The racing was relatively light this week as things calm down in anticipation of Le Mans. That said, there was still F1, NASCAR, Indycar (sorta), World Rally, & WTCC to talk about, so lets get started!
Summer is in full swing, and 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!
Formula One, Eh?
IndyCar Does A Rain Dance
NASCAR Goes To The Mitten State
WRC Eats Sardines?
In Moscow Russia, World Touring Car Championship Drive You!
Le Mans *itshappening.gif*
Plus Videos & News
Le Mans 24 – Scrutineering
Since the test last week, the Ford GTs have been granted a 25 kilogram weight break. How else would they get all that sand out of their bags? They’re going to be stupidly fast during the race, as will the Ferraris, and it’ll be a matter of them holding together for 24 hours to determine who wins. The Aston Martins are really fast in a straight line, but don’t have the outright lap pace, so they’ll have to bank on their Dunlop tires being better than the Michelins (not sure that’s likely).
Anyway, here are my official predictions –
LMP1 – It’s really a crapshoot, any of them has the ability to win it. Then again, all three of them have had horrendous reliability this year. Porsche, in fact, went back to their 2015 spec battery stack to try to mitigate potential failures. My money’s still on Porsche, though.
Winner – #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid – Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Leib
LMP2 – There are so many honest-to-goodness winners in this class that it’s such a tossup. I’d really like to see the Mike Shank car do well, as those guys are great and Mike could use some good luck these days. That said, I think I’ll throw my hat in the ESM/Patron ring.
Winner – #31 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier Nissan – Ryan Dalziel, Chris Cumming, and Pipo Derani
GTE Pro – The GTE classes are stacked with talent these days, and the Pro category is brimming with factory efforts and the best GT drivers in the world. AF Corse looks REALLY strong with Davide Rigon, Sam Bird, and Andrea Bertolini, but I’m not positive the car will make it to the end. I’m saying Ford spent their GTE dollars to develop reliability since Daytona, and they’ll be running 1-2-3-4 by midnight. Go ‘Merica!
Winner – #69 Ford GT – Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, and Scott Dixon
GTE Am – This is another class that just can’t get any better, can it? The year-old cars are a good bit slower than the 2016 spec Pro class, but they’re all really competitive. I’d guess that this will be a battle of Ferrari vs. Aston Martin.
Winner – #98 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE – Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda, and Pedro Lamy
Honorable Mention – #83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE – Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard, and Rui Aguas
Formula 1 – Montreal
From the outset of the race, Mercedes was embroiled in more controversy. Lewis Hamilton made a very aggressive move on the outside of Nico Rosberg at turn one, forcing his teammate onto the grass with tire-to-tire , and out of contention for any kind of good finish. Seb Vettel got a great start, but failed to make his two-stop strategy work properly, and eventually lost out to Hamilton. Rosberg, who still leads the championship, finished down in 5th. His championship lead is now reduced to 9 points.
NASCAR – Michigan International Speedway
Joey Logano took his first win of the season with a victory at MIS on Sunday. Impressive work from the next-gen NASCAR greats Chase Elliot and Kyle Larson were both within shouting distance of the victory, but Logano was getting better launches on the restarts (a must to be successful in NASCAR, one presumes…), and kept the pair of youngsters at bay.
This was the first race of NASCAR’s new ‘low downforce’ aerodynamics package, which limits the effects of the splitter and wing. The low downforce spec was intended to make passing easier, and create less turbulent air for cars following. The package will also be used at the July Kentucky race.
IndyCar – Texas Motor Speedway
The race was intended to run on Saturday into the night, making for an exciting under-the-lights finish. Initially the race was delayed by an hour to avoid weather issues, to no avail. Sadly, with only 71 laps turned, the rain came down with Texan force. The race was postponed until Sunday afternoon.
During the rain-shortened session on Saturday, a nasty crash between Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly saw Josef’s car shoved up into the SAFER barrier top first. Newgarden suffered a broken clavicle and a fractured wrist.
On Sunday, the rain never abated, and IndyCar called the race. For now… The race will resume on Saturday August 27th at 7PM from lap 72. It’s a strange and unorthodox solution, but I sort of like it.
WRC – Rally Sardinia
Another win for the i20 Hyundai boys as Thierry Neuville took his second WRC career victory at Rally Italia Sardegna. Thierry managed to win by 24 seconds over the Volkswagens of Jari-Matti Latvala and Seb Ogier further back. The win was clinched by Neuville’s final two stages being smooth and fluid, though not particularly fast. Slow and Steady…
WTCC – Moscow
Race 1 –
Gabriele Tarquini started the race in 9th, but quickly slammed his way through the field, grabbing position after position as his Lada Vesta was drawn toward the front. Laying down fast lap after fast lap, Tarquini made his way by in downpour conditions with superior off-corner acceleration and grip. Tarquini was joined by his teammate Nicky Catsburg who finished in second, giving Lada their first 1-2 finish.
Race 2 –
In Race 2, Nicky Catsburg, who is fresh off setting the fastest GTE Am time at the Le Mans pre-race test in a Corvette, started from the front of the grid, and stayed there for the whole race. Catsburg was forced to fend off attacks from Tarquini. With 3 laps to go, Tarquini had worked his way up to within a second of his teammate, but couldn’t make any more progress and decided to back off and save his tires to make it to the end without further issue. It was the second 1-2 finish for Lada of the weekend.
Things You Should Read
If you’re a Porsche fan, here is , and here is a list of to follow along.
Racer.com’s Marshall Pruett interviewed Earl Bamber (2015 LM24 overall winner) about his being demoted to the GT field for this year. .
Friend of Hoons Stef Schrader was at the rained out Indy race, .
Things You Should Watch
Watch these NASCAR officials try to clear a groundhog from the track at MIS during a halted practice session.
He eventually escaped from the bucket, and the track workers had to capture him all over again, this time in a large trash can. What a mess…
This car is fast –
Here is a nice video from Detroit last week –