There wasn’t much going on this week, there was plenty of news, but little of it was racing related. We are ramping up to all of the good stuff kicking off next weekend in Florida with the Daytona 24, however. There was a “Race of Champions” on American soil for the first time ever, and the Monte Carlo Rally took place over in Yurp. Sadly a rally spectator was killed on the first stage, reminding us that we’re not immortal. We’re seeing some entry lists filter out, so we’ll make our widely baseless Daytona predictions here as well.
Read along to see what good stuff happened this weekend. Summer is winding down a bit, and the racing is running to the end of the championships, 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! Oh, and be sure to tune in to The DFL Show, our racing podcast, every Thursday at 7:30 AM here on Hooniverse.
Race of Champions
Monte Carlo Rally
Stuff You Should Read
Stuff You Should Watch
Race of Champions
This year’s event in Miami saw Juan Pablo Montoya come out victorious over the individual competition in his first ever ROC participation. Both Montoya and Felipe Massa advanced from “Group B”, while Travis Pastrana and Helio Castroneves came out of “Group A”, Jenson Button and Kyle Busch advanced from “Group C”, and David Coulthard and Tom Kristensen came from “Group D” to round things out. Montoya lost to Massa in the initial heats, but after advancing was unstoppable, first beating the American Pastrana in the quarters, then exacting revenge on Massa in the semi-finals, and finally beating out Kristensen in the last race. For the full results, check out Motorsport.com’s report.
Once the individual competition had ended, it was time for the “Nations Cup” competition. For some reason, the USA was granted three complete teams of drivers with one representing IndyCar, one representing NASCAR, and one representing RallyX. Germany, however, was given just one team comprised of F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and F1 contender Pascal Wehrlein. Pascal suffered contact with Felipe Massa during the individual competition and rolled his Polaris Slingshot onto its lid. He was uninjured but removed himself from the competition because of the crash, meaning Vettel would have to compete in every round of the nations cup unaided. As luck would have it, he won the whole shooting match single-handedly, never losing one match. This was Vettel & Germany’s 7th Nations Cup victory, so it isn’t as though he hasn’t been here before.
Monte Carlo Rally
First, we’ll discuss the incident in which a spectator has died. There are many reports saying that Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon struck a spectator with his car, but after reviewing the statements, it appears that is not true. Paddon’s car skidded on a patch of black ice on the first stage and smashed into a mountainside embankment. A 50-year-old Spanish spectator was apparently attempting to get photographs of the crash. There is apparently video of the man falling down the rocky bank, and he is suspected to have suffered a heart-attack. He was airlifted to Nice, France for treatment, but passed away regardless. There are many media outlets putting cause of death on Paddon’s shoulders, but that seems highly disingenuous to me. If the reports are accurate, it would seem to be just a terrible coincidence. The stage was canceled and Hyundai pulled Paddon’s car from the rally regardless. You can read the statement from Hyundai and Paddon on his Facebook page here.
The rally itself was a hotly contested event in which the leader of the event suffered a suspension failure, and the eventual winner was once as low as 9th. Through Saturday morning, Hyundai’s other car, driven by Thierry Neuville, was leading until he broke a piece of the suspension. Sebastien Ogier, making his debut with M-Sport’s Ford team, continued his winning ways by fighting back from a mistake on Friday to win the event outright. M-Sport looked set for a 1-2 finish until Ott Tanak’s car had an engine problem on Sunday morning. Tanak ultimately finished third just barely hanging on with a limping car, passed by Toyota’s Jar-Matti Latvala (Toyota’s first top-level rally since 1999).
Here are the entry lists for the 24 proper and for the Continental Tire support race. Make your own predictions in the comments below and we’ll compare notes next week to see who did best.
WTSCC Prototype – This is the most exciting prototype grid I’ve ever seen. With all of these cars being effectively brand new, it’ll likely involve some attrition. This is anyone’s game, honestly.
The Rebellion Racing #13 Oreca of Sebastien Buemi, Nick Heidfeld, Neel Jani, and Stephane Sarrazin
WTSCC Prototype Challenge – Honestly, who cares? This class is dead.
Whoever doesn’t crash, or rather whoever crashes the least.
WTSCC GT Le Mans – Ford makes up nearly half of the 9-car field, so it would be difficult to bet against them. They’ve got that car figured out, and they’re ruthless in their aim for victory. Porsche has a new car with a new engine, so it’s likely to suffer some teething issues. As I have for the last two years, I’m going with Corvette, this time for the three-peat. Normally I’d like the #3 car, but with the addition of Fassler from Audi to the #4 car, that’s my pick.
The Corvette Racing C7.R #4 of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, and Marcel Fassler
WTSCC GT Daytona – As has been said a number of times before, this class is all about managing your “gentleman” drivers. There are some really fast cars in this class and at least 75% of this class has an opportunity to win if their luck and strategy plays out right. The Acura and Lexus are brand new cars, so I wouldn’t count on them winning (or perhaps even finishing). The Scuderia Corsa Ferrari #63 looks quite strong from a driver lineup point of view. The Stevenson Audis should also be looked at with admiration. I’m a Porsche guy, though, so I have to pick one of those.
The CORE Autosport Porsche GT3R #54 of Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, Patrick Long, and Nic Jonsson
CTSC Grand Sport – With a trio of Aston Martins, six McLaren 570s, a single Mustang, and a phenomenal ten Porsche Cayman GT4s, this is shaping up to be a really exciting race.
The Team TGM Porsche Cayman GT4 MR #4 of Ted Giovanis, Guy Cosmo, and Hugh Plumb
CTSC Street Tuner – The ST class is largely unchanged and will shake out between the 987 generation Caymans and the NC generation Mazda MX5s. Nobody is racing a new car, and most driver pairings have stayed the same.
The Rebel Rock Racing Porsche Cayman #22 of Kris Wright and Leh Keen
Things You Should Read
Eric Rood put together his Daytona predictions and broke down some of the data from the Roar. It’s good.
Here’s a lap of Porsche’s test track in Weissach
Here’s IMSA’s final BoP before the Rolex
PWC adds Rob Morgan and Jack Baldwin to their management staff
HART drops CTSC program to focus on NSX development
Tristan Nunez excited to run new Mazda
Humpy Wheeler wants to change NASCAR
Jenson Button tests Honda rally X car, says he “has no idea”
Pirelli voices fears of processional F1 with new rules…
Speaking of entry lists, here’s an up-to-date Bathurst 12 Hour lineup! HOT DAMN!
Things You Should Watch
This is just damn cool!
Take a tour of the Cadillac DPi with Jordan Taylor
Here’s a few rally flybys to make your Monday brighter
Here’s donuts in a Formula E car. We like donuts.
Here’s what you need to know about IMSA’s WeatherTech series.
In other news, MillerCoors is now “The Official Beer & Cider Of Indycar”
[Sources: Motorsport.com, IMSA.com, Sportscar365, DailySportsCar, BlackFlag, TheDrive, TheRustyHub, Racecar Engineering & YouTube]