This weekend there was a bunch of racing to keep track of, and I’ve done my best for you. Sports cars, stock cars, open wheelers, and more, on both sides of the Atlantic! There was a NASCAR race, a Formula 1 race, various IMSA races in California, ADAC GT Masters races, VLN racing, plus news, reviews, analysis, commentary from those ‘in the know’, PR releases, and some great race cars for sale! The NASCAR race was apparently a giant mess, so at least read on for that one.
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!
NASCAR Blows Up In Alabama
In Soviet Russia, Formula 1 Races You!
IMSA Heads To The Dry Lake
MX5 Cup Returns In California
McLaughlin Fills In For Swedish Touring Car Race
VLN Race 2 At N-Ring
ADAC GT Masters Heads To Sachsenring
SO MUCH ANALYSIS!
Ex-Schumacher Benetton Selling For Peanuts In Monaco
Celebrating Senna On The 22nd Anniversary Of His Accident
NASCAR – Talladega
In the business, this race is what they call ‘a shitshow’. There were a full spate of 10 cautions, which is awful for those of us that actually care about racing, and ZOMG AWSUM for NASCAR fans.
It was Keselowski who managed to wade through the filth to come out on top. Only seven cars in the forty that started the race managed to exit the weekend without damaged sheetmetal. That’s right, a full 33 cars were involved in seven “big ones”. Is restrictor plate racing at super speedways a practice that we should end?
The Tony Stewart Things –
NASCAR is cutting costs, I guess, and they no longer have one official in each team’s pit box. Now they are down to one guy for every four or five pit stalls. Because of that lack of oversight, some teams are trying to shorten their pit stops by only fastening as few as three lug nuts. NASCAR has ruled it is against the rules, but they will not do anything to enforce that rule.
Tony Stewart shouted salacious things about this. NASCAR fined him a bunch of money ($35,000 to be exact). Other drivers thought it was ridiculous that he was fined so they threw in the money to pay the fine. Tony was happy about that, paid the fine with his own money, and donated the other drivers’ money to charity.
Also, he had a serious back injury in February, and his doctor released him to run just one stint in the race over the weekend. For the rest of the race, his car was handled by Ty Dillon.
Dale Jr. Is Awesome, Drives Without A Steering Wheel
Look at that! Would you just look at it!?!
Sadly ‘Little E’ would go on to end his day by bringing out the third caution.
Formula 1 – Sochi
Four races into the season and each of them have been won by Nico Rosberg.
Seb Vet crashed out on lap 1 thanks to a pair of contact incidents with Daniil Kvyat. The resulting wreck brought out a safety car and hand Kvyat in the pits for a 10 second penalty.
Lewis Hamilton had a sub-par qualifying thanks to a second hybrid unit failure in as many race outings. With some good strategy, and some impressive driving, the reigning champion was able to pull out a second place finish.
Haas scored points with Big John again this weekend, making this three points-scoring races out of four contested.
Both Alonso and Button finished in the points in their McLaren Hondas. Alonso contends that this must be McLaren’s goal for every race going forward. I agree with him.
IMSA WeatherTech – Laguna Seca
Race 1 – Prototype and GT Le Mans
The big story of the weekend here is that Ford won their first GTLM victory with Briscoe and Westbrook. The team worked well and conserved phenomenally on fuel to take the win. While most GTLM cars have stints somewhere just over an hour, Westbrook managed to set a pace that not only took him to the point, but allowed him to conserve fuel and stretch the final stint to one hour and 17 minutes.
Westy commenting on his win to Sportscar365 –
“The team immediately gave me a fuel number and I said, ‘Oh my God they’re nuts!’ But we did it!
It was just a real race of trying to keep some sort of pace in the car and get the fuel number, which was really difficult in the beginning.
It’s something that everyone at Ford Performance and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing deserves. What a strategy… For them to believe that was possible was incredible. They believed in me that I could do it and I obviously trusted them.”
Similarly, it was Mike Shank’s Ligier Honda LMP2 team that finally got the win monkey off of their back on Sunday at Laguna Seca in the Prototype category. So far it has been the *other* Ligier Honda that had been winning everything, but with the ESM team off working on their Yurpeen program, it was Shank’s time to shine.
It was the Mazda prototypes that took the front row in qualifying, but one of them blew up their engine thanks to a seized oil pump, and the other one spun while trying to fend off advances from Shank driver Ozz Negri. John Pew started the car and got his driving time out of the way early, allowing ace driver Negri to do his thing. At the end of the race, the Shank Ligier was in the lead by a solid 30 seconds over the Daytona Prototype of Goossens and Dalziel.
Race 2 – LMPC and GT Daytona
Kimber-Smith and Alon drove to victory in a fuel-saving race over the Starworks car of Popow and van der Zande.
In GTD, it was the AJR Porsche of A. Riberas and M. Farnbacher who took the victory in a flag-to-flag win. Riberas started the race, and by the 15 minute mark had already pulled out a 7 second lead. He never looked back. When he handed over to Farnbacher, it was Mario that set the races fastest GTD lap, furthering the team’s lead over the competition.
Riberas on his team’s win –
“Clearly Porsche has a very good car that suits Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This is my first time here, and I have to say now it is one of my favorite tracks.”
IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge – Laguna Seca
In the GS class, it was Porsche all the way. The frankly pitiful 7-car field in GS was split between Cayman GT4s and Mustang GT350s with an Aston Martin kicker. The Mustangs had the advantage on pit stops, taking far less time to fuel up than the Porsches. However, the GT4s were dominant on track, and spent no time passing the Mustangs for the lead in the final stint. The Bodymotion car of Cassels and Hindman came out on top (for the second race in a row), and the two CJ Wilson Racing Caymans finished out a Porsche 1-2-3 finish.
In ST, it was the McCumbee/McAleer Mazda MX5 that took the point for Freedom Autosport (giving Mazda their 6th ST win in 6 years at MRLS).
In a bit of sad news, the GS class champions and winningest team in CTSCC racing, Rum Bum racing, have suspended their campaign indefinitely. I really liked that team, and the series is worse off without them. Hugh and Matt Plumb were wickedly quick, even on their bad days.
IMSA Talks About The Future
Nothing is confirmed as of yet, and likely will not be for a long time, but in a memo put out by IMSA to their stakeholders, they have floated a few ideas.
First, what to do with LMPC. The class has pretty much run its course, and the cars are well more than a decade old. The car will be retired at the end of next year, and they wanted to discuss what to replace it with, if anything, and where to put it. There was talk of moving PC out of the WeatherTech series altogether, and possibly moving a PC-esque class into Continental Tire racing. If that does happen, it would likely be with a new LMP3-type closed cockpit design. P3 cars were also mentioned when talking of what to replace the IMSA Prototype Lites chassis with.
Another concern involved the low car counts in the GS class of CTSCC. Though no solution was given, there was mention of FIA GT4 specifications (much like what is being employed by PWC’s GTS class), and even TCR, which could be awesome!
Mazda MX5 Cup – Laguna Seca
On Friday, the series held its first race for the new-series cars, and it was a mostly calm race that was won by Patrick Gallagher.
A 19 year old kid won race 2, his name is Robby Foley, and he’s an engineering student. Saturday’s race was a bit more smash-em-up, and involved a lot more off-track excursions. When it is up on YouTube, you should watch it! In the meantime, here’s our review of that car with Duncan Ende.
Porsche GT3 Cup – Laguna Seca
Jesse Lazare won both GT3 Cup races at Laguna Seca this weekend. This is just the second weekend of GT3 Cup racing this year, and Lazare has won 3 races from the two double-headers, giving him a commanding points lead, and probably a bit of a confidence boost. Jeff Mosing of #TeamTexas and TOPP racing swept the Platinum Masters class, Michael de Quesada won the Gold Cup class as well.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo – Laguna Seca
Corey Lewis won the first round of LSTNA racing after starting in last place. Not only did he win the race, but he managed to pass the whole field and pull out an almost 10 second lead by the end of the sprint race.
Lewis on his race (from Lamborghini ST press release) –
“It wasn’t the way we usually like to start these race weekends, but it just so happened to be in qualifying we had a red flag and we didn’t get a time in. We had a lot of work cut out for us in Race 1 and just kept our nose clean. We just tried to be be as consistent as we could and manage the traffic as best we could. It was an awesome job by Change Racing and Lamborghini Carolinas and Monster Energy drink.”
Shinya Michimi won round two over Corey Lewis, reversing the result from race 1. This was Michimi’s first Lamborghini Super Trofeo overall victory.
Michimi on his race (from Lamborghini ST press release) –
“I’ve really got to thank all of my guys at Prestige Performance/ Lamborghini Paramus. They put together a really good car all weekend. We’ve been right on pace, and we finally really brought it out in the race. To have a good race car is really important.”
Scandanavian Touring Cars –
The Kiwi driver Scott McLaughlin filled in for Polestar and made an impressive debut in European racing, despite a DNF spectacular crash in race 2 where he was hit from behind. In race one, he finished on the podium in second place just behind Volvo teammate Robert Dahlgren.
Race 2 was won by Richard Goransson’s Volvo over Dahlgren in second.
Here is that crash that took McLaughlin out.
Check out that MASSIVE 8-car field!
VLN Racing – Nurburgring Round 2
Phoenix Racing win their second VLN race in a row. After their victory at the season opener, Frank Stippler and Anders Fjordbach again dominated proceedings. At the finish of the race, the team had almost a minute in hand over the second placed Black Falcon Mercedes. The Haribo Mercedes filled out the top three.
ADAC GT Masters – Sachsenring
Race 1 –
In the first race of the weekend, it was Sebastian Asch and Luca Ludwig who took the win in a Zakspeed Mercedes. The GRT Grasser Lamborghini of Luca Stoltz led for the first half of the race. Asch started second and dropped to fifth at the start.
A spun Porsche brought out a safety car at about halfway. Some of the teams had already completed their pit stop, and some hadn’t. When the dust settled, it was Luca Ludwig in the lead of the motor race, and that is where he stayed.
Race 2 –
While the new Ford GT was winning in the states, the new Calloway Corvette GT3 was winning in Europe! Jules Gounon and Daniel Keilwitz took the car’s maiden win. Luca Ludwig started the race from pole for Mercedes, and initially kept the lead. Keilwitz, meanwhile, started 9th and rocketed his way up to 3rd in the opening lap. The following lap, the 26 year old passed Laurens Vanthoor for second. On lap seven, Keilwitz moved into the lead past Ludwig, and then started to gap the field.
After handing over to Gounon, the gap was up to 7 seconds. Unfortunately that was destroyed when a safety car was called. After the field went back to green, Gounon continued to set quick laps in the C7 ‘Vette, and by the time the checkers fell, he had a 4 and a half second victory. By taking the overall victory, the 21 year old also won the “junior” category. Just let that sink in…
Mike Shank Keeping Options Open For Indy 500
Mike Shank knows that his options are running slim to field a car in the 500, but he’s not counting it out just yet. He’s down, but he’s not out!
IndyCar At Boston Is Dead
Promoters of the event have ended negotiation with the city.
John Casey, CEO and President of the Grand Prix of Boston had this to say in a statement –
“An event of this magnitude requires considerable city and state support, and though we did overcome significant obstacles and demands that have been presented to us, the most recent demands regarding the flood zone issues and requirements of additional expenditure on the line of credit with no guarantees of overcoming those issues have left us no options but to cancel the race in Boston and look at other options.
At this juncture the demands that have been asked of us make this event in Boston economically unviable and despite robust corporate partnerships and excellent tickets sales, if we have no guarantee of MEPA approval then time was of the essence to make this difficult decision. It is very disappointing for everyone who has worked so hard on the event and all of our corporate partners and fans who have supported the Grand Prix of Boston.
We have had a team of over 50 people, as well as the city and state agency personnel who have been working tirelessly to find successful and viable solutions and unfortunately we are at an impasse. We are exploring all options and will have further information available in the coming days.”
Long Live IndyCar At Boston
IndyCar has a spot on the calendar for Boston in September, and John Casey (quoted above) plans to hold that date if possible.
The team is looking for new venues after his existing venue cancelled on him. Casey was hoping for a street race, but has opened his options to a permanent track. Racer.com’s Robin Miller has hinted that Gateway near St. Louis, and Watkins Glen in New York might be on the list. Casey has not said where he is planning for, but insists he has a “couple of different alternatives”.
PWC Making Plans For The Future Of GTS Class
WC Vision LLC has released their full plans for the GTS class in 2017. The class has, until recently, been a bit of a mish-mash and a catch-all, which is a shame, because there used to be some really good racing there. This year, however, the GTS class has started to evolve into something that seems like it has a common theme, at least.
For 2017, the GTS category will allow all SRO homologated GT4 class cars, in addition to all PWC homologated GTS class cars that ran in 2016. In 2018, however, the old-style GTS cars will be phased out for full GT4 class compliance.
Greg Gill, President and CEO of WC Vision, PWC Competition Director (emphasis is mine) –
“The PWC series was the first in this country to adopt the global GT3 platform with our Competition Director Marcus Haselgrove leading that charge. Now, as the series reviewed the data from its first six rounds of GTS racing, we are ready to confirm the full addition of GT4 to GTS in 2017, with a year transition time for adoption of the SRO GT4 homologation globally by 2018. We anticipate hearing about more OEM entries into the GTS class in the coming weeks. This is a very exciting time for GTS racing and its drivers, teams and sponsors. We see a great future for GTS.”
Marcus Haselgrove, PWC Competition Director –
“The PWC series supported the homologated GT3 concept in North America, attracting many new manufacturers. The goal in the competition department has been to assist all manufacturers with their motorsport ladder systems. I proposed in January, 2015 that GT4 was a logical step for the series. We took a bold move allowing manufacturers to test in public on race weekends. Through transparency other manufacturers looked at the GT4 platform developed by Stephane Ratel and technical director Claude Surmont (SRO) for their North America customers. Already five new manufacturers have joined since last season’s final race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This also answers to feedback from the fans for more manufacturers.”
The GTS class currently allows competition from the following cars; Chevrolet Camaro Z-28, KTM XBow GT4, Ford Boss 302, SIN Car R1 GT4, Ginetta GT4, Audi TT RS,Lotus Evora GT4, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, Maserati Gran Turismo MC, and Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Remember when GT1 was the place for manufacturers, and GT2 was the place for privateers, and then costs in GT1 were driven up by competition, so manufacturers moved to GT2?
Remember when GTE (GT2) was the place for manufacturers, and GT3 was the place for privateers, and then costs in GTE were driven up by competition, so manufacturers moved to GT3?
GT3 is getting expensive, and GT4 is currently the place for privateers. Do we really want “More OEM entries” in that class?
Here Are All Of The Cars Ayrton Senna Drove In F1
It’s been 22 years since we lost Senna, so here are all of his cars. This double-wing Toleman is my favorite. Go To Motorsport.com For The Full List.
Hella Analysis From Those In The Know –
Gil De Ferran Says Pagenaud Is ‘In His Prime’.
Weaver On Plate Racing, Stupidity, And ‘The Invisible Hand’.
Marshall Pruett Looks Back At The Toyota Eagle Mk III after 25 years.
Richie Stanaway Says ‘Sports Cars Is Where Its At’.
John Dagys Praises PWC.
You Could Own A Schumacher Benetton
Bonhams is selling this 1991-1992 Benetton in Monaco later this month. The pre-auction estimate for this car is between $250,000 and 320,000. To me, that seems a bit on the low side. See the full listing on Bonhams website.
From The Listing –
This Benetton B191B is powered by the 72-degree Ford HB V8, bore and stroke dimensions 95.0mm x 61.6mm, cubic capacity 3,494cc. With a compression ratio of 12.0:1 the engine revved to an ear-splitting 13,800rpm and developed a rated 730bhp. This power unit drove through a Benetton-made six-speed gearbox. The moulded carbon-composite construction monocoque chassis weighs just 38kg – 83.7lbs – and carries pushrod-actuated all independent suspension, front and rear. Wheelbase length is 2,880mm – front track width 1818mm and rear track width 1720mm. Fuel tank capacity within the fuselage is 204 litres.
John Barnard, the renowned British design engineer, master-minded such innovative and hugely successful single-seater racing cars as the Indianapolis ‘500’-dominating Chaparral 2K, the pioneering carbon-composite construction McLaren MP4/1 and MP4/2-family of World Championship-winning machines, the ‘paddle-change’ Ferraris and these Benettons which so notably projected Michael Schumacher onto the world stage.
Of the Benetton-Ford B191/B191B-series John Barnard would recall: “When it first came out, everyone was jumping up and down about the nose… It was similar in concept to that of the Tyrrell 019 – very swept up at the front to improve the aerodynamics. However, I didn’t think it needed the gull-wing arrangement used by Tyrrell, so we built a model and tested in the wind tunnel and it worked well. We had curved mounting pylons, which freed up the middle of the wing and made a more solid mounting point.
“The Benetton team were in a state of flux when I started with them, so I didn’t want to do a car that was too way out because we had enough on our plates with everything else. That said, the chassis was interesting; for the most part it was conventionally moulded from the outside, but the front third was moulded from the inside, allowing us to mount things like the pedals directly onto the monocoque without complicated machining. We then bonded a thin aerodynamic skin to the outside.
“The gearbox was transversely mounted and we were going to have a paddle shift – but unfortunately we couldn’t handle the software and electrics for it, so we went back to a normal gearshift. I think it was the last car I designed with a gear lever.
“Nelson Piquet took first place in the Canadian Grand Prix of 1991 driving the B191, which was very pleasing. Every car I had designed up to that point had won in its first season – and Piquet maintained that record. I left the team at about that time, so I missed out on Michael Schumacher’s arrival, though he did drive my car in the last five races of ’91 and the first three of ’92…”
It took a good car to replace the highly successful B191/B191B offered here, and Benetton’s replacement B192 was designed by another Formula 1 star in the making – the team’s new chief engineer, Ross Brawn…
This beautiful 3.5-litre V8-powered Formula 1 car is relatively uncomplicated and easy to run. Its current connoisseur collector has maintained the Benetton in fine fettle via his specialist race preparation company and we recommend it highly to a new owner/driver… With its multiple connections to ten Formula 1 World Championship titles and its significance within the Michael Schumacher story, it is an historic artefact of true stature.