There was a lot of great racing that went on over the weekend, and a bit of important qualifying. Sports cars north of the border, Indycars in Indy, NASCAR’s All-Stars, WRC running in Yurp, V8 Supercars ran down under, Formula E ran in Germany, Brazilian stock cars, DTM, MotoGP, Global Rallycross, it was just too busy to keep track of everything this weekend. That’s where this column comes in. Thanks for reading!
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!
WRC Turning Portuguese
Formula E Hits A Wall in Berlin
Pirelli World Challenge Heads North
Sprint X Introduced As SportsCar’s New Series
V8s Fight It Out For The Winton Cup
NASCAR Crowns A Star?
IndyCar Quali Has A New Mayor
Stock Cars Get A Brazilian
GRC Burns And Rises Again (like a Phoenix?)
MotoGP Goes Two-Wheelin’, Gets Muged At The Line
Porsche Announces New GTE Car (Don’t Call It A 911!) (Forgot This Last Week…)
News, Videos, and Links
IndyCar – Indianapolis 500 Qualifying
I mean, this is all you really need to know, right? Hinch almost died a year ago with a horrible crash. He ended up with a suspension arm sticking out of his leg. He recovered, got back in a race car last fall, and today he’s pole-man for the Indy 500. Awesome. One more thing, Stefan Wilson (Justin Wilson’s younger brother) made the field.
After all of that whining about Chevy sandbagging, Honda was easily the fastest at the circuit this weekend. We’ll see if that translates to race-pace. Either way, I’m rooting for Hinch. The dude has his own beer… And his own town…
World Rally Championship – Portugal
Kris Meeke secured the victory at Rally Portugal by 29.7 seconds over Andreas Mikkelsen. Sebastien Ogier finished in third, and has now gone three rallies without a win. Meeke led the rally from Friday’s second stage through the finish, never relinquishing the lead of the off-piste competition.
After a successful Rally Argentina, Hyundai imploded in Portugal. Thierry Neuville had an early fall out crash on Friday that saw him return later very far down the list. Later on Saturday morning, Neuville ran out of fuel.
Neuville’s teammate and WRC winner Hayden Paddon had a roll on special stage 5, and his i20 burned to the ground in less than 5 minutes. Both he and his codriver escaped without injury, but were forced to retire then and there.
Formula E – Berlin
Seb Buemi won in convincing fashion, and with Lucas di Grassi having to settle for third, closes the championship to just a single point with one race remaining.
Jean Eric Vergne had the pole, but Beumi beat him to turn one. JEV got the lead back on lap 2, but three laps later Buemi re-took the point and stayed there. He had more than a 10 second lead at the mid-race pit stop. There was a safety car for the end, setting up a two-lap sprint to the victory.
di Grassi, at the end, had worked his way up to third on pace. Lucas’ teammate Daniel Abt sat second. Abt was told firmly by the team to cede the position to the championship leader allowing him to score more points and keep the championship gap into the final race. Abt, however, felt he’d earned the right to ignore those orders and maintained second with di Grassi finishing third.
Meanwhile, Oliver Turvey and Sam Bird were both penalized by the stewards for having minor damage to their cars. Both had clipped the edges of their front wings and were shown mechanical failure black flags and were forced to pit absolutely ruining their respective races.
Pirelli World Challenge – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Race 1 –
In a bit of vindication for Pat Long, he had the best possible weekend result on his debut for Wright Motorsports in PWC. After the Effort Racing team abandoned him for the remainder of 2016, the last-minute program was put together for Wright to field Long for the rest of the year.
Pat started thanking the team by putting their 911 GT3 R on pole for the weekend at CTMP, and then led the caution-free race one from flag to flag. Andrew Palmer took his Bentley to second, and Ryan Eversley took his first podium of the year in his Acura TLX GT.
Wright also took the GTA class victory with Michael Schein, breaking Fuentes’ 7-race win streak. Alec Udell took GT Cup honors.
Race 2 –
Long swept the weekend and took the championship lead by taking the race-two win as well. This race was a little closer, with JD Davison fighting for the win and losing out by only 1.5 seconds at the flag. The points standings were significantly affected this weekend, as both Cadillac ATS-V.R drivers had dismal results. Davison was later given a time penalty for avoidable contact that dropped him to 11th. (Davison’s team, Always Evolving, has appealed the decision).
Long again started from pole, having secured the fastest lap in race one. This time, though, the race started under yellow flag conditions due to heavy rain. Like race one, Pat led from flag to flag and took the victory. Knowing Wright Motorsports and Pat Long, that could be a common theme for the rest of the season.
Michael Schein took another victory in GTA, giving Wright four class victories over the weekend. In GT Cup, Chris Green won for Pfaff.
Davison’s Rough-Up In Race 2
James Davison drove his Nissan to what could have been a podium, if not for the penalty. He was given a penalty for taking a number of drivers out of the race on the first racing lap following the long yellow at the start.
Going down the straight, Davison pulled out to make it three wide with Ryan Eversley’s Acura and Adderly Fong’s Bentley. None of the three are small cars, by any means. Davison then chopped down into Fong, squeezing him into Eversley and forcing both to retire.
Eversley has now said that his car is wrecked beyond repair, and he will likely be forced to sit out the round next weekend at Lime Rock Park.
You’ll recall that Davison was similarly reckless (and wreck-full?) at the second race of the opening round at COTA where he took Pat Long’s Porsche and shoved it into the wall. Is it time for Davison to sit out for a while and think on what he’s done?
Adding insult to injury, Davison later posted on Instagram that racing is a “kill or be killed” situation. Poor choice of words, mate.
Sprint X – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Sprint X is a new series of GT3-style racing that mimics Blancpain Sprint. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone. I first heard about this new series spinoff from Pirelli World Championships on Friday of last week. Only a handful of cars competed, perhaps because they never heard of it either…
Race 1 –
Sprint X’s inaugural race was won by the pairing of Kuno Wittmer and Michael Mills in their Mills Racing BMW Z4 GT3. They fought their way to finish the one-hour sprint ahead of the Ostella-entered 2012-spec Audi R8 of Dion Von Moltke and David Ostella.
The TRG-AMR Vantage GT4 of Kris Wilson and Max Riddle took the flag-to-flag GTS category victory over a sister TRG-AMR in second and a Syn R1 GT4 in third.
Race 2 –
Wittmer and Mills took a weekend sweep in the Sprint X GT class as well, edging out the GMG Racing GT3 R of Brent Holden. The final time at the line was a massive 18.5 seconds victory. Wittmer was forced to serve a drive-through penalty early in the hour-long sprint, but still managed to charge through the field and hand the car over to Mills with a substantial lead with 25 minutes remaining.
DTM – Spielberg
Race 1 –
Marco Wittmann led a BMW 1-2 victory in race one. This was Wittmann’s sixth DTM victory, and first in 2016. Tom Blomqvist put steady pressure on Wittman, but couldn’t make it past.
Race 2 –
BMW again took the win in Race 2 with Timo Glock taking the top spot. Jamie Green and Felix da Costa were on the front row, but Glock motored past both of them. At turn one, da Costa challenged Green for the lead, but ran wide over the kerbs. Glock had him by the next turn. On lap two, Glock made a near-identical pass on Green for the lead at turn 2. Immediately after, a safety car was called for an Audi in the barriers.
When the race went green again, Glock got a wicked start and dragged out a substantial lead. Eventually second was taken over by Mattias Ekstrom, but he couldn’t reel in Glock, with the final tally being a 2.2 second lead at the line.
V8 Supercars – Winton
Race 1 –
Slade took the win in race one, making his the ninth name at the top of the standings in 10 races this year. The Brad Jones Racing driver led the race from flag to flag, ultimately winning by 4.3 seconds while McLaughlin and Winterbottom bickered over who would come second (McLaughlin by 2 tenths, by the by).
This was Slade’s first career V8S victory.
Race 2 –
Race two saw a lot of the same with Slade taking another win, his second of his career, less than 24 hours after the first. This time, his victory margin was even larger with 6.6 seconds separating him from Frosty at the finish. Slade managed a two-stop strategy to make it work to the end, while many others opted for a three-stopper with a mid-race safety car.
GT Open – Spa
Race 1 –
From the front row, Monje and Tappy both go wide at La Source, and Marco Cioci moves into second along the Kemmel straight as Monje recovers his BMW to the lead again. On lap 3, Monje went wide at the double left-hander and smoked the barrier HARD. He exited the car on his own, and was checked out to be fine, but the barriers needed lengthy repairs.
Read the official release by the series here and tell me if you can figure out who won. – http://www.gtopen.net/article.php?cont=1671
Race 2 –
In the very wet race two, it was V8 Racing’s Renault RS.01 that took the victory. Just before the start a typical Spa-style rainstorm began, and the field went out behind the safety car. The first twenty minutes of the 60-minute sprint were under FCY conditions.
NASCAR – All Star Charlotte
In a win that really means nothing except a million dollar payout, Logano took the All-Star victory, and will probably have Smashmouth stuck in his head for the rest of the week.
Logano had started the race in 5th for the 13 laps shootout. Chase Elliott took the lead after a door-to-door battle with Kyle Larson that saw Larson fall by the wayside and Logano moved up to second behind Elliott. Larson and Logano side-drafted each other with two laps remaining and Larson ended up in the wall allowing Logano to continue on unabated.
It means nothing for the championship, but, um, I guess it’s cool for some reason or another.
Brazilian Stock Cars – Goiânia
Strategy was the important part here. I’m not 100% up on the rules, but it would appear that race two is basically a continuation of race one, and you don’t get to change your tires or refuel between the two races. Because race two is shorter, some of the drivers opted to pit during race one to sacrifice their chances in that race in order to run race two without pitting. And others did the same thing, but in reverse. I think…
Race one is worth more points, though. For example, Gomes placed 14th in race one netting him 10 points, and in race two he won giving him 15 points. Osman won race 1 for 30 points and got no points in race two, yet still scores more points.
Rubens Barrichello on points strategy:
“The thing is: to win a title you need the highest number of points, not podiums. Our chance to win race one was minimal, so we changed the tactics, in which we have got it right. In the end, I think I would have scored 22 points sacrificing race two, and now we leave Goiânia with 25 in our pocket. We have to play as the rules. And in the end, 25 is more than 22.”
Great math Rubinho!
Global RallyCross – Phoenix
In what was a weekend of sweeps, Tanner Foust and Volkswagen took both race one and race two victories in the season opener round at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
Race 1 –
Motorsport.com called Foust’s race one win a “Statement Victory”, as he managed to hold off charges from Sandell and Deegan in the closing bit. This was Tanner’s 8th victory in the class, more than any other driver.
In the prelim rounds, it was VARX (Volkswagen Andretti RallyCross) dominating proceedings again this year. Foust and teammate Scott Speed won two heats each. Foust won the first semifinal over the new Honda Civic Olsbergs MSE entry of Joni Wiman. Speed held off Sandell to take the second Semi. In the main it was Foust from flag to flag.
Race 2 –
In the Sunday main, Foust beat Speed away from the start and it looked pretty much the same to him out the windshield. He led all of the laps of the final, and his car looked almost showroom new at the end of the weekend, that’s how fast he was, nobody could even put a panel to him.
Foust on his winning weekend –
“It’s going to be a great season — obviously this is a great way to start the season for both Scott and I, but different cars have different skills on different tracks so it’s going to be a mix up. A lot of the new cars out there are extremely fast, and it’s going to be a great season of GRC.”
MotoGP – Mugello
Those two laps are all you really need to know. Nothing else matters.
Porsche’s New GTE Car Unveiled
This was supposed to run last week, but I forgot it, so here it is now. Enjoy.
Porsche is very careful and calculated. They’re German, that’s what they do best. In this case, they were very careful on the launch of their 2017 GTE contender. They were careful to only show the car from the front, which frankly looks pretty similar to the current 911 RSR. They were also very careful to not call the car a 911 in any of their releases. This is the “successor to the 911 RSR”, which if you read between the lines, could tell you a lot.
It’s been rumored a few times in the last few years that Porsche would be introducing a new GTE car that would be either mid-engine or turbocharged or both. In order to compete with clean-sheet builds like Ford’s GT and Ferrari’s 488 (both mid-engine and both turbocharged), Porsche needed to step up with something better.
Clue #1 that this car is mid-engined: You can’t see out the back window of the car, meaning there is a firewall there to separate a driver from an engine compartment.
Stuff You Should Read –
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Jay Leno Was Inside “Hemi Under Glass” When It Rolled
Autoweek Looks Back At Dario Franchitti’s Career
Autoweek Tells You What You Need To Know About The 2016 GRC Season
Stuff You Should Watch –
Marc Miller Onboard At Laguna Seca – Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Andrew Jordan drives the “Playstation” Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution
Nissan V8S Taxi To The Track