I only have one word to say about this weekend’s festivities, and that word is “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”. You’ll see why if you read on, or you could just look at the image above and figure it out yourself, I suppose. Anyway, there was a lot of other racing that went on that wasn’t a complete mess, so I’ll be sure to talk about that a bit, too. There was some rainy-day racing at the 4-hours of Imola, Trans Am attacked the newly paved Glen while IMSA held a test there as well. NASCAR had some crazy stuff go down at Dover, and IndyCars ran at Indy, but not the speedway, the GP circuit. All in all, it was a pretty eventful weekend. Lots of news to report as well, so don’t forget to go all the way to the bottom. The classic auctions in Monaco even had a few awesome vintage race cars that I’ll give a quick report on.
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 Dances In Barcelona
GP2 Plays Second String
NASCAR Tries To Find The Dover Demon
IndyCar Goes Home For The Month Of May
ELMS Fights The Elements At Imola
VLN Round 3 @ N-ring
Trans Am Goes To New York
Blancpain Endures Silverstone
IMSA Gets Testy
Newly Announced Le Mans Starter Is The Pitts
Pat Long Gets A New Ride
Porsche Announces New GTE Car (Don’t Call It A 911!)
News, Videos, and Links
Formula 1 – Barcelona
The F1 race was all but decided at the second corner. The two Mercedes locked out the front row, obviously, as of course they would. Rosberg got a good run on Hamilton around the outside, and took the lead of the race. I don’t understand all of the tech behind it, but for some reason Rosberg’s car then went into ‘energy harvesting mode’ as evidenced by the flashing rain light on the back of his car. Hamilton, looking to pounce on the lead as Rosberg’s car lost some percentage of speed while harvesting, dove to the inside. Rosberg fiddled with a knob on his steering wheel and pressed the boost button to stay ahead of Hamilton, then made a very aggressive move to block Hamilton. Hamilton went onto the grass, spun, and speared into Rosberg’s car, ending both of their days.
After the two fastest cars took each other out, it was a fight among the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the two Ferraris to decide the podium. Max ended up with the victory as a result of a two-stop strategy gamble that worked out slightly better than Ferrari’s 3-stop method. A kid that was in karts just two years ago is now a Formula One race winner. He is now the youngest winner in F1 history.
Verstappen on his win:
“It’s amazing, I couldn’t believe I was leading. It’s a very big surprise, I didn’t expect that. Unbelievable, I can’t believe it. I was targeting a podium but to win straight away is an amazing feeling.
In the last laps I got a bit of cramp – I was getting very excited, I couldn’t believe it. I was looking at the pitboard, saw my name with 10 laps to go, then started to watch the board. I was thinking, ‘Don’t look at it, focus on the tires and bring it home.’ It’s a great feeling. I absolutely didn’t expect this.
This race felt like an endurance race, especially the last 10 lapsAs soon as we pitted I knew we were going to the end, so the first few laps [after the pitstop] I didn’t really push. The last stint I got a lot of pressure from Kimi behind but on this track it’s difficult to overtake. For me, it was a case of not making mistakes and it worked.
I knew the Ferraris were a bit faster – I let them catch up, so it was just about keeping the gap. That worked well until eight laps from the end, we were catching traffic and it was about managing the last sector, get a good exit out of the last chicane.
I knew it was going to be very hard, but you have to set your mind to try to control the tires. In the last few laps you’re driving on ice, managing everything. That’s how a lot of races are won in Barcelona.
GP2 – Barcelona
DAMS driver Alex Lynn took his third GP2 victory in Barcelona.
The reverse grid start of the final had Raffaele Marciello on the pole, and Jordan King was in second with Lynn third. King made a move on the lead, but compromised his line allowing Lynn into second. He quickly made up the gap to the leader, and after the DRS system was allowed to operate, Lynn made quick work of passing for the lead into turn 1. From there it was the Williams test-driver’s race to lose, and he never did. Stretched out a gap, managed pit stops well, and kept the car under him. Pierre Gasly mounted a charge in the final stint, but a crash caused the race to finish under yellow-flag conditions.
NASCAR – Dover
Matt Kenseth took his third career win at the famed Dover Mile this weekend, holding off a charge from Kyle Larson. Kenseth has had a relatively rough go at the 2016 season so far, and this win he hopes will turn things around for him on the luck front. Kenseth, until last weekend in Kansas, hadn’t even finished in the top ten all season.
Larson was aiming for his first victory, and led 85 of the 400 laps , and lost out by just under two tenths of a second at the line.
Kenseth on his win via NASCAR PR:
“It all worked out for us, kind of the opposite as I feel like it’s been going the last couple months. We’ve had really fast race cars. We’ve been in position to win a lot. This wasn’t our fastest car by any means. But we were able to be there at the end of the race and pull it off.”
IndyCar – Indianapolis GP Circuit
Pagenaud has taken an IndyCar hat trick with his third win on the trot in Indianapolis this weekend. His confidence has never been higher, and his car just seems to keep getting better. The kid’s on FIRE!
Simon had dominated the whole race, but with some luck Castroneves found himself at the point for a brief period thanks to a timely caution (Castroneves started 13th and moved all the way to the lead). Pagenaud got the lead back when Helio pitted, and then when Simon served his stop, he re-took the lead for good, having leapfrogged the Brazilian. Aside from that, there was no real competition for Simon’s win.
None of the other teams seemed to be surprised by his winning pace.
Pagenaud to Racer.com:
“I went faster than any other lap on the in-lap. [Team manager and car strategist] Kyle Moyer told me that I had to go and I knew it was going to be the chance to get back in the lead. The pit sequence was so important. With the temperature being so low, it was very difficult on the out-lap to get the tires going.
I knew this was my chance so I drove as hard as I could. I drove into pit lane like a rally car so it worked out! The pit crew did a fantastic job on that stop. That was an easy last stint.”
European Le Mans Series – Imola
Thiriet by TDS Racing took their Oreca 05 to the victory in the rain-soaked race that ended early. Beche, Hirakama, and Thiriet were hounded by flood-type rains that brought out a full course yellow for a long time, before calling the race short in the fourth-hour. I’m sure the drivers were happy that their Ligier is a closed-cockpit car.
Nicolas Lapierre took the pole with a very fast Dragonspeed Oreca, but his teammates weren’t quite up to his pace, and the car fell down the order later in the race. The TDS racing crew was quick and consistent throughout the race, and gradually marched forward to take the lead and the win.
The United Autosports #2 Ligier won the LMP3 category, and Proton Competition’s #77 Porsche 911 RSR won in GTE. Robert Renauer ran a double stint at the beginning of the race that was quick enough to move the Proton Porsche so there was no pressure from behind for the remainder of the race. Henzler and Hedlund did typically amazing jobs of driving, but Renauer deserves a pat on the back for that one.
Mattias Beche on his team’s victory:
“It was a great race, especially after we were really unlucky at Silverstone. It’s just a shame for the public and fans that it finished under safety car. We now are hoping for a good result at Le Mans.”
VLN – Nurburgring Round 3
BMW had a great weekend at the Nurburgring with a 1-2-3 victory over the competition. Schubert Motorsport took their new M6 GT3 to victory circle at the end of the 4-hour endurance/sprint with Muller, Wittmann, and Kron aboard. Second was taken by their sister car, drivers Luhr, Tomczyk, and Edwards doing the driving there. In third it was the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW of Krognes, Bouveng, and Blomqvist.
Based on the poorly-translated piece on VLN’s website, it would seem that the BMWs never really had a fight from behind, but were out front fighting among themselves. The win was decided by only 4 tenths of a second at the end of four hours of racing on the famed German circuit.
Jörg Müller on his race win:
“A perfect race. The car was running without any problems. Compared to the previous model, the Z3 GT3, this car has a clearly longer wheelbase which has a very positive effect on the handling. Moreover, the M6 engine is an absolute sensation.
Lucas Luhr on his race win:
“Everything may have looked so easy from the outside but inside the car we really had to give everything. We were pushing right from the start of the race as we really wanted to know the potential of the new M6 GT3.“
Trans Am – Watkins Glen
Amy Ruman turned on the cruise control and ran to a relatively easy victory this weekend on the newly-repaved Watkins Glen surface. Oh, and apparently it snowed during the race…
Ruman would end up winning by a margin of half-a-minute after some of her more serious rivals fell by the wayside. Cliff Ebben made a run at the lead of the motor race for a while, but a power-steering failure had him sitting out the finish. Paul Fix was the pole-sitter, but opted to start from the back in order to change tires before the race began.
Ruman set a new Trans Am lap record on her way to victory. Ruman now has 87 points in the championship while her nearest competitor, Kerry Hitt has 65.
Blancpain Endurance – Silverstone
Buhk, Baumann, and Jaafar took the Silverstone Blancpain endurance race victory in their new AMG GT3 for HTP Motorsport. The race was fraught with some safety car shenanigans, but I guess that happens. In the final stint, it was Maxi Buhk holding off an advancing Laurens Vanthoor in the #1 Audi WRT car.
Mirko Bortolotti captured pole and started his Lamborghini with a good stint, fending off Franck Perera’s ISR #74. Dries Vanthoor moved his Audi into contention when he took over for the second stint, and the HTP Mercedes started to come alive as well. Vanthoor and Jaafar moved past the leading Lamborghini almost in tandem (Rolf Ineichen at the wheel at the time). The Audi was balked in traffic, and Jaafar moved into the lead. he then pulled out a 5 second lead over Dries.
Buhk took over the car, but his lead was dwindled by a safety car period. This safety car period was a laughing stock, as the driver apparently had no idea what he was doing. When the safety car period was over, the car was announced to be coming in on “this lap”, but the safety car stayed out, despite the drivers thinking it would be returning. The field accelerated and then had to jump on the binders again. The next lap, the car’s lights went out, and was said to be coming in “this time by”, but it again stayed out, faking out the whole field again. Finally the following lap the car went in for good, and Buhk just had to hold on to the lead for about 20 minutes.
IMSA Test – Watkins Glen
On Monday of last week, IMSA sent Chip Ganassi’s Ford GT, BMW Team RLL’s M6, Stevenson Motorsports’ Audi R8, and Turner Motorsports’ BMW M6 as well, to turn some laps to test out the newly paved surface with Continental on hand to check out tire wear.
“When it’s still rubbering in, you might have two grooves in some corners when you’re dogfighting for position and guys will be able to hang on the outside a little bit more.
People are trying to build new racetracks, to this day, that produce racing that a lot of our old racetracks have, like Watkins Glen, and can’t get there. … I was just happy to see that we have the old Watkins Glen racetrack, with a facelift, just new pavement. That was what was important to me.”
“It’s so fast and rewarding, it’s just exhilarating. I love the high-speed corners. … It’s so smooth, it’s got that new surface all the way around, so you don’t have the concrete patches anymore. It’s going to be a higher level of grip, and I think you’re going to see some new track records, probably.”
Lucky Nissan Micra Driver Is Lucky
Canadian Micra Cup is a favorite among Hoon-staff, and we all want a chance to drive one ourselves. However, it would probably end up a lot like this race did at Calaboogie over the weekend. These aren’t ridiculously quick racing cars, but they tend to drive in packs, which can lead to big shunts. Brian Makse makes it through unscathed, surprisingly.
Marco Andretti Has A New Helmet
I thought this was pretty cool, as a way to honor his grandfather. Photo by Marshall Pruett.
Brad Pitt Announced As Le Mans Starter
Likely as a tie-in for his new movie where he will co-star alongside Tom Cruise’s portrayal of Carroll Shelby in the film adaptation of Baime’s “Go Like Hell”. If you haven’t read that book by now, you should.
Pat Long Makes The Wright Moves
Last week we told you of a team, Effort Racing, who had made the decision to discontinue their PWC program in 2016, despite the team already having won the opening race of the season. Porsche’s Pat Long was one of the team’s drivers, and potential championship contender. Because of the decision, Long was out of a drive, but not out of options. News circulated earlier this week that Pat was ready to continue his championship with Ohio’s Wright Racing. Wright is a very competitive team, and should have no trouble picking up where Effort left off. The GT3 R seems to fare well against the competition in PWC, and should continue to do so, especially with Long at the wheel.
Rebellion Racing Unsure Of Their Moves For 2017
It would seem that Rebellion’s Bart Hayden is having trouble making up his mind on where to race next year. With LMP1 Privateer regulations up in the air, and IMSA’s DPi category still not exactly finalized, there are still options they may take.
Bart Hayden To Sportscar365.com –
“I wouldn’t like to guess which way it’s going to go at the moment. There’s still an interest to go racing in both the U.S. and Europe. The team is based in Europe so there is logistical and organizational considerations if we were going to go racing only in America. But ultimately it will come down to where we think we’re going to get the best racing and return on investment from exposure.
WEC has a good story because it’s a world championship and that’s marketable. But if you’re not driven completely by marketing goals, then your motivation comes more from the racing side. Then the appeal perhaps comes more from the U.S. It’s an interesting one to try and balance.
We’d like to get as much return on investment from the R-One as we could. If we can get another year or possibly another three, or even four, depending on the regs, that’s a pretty significant consideration. Starting completely with a new car over in the U.S. is a different setup. But you could even envision a combination where you focus on WEC as your primary series and maybe picked off one of two races in the U.S., even if it’s just with a stock P2 car and not a DPi. You could probably run one car over there on a sensible budget. If you did one car in WEC and one car in the endurance events in the U.S., the budget might be similar to running two cars in WEC.
We’re keeping an eye on how things are progressing with the regulations. It seems to still be taking a period of time to actually be agreed. I think these things tend to come to more of a head at Le Mans. Once we get that event done, you start looking a bit further ahead. We’ll know the new regulations for P1 Privateers at that point of time and maybe by then the IMSA will have been over to France and have come to sort of agreement of what they’re going to do.”
Things You Should Read
Sportscar365.com – LMP2 drivers voice concern over driver ratings.
Sportscar365.com – The Mechanics Behind Audi/Corvette Driver Share Program
I take a deeper look at the steering wheel of Porsche’s 919 Hybrid LMP1 competitor.
There is a cool 1950s racing-themed childrens book on Kickstarter right now called The Small Silver Speedster, and it’s cool. (Hey Jeff, Sloane needs a copy of this…)
Robin Miller On A Potential Return Of Indycar To Watkins Glen.
Full Entry List Announced For The 100th Indy 500, and it’s full of Young-uns.
Videos You Should Watch
F1 racer Nico Rosberg runs his Mercedes up the hill at Goodwood.
Here’s a short documentary about Paris-Dakar in the 1980s.
Also, YouTube famous channel “Dude Perfect” went lawnmower racing, so here’s that video…
Bonhams: Ex-Schumacher Benetton sells for $1.2 Million.
Bonhams: Jag C-Type with 1953 Le Mans, Spa, and ADAC 1000KM history Sells For $8.22 Million.
RM/Sotheby’s: Porsche GT1 Campaigned by Canadian GT champions Bytzek Racing Sells For $3.14 Million.
RM/Sotheby’s: SCCA B/Sports Racer Chevron B36 Sells For $190,000.
Press Release Information
McLaren would like you to know that they’ve finished in 6th place in the Blancpain race.
The FIA World Rallycross Championship would like you to know that Mattias Ekstrom took back-to-back victories at the Kapaza Rallycross of Belgium.
Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course would like you to know that they have finalized their 2016 full-season schedule. Here it is.