|WINNERS REWARDED FOR WELL EXECUTED PLANS—|
The 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona maintained tension right to the finish as a yellow flag 20 minutes from the end shrank the gap between the leading cars. In a race of attrition that saw several top teams fall by the wayside in the closing hours, the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP snatched overall victory by a mere 1.461 seconds. In the PC class, the ORECA FLM 9 of CORE autosport took the class victory, while in GTLM and GTD, it was #911 Porsche 911RSR of Porsche North America and #555 Level 5 Motorsport’s Ferrari F458 that topped the podium in their respective classes.
As their opponents licked their wounds following an intense 24 hours, the Action Express driver line up of Portuguese native Joao Barbosa, Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastian Bourdais from France celebrated. A winner ten years ago, Fittipaldi hoped his third victory would not take so long. For Bourdais, born in Le Mans, this was his first 24-hour race win: “It’s one of those big races that you just want on your résumé. The guys were prepared. Everybody knew exactly what to do and how to do it, and the execution was perfect. It’s a heck of a feeling and I couldn’t be any happier.”
Team principal Bob Johnson, celebrating his second overall win at the Rolex 24 At Daytona was quick to praise the efforts of second-placed Wayne Taylor Racing: “If we didn’t have competitors like the #10 car it wouldn’t be as much fun.” For Johnson, though, overall victory and his second car finishing third was proof of a job well done: “It sounds arrogant to say I expected to win, but I knew the resources, talent and assets we had, how hard they had worked, how well our drivers had gelled. We had run every session of every test and for the most part were the fastest. That gave me every indication we had something going here.” Joao Barbosa, member of the 2010 overall winning team, was clear too that this win did not happen overnight: “It took a lot of preparation.”
In the PC class the battle was hard fought even if the gap to the next car was over one lap. Driver Colin Braun felt the win was also down to the team’s preparation in the off-season: “We worked really hard to come up with a plan that we wanted to stick with. We came prepared and executed our plan. We were able to stay out of the pits and just stopping for tyres, gas and changing drivers.”
Porsche celebrated a 76th class win at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, with success in GTLM class. The margin of victory was under one second and British driver Nick Tandy seemed in shock at the post race press conference: “We were all strangers more or less when we came to the Test, but now at the end of this weekend we’re the champions. It just goes to show what a good job everybody has done within the team.”
GTD winners Level 5 staked an early claim to their class title, hitting the front in the fifth hour of the race. The team looked relatively secure until dawn this morning when the challenge of #45 Flying Lizard became a real threat. For the next six hours the two cars traded places. Over the final two laps the pair raced side-by-side, neck and neck. For Townsend Bell in his first 24-hour race it was overwhelming: “I’ve never done a 24-hour race. I don’t think I’ve ever gone a day without at least three hours sleep. I didn’t realize how much really goes into it. It’s quite spectacular. What an unbelievable finish.”
The enormity of the winner’s achievement may take a while to sink in, but the validation came as always at the final prize giving with the award of the Champion’s Trophy and the traditional Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.
Provisional Top Three in Class
SAUBER REVEALS NEW C33–
Sauber has revealed its 2014 Formula 1 car, the Ferrari-engined C33, through a digital launch.
The new C33 features a much gentler slope in the nose than many of its rivals.
Similar to the McLaren that was launched earlier in the week, the 2014 Sauber features a sharp nose where others have opted for flat or even two-pronged.
The new car’s front wing is also noteable smaller due to change in the rules while the team have adopted a twin pylon mounting for the rear.
Explaining the new look, Sauber’s chief designer Eric Gandelin said: “The regulation changes in 2014 are the biggest ever seen in Formula One. They impact on all aspects of the car’s design,” he said.
“The most noticeable change on the chassis and safety side concerns the nose structure where a maximum height for the tip of the nose is now set by the rules. This is to reduce the likelihood of cars launching in the air in case of a front to rear impact. This also reduces the risk of a driver sustaining head injuries, which could happen with the previous higher nose design.
“These changes are combined with a new side impact structure as well, for which the design is now regulated. This means the dimension of the tube and the laminate is now set and the same for all teams. And these tubes are overall much bigger and result in bulkier side pods, especially compared to the very slim side pods, we had on the C32.”
The length of the chassis is also different to last year due to the new rules governing the engine size, a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6, and the new energy recovery system.
“On the engine side the old 2.4 litre naturally aspirated V8 is being replaced by a 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 engine. This is coupled to a much more complex energy recovery system with bigger batteries and now two electric motors,” he added. “Energy is being recovered from both, braking and heat.
“The power generated by the energy recovery system will increase from 60 kilowatts in the past few years to 120 kilowatts with the boost available for 33 seconds. The fuel consumption is being reduced significantly.
“We are now limited to 100 kilograms of fuel from green light to chequered flag. This has resulted in much smaller fuel cells, which impacts the chassis length. On the braking side we have an all-new brake-by-wire system at the rear.”
FERRARI’S 2014 CHALLENGER THE F14 T IS UNVEILED IN MARANELLO—
Drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen were on hand as the Scuderia’s latest Formula 1 challenger was revealed to the world – the F14 T being their response to Formula 1′s radical technical overhaul.
Over a million votes were cast in naming the car but Ferrari will be relying on more than fan power if they’re to make a strong impression, particularly early on in the season.
They have been notoriously slow starters in recent years and although none of their rivals anticipates being quick out of the starting blocks given the array of challenges posed by the switch to 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines and more powerful energy recovery systems, Ferrari are bound to be conscious of their position.
On the plus side, there’s the opinion that ‘works’ teams such as Ferrari and Mercedes will hold an advantage in the race to understand and develop their cars. However, there has also been a feeling in the paddock that the German manufacturer and Renault will deliver more competitive power units.
A particular Achilles heel in recent seasons has been Ferrari’s chassis – as a consequence of their windtunnel, the predictions of which have failed to match up with track performance.
However, after a period spent using a facilty owned by Toyota Motorsport while their own windtunnel was being recalibrated, it is now up and running again.
Furthermore, Ferrari last year secured the services of James Allison, who had overseen Lotus’s strong performances during the past few seasons, who returned to Italy to take the role of Chassis Technical Director.
THE FIRST REAL REVEAL OF THE 2014 SEASON McLAREN’S MP4-29—
McLaren became the first Formula 1 team to fully unveil a 2014 car as it launched the MP4-29 online on Friday.
While Force India and Williams had already given hints of their new designs with computer-generated images, McLaren’s event marked the first proper look a 2014 F1 design.
It featured the anticipated take on the controversial nose design that teams have leaned to under the new regulations, with a narrow protruding section to meet the revised crash test rules without lowering the entire front end as the rulemakers originally envisaged.
The car was unveiled in a plain silver livery with basic MP4-29 branding.
LOTUS F1 REVEALS THEIR NEW E22 AND ANNOUNCES THAT ERIC BOULLIER GOES TO McLAREN AND LOPEZ TAKES OVER AS TEAM PRINCIPAL—
In order to continue strengthening its management structure, to further increase Genii’s role in the team and to close the gap between its strategic, commercial and sporting activities, Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that its co-Chairman, Gérard Lopez, will combine his position on the board with the role of Team Principal with immediate effect. As a result, the other chairmanship responsibilities will be shared with co-Chairman Andy Ruhan.
The team will announce the arrival of new commercial partners and sponsors when it unveils its 2014 car, the E22, at the beginning of the first Bahrain pre-season test in February. The team will also confirm its organisational structure for 2014 ahead of this test. The team management, car and partner portfolio will illustrate the team’s will and desire to continue its quest to become one of the strongest teams in Formula 1 in every sense.
Gérard Lopez, co-Chairman and Team Principal:
“Lotus F1 Team has never stood still and we head into what promises to be an exciting 2014 season with an innovative new car, new partners and a new management structure at Enstone. Great things have been achieved over the past years and we need to continue this momentum. With this in mind, we are proud to announce that we have concluded an agreement with YotaPhone and its shareholders. YotaPhone shareholders will become important partners to Genii and YotaPhone a sponsor to the Lotus F1 team this year. We thank Eric for all his hard work over the past four years and we are confident we can continue to fight as one of the top teams in Formula 1 over the seasons ahead.”