag. Well won, I’d say.
Lance Stroll managed to take a second win on the weekend, further padding his points take. Stroll led every lap of the race that was pockmarked by a lengthy safety car period followed by an even lengthier red flag period.
The starting light gantry had an issue at the start, prompting a 10 minute delay. Organizers then chose to revert to a safety car start as the problem could not be resolved in a reasonable manner. George Russell tapped Joel Eriksson into a spin that broke suspension bits, bringing out a yellow full course. Shortly after going green, Pedro Piquet hit Ryan Tveter under braking into the final chicane, briefly went airborn, and wiped Niko Kari’s car off the map in the process. The shunt was serious enough for a red flag. The race went back to green with 6 minutes remaining. Stroll couldn’t shake Hubert, but managed to keep his lead.
WTCC – Vila Real
Tom Coronel took his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet to a light-to-flag victory in Portugal race 1. Coronel held off Tom Chilton’s Citroen to the finish, in what was a largely processional street course race. Chilton managed to make a pass on Nicky Catsburg’s Lada to move into second during the first sequence of corners, but no other high-profile passes were really even considered.
Tiago Monteiro took his Honda Civic to victory circle in Portugal Race 2, taking his second win of the season thus far, and at the Portuguese driver’s home track no less. Like Coronel, Tiago’s win was a light-to-flag affair, with a largely processional lineup behind him. Yvan Muller pulled up in second place, but could not find a way by Monteiro. Nicky Catsburg did make a jump from 9th to 7th at the start, though. That’s about all the action that there was.
VLN – Nurburgring Round 4
There was nasty weather in the Eifel Forest this weekend, causing some consternation among the racers there for Round 4 of the VLN series. Heavy rain, fog, etc. they had to deal with all of it.
The race was won by the Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS of Chris Mies and young American Connor De Phillippi. While Sebastian Asch and Kenneth Heyer had dominated most of the race in their Mercedes AMG GT3 Zakspeed car, Mies had a lot of late-race speed in the wet, and set blistering lap after blistering lap to take over the lead with just 30 minutes remaining in the race. Asch and Heyer were still happy to capture their first podium. Third place was taken by the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Falken Motorsports/Wolf Henzler/Martin Ragginger.
Chris Mies on his win (VLN PR) –
“When everything fits together, it is not a problem. Our Audi R8 LMS was fitted with a rigorous rain set-up and maximum downforce. So I felt very comfortable in the car and could push very hard. And this was absolutely imperative as it was not quite clear whether we would still have to come to the pits for refueling before the end.”
Stock Car Brasil – Tarumã
The track, that I won’t even bother trying to pronounce, was described as being fast and challenging. And the racing was described as being “two great races full of battles, overtaking maneuvers, and a variety of strategies”.
Race 1 –
This race was won by Eurofarma-RC’s Max Wilson.
Race 2 –
Race 2 was won by Axalta C2’s Julio Campos.
I haven’t had enough coffee this morning to fully understand this race report filed by someone for whom English is not their primary language. Was this article stuffed through Google translate?
Lena Gade Gifted With Trophy
Le Mans 2016 was Lena Gade’s last with Audi, as she has been hired by Bentley’s racing program to help them with future projects. As endurance racing engineers go, she’s among the best out there, and Audi will surely miss her talents.
As a way of saying thank you to the Gade, Audi have given her the 2011 Le Mans 24 overall victory trophy which she helped the team earn with stellar leadership and smart strategy. It was a bold and appreciated move by Audi. #ThankYouLena
Lucas Di Grassi Guests In Audi TT Cup, Smokes The Field
Audi TT Cup ran as the support series to DTM/F3 at Norisring, and Audi’s Lucas di Grassi was given the guest-of-honor seat in a TT for the round. Lucas gonna Lucas, as he started the race from 4th just 15 one hundredths of a second from pole. When race 1 started, di Grassi gradually moved toward the front, battling with eventual winner Dennis Marschall, and settling for second. In race 2, Lucas started 5th, and began his march to the front. Another battle with Marschall on Sunday saw the result flip in di Grassi’s favor, eventually winning by nearly 3 seconds.
di Grassi competed at Le Mans, finishing on the podium for Audi last weekend, and will be gunning for the Formula E title in London next weekend. This stop off in TT Cup is a gap filler in his schedule.
V8 Supercars Cancels Malaysia Round
V8S in Kuala Lumpur is now not going to happen. The race, scheduled for August 12-14th has been scrapped. The CEO of V8S, James Warburton, claims that the Malaysian promoter (GT Global) of the race has been involved in a legal dispute, which is holding up progress on preparing the race to move forward.
Warburton, about the cancellation (V8S PR)
“We have been formally advised by the Malaysian promoter that due to ongoing legal action in Malaysia, to which we’re not a party, there is insufficient time to prepare the street circuit in Kuala Lumpur for the event. We apologize to our fans for any inconvenience, but unfortunately this is a matter outside of our control.”
Rather than continue with the street circuit, an investigation was made on the possibility of moving venues to the Sepang course. This was deemed to be “simply not possible”, unfortunately.
Stuff You Should Read
If you’re a sportscar fan, you need to read this DSC piece. 5 Things To Worry About. Seriously, it’s required reading.
Here’s a gallery of gorgeous photos from Paul Ricard this weekend.
Rob Bell says Ford GT is a “Wake-Up Call”.
Stuff You Should Watch
SO MANY VIDEOS THIS WEEK!
Formula E Drivers Senna and D’Ambrosio Take Juan Manuel Fangio’s Cars For A Joyride
Nissan GT-R GT3 Onboard For A Lap Of Paul Ricard
Ride Along With Mark Higgins As He Destroys The IoM TT Lap Record In A Subaru
Marc Marquez Crashes Out Of Qualifying, Steals A Cameraman’s Scooter, and Returns To The Pits To Get A Replacement Bike
Here’s the run that won the Festival of Speed
And this one didn’t exactly win in time, but it won in our hearts. KAMAZ DRIFT TRUCK!
Alex Zanardi does donuts in a Z4 GT3
Vaughn Gittin Jr. smashes his Mustang on the hill
Ross Gunn Takes Aston Martin Vantage That Was Just At Le Mans Up The Hill In Wild Drive
Former Stig Ben Collins takes a 2017 Raptor prototype up Goodwood, and it’s amazing
Lord March Sits In The Passenger Seat of Mad Mike’s MadBull Drift RX8
Okay, this is just crazy
Keanu Reeves rides his ARCH KRGT-1, Nice Bike. He Knows Kung Fu, and He’s Just Trying To Help
Legendary ‘Hemi Under Glass’ Gets Smashed Up On Jay Leno’s New Show
Not Really A Racecar, but this is too cool
How Brit Motorsport Was Born
Last week I mentioned that you needed to watch the final hour of Le Mans. Here’s the last bit of it, enjoy.