Sonoma Historics

 Greene in Napa Valley

 A visit to the wine country by a member of F1 Weekly familia


Racing at the highest point of Sears Point Raceway in scenic Sonoma, the No 28 car in the Grand National Stock Car class, a 1963 Ford Galaxy (there’s a 7-litre engine in there, folks!) driven by Mr. Jere Clark of Phoenix, AZ


Group 8 (1925 – 1941 Racing Cars), a 1931 Alfa-Romeo Tipo B “P3”, an ex-Tazio Nuvolari car currently owned and driven by Peter Giddings of Danville, CA. 

 

Number 32, the Lotus 11 Le Mans owned and driven by Mr. Steve Anderes of Sunnyvale, CA leading the pack along the back straight during the 1955 – 1960 Sports Racing Cars race on Sunday.

 

A 1972 McLaren M8-FP with nearly 8.4 liters of magnificent Chevy power, heading onto the back straight during the Can-Am race.  Car owned and driven by Wade Carter of Woodinville, CA.

Photos and captions courtesy of Mike Greene.

Speed Euroseries

Davide Rigon gets ready for his debut at the Speed Euroseries in Imola

A new challenge for Davide Rigon. Next week end the Italian talented driver will be behind the wheel of a Tatuus 12 for the third round of the Speed Euroseries, which will take place on the Enzo and Dino Ferrari track in Imola.

This is Davide’s debut in this kind of Championship and It will be a good chance for him to keep his concentration alive and do a physical training just before the third round of the Blancpain GT Endurance Series, on the programme at the end of June on the French Paul Richard’s track. It will be an intense week end in which Rigon will have to discover the car since free practices, to be at his best during qualifying ( on programme on Saturday, the 23rd at h12.40) and the 90-minutes-race.

“ I’m very happy to have the chance of racing consistenly, even if my main engagement is working with Ferrari Team and the GT Endurance Championship. It’s a honour to cooperate again with a constructor. For this reason, through my knowledge and experience, I’ll give my contribution to a further development of the car, previously started by Gianmaria. It will be a very hard week end, but I’ll have enough time to study the car and prepare myself at best for the two races. The goals to reach are of a high level so I hope to do a great job” says Davide Rigon.

“ I’m happy for the agreement with Tatuus. During the week end in Imola Davide will take a stab at driving a new car, offering all his experience to Tatuus. I’m sure that this will be another chance for Davide to show his abilities, even if our main engagements are the cooperation with the Ferrari Team and Kessel Racing in the GT Endurance Championship” says the manager from Faenza , Mr Giovanni Minardi.

Davide next racing week end will start on Friday morning with a 2 hours free practices session and will go on the following day with a qualifying round and the first race on programme at 16.45. The second round on Sunday (h15.45) will be the final one

Formula One

Caterham Group Announces Graham Macdonald As New CEO Of Caterham Cars

Caterham Group, the parent company of Caterham Cars, Caterham F1 Team, Caterham Composites and CTI (Caterham Technology & Innovation) has today confirmed that Graham Macdonald, previously CFO of Caterham Cars will step up to the role of CEO after current Chief Executive Officer Ansar Ali leaves the business by mutual consent.

Graham has played an active role with Ansar in helping create Caterham Cars into its modern-day guise as a core element of the Caterham Group and will now lead Caterham Cars as CEO.

Ansar will leave his post as CEO after leading Caterham Cars following a management buy-in which assumed control of the business in 2005 from the Nearn family who originally founded Caterham Cars. Ansar oversaw a program which initiated a fundamental shift in the engineering focus of the business, a move which revitalised the legendary Seven range. He also oversaw the long-term stability of Caterham Cars, building on its historic spirit of innovation, entrepreneurial endeavour with a core motorsport base and dedicated to the notion of serving the ‘unserved’, making racecar performance accessible to everyone.

Ansar has now decided to move on to new challenges and Caterham Group thanks him for the integral role he played in building Caterham Cars into a globally respected automotive brand and helping form Caterham Group in its present-day guise. Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group Chairman, said: “I want to take this chance to thank Ansar for everything he has done for the Caterham brand over many years. Without his leadership Caterham Cars would not be the world renowned, profitable business it is today and we would almost certainly not be working under the Caterham name if he had not initiated the discussions with us that led to the enviable position Caterham finds itself in today.

“Now we move on to the next phase of the expansion of Caterham Group and Caterham Cars. Graham is the perfect person to take over and lead the company and his experience and dedication will help us make a smooth transition into the next chapter of the Caterham Cars story.”

Formula One

 

WILLIAMS F1 EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: Following the last two sets of race results we are keen to continue to demonstrate our team’s improvement and ensure both cars come home in the points. Valencia proves a difficult track for both driver and car and with the expected large track evolution throughout the weekend tyre management will once more be crucial. Pirelli bring the medium and soft compounds to this race, a pairing that was last used in Bahrain. The track layout places a lot of stress on the braking system and the high ambient temperatures, coupled with a lower than average mean speed, forces one to open up the cooling package.

Pastor Maldonado: Valencia is a challenge for the drivers because it combines a street circuit that’s used by regular road cars throughout the year with sections of regular race track so it can be tricky to achieve the ideal set up. The layout is quite quick with some long straights but there are also some slow corners so finding the right balance will be crucial to doing well. We’re constantly developing the car and it is showing good long run consistency at the moment and hopefully we can improve on the last couple races and pick up some good points.

Bruno Senna: Street circuits are always challenging for a driver and Valencia is certainly no different, requiring decent straight line speed combined with an efficient braking system to cope with the heavy braking areas. Our pace in Canada was not really reflective of the cars potential, but we’ve been working hard to understand the reasons why and hopefully we can put that behind us and gain a stronger result here.

Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: It’s actually a big challenge to get the engine mapping right for Valencia as the corners are so similar. Ten corners are taken in first, second or third gear, and if you get one corner wrong then you will be at a disadvantage for the rest of the lap. Typically delivering this driveability at low torque and mid revs is one of the strengths of the Renault engine as our engineers are adept at tuning drive maps to deliver torque smoothly to help the driver control slip ratio and tyre wear.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: For Valencia we’re bringing the P Zero White medium tyre and the P Zero Yellow soft tyre. We normally experience hot weather there and Valencia contains more corners than any other circuit on the Formula One calendar, with reasonably high average speeds, so we need harder compounds than we have had at the last two street circuits: Monaco and Canada. Last year, the frontrunners all adopted a three-stop strategy, with three stints on the soft tyre followed by a final stint on the medium tyre. It will be interesting to see what they opt for this year, with the cars so closely matched. As there are limited overtaking opportunities, qualifying well to gain track position at the start will be crucial, just as it is in Monaco.

 

24 Heures du Mans

JRM Racing finishes first Le Mans 24 Hours in sixth overall and second non-works car

JRM Racing achieved its ambitious objective today when it finished the Le Mans 24 Hours at its first attempt. The British team, led by team principal James Rumsey and team manager Nigel Stepney, passed the flag after 24 hours of hard-fought racing, 357 laps and over 4,800km in an impressive sixth place and second of the privateers’ class.

Drivers David Brabham, Peter Dumbreck and Karun Chandhok delivered faultless performances to finish the race at the team’s first attempt

David, the 2009 Le Mans winner, took the start in the team’s Honda HPD ARX-03a LM1 car and immediately gained one place from the starting slot of 11th. The Australian set a consistent pace to hold 10th position overall before handing over to Karun Chandhok just after 17:00.

Karun, who made history as the first-ever Indian to compete in the race, had a baptism of fire with an immediate quadruple stint in car #22 and had moved from P10 to P8 by the end of his time in the car. He then handed over to Peter, who started to exchange positions with the #13 Rebellion – gaining a position when the latter pitted and losing it when he himself refuelled. Peter later graduated to sixth when the #7 Toyota spent a significant amount of time in the pits.

However on lap 114 Peter had a puncture coming through the Dunlop Curves and went off into the gravel. The Scot subsequently had to negotiate almost the entire lap with a puncture, and was pulled into the garage to check for suspension damage. No major damage was found but the delay dropped the #22 back to 17th overall. During the stop David took over from Peter for his second session in the car and the fight to gain positions began.

The Australian made a charge through the LM2 cars and was back to 9th overall by the time he handed over to Karun Chandhok on lap 158. Karun soon went up to 8th and set about chasing the #44 Starworks car for 7th overall. Then, on a stop on lap 169, Karun reported a problem with the clutch and was pushed into the garage. He rejoined in 12th overall but brought the car back to the pits in 9th when he handed over to Peter just before dawn.

Peter then put in a long stint as the sun came up, completing 42 laps. When he came off shift a little after 07:30hrs the Scot had put the team back into 7th overall, clear of the LM2 cars and three laps from 6th. David took over from Peter and consolidated the sixth position before handing back to Karun for another quadruple stint.

Peter concluded the race for the #22 JRM Racing, crossing the line in an incredible sixth overall in its first Le Mans and only its third-ever endurance race.

24 Heures du Mans

As the No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer-Marcel Fassler-Benoit Treluyer took the chequered flag at exactly 1500 hours, Audi Sport today secured their 11th victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  But this was historic for a number of reasons as it was the first win at the world’s most famous endurance race by a hybrid-powered car, it was on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the 24 Hours, and it was the first year that the famous endurance race featured as a round of the new FIA World Endurance Championship. 

Audi filled all three places on the winner’s podium, with the No.2 Audi’s Tom Kristensen-Allan McNish-Dindo Capello in second and the conventionally diesel-powered No.4 Audi R18 ultra in third place.  Mike Rockenfeller-Oliver Jarvis-Marco Bonanomi were the drivers.

Breaking up the Audis, and finishing in fourth place after a display of amazing consistency and reliability, was the No.12 Rebellion Racing Lola Toyota of Neel Jani-Nicolas Prost-Nick Heidfeld.  Rounding out the top six was Le Mans newcomer JRM Motorsport whose No.22 HPD ARX-03a was in the reliable hands of former winner David Brabham, Peter Dumbreck and Karun Chandhok, the first Indian to compete in the Sarthe classic.

In LMP2, 12 of the 20 cars entered were still circulating after 24 hours which is a terrific achievement for all the teams involved in this privateer class. The best placed was the American No.44 Starworks Motorsport HPD ARX 03b entry, driven by 2011 class winner Tom Kimber-Smith with Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio followed by three Oreca Nissans operated by Thiriet by TDS Racing, Pecom Racing and Signatech Nissan. 

The GTE production-led class allowed the world’s leading luxury car manufacturers to display a great display of racing in the early stages of the race, with battles between Aston Martin, Corvette, Ferrari and Porsche.  However, in the end it was a dominant victory for Ferrari who took 1st, 2nd and 4th in class.  Having been completely re-built by the team in just one day following a testing accident, the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, in the hands of Gianmaria Bruni-Giancarlo Fisichella-Toni Vilander, finished two laps ahead of the No.59 Luxury Racing Ferrari and the No.97 Aston Martin Vantage.  It was a weekend to forget for the No.74 Corvette which had problem after problem following an impressive opening ten hours of racing, but the No.73 Chevrolet-powered car upheld some of the manufacturer’s honour on their 60th anniversary.

After a neck-and-neck battle in the GTE Am race between the No.50 Larbre Competition Corvette of Julien Canal-Pedro Lamy-Patrick Bornhauser and the No.67 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche of Anthony Pons-Raymond Narac -Nicolas Armindo, the former multiple-Le Mans-winning French team took the upper hand and recorded the victory.  For Julien Canal it is his third consecutive GTE Am victory. In third place was Krohn Racing’s Ferrari 458 Italia –Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson recording their third Le Mans podium finish and Michele Rugolo his first.

There were 21 official retirements, the most notable of which involved the two new Toyota TS030 Hybrids.  British driver Anthony Davidson in the No.8 Toyota was involved in a serious accident in the sixth hour which saw him taken to hospital with a back injury.  Fortunately he will be well enough to leave in a few days.  The other Toyota was also involved in the incident which ultimately saw the retirement from the race of the innovative Nissan DeltaWing.  

 

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast