Flying Lizard wins its fourth 25 Hours of Thunderhill
By: Brett Becker | 1 hour ago
Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports team won its fourth consecutive overall victory at the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance on Sunday
The team overcame a broken axle just after the start of the race on Saturday and powered on to the checkered flag at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Northern California. The team now holds the most overall titles in the 16-year history of 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
“It’s 25 hours, so many things can happen and we’ve got to hand it to the guys in the Radicals,” said Darren Law, one of the team owners. “We know those cars are fast, but they’re a bit more fragile than the GT cars, and that’s why we come here with a GT3. We’ve got great driver lineups, a great team and great cars, great preparation and great tires.”
An axle broke on the Porsche RSR on Lap 10 and later that night the car suffered another axle failure that was quickly repaired. “The guys never give up, and they know to work through it, and that’s the attitude of the team,” Law said.
Nearly 50 teams competed in seven classes in the endurance race that started at 11 a.m. Saturday and concluded at noon on Sunday.
The Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard Motorsports team has been on a tear at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill the last three years, taking the ES class win and the overall win three years in a row. Last year the team dominated the race, leading darn near the whole thing from flag to flag. This year was different.
The Lizards’ Porsche 911 RSR chewed up a left axle within the first hour of the race. When the team got that repaired, it went back out to try to make up the laps they had lost. Then the right axle failed and they had to come back in. When what was fixed, the team noticed the paddle-shifted gearbox was starting to act up, so they began omitting the use of certain gears in certain corners.
The problem continued to worsen till the very last laps of the race when they were down to just fourth and fifth gears. Clean-up driver Charlie Hayes nursed the car home for the team’s fourth consecutive class and overall win.
The CrowdStrike/One Motorsports team brought two cars to the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, and for 16 of those hours, the No. 44 Radical had the lead in ESR and the lead overall.
The team had faced off with the usual problems of the 25, a little contact, a few trips off track, and some mechanical gremlins. Those gremlins finally became too much to bear and the No. 44 car had to retire, but the team’s sister car, the No. 67 Radical took over the ESR lead and second overall. The No. 44 car still took third in ESR and 17th overall.
“Initially we had a brake problem, which we sorted out, but we had a clutch problem from the beginning, and the clutch eventually failed and debris got in and messed up the crank sensor and shut the engine off,” Shafer said. “We were going to change it, but there was only two hours left in the race and we weren’t going to change position, so we ended up bagging it.”
El Diablo Motorsports team took home its fourth E0 class victory at 25 Hours of Thunderhill, beating second-place finisher Dasboot Motorsports by four laps. The team set the pace, turning a class-best lap time of 1:53.896 on the 3-mile road course.
“We expected the pace, this car has always been fast and we have really fast drivers,” said crew chief Navid Kahangi. “We didn’t expect that much longevity (from the car). We didn’t break anything. The two problems we had were self-inflicted.”
Kahangi, who won his first 25 Hours of Thunderhill as a crew chief, was exhausted after losing a night of sleep. “I’m getting ready to drop,” he said with a smile.
In recent years, E1 has provided the most nail-biting finishes of all classes in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. This year was no different. Two teams, MooreWood Creative and ART Racing 2, exchanged the lead more times than you have fingers and toes and the race was still a toss-up with a few hours left to go.
In the end, MooreWood took the win, its fourth in a row in E1.
“With about four hours to go, there was some issues with the other car and it ended up giving us the lead and we kind of maintained it from there,” said driver Justin Ross. “It was definitely a dogfight up until then. We were on the same lap. It was trading with pit stops, trading with tire changes, we both did pad changes and rotors at some point, and that had an artificial read on stuff, but it ended up coming out they had some issues at the end of the race and we solidified it.”
The HQ Autosport Racing team set out in June 2017 to build a car and a team to win the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. The team reached its goal by cruising to victory in the three-car class.
“One of the challenges was not so much the car part, but building the team, and Rob (Henretta) and I managed to not only put together a great race package with an amazing car, but we were able to put together a team of great, seasoned racers, some new to the WERC series and new to the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, but have a lot of club racing experience,” said team co-owner Paul Quattrocchi.
The E3 class has long been hotly contested because so many NASA racing classes fall into it. This year looked like it might go to Team A+ Racing, a team run by a high school automotive instructor and a group of students. They were in the lead till the middle of the night when their engine failed.
That left the race to Team Neth Racing Works and Team RA Motorsports, who each took turns with the lead. In the end it was Team RA Motorsports taking the E3 win, some eight laps up on Team Neth Racing Works.
“The cool thing about this team to me is this sort of embodies what this race has always been about,” said crew chief Tupper Hull. “It’s about grassroots racing, people, friends getting together, working in their own garages. Nobody has got a fancy shop and a big rig. Everybody hauls the cars up themselves, works on it on the weekends to get them ready. As I’ve said before, these cars don’t win beauty contests. They win races.”
There was only one car running in GT Challenge, so that put the onus on the all-women driving team in the Jester & Babbitt Motorsports with Flying Lizard Audi LMS GT4 team to strive to place overall. They came up a bit short, finishing fourth overall, just eight laps out of third place overall after 25 hours of racing.
“This is actually the first time four of our five drivers have done this race,” said driver Ashton Harrison. “We have Christina Nielsen, who has done a ton of endurance racing, but this was her first time at the 25 Hours. So, three of our other drivers haven’t ever done the 25 Hours, so this is their first experience, and overall we finished fourth. It’s pretty awesome.”
Posted 03 December 2018 - 04:06
Posted 17 December 2018 - 18:09
Kessel Racing wins fourth straight Gulf 12 Hours
By: RACER Staff | December 15, 2018 2:24 PM
The No.11 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rigon and Michael Broniszewski pipped rivals Audi and McLaren in a three-way battle as it pounced in the final two hours to retain its Gulf 12 Hours crown and clinch a famous, yet unexpected fourth successive victory at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
It had looked set to be a dream world competitive debut for the McLaren 720S GT3 car which led from lap two of the second part of the race, when Shane Van Gisbergen passed Christopher Haase in the No.88 Car Collection Audi R8 LMS GT3 which took the checkered flag first after the opening six hours of the race.
The McLaren led thereafter, with no issues until Van Gisbergen returned to the cockpit with just under two hours remaining. The Kiwi driver picked up suspension damage to the right front wheel, leaving him to bring the car back to the pits for repairs.
Haase suffered once more 45 minutes after the race restart, dropping to third place and losing vital seconds after an incident with the pole position No.4 Graff Racing Norma M30 of Jake Parsons, conceding the position to the No.11 Kessel in the hands of Alessandro Pier Guidi.
The No.11 Ferrari was not immune to its own problems, however, suffering a left rear puncture halfway through the six hours after Davide Rigon made contact with the No.80 GDL Racing Lamborghini Super Trofeo Evo of Jim Michaelian, which dropped the Ferrari off the leading lap.
“It was only in the last hour that we thought we could win the race,” Rigon said. “We were very lucky that the McLaren had trouble otherwise they were too fast for us. But congratulations to both Alessandro and Michael who did a fantastic job today. I didn’t believe in the victory until the final 10 minutes.
“When I was hit by the Lamborghini, I had to make sure that I came back at slowly because I’ve experience that it could destroy the car.
“I love this track. I’ve had good teammates for the past three years with a competitive car.”
The Attempto Racing and Car Collection Audis continued to be in contention inside the top five, until the halfways mark when the second-place No.99 Attempto R8 LMS GT3 suffered a severe puncture under braking. Klaus Bachler limped the car back to the pits, but with the front left wheel fully locked and the brake disc shattered, the team were unable to remove the wheel and were forced to retire the car.
With the front-running cars beginning to dwindle, the door was left open for the 11 Kessel Ferrari when the McLaren slowed and Pier Guidi passed the No.44 Attempto Audi of Giorgio Roda on the same lap.
The Audis attempted to respond, with the No.88 Car Collection of Haase also getting by the No.44 car for second place before pitting for Markus Winkelhock to attempt to cut the margin to the No.11 Ferrari now in the hands of Rigon for the final stint.
The McLaren returned to the track with Barnicoat at the wheel, but having dropped to 10th overall, it was already five laps down on the No.11 Ferrari and out of contention.
“Today we were not the quickest but we made sure that we were consistent,” Pier Guidi said. “We had some issues, but so did everyone else. Until two hours to go, it was impossible to believe we could win. Davide did an amazing job in the final stint. The team made no mistakes.”
The GT3 Pro-Am class was impressively led throughout the race by the No. 27 Daiko Lazarus Lamborghini Huracan GT3 which finished the race in fifth place overall. It was followed by the No. 83 all-female driver line-up of Manuela Gostner, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting in the Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, and the No. 98 Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Chris Dyson, Andrew Howard, Humaid al Masaood and Ross Gunn.
The No.4 Graff Racing Norma M30 of James Winslow, Neale Muston and Jake Parsons continued its lead of the Prototype class to the finish, finishing 10th overall, ahead of the No.7 Scuderia Vittoria Corse in 12th overall, a single place in front of the No.70 Graff Ligier JS P3.
The GT Cup class was filled by the GDL Racing squad. The battle for the class win was hard fought between the No. 87 Lamborghini Supertrofeo and No. 89 Porsche 991, with the former ultimately prevailing. The No. 80 GDL Racing Lamborghini Supertrofeo Evo took third place despite its earlier contact and repairs in the garage.
The GT4 class was led by the No. 3 Bullitt Racing Mercedes AMG crew, which included 16-year-old British driver Olli Caldwell, the youngest driver in the race on his GT racing debut, alongside Ian Loggie and Oleg Kharuk. The car remained ahead of the No.50 and No.90 Scuderia Villorba Corse machines throughout the second part of the race.
It was fitting for Rigon to take the checkered flag and continue his spectacular record as the most successful driver in the history of the Gulf 12 Hours, as he clinched his fifth successive race victory and the seventh win for Ferrari. It also completed the fourth successive victory for Broniszewski.
Posted 24 December 2018 - 04:49
43-car entry list for Bathurst 12 Hours
By: RACER Staff | December 21, 2018 7:28 AM
Organizers of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour have revealed a 43-car entry for the 2019 edition of the Australian endurance classic on February 3, which will also serve as the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli.
The A class reserved for GT3 cars features 28 cars, some of which will also be nominated to score Intercontinental GT Challenge points. Those teams are set to be revealed in late January once the final list of registered manufacturers is confirmed. The remaining 15 entries are split between classes B (cup cars), C (GT4) and I (Marc Car).
Full entry list
Following the Bathurst race, the Intercontinental GT Challenge moves across the Pacific to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the California 8 Hours on March 31. Subsequent rounds include the Total 24 Hours of Spa at the end of July, Suzuka 10 Hours in August and South Africa’s Kyalami 9 Hour – due to run for the first time since 1982 – which closes out the 2019 schedule in November.
Audi, Bentley, BMW and Porsche have already publicly confirmed their Intercontinental GT Challenge entries, while others are expected to be named in January.
Bathurst’s grid will feature a record-equaling 10 different GT3 manufacturers, with Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Nissan also competing alongside the already confirmed Intercontinental GT Challenge cast.
Posted 14 January 2019 - 23:58
Bell leads 340-driver field in bid for third straight Chili Bowl title
By: Robin Miller | 9 hours ago
There are 340 drivers entered for the 33rd annual Chili Bowl, which opens tonight in Tulsa, but only one of them has a target on his back.
Christopher Bell is gunning for his third consecutive Golden Driller trophy in the indoor midget race that kicks off the 2019 racing season at the River Spirit Expo Center.
The 24-year-old native of Norman, Oklahoma has been unbeatable lately in midgets — winning Turkey Night again on Thanksgiving in addition to the Gateway Dirt Nationals last month as well as a midget and sprint feature in New Zealand a few days ago.
After nearly capturing the Xfinity Series title last year in NASCAR, the young man who grew up on winged sprinters in Oklahoma continues to run open-wheel cars all over the country when there’s no conflict with his stock car ride.
Bell is chasing Kevin Swindell’s record (he won four Chili Bowls in a row from 2010-2013) and his teammate Rico Abreu went back-to-back in 2015-2016.
As always, Kyle Larson figures to be Bell’s main competition as the NASCAR star has done everything but triumph on the Tulsa dirt track and beat Bell in a dandy duel Down Under earlier this month.
World of Outlaws legend Sammy Swindell is still formidable at the age of 63 and will be after his sixth Chili Bowl victory while other former winners J.J. Yeley, Tracy Hines, Cory Kruseman, Tim McCredie and Damion Gardner are also entered.
Recently retired NASCAR star Kasey Kahne is after his initial CB win and joined by NASCAR regulars Justin Allgaier, Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, Landon Cassill, and IndyCar driver Conor Daly.
Bell’s preliminary races come Thursday night, while Larson and Abreu are set for Wednesday.
The first of five consecutive nights of heats and features is topped off tonight by a 25-lap A Main (the top three transfer to Saturday night’s main event) and live streaming is available on RacinBoys.com for $145 for all six nights or $30 per night.
Then, MAVTV and LucasOil.TV will be televising Saturday night’s 55-lap Lucas Oil Nationals presented by General Tire.
Posted 15 January 2019 - 16:26
Seavey wins opening Chili Bowl A Main
By: Robin Miller | 3 hours ago
California’s Logan Seavey kicked off the 33rd Chili Bowl with a perfect score on Monday night at Tulsa’s Expo Center. The 2018 USAC midget champion won his heat, his qualifier and then led wire-to-wire in the 25-lap A Main to lock himself into one of the top five starting spots in Saturday night’s main event.
“Can’t ask for a much better start to the week, I had a great car and it’s just an honor to be running here for Keith (Kunz) and Pete (Willoughby),” said Seavey, who started from the pole position and drove to a comfortable victory over Brady Bacon and Brad Sweet. “I got a break with the yellows and red flag and didn’t catch traffic until the final lap so that helped.
“But the track had two grooves and that’s all you can ever ask, just special to be locked in for Saturday night.”
Seavey started on the bottom of Emmitt Hahn’s nicely manicured dirt track and may have been saved by a red flag on Lap 13 because Sweet was closing fast on the cushion.
Owner Kunz gave him the elbows up signal as the cars got restarted — the sign to move up high. “The top was getting quicker so that was the right move,” said Seavey.
“I didn’t need that caution but that’s racing,” said Sweet. who lost second place to Bacon when he got high in Turn 1 on Lap 22.
Bacon, who captured the inaugural BC39 last year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, started fifth and tried both grooves before shooting into the runner-up on the bottom.
“The top was easier but the bottom was faster, just trickier,” said the native of Broken Arrow, Okla. “Just happy to be in the A so we can relax a little.”
The top three usually transfer into Saturday’s 55-lap feature but this year it’s only the top two so Sweet, fourth place Jake Neuman and Chase Briscoe will have to come through the B Main to make the A on Saturday.
Posted 17 January 2019 - 17:29
Larson wins Tuesday Chili Bowl A Main
By: Robin Miller | January 16, 2019 7:20 AM
Kyle Larson made quick work of the competition in Tuesday night’s A Main and easily transferred to Saturday night’s 33rd annual Chili Bowl Nationals main event.
Starting second in the Keith Kunz/Pete Willoughby Toyota, Larson snatched the lead from pole-sitter Zach Daum on Lap 5 and led the final 20 laps to again qualify for the race he usually leads but has never won.
“I was nervous starting on the outside because I figured the bottom was going to be good the first few laps and I might drop back,” said the NASCAR star who won his heat races and finished second in his qualifier. “I ran a couple laps low and then went up high and managed to get Zach pretty quick and I really didn’t push too hard from there — I just wanted to avoid mistakes and bring it home for Saturday.
“I about got collected lapping cars when somebody spun in front of me but fortunately I missed him.”
Daum held off Jonathan Beason for second to earn the other automatic transfer spot into Saturday night’s 55-lap main event.
“I wish it would have been 55 laps instead of 25 because my car was rally tight,” said the former USAC midget champion. “But Kyle, Keith and Pete are the benchmark here so it’s all good, we’re in the show and I’ve got a good car.”
Starting 10th, Beason won the Jason Leffler Elbows Up Award by charging to third at the Tulsa Expo Center’s tricky dirt track.
“It kinda sucks because last year the top three transferred into the A Main but I’ve got a good car and we had a good night,” said Beason, who will start near the front in one of Saturday’s B Mains.
Dillion Welch, a full-time pit reporter for NASCAR and FOX and NBC and IndyCar who only races a couple times year anymore, did an impressive job and finished seventh to transfer into a B Main while NASCAR regular Alex Bowman ran ninth and will be in a C Main on Saturday.
Former USAC midget champ Tanner Thorson he’d off Larson to win the 20-lap Race of Champions while two-time Chili Bowl king Christopher Bell stormed from 15th to third and looked formidable as ever.
Abreu wins Wednesday Chili Bowl A Main, Gravel reaches main event
By: Robin Miller | 12 hours ago
Rico Abreu has a special relationship with the Chili Bowl and he showed again Wednesday night why he’s one of the favorites for the 33rd annual midget classic.
The two-time CB winner started second, stalked pole-sitter Cole Bodine for six laps, then grabbed the lead in his Keith Kunz/Pete Willoughby Toyota and ran away with a comfortable victory in the 25-lap A Main.
World of Outlaws star David Gravel did a nice job and finished second to secure the other transfer spot to Saturday night’s 55-lap main event.
Abreu, who won in 2015 and 2016, struggled in his heat race but his team made some chassis adjustments and he was untouchable once he got to the cushion in the A main.
“That’s what happens when you race for the best in the business and it’s a pleasure to drive for Keith and Pete,” said Abreu. “I race 100 times a year all over the county and never get nervous but I always get butterflies when I walk in this place because it’s so special for me.
“We made some changes and my car was good on the bottom and on the top. A joy to drive.”
Gravel had a splendid duel with former winner Tim McCreadie and Bodine for the second spot before finally taking charge on Lap 15 of the 25-lap race.
“This is my fifth time here and it’s taken a while to get the hang of it but I was confident all night and I’ve got a good car,” he said. “I’m excited to be locked into the big show.”
Bodine hung on for third and will have a great starting spot in the B Main on Saturday. But the drive of the night came from Jake Swanson.
Starting 17th, the Anaheim, California native stormed through the field to finish fourth and get a good spot in one of Saturday’s B Mains.
Abreu’s win gave Kunz and Willoughby a perfect slate after three nights with Logan Seavey and Kyle Larson capturing the first two A Mains and Christopher Bell, looking for his third consecutive win at Tulsa’s Expo Center, drives tonight for the team that’s dominated this event.
Posted 18 January 2019 - 22:06
Bell dominant in Thursday Chili Bowl A-Main
By: Robin Miller | 16 hours ago
The final results were no surprise — Christopher Bell won the 25-lap A-Main qualifier on Thursday night and remains a favorite to win his third consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals on Saturday evening.
But even though he led all but one lap in his Kunz-Willoughby Toyota, Bell had to use all his skill to fend off Shane Golobic.
In a race that took 45 minutes to complete due to four false starts and nine caution flags, the crowd was at least treated to a slam-bang finish.
Originally lined up third, Bell was moved to the pole when Danny Stratton was penalized for jumping the green flag and moved back to third.
And Bell really had no challenges until the final three laps. On the Lap 23 restart, the Norman, Okla. driver did what had been successful all evening and went low to protect his lead, but he high-sided and lost his momentum which allowed Golobic to get a great run going down the backstretch and he snatched the top spot going into Turn 3. But Bell used a nifty cross-over move and reclaimed first place by the time they hit Turn 1 again and that was it.
“Shane did a really good job on restarts and I’m just glad I had enough traction to get back inside him,” said Bell, who gave Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby their fourth consecutive A Main victory of the week.
Golobic, a California native who started fourth, was happy with his effort and to be locked into Saturday night’s 55-lap main event.
“I had a blast and I ran my tail off but Christopher is so good,” said Golobic, who drives for the Clauson-Marshall team. “I’m really proud of this team and now we’ve just got to figure out a way got get a little bit better so we can beat that 71 car (Bell).”
The best drive of the race came from Greenfield’s C.J. Leary. Starting eighth, he charged all the way up to second for a brief instant on Lap 24 before Golobic got back by and wound up third — in a good spot for one of the B Mains.
“I’d have been happier if it had stayed green because I think we’d figured out something but were not going to hang out head about third,” said Leary.
Stratton managed to salvage fourth place and earn a good starting spot in a B Main.
Posted 19 January 2019 - 07:33
Grant's wire-to-wire win earns transfer into Chili Bowl main event
By: Robin Miller | 1 hour ago
Justin Grant made it three in a row for Friday night at the Chili Bowl by edging Tanner Thorson in a splendid display of dirt tracking at the Tulsa Expo Center.
Starting on the pole for new owners Rick Young and Jeff Taylor, Grant led all 25 laps in his NOS Energy Special, but Thorson was never more than a car length or two behind as they chased each other through traffic in a race that had no yellows and only took 4m58s to complete.
“I love Friday nights here and the atmosphere is great and the place is packed,” said the USAC midget and sprint front-runner from California who lives in Avon, Indiana. “I can’t thank Rick enough for putting this deal together and it’s been a lot of work in a short time but it’s very rewarding.
“I can’t wait for tomorrow night because I’ve got a great car.”
Thorson, a former USAC midget champion, started third and jumped into second in the first turn. And he did everything but pass Grant in their great duel.
“Congrats to Justin, he didn’t mess up, and I was right there if he did,” said Thorson. “But we’re in the big show and that’s what matters.”
Chad Boat finished third and NASCAR regular Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came home fourth.
As he did a year ago, Grant’s victory snapped the winning streak of Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby, whose cars had won Monday-Thursday with Logan Seavey, Kyle Larson, Rico Abreu and Christopher Bell.
But another of Kunz’s driver, Spencer Bayston, put on quite a show in Friday night’s A Main. Starting last, he charged all the way to ninth place and never got one caution flag or he would have finished even better.
The 10 drivers who transferred to the 33rd Chili Bowl main event will draw for their starting spots prior to Saturday night’s C Main.
Posted 20 January 2019 - 15:01
Bell's last-lap pass on Larson seals third straight Chili Bowl win
By: Robin Miller | 7 hours ago
Christopher Bell only led one lap Saturday night, but it was the one that counted as he stole a seemingly sure victory from Kyle Larson in the 33rd annual Chili Bowl.
It was the third consecutive Chili Bowl win for talented kid from Norman, Oklahoma, and it was almost as shocking as it was exciting.
Larson started third and grabbed the lead on Lap 22 and opened up a comfortable advantage over Bell and Justin Grant by running the bottom of the dirt track inside Tulsa’s Expo Center. Bell tried to make the high side work but finally gave up after losing ground and went to the bottom.
As they flashed under the white flag to begin the 55th lap, Larson got it wrong, getting into Turn 1 and sliding up just enough to give Bell an opening — which he took as both cars touched. Larson made a valiant effort to get it back going into Turn 3 but harmlessly banged off his friend and rival before clipping the wall coming off Turn 4.
“That’s why we love the Chili Bowl, it never disappoints,” said Bell, whose triumph gave owners Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby a fifth straight Chili Bowl crown in their Spike/Bullet chassis powered by Toyota. “I was struggling on top and didn’t have anything to lose to I headed for the bottom and started making up a little ground.
“Kyle didn’t stick going into Turn 1 and I got inside him. It was a ton of fun from my seat.”
Larson, who has become one of NASCAR’s young stars in its top division, faced the music like a man afterwards in his interview with MAVTV.
“I missed the bottom, and allowed Christopher to get a run, and I can see the big screen and saw he was close,” he declared. “I thought about sliding myself because I didn’t know what he was gonna do. I just figured at the last minute that he was probably gonna try and stick the bottom, and I just missed it a little bit, and allowed him to get by. I ran 53 1/2 good laps and just didn’t close it out.
“Hate it. Just happy I got to race for a win here after the last handful of years for me. It’s just disappointing to be close to winning a race like this, feeling like I did everything I could until the very end. Just gave it away.”
Grant, the only non-Kunz car to score a preliminary feature win this week, came home third with his new team while Brady Bacon came from eighth to fourth and Zach Daum was fifth.
But Indy’s Tyler Courtney put on the show in terms of passing. Starting 22nd, he spun out on Lap 30 and went to the back but charged all the way back to sixth at the checkered flag in his Clauson-Marshall entry.
Posted 29 January 2019 - 01:04
W Series names 28 candidates for all-female series
By: RACER Staff | 8 hours ago
W Series, the new European-based single-seater racing series for female drivers, has announced 28 candidates who have been approved to go through to the next stage of the selection process, including three Americans. They were chosen by judges David Coulthard, Alex Wurz, Lyn St James and Dave Ryan from 54 drivers who attended the series’ three-day selection event at the Test and Training International facility in Melk, Austria run by ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Wurz.
“All W Series’ qualifier-drivers here at the Wachauring are superstars, every single one of them,” said Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO. “But the sad fact is that not all of them will continue to the next stage of our driver selection program. That’s competition. That’s sport. That’s racing.
“So to all of them who’ve made it through to the next stage, I say: congratulations and good luck in Almeria in March, the final stage of our driver selection program.
In Almeria, Spain, the chosen 28 candidates will take part in a four-day test in the W Series Tatuus F318 Formula 3 car (pictured below). From this group, 20 drivers (18 plus two reserves) will be selected to race with W Series at six events in support of the DTM series in Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy and the UK, running from May through to August.
“The past three days has been excellent, but it has not been easy for the drivers or for the judges, the instructors and the people putting on the program,” said former IndyCar and sports car racer St. James. “As much as we’d like racing to be an exact science, and even though it’s always ultimately about lap times, this program has been able to put so many little pieces together to help evaluate not only the drivers’ talent but also the drivers’ potential.
“It’s very difficult when you start to put those pieces together to analyze, assess and evaluate them all. But I believe, taking into account the conditions, everything has been fairly equalized, so that nobody has been at a disadvantage. The on-track action has been in production cars — Fords and Porsches — which, of course, aren’t what they’ll be racing in W Series. Inevitably, I think it’s been difficult for a lot of the drivers to bring out their best in these cars, even though some have had experience in cars like them.
“I feel, as a driver, it was difficult to watch some of the struggles, especially where I saw the talent and maybe the potential, but didn’t witness it being delivered because of their being out of their comfort zone.”
Fellow judge Coulthard, former F1 racer and W Series advisory board chairman, added: “I’ve been immensely impressed by the commitment and attitude of all the competitors, and I really feel they’ve come here with open minds. They’ve really embraced this Test and Training International facility and organization, which is world class.
“The whole process has further validated that the right team of people has been brought together since the initial conversations with Catherine [Bond Muir, W Series CEO] and Sean [Wadsworth, W Series Chairman]. When I look at all of the experience we’ve hired, and when I look at many of the people whom I’ve worked with in the past in Formula 1, now part of the W Series team, it further confirms that we’re doing this the right way and giving the right opportunity to those who may have not have had this type of opportunity ever before.”
The 28 successful qualifiers, in alphabetical order, are:
Sarah Bovy, Belgium
Jamie Chadwick, UK
Sabre Cook, USA
Natalie Decker, USA
Marta Garcia, Spain
Megan Gilkes, Canada
Grace Gui, China
Esmee Hawkey, UK
Jessica Hawkins, UK
Shea Holbrook, USA
Francesca Linossi, Italy
Vivien Keszthelyi, Hungary
Emma Kimilainen, Finland
Natalia Kowalska, Poland
Stephane Kox, The Netherlands
Miki Koyama, Japan
Milou Mets, The Netherlands
Sarah Moore, UK
Tasmin Pepper, South Africa
Vicky Piria, Italy
Alice Powell, UK
Gosia Rdest, Poland
Naomi Schiff, Belgium
Shirley Van Der Lof, The Netherlands
Beitske Visser, The Netherlands
Alexandra Whitley, Australia
Fabienne Wohlwend, Liechtenstein
Caitlin Wood, Australia
Posted 02 February 2019 - 17:41
Dennis shows Aston Martin’s speed in Bathurst qualifying
By: Phil Branagan | 2 hours ago
Aston Martin’s Vantage GT3 looks like ending its racing career at Bathurst in style by qualifying fastest for Sunday’s Bathurst 12 Hour race in Australia.
On his first visit to the famed Mount Panorama circuit, England’s Jake Dennis smashed the opposition to pieces with a lap time of 2m02.4946s. He was a stunning 0.44s clear of an otherwise packed field in the Top 10 Shootout.
“It looked tough out there but I knew if I put a clean lap together…” said a breathless Dennis after the lap.
“The car was unbelievable — so, so strong. I had no idea if it was enough, I did not watch the times the other guys were doing.
“The first few sessions were a bit daunting but once you build up a good rhythm, you can make time. The mountain section is just sensational. We’ve got the pace but we need to be there in the last two hours of the race.”
Left to right: Vaxiviere, Kirchhoefer, Dennis
But Dennis and his co-drivers Matthieu Vaxiviere and Marvin Kirchhoefer will not be starting the race from pole, after Dennis was hit with a two-spot grid penalty for speeding in the pitlane during the earlier Qualifying session.
Raffaele Marciello (below) was the second driver out in the single-car session, and his time stood up until Dennis eclipsed him right at the end. The GruppeM entry will have another Mercedes AMG GT3 alongside, after Maro Engel set the third-fastest time.
Steven Kane gave Bentley a great result and will start fourth in the M-Sport Continental, while Australian David Reynolds will start from fifth in the leading A-P entry, which he will share with Luke Youlden and Yasser Shahin.
Fastest of the Audi drivers was Kelvin van der Linde, the South African just heading the quickest Porsche, Australian Matt Campbell lining up seventh in the Earl Bamber Motorsport 911 GT3-R.
Yelmer Buurman shone on Saturday to take the eighth-best time in the Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz, ahead of the Haase/Mies/Winkelhock Audi and the KCMG Nissan of Alexander Imperatori.
It was a tough day for last year’s polesitter Chaz Mostert, who wound up 15th in qualifying aboard the BMW Team Schnitzer M6 he will share with Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk.
But the biggest shock of qualifying was the speed — or lack of it — of the Triple 8-run Mercedes. Jamie Whincup ended up 19th on the grid, nearly exactly a second behind the fastest Benz of Reynolds, and he and co-drivers Craig Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen face an uphill battle on Sunday.
Fastest of the non-Class A cars was the MARC II of Andre de Pasquale. The Supercars regular was dazzling in running a 2m04.25s lap, which was discarded as it was faster than the car’s ‘anchor’ time of 2:05s. To make matters worse ‘ADP’ then sped in the pitlane, earning a two grid spot penalty for himself and co-drivers Paul Morris, car owner Keith Kassulke and Bathurst rookie Paul Tracy.
In Class B, Ben Barker needed only one lap to head the times in his Porsche GT3 Cup car, while Mathias Beche led the GT4 contenders in his KTM X-Bow.
Sunday’s race is due to start at 5:45 a.m. Sydney time.
Top 10 Shootout results:
1. Jake Dennis, R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage, 2:02.4946s
(Matthieu Vaxiviere/Marvin Kirchhoefer)
2. Raffaele Marciello, GruppeM Racing Mercedes AMG GT3, 2:02.9348s
(Maxi Buhk/Max Gotz)
3. Maro Engel, Craft Bamboo Mercedes AMG GT3, 2:03.0419s
(Luca Stolz/Gary Paffett)
4. Steven Kane, Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental, 2:03.1083s
(Jordan Pepper/Jules Gounon)
5. David Reynolds, The Bend Motorsport Park Mercedes AMG GT3, 2:03.1735s
(Yasser Shahin/Luke Youlden)
6. Kelvin van der Linde, Audi Sport Team Valvoline Audi R8, LMS 2:03.1791s
(Frederic Vervisch/Garth Tander)
7. Matt Campbell, Earl Bamber Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3-R, 2:03.1863s
(Dirk Werner/Dennis Olsen)
8. Yelmer Buurman Team Nineteen Mercedes AMG GT3, 2:03.3646s
(Matt Griffith/Christina Nielsen)
9. Chris Haase, Audi Sport Team Valvoline Audi R8 LMS, 2:03.7828s
(Markus Winkelhock/Chris Mies)
10. Alex Imperatori ,KCMG Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, 2:04.1910s
(Oliver Jarvis/Eduardo Liberati)
Posted 03 February 2019 - 21:15
Bathurst 12 Hour: Campbell seals thrilling victory for Porsche
By: Andrew van Leeuwen
A thrilling final stint from Matt Campbell helped seal the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour crown for the #912 EBM Porsche crew.
Campbell, Dirk Werner and Dennis Olsen took a sensational victory after a seven-way shoot out to the flag in the final half hour, a bold move on Aston Martin driver Jake Dennis by Campbell at Forrests Elbow key to the win.
However the result is under investigation due a bump-and-run on BMW's Chaz Mostert inside the last hour.
As it stands, the #912 is the winner ahead of the #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin (Dennis/Matthieu Vaxiviere/Marvin Kirchhoefer) and the #999 GruppeM Mercedes (Raffaele Marciello/Max Buhk/Max Goetz).
The first of the contenders fell early in the final quarter of the race, the #911 that led at the nine-hour mark forced into the garage with a power steering issues just 12 minutes later.
That left just seven on the lead lap, Campbell leading the way in the #912 entry on an out-of-sync strategy as EBM tried to get the car home on a stop less than everyone else.
The likes of the #62 Aston Martin and the #108 Bentley spent time at the front as the penultimate stops shook out, however once again it was the Porsche that ended up in the lead on Lap 256, now with Dennis Olsen at the wheel, everyone with a single stop to go.
At that point the Porsche's fuel economy became crucial. Getting home required fuel saving, which brought the chasing pack more and more into play as the penultimate stint wore on.
With 75 minutes to go EBM pulled the trigger, bringing Olsen in and putting Campbell back in the car. The net result was a 90s gap to new leader Dennis in the Aston Martin, which, with everyone only needing one more stop, wasn't going to be enough to hold onto the lead.
Instead it was Dennis that had set himself up to lead into the final phase of the race, the Aston Martin driver pitting with an hour to go and emerging with the effective lead still in tact.
Maxime Soulet rounded the expected stops off with his final service with 52 minutes to go, handing the Continental over to Andy Soucek. He was set to slot into second place, but – as happened earlier today – the car stalled at the end of pitlane.
It got going again, but rather than having the leader in sight the car was left way down in seventh, more than a minute behind Dennis.
The leading Aston, meanwhile, was 10s clear of the GruppeM Mercedes, Chaz Mostert 21s behind the leader in third.
With 30 minutes to go there was a controversial change of position at the front, Campbell giving Mostert a bump-and-run at The Chase as he grabbed third spot.
However it was the Safety Car called just seconds later, to recover a stranded KTM midway down Conrod Straight, that really set up a grandstand finish.
It came down to a 22-minute sprint home, the top six running line astern as the #888 sacrificed track position by taking on a fresh set of rubber.
Dennis sprinted when the race went green, leaving Marciello and Campbell scrapping over second. The Mercedes was at a serious tyre disadvantage too, GruppeM having opted to to not take on tyres at their last stop in order to retain track position.
The bottle-neck created by the AMG was brilliant for Dennis, who had 2.5s up his sleeve after a single green lap.
At the start of the second green lap Campbell barged his way into second at Hell Corner, giving him a shot at victory with 15 minutes to go.
Within a lap the gap was a matter of tenths, the Aussie tucked under the Aston's wing. He then executed a perfect move at Forrests Elbow, before charging to a remarkable win.
Dennis came home second, 3s down the road, while Marciello and van Gisbergen staged an amazing battle for third over the closing laps – the #888 car with the significant tyre advantage – that was decided in the Italian's favour by 0.2s.
Mostert finished fifth, Soucek sixth, and Imperatori last of the cars on the lead lap after being penalised for weaving behind the Safety Car on the final restart.
Winner of the Pro-Am class was the#51 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda, while the Grove Racing Porsche of Ben Barker and Brenton and Stephen Grove rounded out a comprehensive Class B win.
Class C went to the #48 M Motorsport KTM driven by Justin McMillan, Glen Wood and Dean Lillie, with the Invitational class conquered by Adam Hargreaves, Daniel Jilesen and Steve Owen in the #20 MARC V8.
Posted 25 April 2019 - 22:00
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