This was yet another wild weekend of racing with more motorsport action than I could even keep track of. I’ll be honest, I did a lot of flying this weekend to see my little brother graduate from college back east, so I missed most of the racing going on. I tried to keep up with the 6-hours of Spa at the very least, because that was an awesome race, and of course I followed along on Twitter and various other news feeds, but I didn’t see as much of it as I would have liked. There was some NASCAR racing, a bit of touring cars, some sports cars, a lot of endurance action, and a whole bunch of news. Hold on to your butts!
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 Visits Dorothy In Kansas
WEC Takes A Spa Day
A Half-Day Drive Among The Dunes For 24HRSeries
Touring (Cars) Marrakech
WhiteBread At Brands Hatch
MotoGP Goes To Le Mans A Month Early
Australian GT In Perth
V8 Supercars Goes To Barbagallo
BTCC Teddie Thruxton
Standing Room Only At Indy
Racing Team Can’t Make The Effort
Breaking: Teresa Earnhardt Still A Terrible Person
GT3 Racing Is 10 Years Old
NASCAR – Kansas Motor Speedway
Martin Truex Jr.’s chances of winning this race were dashed upon the rocks as soon as he exited the pits from his stop with 52 laps remaining. Truex would have cycled back through to take the lead again, had he been able to stay out. Unfortunately, a loose wheel ended his chances. All five lug nuts were secured, but there was a brake plate bolt that was forcing the wheel to not sit true. It’s random bad luck, and you just can’t account for stuff like that. Race winner Kyle Busch complimented Truex on his speed throughout the race, and knew he didn’t have a chance of beating him without trouble.
Kyle Busch had never won at Kansas before, and now leaves only Charlotte and Pocono as his non-winning albatross necklace. It was a relatively clean race after the shenanigans of last week, and once Truex dropped out, Busch never relinquished the lead.
WEC – Spa Francorchamps
The racing in Belgium this weekend was probably the most interesting and captivating racing happening anywhere on the planet. This was truly an endurance race in that attrition was the main topic of conversation. It is clear that Porsche has a LOT of speed in their 919 Hybrid for 2016, but they’ll need to stop stepping on their own dicks if they want any chance of winning at Le Mans. This week, however, it seemed like the entire LMP1 factory-backed field was doing a lot of dick stepping…
Porsche #1 led the race from pole and built up a healthy lead in just the first 10 minutes. Things looked great for a Porsche 1-2 in the early stages, as the #2 was running right behind. The #2 started showing issues at about the 15 minute mark, and their hybrid system failed to operate properly from then onward, costing them at least 10 seconds per lap on pace, and they quickly dropped to 6th in LMP1. The #1 car with Brendon Hartley aboard started to have issues of their own with a series of punctured tires that ran them down the running order thanks to a handful of unscheduled pit stops. It wasn’t until they had a transfer-case/front gearbox failure that they really were out of the race, though. Spending an hour and forty minutes in the pits is not a good way to win the race. The repair was made and the car made it back out onto the track to attempt to make the minimum required laps to be classified. The cutoff, in this case, was 112 laps, and that’s exactly how many the #1 managed to finish in 6 hours. They were classified and they got their world championship points. Thanks to a series of failures from other cars, the sister #2 finished second overall, even with a failed hybrid system. That’s how bad the race went for everyone else.
Over at Toyota, they were excited to be able to run at the front of the pack, having cycled through to the lead for about 3 hours. Unfortunately, the leading #5 Toyota had an engine failure that forced them to sit out the final hour and 55 minutes. The FIA rules require any classified car to complete the final lap of the race under its own power, and be running as the checkered flag falls. Thanks to some creative thinking, Toyota figured out that they could limp the #5 around the circuit at relatively low speeds if they reverted to electric motor only and ran the whole lap on battery power. They had already completed 113 laps by the time they were knocked out of the lead, so they’d met the minimum, they just needed to complete that last lap. It was the first time an FIA WEC car had run a full-electric lap, and just goes to show the tech savvy nature of these teams. Meanwhile the #6 Toyota was retired thanks to an electronics failure with 2 hours left in the race.
In the Audi camp, Olly Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi won their first WEC race overall teaming with Loic Duval in the #8 car. They didn’t win on pace, certainly, but luck was on their side, as they stayed relatively clean throughout the 6-hour event. The #5 sister car had lots of collision damage that required a floor change and a bunch of bodywork. Overheating issues plagued them all race long. It was an unseasonably hot race, which might explain some of the failures.
Rebellion racing scored their first overall podium thanks to all of this shenanigans. Their non-hybrid privateer LMP1 usually picks up ‘Best of the Rest’ honors, and thanks to the luck suffered by other teams, that meant third and fourth overall this time.
The final ten minutes of the LMP2 battle between Nicolas Lapierre and Pipo Derani were amazing. The dicing and passing and traffic management were excellent. Lapierre took the win, but I’ll be damned if Pipo didn’t fight his entire heart out. Well raced, boys!
GTE Pro was an equally captivating race. The #51 AF Corse Ferrari had led most of the race with astounding pace, but with 9 minutes remaining the car was forced to pit with a failed turbocharger. It was heartbreaking to see James Calado holding his helmeted head in his hands as the car was wheeled into the garage. He was on track to his first FIA world championship victory. Sad. Fortunately for AF Corse, they had another bullet in the chamber ready to go, as the #71 Ferrari took the win with the retirement of its sister car. Meanwhile, after securing their maiden victory at Laguna Seca last weekend, Ford’s GT program had their first FIA World Championship podium place with a second position. Aston Martin finished out the podium on their new Dunlop tires.
GTE Am was won by Aston’s famous #98. Pat Long’s Porsche was looking good for second in GTE Am when he was clouted by an LMP2 car and forced to pit with 3 minutes remaining. This handed the GTE Am class podium to AF Corse in second and Larbre Corvettes in 3rd.
This is what happened to the other Ford… I think something failed in the engine compartment, potentially coating the rear tires in slippery oil. That’s just speculation, but an explodey engine would explain why the engine cover lifted off the rear of the car concurrent with the incident.
Then this happened to Nicki Thiim’s Aston Martin. Lots of weird happened in this 6 hour race.
Blancpain GT Sprint – Brands Hatch
Race 1 – “Qualifying Race”
I’ll let the highlights package catch you up on this one.
Race 2 – ” Main Race”
Going off of the Qualifying race, it was the HTP Mercedes that started up front, but challenges came hard and fast from all competitors. Enzo Ide made the move on second place in his WRT Audi, as Maxime Soulet moved his Bentley up to pressure the pair of Audis in 2nd and 3rd.
Everyone was stunned by the WRT’s speed on track, but the competition was really taken aback at the team’s speed in the pits. When Ide pitted, he swapped out for Chris Mies, and Mies shot to the front like a rocket. That was exactly where he stayed for the remainder of the race, despite pressure on the restart from a caution period.
As inspired as Mies and Ide were, it was actually the 3rd place finishing Bentley of Soulet and Soucek that impressed me most. The pair started the qualifying race in 24th. In that race, the pair managed a steady march toward the front and ended it in 10th. From tenth, Soulet moved the big Bentley up to 5th in just two laps. Two further spots were earned through the rest of the race. That’s mighty impressive, if you ask me.
The 12 Hours of Zandvoort
With a mighty impressive four-lap lead, it was the Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R that took the overall victory after 12 hours of racing on the Netherlands coast. It was the Massive Motorsport Aston in second, and the Hofor Racing SLS AMG in third, another four laps back.
There was so much attrition in this race, it would be impossible to list it all. Suffice to say, it was a race where a car with a 10-lap penalty could finish fourth, overall, and did. The Ram Racing Mercedes elected to work on their car during the over-night Parc Ferme conditions. This is allowed in the regulations, but any car worked on overnight must incur a 10 lap penalty. The team would find themselves moving back into contention, but couldn’t quite capitalize on that speed and fell back to 4th.
WTCC – Marrakech
Race 1 –
It was a wet race weekend in Northern Africa this weekend, and the Hondas seemed to thrive in these conditions. In race one it was Tom Coronel who kept Jose Maria Lopez out of the victory spot. Coronel’s Chevy Cruze performed brilliantly, and he managed to resist constant pressure for the lead throughout the sprint race on the racetrack in the Moroccan economic center. The trio of Hondas placed 4-5-6 in a perfect setup for the main race’s partial inverted grid.
Race 2 –
The trio of Honda Civics started the race in first, second, and third, with Rob Huff, Michelisz and Monteiro respectively. For a short time, Lopez got ahead of Monteiro at the start, but the rain caught Lopez out on lap 5 when he ran deep into the corner allowing Monteiro to return to the final podium place.
Rob Huff on his win (from WTCC Press Release):
“It’s absolutely incredible, I can’t thank the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team enough. They were unbelievably tricky conditions and we truly deserved this. We’ve worked hard for it. We believed the circuit would suit our car and it truly has. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster this weekend. You just don’t know what’s going to happen because we had sunshine and 30 degrees in the Opening Race and then for the Main Race you need a jet ski and it’s getting wetter and wetter. But in both wet and dry conditions the car handled superbly and I could not have asked for a better car. The start of that Main Race was always going to be difficult with a lot of painted surfaces that are hugely, hugely slippery. I got an amazing start and I was very clear into Turn 1. The first five or six laps were about exploring and allowing a lot of margin for error and I could see we were holding gaps between us. I could see Pechito was pushing hard but then he made a mistake, which is nice to see, and proves if you put the pressure on people can crack.”
See the newly-revamped circuit with some onboards from Tom Coronel.
BTCC – Thruxton
Subaru’s withdrawal –
Subaru pulled all four of their Levorg racers (Plato, Turkington, Scott, and Cole) after the team discovered further issues with the component that failed at Donington Park allowing Cole’s Suby to burst into flames.
From Subaru’s team press release –
“It is with great disappointment that Silverline Subaru BMR Racing are withdrawing from rounds 7, 8 and 9 today at Thruxton on safety grounds.
Following an incident with James Cole at Donington where there was a failure of the high pressure fuel rail there was a re-designed and re-manufactured component fitted to all cars for the Thruxton event.
Following a review of the new design post qualifying, the new part has shown signs of fatigue that could lead to a similar failure.
We have investigated all avenues available to us overnight and Sunday morning, however the engineering team have taken the decision to withdraw the cars as none of the solutions available are able to be durability tested prior to competing on circuit.
We are obviously disappointed with the outcome, however in this situation the risk to the drivers, other competitors and circuit officials is not acceptable, so the correct decision is to retire the cars for the remainder of the event.”
Race 1 –
Adam Morgan won the first race going away in his Mercedes, becoming the first two-time winner of the BTCC 2016 season. The opening race was plagued with punctures and tire failures thanks to “unseasonably high temperatures”, and caused race two and three to be shortened to a mere 12 laps (down from 16).
Race 2 –
Race two was won by Andrew Jordan, who took his first victory since 2014. The race of the century, a masterclass in overtaking, was put on by Gordon Shedden, however, who moved up to fourth at the checkered flag from a 23rd on-the-grid starting position. That’s 19 position improvements in just 12 laps. Wow.
Race 3 –
Mat Jackson dominated race 3 in his Motorbase Performance Ford. After starting second with the reversed grid, Jackson moved into the lead at the start, as poleman Dan Welch was unable to get traction at the green. There was a bit of argy-bargy behind for second, eventually going to Matt Neil, but Jackson was off and running away with it. Good on ya!
DTM – Hockenheim
Race 1 –
Audi’s Edoardo Mortara took the first victory of the season this weekend, while the rest of the field crashed behind him, seemingly. Mortara’s lead was never in jeopardy, as everyone else was busy keeping their cars on the island. It was particularly hot in Germany this weekend, and this race suffered from many of the heat-related issues that WTCC and WEC saw. In 25 laps, only 16 of the 24 cars that started made it to the finish. Mike Rockenfeller was competing in his 100th DTM race, and even he was taken out early.
Race 2 –
Mercedes AMG’s Paul di Resta managed to win round 2 of the DTM championship, with a convincing lights-to-flag victory. BMW showed a lot of speed, and Timo Glock looked fast enough to mount a charge on the race lead, but couldn’t quite make it. Audi lost out big time with four car retirements, and only one car in the top 10 (Nico Muller’s 8th place). Glock finished the race in 2nd, but was later excluded because the position of the rear decklid profile of his BMW M4 was not within the regulations.
V8 Supercars – Perth/Barbagallo
Race 1 –
Race one was won by a strategy gamble that put Craig Lowndes on a two-stopper to victory. Hella rain came down in the last couple of laps, and he stayed out on slick tires to secure the win. His second stop for tires had him on nice new slicks while everyone who was on a one-stop strategy started to have tire wear issues with Barbagallo’s rough surface. Even Lowndes himself questioned the strategy, but it ultimately paid off. SvG ultimately finished second, and later admitted that he’s still learning a lot from the ‘quick old man’.
Race 2 –
Mark Winterbottom learned from Lowndes’ Saturday race antics to take Sunday’s victory with a ristky two-stop strategy. He fell behind after his second stop, but when everyone cycled through, he was fighting to hold on to the lead. Frosty came home just three tenths of a second up from McLaughlin’s Volvo and Lowndes’ Holden.
MotoGP – Le Mans
The French GP was filled with crashes, but it was ultimately Jorge Lorenzo who brought his Suzuki back to the winner’s circle. Lorenzo scored the pole position in France, and took the lights-to-flag victory as Marc Marquez lost a little bit of time with a wheelie at the start, and then crashed with Dovizioso on lap 16, losing some vital points to Lorenzo in the process. Lorenzo’s lead was more than 10 seconds at the finish over Rossi in second.
News And Links –
Indy 500 reserved grandstand seats have all been sold out. This is the race’s 100th anniversary, so if you want to go, it’ll be general admission only. Read more here.
Effort Racing’s Porsche Pirelli World Championship team can’t pay their bills for the rest of the 2016 season, so they’re suspending their efforts (pun fully intended). This sucks especially double for driver Pat Long, who started the season with a win for Effort Racing. He was forced to miss the Silverstone round of the WEC in order to run in PWC. He now has little chance to win either championship. Here’s why Effort can’t run the rest of 2016.
The decision stems from the current supply and demand crisis in the oil industry, an industry from which EFFORT Racing receives funding to run the championship.
In a recent analysis, the New York Times estimated the current trends of oil prices is in its worst decline since the 1990s. Although the current price of $45 a barrel is an improvement from earlier this year, it remains a far cry from what has been the normal price of $100 a barrel.
While oil companies have been making cutbacks for months, the Chicago based team has decided to suspend their 2016 campaign and focus on building sponsorship to fund the program for the 2017 championship.
Here’s a podcast that you should listen to. It’s called The Formation Lap, and this week they covered a bit about the convergence of GT4, and the conversation was interesting, you know, if you’re in to that kind of thing.
Theresa Earnhardt is trying to prevent her step-son Kerry Earnhardt from using his own last name to promote his company in which he designs homes with his wife. She is taking her late husband’s oldest son from a previous marriage to court to prevent him from using “Earnhardt Collection” as a promotional collateral. She is trying to claim that Kerry is improperly using the trademarked Earnhardt name.
You read that right, a woman who MARRIED INTO the Earnhardt name is trying to prevent someone who was BORN WITH THE NAME from using it. I’ve met Kerry, he’s a good dude. Everything I’ve ever heard about Theresa has been awful. Do with that information what you please. Read more about it here.
So this came up in my social media feed today, apparently it was 4-years ago today that the Hooniverse logo was on Jason Bright’s V8 Supercar. So, that’s cool.
Videos To Watch –
1970 – A Year To Remember – John Wyer’s Gulf Porsche 917 Team
This is an awesome documentary/promotional piece by Gulf Oil produced at the end of the 1970 season. It’s just over half-an-hour long, so watch it on your lunch break!
Pat Long’s Morning Commute
This is a fun little promotional thing that Porsche made back in 2012. The young kid and the legend. One day Pat Long will be as legendary as Hurley.
Cool Racecar For Sale –
2010 Matech-Built Ex-Marc VDS Ford GT1
- Roush-Yates 5.3 V8 race engine mapped for 102 octane unleaded fuel
- 650 HP power output at 7400 RPM, torque output 531 ft/lbs at 5800 RPM
- XTrac 6-speed sequential gearbox with adjustable differential slip
- 380mm carbon front discs with AP racing monobloc 6-piston calipers
- 355mm carbon rear discs with AP racing monobloc 6-piston calipers
- BBS forged aluminum 18×12″ front and 18x 13″ rear wheels
- Michelin 30/65-18 front and 31/71-18 rear tires
- Full carbon fiber bodywork
- Weight approx. 1,200 Kg / 2,445 lbs
- Top speed approx. 200mph
Race Results –
Bas Leinders drove the car more than anyone else. Here’s what he has to say about it.
“To get the best from the car was sometimes quite difficult, as you were punished if you made any mistake, due to having less torque than the other cars. Making a mistake and then trying to make up for it mid corner would mean you would lose on the straight afterwards due to lower exit speeds on the previous corner. You had to be very accurate, and drive it a little like a formula 3 car, which is very nicely balanced, and with good aerodynamics. You have to drive it very smoothly, yet aggressively to get the maximum performance from the car. Some drivers struggled with this.”
Engineering, Design and Dev
Personally, I think this car is rad as all hell, and a true GT1 car would be amazing to drive. That said, I’m not sure I’d pay a million for the privilege.
For more photos, pictures, and pricing, head to eBay to check it out!