Julian Leal sets the pace at Spa

Julian Leal has returned to GP2 after the summer break in fine form: the Colombian driver set the fastest laptime of today’s free practice session at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in a 1:57.877 ahead of Johnny Cecotto and Ferrari protégé Raffaele Marciello.
The eighth round of the 2014 season opened in Belgium in cool temperature, but on a dry track with all twenty-six drivers trying to warm up their Pirelli Hard compounds. It was Series leader Jolyon Palmer who set the early pace with a laptime one tenth of a second quicker than title rival Felipe Nasr. However, the Briton’s time was soon bettered by Sergio Canamasas who then lost the top spot to Nathanaël Berthon.
With ten minutes down into the session, Cecotto went top ahead of Leal who lapped the Belgian track one tenth of a second slower than the Venezuelan driver. But mid-session, the Carlin man was able to find some extra pace: he dipped under 1m58s and would remain top until the end.
The session was trouble free, but eleven minutes before the end, Stefano Coletti ran a bit too wide at Turn 14, spun and eventually stopped on track which ended his session prematurely. A red flag came out whilst the marshals retrieved his Racing Engineering car. At the restart, there were four minutes left on the clock which was just enough time for an outlap followed by a push lap, but Leal remained P1 at the chequered flag ahead of Cecotto and Marciello. Berthon finished fourth ahead of his teammate Conor Daly who moved up to fifth place on his last lap. Local star Stoffel Vandoorne, Canamasas, Coletti, Stéphane Richelmi and Mitch Evans completed the top ten.
Spa-Francorchamps – Free Practice
Julian Leal
Johnny Cecotto
Raffaele Marciello
Racing Engineering
Nathanaël Berthon
Venezuela GP Lazarus
Conor Daly
Venezuela GP Lazarus
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
Sergio Canamasas
Stefano Coletti
Racing Engineering
Stéphane Richelmi
Mitch Evans
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Jolyon Palmer
Marco Sorensen
MP Motorsport
Felipe Nasr
Simon Trummer
Rio Haryanto
EQ8 Caterham Racing
Takuya Izawa
ART Grand Prix
Tom Dillmann
EQ8 Caterham Racing
Daniel Abt
Hilmer Motorsport
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
Rene Binder
Arden International
Jon Lancaster
Hilmer Motorsport
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
André Negrao
Arden International
Artem Markelov
Kimiya Sato
Campos Racing


André Lotterer to replace Kamui Kobayashi at the Belgian Grand Prix

André Lotterer will drive for Caterham F1 Team at the Belgian Grand Prix. The team will benefit from having another experienced driver at the wheel of the car throughout the weekend and the German’s feedback will contribute to improve the performance of the car. The weather also plays a big role at Spa-Francorchamps and Lotterer is one of the most experienced drivers racing under mixed conditions.
Lotterer will replace Kamui Kobayashi for this round of the championship. The Japanese driver still remains part of the team.
Born in Duisburg in Germany, Lotterer moved to Belgium when he was only two years of age and grew up close to Nivelles, a city that’s only 150km from Spa-Francorchamps. Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, Lotterer started racing in the early 90s, succeeding in both German and British Formula 3 championships before being named Jaguar Racing’s Formula One test driver in 2002. A year later he moved to Japan, doing very well in both Formula Nippon and the Japanese Super GT Championship, which he won in 2006 and 2009. He made his debut in endurance racing in 2009, taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. His impressive performance that year earned him a drive with the works Audi Sport team in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, remaining with the team and winning the prestigious race three times (2011, 2012 and 2014). In 2011 he won the Formula Nippon championship. Since 2012, the German competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Team Quotes
André Lotterer: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in a Formula One race weekend – I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this chance. I’m ready for this challenge and I cannot wait to jump in the car and make the most out of the weekend ahead. I will need to get settled and used to the car quickly, as the team has worked on a number of updates and we will need to have as much time as possible out on track to optimise the car’s performance. I really enjoy racing at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, it’s one of my favourite tracks and it’s very close to where I grew up, so this makes the weekend even more special and one to remember.”
Marcus Ericsson: “Spa is one of the races I’ve been most looking forward to since we first announced my F1 drive back in January. I love the track, it’s been a very good circuit for me, especially in the last couple of years in GP2 when I won in 2012 and was on the podium last year, so it’ll be good to be back, this time in an F1 car.
“We’re aiming to make real progress in Belgium, and that will make the whole weekend even better for the team and for me. We haven’t had new parts on the car for quite a while, so to be coming to a track like Spa with a package that gives us a chance to take a step forward, that’s a good feeling, but we’re taking nothing for granted. We have a lot of work ahead of us to get the most out of that parts but everyone is prepared for that and if we achieve what we’re setting out to, and have good reliability, it could be a really good weekend for us.”



Scuderia Toro Rosso is pleased to announce that the newly recruited Red Bull Junior Team member Max Verstappen will drive for the team from the start of the 2015 Formula 1 season, alongside Daniil Kvyat. After becoming karting world champion, 16 year old Max made a smooth transition to the highly competitive FIA Formula 3 European Championship, proving his ability by winning 8 of the 27 races held to date, which puts him in contention to take the title.

Max Verstappen:

“First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Helmut Marko and Red Bull for all their trust and giving me the chance to make my Formula debut in 2015 with Scuderia Toro Rosso. Ever since I was seven years old, Formula 1 has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true.”

“There are several people that have helped me throughout the years and still support me to this day and I want to sincerely thank them. First of all a big thanks to my father Jos, who has always been by my side, day and night, year after year. Of course I’m very thankful for all my sponsors who’ve believed in my talent and supported me in these financially difficult times. I hope that I can maintain a wonderful collaboration with them as I embark on this exciting new phase in my career. I also want to thank my manager Raymond Vermeulen, for all his efforts in making this agreement possible. Finally, thanks to all the teams in the various karting and single-seater categories for their vital help and support. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

“We’ve all worked tremendously hard to reach Formula 1 and I will give my absolute best to be successful in the pinnacle of motorsport. With the return of the Verstappen name to Formula 1, I hope we can relive old memories and I’m hoping to see many fans at all the Grand Prix circuits.”

Franz Tost:

“We are happy to welcome Max into the Toro Rosso family. It’s great to see how the Red Bull Junior Programme continues to find talented young drivers and gives them the opportunity to come into Formula 1. We consider Max to be as one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation and we believe he has the necessary maturity and mental strength to take on this challenge successfully. This year he has already demonstrated how well he can cope under difficult conditions. For example, at the Norisring and Nürburgring, he showed extraordinary determination and the ability to withstand pressure before going on to win. Bearing in mind that Scuderia Toro Rosso was created with the aim of bringing young talent from the Red Bull Junior Team into Formula 1 and to educate them, it will now be up to us to provide Max with a competitive car, which will enable him to have the best possible start to his Formula 1 career.”

“With this in mind, I would also like to thank Jean-Eric Vergne for all his hard work. He has produced strong performances, but unfortunately he was also hindered by some reliability problems, especially in the first half of the current season. We hope that we have resolved these problems and that he will be able to end the second half of this season on a high note and thereby show that he still deserves another opportunity in Formula 1.”


BMW driver Marco Wittmann unbeatable at Nürburgring

Nürburg – Marco Wittmann has his maiden DTM title within reach. Thanks to a faultless performance in the seventh round of the season at the Nürburgring, the German BMW M4 DTM driver extended his lead in the drivers’ standings even further. Mattias Ekström, the 24-year-old’s fiercest rival, retired from the race following a collision in the opening stages. “This is a great success for us. Slowly, we can really start talking about the title. Towards the end of the race, it still was a little close, because Mike Rockenfeller was able to close up. I think that his tyres were better than mine in the closing stages of the race. Now, we have to continue like this,” Wittmann enthused after his lights-to-flag victory. In total, 80,000 fans visited the DTM event in the Eifel.

With his Audi RS 5 DTM, Mike Rockenfeller took the chequered flag in second place, 1.2 seconds down. At the start, the 30-year-old pipped his fellow Audi driver Edoardo Mortara and didn’t give up his position throughout the 49 lap race. “In the last few laps, I was able to close up to Marco Wittmann a little but further, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to mount an attack. I tried all the time to close up with fast lap times, but he simply was faster. However, second place is also a great result for the Phoenix team in its home race,” the Audi driver commented. Mortara completed the podium in third place.

Classified fourth, Paul Di Resta only just missed out on a podium finish. The Brit, who started from eighth on the grid, gradually worked his way up through the ranks. “My verdict is very positive. We were able to challenge for a podium finish by our own means. My thanks go out to the entire crew for having done a perfect job. I am very confident for the races to come,” the 28-year-old said. Four other drivers of a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé completed the strong showing by Mercedes-Benz at the Nürburgring.

Mattias Ekström will be facing a tough job when he still wants to challenge Marco Wittmann in the battle for the title. The Swede, second in the drivers’ standings, is 64 points down with three races to go. For the Audi driver, all his hopes of a good result were blown in the opening stages of the race. “In the third corner, I tangled with an opponent. Because of that, something broke on the right of my car and I had to retire,” the 36-year-old explained. Tied on points with the two-times’ champion, Edoardo Mortara also still has a chance to win the title.

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: “That was a very emotional weekend for us. Losing Dieter Lamm last week was really moving. Marco Wittmann’s victory is a boost for the entire team. Like this, we are making a big step towards the title, but I kindly ask all those who want to congratulate us to wait, because today, we have seen how quickly a race can be over.”

Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “Basically, having two drivers on the podium is a good result in the DTM. Congratulations to Mike Rockenfeller and Edoardo Mortara. Of course, the fact that only the two of them managed to use their good starting grid positions, isn’t satisfying. Today, we have seen some situations that we need to look at once again in quiet. Losing four out of eight cars because of collisions hurts.”

Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM management, Mercedes-Benz: “We can live very well with the race result and fourth place for Paul Di Resta, because the Nürburgring doesn’t particularly suit us. I am very happy for the entire team that we managed to get five cars into the top ten.”


A Timeless Endeavor
MONTEREY, Calif., August 16, 2014 – There are many elements that contribute to the mystique of vintage motor racing, but famous names of drivers from the past transcend all else. At today’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Sir Stirling Moss, one of the sport’s greatest drivers and most recognizable names, made a stir as an honored guest.  Indeed, his presence was no less regarded than that of a famous movie star, and after the knighted driver bantered at a lunch break “picnic” for the attending public’s pleasure with the recently retired Scottish driver Allan McNish (three-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, most recently in 2013), he obliged hundreds of fans with autographs on everything from a vintage steering wheel to a 1956 photo—showing him dashingly at his prime–that had been saved by a fan for just such a lucky day.
“It’s wonderful to come to events like the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and be surrounded by like-minded people,” said Moss, who retired from racing (vintage cars) when he was 83 and turns 85 in September. “There are many people here who weren’t even born when I stopped racing (professionally), yet they are so polite and respectful; it makes me feel very good.”

Perhaps most fascinating about the exchange between Moss and McNish was the comparison between then—1948 to 1962 when Sir Stirling was racing—and now in terms of the technology available.  Moss would have given anything for a data stream to analyze not just elapsed time and top speed but how the car performed at every juncture and what problems might be arising. “Having the intercom on between the driver and the pits is fascinating to me,” said Moss, who talked about many “frightening” moments he had to face alone in his cockpit.  McNish knowingly countered, “It’s always risk vs. reward, but it’s a different kind of bravery now.”

Another folk-hero driver, Derek Bell, drove a 1957 Maserati 300S in today’s races, which hosted seven groups of historic automobiles determined by era or class. (Tomorrow, eight entirely different groups will have their turn.) Bell made his mark in motorsports by winning Le Mans five times, The World Sportscar Championship twice, and the Rolex 24 At Daytona three times.

“The most satisfying time for me in my career was obviously being successful in sports cars; however, the fact that I came through Formula 3, Formula 2 and then climbed into a Ferrari Formula 1 car at Watkins Glen in 1968 to finish sixth in my first F1 race was very satisfying,” said Bell. “I couldn’t have done what I did in sports cars had it not been for my experience in single seaters.  Thanks to Porsche’s great cars and my great teammates, I consider my racing career a success.”

Bell, who relishes driving “some of the lovely cars I raced in the day,” couldn’t be more pleased about vintage racing’s popularity. “There are plenty of great private vintage car owners out there who have plenty of money to buy the cars and the spare parts; they drive them and enjoy them and then sell them to other people to enjoy.  Rolex has done an amazing job of supporting the sport and getting everybody excited to be a part of it.”

Not all the professional drivers at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion are retired.  Marino Franchitti is currently competing in the Tudor United Sportscar Championship but also races in select vintage races.  Although most of the vintage cars raced in anger before he was born, he appreciates the history they represent.

“Actually I have raced a good number of cars older than me, including a Birdcage Maserati,” said Franchitti.  “I like to put myself in similar situations to my heroes and be able to experience that.”

Franchitti’s friend Harley Cluxton only recently bought the car Franchitti raced this morning, a 1975 Gulf Mirage GR8, and it arrived in this country a short while ago.  “We’ve had a few issues, but to drive a DFV powered Le Mans prototype from the 1970s is outstanding.  This morning we ran out of gas, but while it was running I had such a blast.  I’m used to jumping in and out of all different kinds of cars, so I deal with what I have at the time.  I never drive these cars 10/10ths; I leave more of a margin than I do in my modern stuff.  This whole experience is as much a show for the fans as it is for us, so you have to have a different mentality going in and a different way of approaching it.”

From the Other Side of the Fence
Like the drivers, vintage racing fans like the cars when they are as close to original as possible, obviously with safety improvements within that.

Jim Brown( Davis, Calif.), who is 55 and has been a fan in the stands here for 25 years, explained that watching the cars on track is fun, but it’s more about seeing the cars in displays or the open paddock area and talking to the people who are now keeping the cars that make this event so special.  “You have unprecedented access to a lot of drivers you grew up watching, and it’s one of the only races where you can get up close and personal with them to get a signature or ask a question. I have an old car, and it’s just a lifestyle; we’re at the arc, watching the end of an era.”

Sometimes spectators are surprised to see a rare car, which they thought was only for display, come alive. Today when Brian Blaine’s (Visalia, Calif.) minimally restored1923 Ford Model T took a rumbling spin through Pre-War Alley, it almost seemed as natural as having the oldest running Maserati in the world, a red 1928 Tipo 26B that was center stage in the Maserati Heritage Display, join in for a special lap around the track with two faster, sleeker Maseratis: a1955 300S and a 1958 250F that were raced here today.

Rolex enjoys an historic and privileged bond with motor sport and has been Title Sponsor of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion since it was renamed in 2010. (From 2001-2009, Rolex sponsored the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, which originally began in 1974, at this venue.)

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was established in 1957 by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), a not-for-profit 501C(4) corporation. Each race season, SCRAMP donates its net proceeds to the volunteer groups that help put on the races.


Eighth win of the season for rookie Max Verstappen

Season race: 25 of 33
Track: Nürburgring
Winner: Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing)
Pole position: Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing)
Weather: drying track

Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing) had a perfect start as a Red Bull Junior Team member: at the Nürburgring, the 16-year-old won his first outing in the colours of the Austrian Formula 1 World Championship-winning team. At the 3.629 kilometres long sprint circuit, he won the entertaining 25th FIA Formula 3 European Championship season round from Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin). At a drying track, the Dutch rookie driver scored his eighth win of the season and was thus able to reduce the gap to the championship leader. Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam), who finished sixth in the Nürburgring race, remains on top in the drivers’ standings.

The race started at a still wet, but already drying track. Nevertheless, three drivers took the risk of starting with rain tyres: Richard Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport), series’ novice Wing Chung Chang (Team West-Tec F3) and Michele Beretta (Eurointernational). Especially Goddard, who had started from 20th place, benefited from his initial tyre advantage and took the lead on lap seven. On lap 13, he lost it again because his rain tyres degraded and in spite of a spirited drive, he was left without a chance against the faster Max Verstappen. In the remainder of the race, the Australian dropped back more and more and eventually crossed the finish line in 19th place.

Out in front, Verstappen only managed to pull clear from his main rival Antonio Fuoco, while the latter had his compatriot Antonio Giovinazzi in his rear-view mirrors until the end of the race. Jordan King (Carlin) took the chequered flag in fourth place from Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) and Esteban Ocon, who battled for a long time. Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Santino Ferrucci (Eurointernational) and Edward Jones (Carlin) rounded out the top ten in a race that had plenty of excitement.

Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing): “We knew that the track here dries out quickly, so therefore we opted for slick tyres. I reckon that this was the right choice, even though the first few laps with slicks weren’t easy. When Richard Goddard overtook me, I was well aware that his rain tyres wouldn’t last that long anymore, because at that time, he was already trying to cool his tyres all the time. Therefore, I didn’t defend my position too heavily against his attacks and I just tried not to let him pull away too much.”

Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam): “I had a good start and I even managed to take the lead in the second corner. Being in front at the slippery track, however, wasn’t easy. When I ran too wide in a corner, Max was able to overtake me again. But I am also very happy with second place.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin): “My start was really good, too, I already managed to move up to third on the opening lap. In the final stages, I was even able to close up to Antonio Fuoco, but I wasn’t close enough to mount an attack. However, I am very happy with third place, especially having started from seventh on the grid.”

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