GP3

LeCLERC POWERS TO POLE POSITION AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

ART Grand Prix’s Charles Leclerc takes second pole of the season
Series leader Charles Leclerc from ART Grand Prix showed his dominance in today’s qualifying session for Round 6 of the 2016 GP3 Series season at Spa-Francorchamps: the Scuderia Ferrari Team development driver posted a best laptime of 2:04.896 which was three tenths clear of his nearest rival and faster than last year’s pole position time set by Luca Ghiotto. DAMS’ Jake Hughes was second ahead of McLaren protégé Nyck de Vries.
It was another warm start to proceedings at the Belgian track and it was Dutchman De Vries who was first to head the timings on the first run. The ART Grand Prix rookie lapped two tenths quicker than Hughes and Arden International’s Jake Dennis to lead the field early on.
At the midway point, all of the drivers returned to the pitlane to switch to new Pirelli rubber with the soft compound nominated for this event. 1s was covering the top 17 drivers; showing how closely fought the battle for a good grid spot was going to be.
Hughes began his push lap, with Leclerc hot in pursuit with the Briton clocking the fastest time of the session, albeit for a matter of seconds before the Monegasque driver claimed P1. Leclerc had lit sectors one and two in purple and lapped three tenths faster than the DAMS driver.
The positions remained fairly stagnant behind as the drivers tried to improve but it was to no avail as Leclerc celebrated his second pole in GP3 at the chequered flag. Hughes fresh from his race win in Hockenheim joined the ART Grand Prix ace on the front row ahead of De Vries, Trident’s Antonio Fuoco, Kevin Joerg, Koiranen GP’s Matthew Parry, Jenzer Motorsport’s Arjun Maini, Sandy Stuvik, Santino Ferrucci and Campos Racing’s Alex Palou.
Leclerc’s pole position has gained him a further four valuable points in the title battle; meaning he has extended his advantage over teammate Alexander Albon to seven points after the Thai qualified down in P17.

GP2

GIOVINAZZI FLIES TO POLE POSITION IN SPA 

Italian rookie denies teammate in dramatic qualifying session
Antonio Giovinazzi has claimed his second GP2 pole position in the dying seconds of today’s qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps: the Italian rookie denied teammate and Series leader Pierre Gasly who thought he had done enough until Giovinazzi crushed his hopes with a laptime of 1:56.607. Gustav Malja completed the top 3.
The session opened in hot temperatures as the twenty two cars took to the track on Soft Pirelli tyres. Gasly was quick to set a marker of 1:57.068 – two tenths better than Giovinazzi. Ten minutes into the clock, the Red Bull protégé returned to the pits whilst all eyes were on title rival and joint Series leader Sergey Sirotkin who seemed to struggle and could not do better than P15 on his first stint.
Halfway through the session, both PREMA drivers sat in 1-2, ahead of Jordan King, Norman Nato and Nobuharu Matsushita. All cars returned to the pits for some fresh tyres. Malja was the first man to resume his session with twelve minutes left on the clock. He enjoyed a clear track to light sectors 1 and 3 in purple. The Rapax driver moved up to P2 just behind Gasly. Nato also found some extra pace to go over the line in third ahead of Giovinazzi.
With three minutes left in the session, Gasly was determined to bag a third pole this season: he improved in sector 1; then he went purple in sector 2. He locked up but managed to keep the momentum in sector 3 to lap the Belgian track in a 1:56.768 beating his personal best by 3 tenths of a second. He returned to the pits confident that he had done enough, but Giovinazzi was not done. In the dying minutes, the Italian improved in the first two sectors and found Mitch Evans ahead of him in the final sector. He took advantage of the tow from the Kiwi to go quickest and clock in a laptime of 1:56.607, one tenth better than Gasly, and thus claiming pole position – PREMA’s fourth and their first full front row in their rookie season.
At the chequered flag, Malja retained P3 ahead of Nato, King, Arthur Pic, Raffaele Marciello, Alex Lynn, Matsushita and Marvin Kirchhöfer.

FORMULA 1

WILLIAMS MARTINI BELGIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS
ROUND 13 OF 21
The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is one of Formula One’s most iconic and revered. The extreme climb through Eau Rouge with clouds of spray hanging between the trees of the Ardennes forest is one of the sport’s most memorable sights. Spa is one of precious few circuits to retain the magic of its original form through a modernised and shortened layout, thanks to sweeping elevations around legendary sections of road at Eau Rouge, Pouhon and Blanchimont. The 7km lap is perhaps the most treasured of the season for the drivers. Williams has won three times at Spa with Nigel Mansell claiming the 1986 race, followed by Damon Hill in 1993 and 1994.
For Spa, Pirelli have made available the medium, soft and supersoft tyres.
Pat Symonds
The first thing to say is that we expect dry and warm weather all weekend which is not typical of the conditions that we tend to see in Spa. The circuit itself is quite interesting with high power and drag sensitivity favouring low drag and powerful power units. Top speed is particularly important, so most cars are set-up with low drag, compromising speed in sector two to give them better opportunities to overtake into turns five and 18. Teams also tend to run cars quite stiff as you need good change of direction and whilst Eau Rouge is no longer a difficult corner, you still need to be cautious with ride heights to ensure the car doesn’t bottom-out there. Spa places high demands on tyres. In typical cool temperatures we would expect to see front graining at the start of the weekend with more even front and rear wear by race day. We are back to medium, soft and supersoft compounds which we have plenty of experience with this year, which combined with the 7km lap, means we expect to see most cars on two-stop strategies. Spa is a circuit which should favour us and our target will be to challenge from the start to get some good points.
Valtteri Bottas
This is definitely one of my favourite tracks, mainly because of the high speed corners. It’s extremely enjoyable to drive. It’s normally quite a good track for us, the only thing with Belgium is that the weather can be quite unpredictable across the weekend. It’s definitely one of the best circuits in the world so I’m really looking forward to going back. We were on the podium there in 2014, so that’s a good memory. I’ve also had quite a bit of success in Belgium with Formula Renault, Formula 3 and GP3 so it’s always one of the best tracks to go to for me.
Felipe Massa
Belgium is one of the best tracks in Formula One. Most of the drivers love the old style, including me. I’m really looking forward to having a great race at Spa. It’s a place that can be wet and dry pretty much at the same time, so I hope it will be a good weekend for us and that we have a fantastic race. It’s always a pleasure to race there and feel the car perform at one of the best tracks in the world. I’ve got great memories from Belgium – I’ve been on the podium and I won there in 2008. It’s definitely a place I always enjoy visiting and a great pleasure to race around.

LAGUNA SECA

HISTORIC ROLEX MONTEREY MOTORSPORTS REUNION AT MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA

The 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca exceeded expectations once again as one of the premier anchor events of the annual Monterey Classic Car Week.
A record four-day total of 70,525 spectators joined in the incredible celebration of motorsports history at the raceway where so much of it has been made over the past 60 years. From featured marque BMW celebrating its 100th anniversary to the 50thanniversaries of Can-Am and Trans-Am, and from the 1911 National Speedway Roadster to the 2001 BMW M3 GTR, it was both the visual and auditory overload experience race fans have come to expect and appreciate during the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

A 60-minute show of the event is scheduled to air Thursday, Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. Eastern on The Enthusiast Network (TEN).

The 2017 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, to be held during Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s year-long 60th anniversary celebration, have been set for Aug. 17-20. The featured marque will be announced in the coming months.

CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE

1936 LANCIA ASTURA NAMED BEST OF SHOW AT THE 66TH PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (August 21, 2016) — The 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance concluded with first-time entrant Richard Mattei lifting the top prize high overhead soon after his 1936 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet was named Best of Show at the prestigious competition.

When the award was announced, it took Mattei a moment to grasp the accomplishment: “I was just happy to be an entrant at Pebble Beach—and now to get an award, and not just one, but three!” His Lancia won its class before competing for Best of Show, and it was also named the Gwenn Graham Most Elegant Convertible.
The cabriolet was once owned by guitarist Eric Clapton, who declared it to be “the most fun I’ve had off stage and out of bed.” Pininfarina later purchased the car for its collection and it remained there for decades.
“This Lancia is a true combination of speed and style,” said Concours Chairman Sandra Button. “Pinin Farina took a fantastic car and added many spectacular attributes, including a power top, curved side glass windows and the unusual basket-woven trim. This car is sport and luxury embodied.”
Mattei purchased the Lancia in 2009 and spent about six years restoring it. Asked what he found most compelling about the car, Mattei referenced the car’s mechanical sophistication and its ability to exhibit two different personalities: an aggressive stance with the top up and a more relaxed and elegant style with the top down.
The Pebble Beach Concours competition drew 228 cars from 16 countries and 30 states to the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links. It also raised over $1.75 million to help people in need. Through the Pebble Beach Company Foundation, the primary charitable partner of the Concours, these charitable funds will benefit over 80 local charities.
There were many strong contenders for Best of Show this year. Final nominees included a 1938 Delahaye 165 Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet owned by the Robert M. Lee Automobile Collection and shown by Anne Brockinton Lee of Sparks, Nevada; and a 1931 Stutz DV-32 LeBaron Convertible Victoria owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini III of West Orange, New Jersey.
The 67th Pebble Beach Concours takes place on Sunday, August 20, 2017, and features will include Isotta Fraschini, Lincoln Centennial, and American Dream Cars of the 1960s. The 68th Pebble Beach Concours will be held on Sunday, August 26, 2018, and will include a special class for Significant Cars of India.

MOTORSPORTS MONDIAL

60 YEARS ON THE ETOILE FILANTE AND THE DAUPHINE TREAD ON AMERICAN SOIL AGAIN.
60 years on, the Etoile Filante and the Dauphine tread American soil again

The Renault Etoile Filante* has returned to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA, where, six decades ago, in August 1956, it famously clocked up a speed of 308.9kph to establish four new world records, two of which stand to this day.
Meanwhile, to celebrate the American career of the Renault Dauphine, which is also celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, Renault Classic dispatched a Dauphine to the Bonneville Speed Week (August 13-19) where Nicolas Prost established a new class record**, proving that passion has no age!

*For further information about the Renault Etoile Filante: http://bit.ly/1AOLOj7
** Record established by Nicolas Prost in a Renault Dauphine. The Frenchman was officially clocked at 76.541mph on the morning of August 14, 2016, following technical scrutineering. The 956cc-engined car (N°9561) beat the existing CGC record (Classic Gas Coupé) for cars made between 1928 and 1981 and an engine capacity of between 754cc and 1,015cc.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast