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LAGUNA SECA

INAUGURAL CALIFORNIA 8 HOURS PROVIDES THRILLING CONCLUSION TO OUTSTANDING 60TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON AT MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA

MONTEREY, Calif., October 15, 2017 — An outstanding season of major motorsports event in the Monterey Peninsula during the 60th anniversary season of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca concluded with the longest professional event ever contested on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile race track: the California 8 Hours.

The SRO International GT Challenge made its first stop in North America to contest the event at the tail end of a doubleheader with the Pirelli World Challenge season finale. Top sports car drivers from all over the world swapped seats throughout the event in state-of-the-art GT3 and GT4 race cars to make for a compelling game of high-speed strategy between teams representing a variety of different manufacturers.

At the end of the race, the Magnus Racing team with co-drivers Pierre Kaffer, Kevin van der Linde, and Markus Winkelhock wheeled the No. 44 Audi R8 LMS to the top spot on the podium with a hard-earned win. They passed their Audi counterparts from the Land Racing team in the final hour of racing to secure the victory. K-PAX Racing, who won the GT class in last year’s Pirelli World Challenge with driver Alvaro Parente, took a well-deserved podium spot with their McLaren 650S GT3 that featured Bryan Sellers and Ben Barnicoat as Parente’s co-drivers.

“I knew I had to make a clean move to get past Chris [Mies, No. 29],” said van der Linde. “Our car was really fast, and when he started to defend his position, he was on the back foot. He was burning up his rear tires, and I could capitalize on that coming out of turn 4, passing him on the outside in the next corner.”

Four manufacturers were represented among the top five overall finishes with Audi nabbing the top two spots and McLaren, Acura, and Porsche also placing in positions 1-5. Other class winners include Black Swan Racing (GT3 Pro-Am), MARC Cars Australia (Invitational), and Rearden Racing (GT4).

The event was broadcast live on CBS Sports and Motor Trend OnDemand. Results from the previous days’ action in Pirelli World Challenge, Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Challenge, and Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA can be found HERE.

F1Weekly podcast # 738

CLARK HAS CAPITULATED AND ACCEPTS LCH AS 2017 F1 WORLD CHAMPION AS NASIR TALKS ABOUT THE SEB MELTDOWN!… WE HAVE A NEW EPISODE OF LOOSH ON THE LOOSE! AND HERE ARE SOME WORDS FROM OUR FRIEND FELIPE MASSA…

It was a very difficult race for us  in Japan. I was struggling with the degradation of the tyres with both sets. The other cars had better pace than us and it’s difficult to understand why. At the end, I lost positions to both Haas in a move that was a little bit tricky, but they were much quicker than me anyway.

If they didn’t pass me there, I think they could have passed me afterwards with the pace difference. I’m not happy with the pace today, but looking at the problems we had, we still finished in front of Renault and Toro Rosso, and one point is better than nothing.

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FORMULA 1

MAX ON THE JAPANESE GRAND PRIX

“This is my second year in a row on the podium here at Suzuka; it seems like Japan is a good place for me! Our car was very competitive in the corners but it meant we lost a bit on the straights and weren’t ever really able to have a proper go at it.

The degradation on the soft was really good and the balance felt good throughout the race, which is really positive in terms of finishing the season strongly. Lewis had some difficulties when he had traffic in front but at the end of the day he was controlling it. The traffic gave me a bit of a chance to close up and potentially have a chance to take him. It was a bit of a shame the back-markers came into play but I don’t think it made a big difference, once Lewis had clean air I would have struggled to pass him.

It just seems that the Mercedes struggle when following other cars closely. In the race it seems we are always more competitive than Qualifying, so I’m looking ahead to Austin and hoping we can carry this form on and get another podium. Two podiums in two weeks means I leave Asia extremely satisfied and excited to get back in the car in the US and try and extend this streak.”

FORMULA 2

LeCLERC STORMS TO VICTORY

 Monegasque wraps up title with feature win
 
Charles Leclerc is the first FIA Formula 2 Drivers’ Champion after claiming victory in this afternoon’s feature race at the Circuito de Jerez, leading all race long apart from the pitstop crossover and hanging on despite slowing enormously on the last lap as his tyres gave up to cross the line 0.2s ahead of title rival Oliver Rowland and teammate Antonio Fuoco.
Temperatures soared as the grid formed behind poleman Leclerc, with the Ferrari Academy driver easily containing front row starter Luca Ghiotto into turn 1 ahead of Sergio Sette Camara and Alexander Albon, with Rowland clinically dispatching the pair as he fought for his slender shot at the title: the Briton closed on the Italian but was unable find a way by as Leclerc built a huge lead over the pair ahead of their pitstops.
As expected most of the field started on the soft compound tyres, with pitstops coming as early as lap 7: Sette Camara became the target man after stopping on lap 9, with Ghiotto in 2 laps later but unable to contain the Brazilian after a slow stop. Leclerc and Rowland came in next time by, with the Monegasque out in P5 and Rowland emerging 2 places back before also being passed by Sette Camara and Albon.
As Leclerc started to pass the medium shod drivers and headed back to the front, Rowland had to following suit, dispatching the pair on lap 15: the Monegasque driver finally reclaimed the lead from Nicholas Latifi, who waved him through on lap 19, with Rowland grabbing second 2 laps after fighting his way through the traffic, and Ghiotto finally re-joining the top 3 after battling his way past Fuoco, who was one of the last drivers to pit for fresh rubber.
Latifi and Fuoco were soon putting their new tyres to work, fighting their way up the grid against rivals on older rubber, but it looked to be an effort in vain until Santino Ferrucci and Nobuharu Matsushita came together at turn 1 with the American coming off second best, stopping in the barriers and prompting a safety car period to remove his car, closing the field in the process and turning the tyre strategy on its head.
Leclerc had a lapped Sean Gelael on fresh tyres between himself and Rowland as they toured around, and when the race went live on lap 35 the Monegasque driver eased away at the front of the field with the Briton slicing by the Indonesian to chase his rival for the closing laps. Fuoco was soon charging towards them, easily passing Sette Camara, Latifi and Ghiotto to put himself on the podium.
On the final lap Leclerc tyres were spent: he slowed dramatically, bunching up his pursuers who also had to content with a battle between Gelael and Louis Deletraz as they looked in vain for a line past Leclerc, who had just enough left to lead the group over the line as he claimed his 6th victory of the season, and with it the 2017 title.
 Rowland just held out Fuoco for P2, with Latifi breathing down their necks in 4th, while Markelov was a fine P5 after a first lap tangle ahead of Jordan King, who made the alternate strategy work for him after mugging Ghiotto on spent tyres late in the race. Alex Palou was a splendid 8th on his debut, picking up the reverse pole for tomorrow’s sprint race, ahead of a strong drive by Nabil Jeffri for P9 and a distraught Sette Camara who also ran out of rubber in 10th.

F1Weekly podcast # 737

CLARK AND NASIR DO THE MALAYSIAN FOX TROT IN CELEBRATION OF MAX VERSTAPPEN’S VICTORY AND WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE RENAULT PACKAGE AND FERNANDO! WE HAVE THE SECOND INSTALLMENT OF “PEGLER’S PERSPECTIVE” AND…

PLEASE READ FERRARI’S THOUGHTS ON SUZUKA…

Even after 30 years, all drivers like it

Suzuka – Torrential rain greeted the Scuderia Ferrari team members as they landed in Japan. However, the current forecast is for better weather over the weekend, with the possible exception of Friday.

The Suzuka track is one of the classics of the Formula One Championship and exactly 30 years ago, it hosted its first Grand Prix. On that occasion, the race was won by Gerhard Berger in a Ferrari F1/87, the Austrian having started from pole position. From then on, apart from a couple of years when the race returned to Fuji, Formula One has always raced at this track in the Mie prefecture.

The track is pretty much universally liked by the drivers, even if no one can forget the 2014 tragedy that befell Jules Bianchi, a rising star for motor racing and for the Prancing Horse. Technically, it’s an “old style” circuit, narrow, with minimal run-off areas, corners with only one clear line and an interesting range of turns. The best known of these is undoubtedly the double uphill “esses” after the first corner, a place where Michael Schumacher was particularly adept at making a difference and there was almost a sense of destiny in the fact that, twice, he clinched the Drivers’ title here with Ferrari, in 2000 and 2003.

The key to Suzuka, in terms of driving, is to find a rhythm, so that getting the flow right through the turns is the key to success. With the 2017 cars and their very high aerodynamic downforce levels, a tricky corner such as the famous 130R, named after the original radius of its turn, could almost become a straight. But that won’t make the Japanese track and it’s unusual setting within an amusement park, any less of a challenge. And as for the fans, they are truly unique when it comes to their level of passion and enthusiasm.

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FORMULA 1

VERSTAPPEN WINS IN MALAYSIA LCH SECOND RICCIARDO THIRD

MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: WINNER, Start Position: 3rd  
“It is amazing to win the race today. Straight away I could see our pace was good and that Lewis was struggling with traction. I just went for it and used all the battery power I could to get past him.
I knew that he was fighting for the championship and wouldn’t take too many risks, so I went for it. As soon as I passed Lewis I knew from there onwards I could control the race. The car was really good and our pace on the soft tyre was better than I expected.
It was a very physical race and very warm in the car, plus I haven’t been feeling that well this weekend but we managed to bring it home. You can never predict how the rest of the season will go but we keep improving the car and it is looking positive. So hopefully from now onwards we can build on this for the rest of the year and then have a good start to next season. I didn’t expect yesterday that we would be so quick today and to win here was unexpected, so I’m very happy.”
 
 
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: 3rd, Start Position: 4th
“I enjoyed the race today. At the beginning I had hope that I could finish second but then after the pit stop it was just about holding on to third as Seb was coming. I was always going to get my elbows out and make it as hard as I could but I was surprised that there was only one proper attack from him. Maybe he used all the tyres to get up to me and then after the attack I guess he had some problems.
If I’m honest I would have liked a bit more of a fight until the closing stages just to have made it a little more exciting as the last few laps were kind of lonely. This double podium is a very positive result for us today. Obviously Max got the big one and drove well so congrats to him for the win; he drove strong all weekend. There were a few extra bits available for the cars here and I think we’re going to try that again in Suzuka; it looks positive for us at the high downforce circuits.”