This was a somewhat somber weekend for motorsport, as there were a number of injuries and fatalities this weekend that tainted the fun of the sport. Additionally, while Jorge De La Torre was released from the hospital after surgery from last week’s crash at Lime Rock, we still have not heard how Andy Palmer is doing from the same incident, and that’s both frustrating and terrifying.
Anyway, there was some good racing this weekend, most of it in Detroit, and there was some pretty awesome stuff going on at Le Mans for the test day this year, as well. Did you watch any of it? Did you catch a local dirt track race? Lets talk about it in the comments below.
Summer has just begun, 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!
Le Mans Test Day
IndyCar Does A Double Dose Of The D
Isle Of Man TT
IMSA Rings The Belle
Global Rallycross Motors The Other D (and I do mean Dallas)
NASCAR Triangulates Their New Strategy
DTM and GT Masters At Lausitsz
Moto GP Speaks Catalan
TCR Gets Salty
GT Open Hits Paul Ricard
Stock Car Brasil Does Santa Cruz do Sul
BTCC races Oulton Park
World Endurance Championship – Test Day: Circuit de la Sarthe
The pre-Le Mans test took place this weekend at the circuit, and we finally got a chance to see how quick the new cars really are (or did we?). The LMP1s are almost as fast as they were before the drastic power reduction they got this year, the GTEs are WAY faster than last year, and even the P2s have gained some speed, especially the Orecas. Of course, in the immortal words of Iverson, “we talkin’ ’bout practice”.
Ex-Hoon and resident nerd-friend Eric Rood pored over some data and made this post on his Kinja page. If you care about timing data, it’s a good breakdown of what’s going on.
Here are the basics:
Audi ran the fastest lap with Lucas di Grassi securing a 3:21.375. He was the only driver in the 21s, but I’m positive there is more speed in all of the 6 factory-backed LMP1 competitors.
Eurasia Motorsport and Tristan Gommendy took the top spot in LMP2 with a 3:36.690, but I doubt that’s even close to the quickest that class can secure.
GTE Pro was dominated by the old guard with Corvette and Porsche fighting for top honors in their relatively old chassis. Ultimately it was Antonio Garcia who laid down the fastest lap for GM with a 3:55.122. The Ford GTs and the Ferrari 488s were likely hiding their full potential, and will probably continue to do so until the tricolore falls in 12 days. Astons were the fastest in a straight line, which will really help them come race day.
GTE Am pace was also set by a Corvette, a last-year Larbre Competition run car with Nicky Catsburg at the wheel. Unfortunately Catsburg says it is unlikely he will be in the car during the race, because Larbre is looking for a driver that will pay for their seat time to pad budgets.
IndyCar – Detroit Belle Isle Circuit
Here’s what Racer.com’s Robin Miller had to say about the Detroit Double Header
Race 1 –
At half race distance, the race was a Penske 1-2-3-4 with pole-sitter Pagenaud at the front. Then *things* happened. Sebastien Bourdais somehow made a four-stop strategy work, with some well timed caution flag laps, and great in/out laps. At halfway, he was mired down in 13th, but managed to come up to take the victory over Conor Daly who was on a similar strategy. When questioned about the win on the podium, Bourdais replied “I don’t even know how we got here”.
Race 2 –
A much more conventional win on Saturday saw Penske stalwart Will Power take the victory on Belle Isle. The man hasn’t won a race since May of last year, so it was finally time to shake off the cobwebs and get to victory lane. Power was sitting in 6th on lap 52, but made a ballsy pass on his teammate Pagenaud that ended up being the pass for the lead as the four cars ahead peeled off for fuel.
IMSA – Detriot Belle Isle Circuit
Joining IndyCar at Detroit was IMSA’s WeatherTech sports car series, but the full contingent wasn’t in attendance, as GTLM’s June break is in force as most of those teams prepare for Le Mans. Still, it was an excellent race with Prototype/PC/GTD.
From the outset, it was known that the Daytona Prototypes would be fighting for the win, this just isn’t a LMP2 track. Keeping that in mind, it was also known that this would be a Corvette battle for the outright victory, but which one?
Well, that’s two of them out of contention.
So pretty much the Taylor brothers, then, right? You’d be right.
So what happened in LMPC? Well they finished on the overall podium with so many Prototypes cars running so slowly, and two main contenders taking each other out. Colin Braun was leading the PC class and was 3rd overall when he suffered a late race spin that handed the win to Starworks Renger Van Der Zande and Alex Popow.
In GTD, the FIA GT3-ish cars had a great running, despite four full course cautions in a race that was only an hour and 40 minutes. The first half of the race was hectic and fraught with kerfuffles, but then things started to settle down, and Bleekemolen had the Riley Motorsports Viper out front. From then on, it was up to him to defend the lead from attacks by Joerg Bergmeister and Alessandro Balzan for almost 50 full minutes. That’s exactly what he did. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Park Place finished second, and Balzan/Nielsen/Scuderia Corsa finished third in class.
GRC – Dallas
At the outset, it looked like it would be another Tanner Foust victory, as he won all of his heats, and had a good grid position for the final. Likewise, teammate Scott Speed also took his heats, with Volkswagen dominating early proceedings.
When the lights went green on the final, it was a Foust/Speed tear into turn one, where Foust pulled ahead. Having carried just a bit too much speed into a tricky right hand corner, Foust went wide, and fell back. Pat Sandell, having started on the second row, bullied his way through into the lead with the tiniest of gaps. Steve Arpin and Tanner Foust then got into a bumper-to-bumper battle that allowed Sandell to pull a gap, and that’s how he won it. Bryan Herta, whose team won the Indy 500 last weekend, was excited to see a car run by his team win again.
Patrik Sandell, on his win (GRC PR): “I wouldn’t say it was easy, but they lined the cars up so I had a straight shot between the two front row cars. Mentally, I was just focusing on that spot. I never saw those two Volkswagens for ten laps, and I’m pretty happy with that! I’m so happy for this group because we are working so hard together. I moved up to Indianapolis this summer just to be with them, and try to do everything together and to be as perfect as we can.”
Tanner Foust, on his weekend (GRC PR): “The cars are so fast that even when you’re in the lead it’s chaotic. But mud on the windshield was interesting—I found the wiper button pretty quick. I had a great battle with Arpin, and I gave him one hit from behind where I wasn’t expecting him to brake, but I gave the spot back. I was trying to have a clean battle and get the pass. I couldn’t do it, but it was awesome to race it out. It’s unfortunate—we had the perfect season up until the final, and it may seem like smooth sailing from the outside sometimes, but we’re working so hard to get our qualifying times good, and trying to win the heats. It’s been a great season so far, and hopefully it will continue on.”
NASCAR – Pocono
Race was rained out yesterday. It is still running as I type this. We’ll see.
MotoGP – Barcelona
The Catalan GP was an out and out battle between Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi, with everything coming down to the last second. It was 25 laps of pure racing, with some action from all sides.
Jorge Lorenzo led from the start, but faded early and Vale moved into the lead with Marquez not far behind. The Spanish Honda Rider tried to make a few moves on Valentino, and briefly grabbed the lead for one lap, but Vale’s Yamaha motored on by again at turn one the following lap.
Following his brief stint at the front, Championship leader Lorenzo was shuffled back to 5th. Andrea Iannone tried to make a pass on him to put him down to 6th by making a wild lunge at Turn 10. The move left both riders without their bikes and laying on the ground. Lorenzo scored zero points and was fuming at Andrea.
Moto2 rider Luis Salom was killed in a crash during Free Practice in Barecelona on Friday. The 24 year old fell at Turn 12, and was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he underwent surgery. This was the first GP Motorcycle death since Marco Simoncelli in 2011 (which still feels like it was yesterday).
Isle of Mann TT
A somber affair this year, as two competitors lost their lives in the famed motorcycle event. You can read more about it here, I don’t really want to write obituaries right now, I really hate writing them, and wouldn’t do them any justice anyway. The two have the ignominious honor of having been the 249th and 250th riders to have been killed on the dangerous mountain road.
DTM – Lausitzring
Race 1 –
Miguel Molina made a DRS-assisted pass on Audi-teammate Jamie Green to win race one at Lausitz. He’d only scored one solitary point from the previous four races, but managed to make everything fall his way this time and take the victory.
At the start, it was Molina and Green fighting side by side and Green moving into the lead, as the pair were followed by a quicker BMW of Wittmann. Finally on lap 8, Molina managed to make a DRS pass stick into the lead, where he stayed.
Race 2 –
Austrian driver Lucas Auer took his Mercedes to a pole in race 2, and managed to convert that into a career first win. He had the lead comfortably from the start, and kept a good gap to second, as his victory was never really in contention.
GT Masters – Lausitzring
Race 1 –
The first race saw the Porsche duo of Robert Renauer and Martin Ragginger keep their lead from pole position, taking the victory by only three tenths of a second over the Lamborghini of Rolf Ineichen and Christian Engelhart.
34 cars took the start, and after the start of the race, the top five never changed positions, finishing the way they entered turn 1. At one point, Ragginger managed to stretch his lead out to a whopping 14 seconds over second place. There were two late race safety car periods, however, that deleted any lead he’d built up. Fortunately, he handled both restarts with aplomb, and took their first victory of the season.
Race 2 –
It would seem that the Callaway Corvettes have found their stride in GT Masters, notching up a second win of the season for the brand new car. Dominik Schwager started the race from pole, while a string of collisions brought out a safety car behind him. Through the driver change pit stops, Schwager managed to retain the lead and handed over to teammate Patrick Assenheimer.
After the stops, Patrick returned to the race in third, and had to fight his way back to the front. At a restart from the second safety car, Assenheimer moved into second, passing a Lamborghini, with only the other Callaway Corvette ahead of him. With the pit stop falling their way, it was Jules Gounon and Daniel Keilwitz coming home in first, making it an excellent 1-2 victory for Corvette.
TCR – Salzburg
Race 1 –
Mikhail Grachev scored his second victory in a row, taking his Honda to winners circle after a drama filled race. The WestCoast Racing driver managed to survive a series of incidents and technical failures that eliminated some of the main players such as the Oriola brothers, Dušan Borković and Harald Proczyk.
Race 2 –
In the second race, it was JK Vernay who would survive the biblical floods to take the win, mostly by making fewer mistakes than anyone else, and the luck of being on the right tires. With Pepe Oriola sidelined by the technical failure that had stopped him in Race 1, four other top contenders – Gianni Morbidelli, Jordi Oriola and Mikhail Grachev – had their chances spoiled by a wrong tyre choice that forced them to pit for a change at the end of the formation lap.
GT Open – Paul Ricard
Thomas Biagi and Fabrizio Crestani took their first win of the GT Open season with their Lamborghini of Orange1 Team Lazarus at Paul Ricard. There was penultimate lap drama that won them the position and the race at the very last second. Let’s break that down.
The leading driver at the time, Michael Benham in the Garage 59 McLaren, went wide and spun. The spin then collected the second placed Aston Martin of Salih Yoluc, who was making wild moves to avoid the collision. Crestani, who was in third at the time, then inherited the lead ahead of the Teo Martin BMW. The Toluc/Hankey driven Aston recovered from the crash to salvage third place.
Stock Car Brasil – Santa Cruz do Sul
Felipe Fraga started race one from pole and led every lap on his way to victory. With that win, he moved into the lead of the championship.
For race 2, Max Wilson took a risky strategy and made it pay off. After a puncture in race 1, he chose to take four brand new tires and start the race from the back of the pack in 22nd.
Max Wilson on his win (motorsport.com)
“The pit stop at the end of race one was determinant. I wouldn’t score any points there, so we took a bet putting fresh tyres and go for the second race. And it worked”
BTCC – Oulton Park
Race 1 –
Colin Turkington took Subaru to their first BTCC victory with his new Levorg, which has finally been rid of its early season teething issues. Turk took the pole position with a stunning lap, and then led all 15 laps of race 1 to take the victory. Sam Tordoff jumped into second at the start, and followed Colin for every lap to place second. Jason Plato then had to battle Gordon Shedden and Dan Lloyd for third, ultimately taking the position.
Race 2 –
Turkington’s win had him on pole for race two, but outside front row starter Sam Tordoff got the jump on him at the start. Tordoff’s BMW streaked off into the lead and he was never challenged. Turk settled for second, and Plato’s Subaru came home third yet again. That’s four podiums for Subaru out of two races.
Race 3 –
Matt Neil’s Honda was on pole for race 3 with the reverse grid promoting him there. Gordon Shedden moved from third to first on the first lap, and it looked like a Honda 1-2 from there on. The two were hooked the hell up, and couldn’t be caught by the competition. With just 2 laps to go, the pair had built up a healthy 10 second lead over the competition. It was just then that Shedden’s car developed a tire failure and dropped down to 23rd by the checkered flag. Matt Neil still took the victory, but it was Sam Tordoff who took second on soft tires for the whole race 3. Josh Cook tried to make a move into third, but contact with Tom Ingram had both of them fall back behind Jason Plato, who took his third 3rd place finish of the weekend.
Things You Should Read
Here’s an account of what it’s like to be a motorsport journalist in Monaco for the GP
Joey Logano Helps Cancer Kid With Bucket List
Juan Pablo Wants To Run Bathurst, “Still On The Cards”
Will Power Says IndyCar Should Adopt F1’s Virtual Safety Car
DSC Editor Has 10 Thoughts From Le Mans Test
Things You Should Watch
Porsche’s Neel Jani spinning the fastest lap ever at Le Mans last year
Nelson Piquet Jr teaches us about aero
Kyle Marcelli does a lap of Detroit in his LMPC car
Speed Academy Crashes A Nissan Micra Cup Car