Hooniverse Motorsport News for the Week of March 5, 2012

 

Welcome to the Hooniverse Motorsport News. With NASCAR in full swing, season openers down under, teams moving into the Sebring paddock, and F1 pre-season testing complete, we are entering the 2012 season at full chat.  This report is aimed at telling you what you missed, and what you will miss in the near future.  This round of Motorsport News will include more spoilers than a cars and coffee meet in Jersey.

This week:

  • Aussie V8 has a season opener
  • NASCAR back at it in Phoenix
  • Audi unveils new car and signs Loic Duval (who?)
  • F1 star in a not-so-reasonably priced car
  • A few for the road…

V8s Roar in Adelaide

Last year’s V8 Supercar champion Whincup began this season with another nail biter victory.  Whincup began race one in Adelaide with the thought of gambling on a three stop strategy while the remainder of the field was attempting to save fuel on a two stop pit plan.  Will Davison in the FRP Ford was on a flyer, and near to taking the victory when his car stumbled on fuel and Whincups freshly shod car shot past on the final of the 76 laps.

Race two began on Sunday afternoon with Whincup on the pole.  However, where FRP went horribly wrong the day before, they came fantastically right.  Taking over the lead at lap 47, Davison set sail and cruised to the checkered flag ahead of teammate Winterbottom, never faltering.  Said Davison:  “It’s my first win in a couple of years and a 1-2 for FPR,” said Davison, who took his seventh career V8 Supercar race win.  I can’t tell you how proud I am. We did everything right yesterday but today was unbelievable.  It’s my first win with FPR, it’s just great for Tradingpost because it’s their first win too.  It’s early days in the championship, we’ve been talking our car up all along, there are so many great teams out there, it’s going to be a fun year.”

Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander made it two podium finishes with a third place, while Saturday’s victor Jamie Whincup managed to finish fourth.

Race 1 Results:

Race 2 Results:

 

1

Whincup

1

Davison

 

2

Davison

2

Winterbottom

 

3

Tander         

3

Tander         

 

4

Lowndes       

4

Whincup       

 

5

Holdsworth

5

Lowndes

 

6

Coulthard

6

Van Gisbergen

 

7

R.Kelly

7

Reynolds

 

8

T. Kelly

8

Holdsworth

 

9

Winterbottom

9

Coulthard

 

10

Johnson

10

Slade

 

11

Van Gisbergen

11

R. Kelly

 

12

Slade

12

D’Alberto

 

13

Ingall

13

Ingall

 

14

Patrizi

14

Owen

 

15

Moffat

15

Patrizi

 

16

Fiore

16

Bright

 

17

Premat

17

Johnson

 

18

Wall

18

Premat

 

19

Owen

19

Fiore

 

20

Reindler

20

Reindler

 

21

D’Alberto

21

Wall

 

22

Caruso

22

Caruso

 

23

Webb

23

T. Kelly

 

24

Murphy

24

Douglas

 

Did Not Finish

25

Courtney

 

25

Reynolds

Did Not Finish

 

26

Courtney

26

Moffat

 

27

Douglas

27

Webb

 

28

Bright

28

Murphy

 

 

NASCAR Fresh and Fit at PIR

While Mark Martin was able to secure the pole in his “Aaron’s dream machine”, it was Denny Green-Eggs-And Hamlin that drove away with the victory in a fuel-economy run final stint that ended without a green-white-checker, surprisingly.  Hamlin credited championship winning crew chief Darian Grubb with having the foresight to get him to victory lane.  With a top-5 place at Daytona and this victory already, Hamlin now leads the point standings.

In a fitting streak of irony, Tony Stewart, who kicked Darian Grubb to the curb at the end of his championship season last year, had fuel economy related issues.  When under the final caution flag, Stewart attempted the common shut-off-and-coast method of saving fuel.  Unfortunately, unfamiliar with the new McLaren developed fuel injection system, Stewart tripped a relay of some sort in his shutdown procedure that prevented him from re-starting the car, and he fell down two laps.

Audi Unveils Diesel Hybrid Le Mans Racer

Audi unveiled their new turbo-diesel hybrid Le Mans competitor for this season of the WEC, the “R18 Ultra e-Tron Quattro”.  Let’s break down that name, shall we?  R18:  Okay, that’s expected, it’s a minor change from last season’s car, so it retains the same alphanumeric nomenclature.  Ultra:  Again, this is expected.  Last year’s Le Mans competitor was touted as using Audi’s new Ultra Lightweight technology.  e-Tron:  Now we are getting into the relatively unexpected.  e-Tron was the name of Audi’s electric R8 concept car from a few years ago.  So, in this case, e-Tron signifies that the car will be a hybrid.  More specifically, Audi will run two standard diesels and two e-Tron equipped cars at Le Mans this year.  Quattro:  This is the big kicker.  Audi has chosen to use its electric power on the front wheels.  Audi have purchased their hybrid technology from Williams Hybrid Technologies and will be using their “flybrid” style system.  Truly F1 derived innovations.  So, will the R18 Ultra e-Tron Quattro be the first hybrid to win Le Mans?  Will it be the first overall winner with driven front wheels?

Audi Signs Loic Duval To Drive It

If you don’t know who this kid is, you should.  Loic was a large part of the reason Peugeot won at Sebring in 2011.  Part of the ORECA team in a year old 908, Loic kept his cool while the factory Audi and Peugeots fell out with…issues.  Taking that victory was a major jump for him, as he was suddenly on the world stage in a bigger way than his SuperGT career could ever get him.  Autosport sat down with Loic to discuss his 2012 season with the German manufacturer.

Autosport: What does it mean to finally get a full factory drive at Le Mans?

Loic Duval: This is the kind of opportunity that I have been looking for for some time. All drivers want to race for a factory team.

AUTOSPORT: How close did you come to signing with Peugeot prior to its withdrawal from sportscar racing?

LD: I did test and we did talk, but they weren’t able to offer what I was looking for. At the same time I contacted Audi, because it was the manufacturer I really wanted to be with. Audi is Audi, you only have to look at their record to understand why. Some of my friends helped me. I know Andre [Lotterer] and Benoit [Treluyer] very well from Super GT. We are all good friends and they know what I can do.

AUTOSPORT: Is Super GT a good training ground for racing at Le Mans?

LD: The cars are fast – quicker than a DTM car, I think – and the racing is very close. Plus you have the slower GT300 cars, which makes getting past the traffic very important. You learn good skills in Super GT, which I think we have seen at Le Mans in over the past couple of years.

AUTOSPORT: How important do you think your victory with ORECA at Sebring last year was in Audi’s decision to sign you?

LD: For sure, Sebring last year helped, but I think Audi looked at a lot of my other performances, such as Le Mans 2010 [when he recorded fastest lap].

AUTOSPORT: Does your move from Honda to Toyota for Super GT this year give us a hint to your future plans in Europe.

LD: I had to make a move for my career. I have to think of my future and keep my options open. Toyota could be a possibility for next year, but for the moment I am an Audi driver.

AUTOSPORT: Do you have a preference for 2013?

LD: I have answered that question already: Audi is Audi.

 

Rubens Barrichello will run a full season of IndyCar with KV Racing

Evidently Rubens was able to come up with the 5-6 million dollars in sponsorship he needed to secure his seat in the KV Racing Chevrolet IndyCar team for the entire 2012 season in the #8 car.

“I am thrilled, it is something very new to me,” Barrichello said. “I need to thank everyone involved, especially Tony [Kanaan] because he has been involved for a long time.

“I will start as a rookie, but I think I will get better as the year progresses. My main thing is to be an addition to the team.

“They have been doing very well and Tony brought them to a different level last year, so I hope with my contribution we can build on this and take the team to another level. I am extremely happy and have a big smile on my face.”

Tony Kanaan has commented that he believes Rubens can compete, not only for race victories, but the IndyCar championship outright.  We shall see how well Rubens fares when the Indy season begins in 19 days.

A few for the road…

I swear if I hear one more “I wonder how it turns” comment about the Garage 56 Project DeltaWing Le Mans prototype, I might pull my hair out.  For all of the detractors, here is a video of preliminary testing at ButtonWillow.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQOXiRU4orc[/youtube]

 

 [Lead Image: teamvodafone.com.au | V8 Image: orrconracing.com | Hamlin pointing Image: NASCAR.com | Audi e-Tron Image: Autosport| Loic Duval Image: Autoweek| Rubens IndyCar Image: the daily telegraph]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

%d bloggers like this: