INDY CAR

All-American Podium Sweep at Iowa Speedway, Hunter-Reay Claims Win

NEWTON, Iowa (July 18, 2015) – American drivers swept the top four positions – and six of the top seven – as Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay captured his first victory of the Verizon IndyCar Series season Saturday night in the Iowa Corn 300. Hunter-Reay prevailed by .5046 of a second over Josef Newgarden to become the ninth different winner in 13 Verizon IndyCar Series races this season.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Sage Karam finished a career-high third. Graham Rahal placed fourth for his third consecutive top-five finish, and Carlos Munoz, who won at Detroit in May, was fifth.

The last time Americans swept the podium in a Verizon IndyCar Series event was the 2006 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, when Michael Andretti followed winner Sam Hornish Jr. and Marco Andretti across the finish line in one of the most historic finishes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It was the sixth consecutive victory for Andretti Autosport at Iowa Speedway and the third victory at the track for Hunter-Reay, who was also battling Newgarden for the win one year ago, when he beat the CFH Racing driver to the finish line by .5814 of a second.

“The No. 28 DHL Honda was on rails at the end,” said Hunter-Reay, who had only one top-five finish this season entering the race. “This one we really had to work for. After a tough season, this one is really nice.”

Following a Lap 278 restart, Hunter-Reay held off multiple challenges by Newgarden in the No. 67 Wichita State University/CFH Racing Chevrolet.

“To finish second was bittersweet,” said Newgarden, who qualified seventh. “We had a winning car, but it’s a credit to the team to finish second.”

Juan Pablo Montoya’s championship points lead appeared to take a hit when the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet made right-side contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier on Lap 10 of the 300-lap race. It was his first DNF of the season and the first in 18 races since the 2014 race at Iowa Speedway.

“We had a good car. It was a little loose the first couple of laps, so I was just really taking it easy, biding my time,” said Montoya, who qualified third. “Something broke.”

A mechanical issue in the final third of the race plagued the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet of Scott Dixon, who entered the race 54 points behind, and an 11th-place finish by pole sitter Helio Castroneves, allowed Montoya to enter the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 2 relatively unscathed.

Rahal moved to second in the standings — 42 points behind — while Dixon, who finished 18th, is 48 points back and Castroneves is 54 points out of the lead.

OBITUARY

JULES BIANCHI DEAD AT 25

Here is the full statement from the Bianchi family released today:

It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Mélanie, wish to make it known that Jules passed away last night at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Nice, (France) where he was admitted following the accident of 5th October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix.

“Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end,” said the Bianchi family. “The pain we feel is immense and indescribable. We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice’s CHU who looked after him with love and dedication. We also thank the staff of the General Medical Center in the Mie Prefecture (Japan) who looked after Jules immediately after the accident, as well as all the other doctors who have been involved with his care over the past months.

“Furthermore, we thank Jules’ colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times. Listening to and reading the many messages made us realise just how much Jules had touched the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world.

“We would like to ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time, while we try to come to terms with the loss of Jules.”

Our thoughts are with Jules’ family, friends and fans all over the world.

LAGUNA SECA

ROLEX MONTEREY MOTORSPORTS REUNION

FASCINATING FORMULA 1

Motorsport enthusiasts return year after year to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (RMMR), because it never gets old. One can always count on a special marque being rotated in (for 2015, it is the Shelby GT350 Mustang, celebrating its 50th anniversary), an arrival that creates a splash from which ripples – both fleeting and magical – emanate.

At the 13-16 August event, Rolex’s close ties with motor racing and speed, in particular its partnership with Formula 1®, will be uniquely reflected in what is sure to become one of this year’s most unforgettable Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion moments: Saturday’s Group 8A race where 37 Formula 1 race cars will shriek at full revs down the front straight at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, their sound echoing through the hills of Monterey and stirring up memories of glory days when speed, glamour and extreme competition were synonymous with constructors’ names such as Lotus, Ferrari, Tyrrell, Brabham, Shadow, Hesketh, March, Surtees, Williams and Wolf and driver’s names such as Lauda, Hunt, Revson, Hill, Peterson, Andretti, Fittipaldi,Villeneuve and, of course, long-standing Rolex Testimonee Sir Jackie Stewart.

The Formula 1s are from the three liter era between 1967 and 1984, and they are organized by FIA Masters Formula One Championship. The series, founded by Ron Maydon in 2004, travels annually to eight countries across Europe and to the USA.

“Of the 37 Formula 1 cars entered in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion there will be eight or nine of our cars coming from Europe, and at least five of them have not raced in America since their last active year,” said Maydon. “The film industry has definitely added value to our Masters Historic Formula One Championship with films like Rush, Weekend of a Champion and 1. I spent three days during the filming of Rush driving the Shadow that Tom Pryce raced in the day. Rush is a great mix of storyline for those interested in the James Hunt/Niki Lauda drama, and it also gave the viewers a look at what we do with Historic Formula 1 racing.”

Maydon says his group’s support races at several of FIA Formula 1 Grand Prix events have elicited telling comments from current drivers. At the Canadian GP, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso reportedly said to one of the Master’s Ferrari drivers, “That car looks dangerous just standing next to it, but I sure would love to have a drive in it.” At last year’s Singapore Grand Prix, two-time world champion and current championship points leader Lewis Hamilton watched the Master’s Formula One Championship race after his qualifying session and told a newspaper reporter, “It was one of the coolest battles I have ever seen. I like it because they look like they have more mechanical grip with those big tires . It looks like a lot of fun. Those cars are pretty dangerous, though. In ours, if you go head-on into the wall you can get out, but in those cars you might not be able to.”

In further comparing historic Formula 1 racing with the modern-day version, Maydon said, “The old hands look at us and remember the good old days, and the young drivers and crew members look at us and ask ‘how the heck did they ever race these cars?’ I think there is a passion for our historic Formula 1 cars that is totally different from how the enthusiast regards today’s Formula 1 cars. For example, when our cars are in the paddock, fans can come close to look at them and talk to the drivers. The modern Formula 1 races are so huge and commercial that you can only see the cars when they are out on the circuit.”

Indeed, getting up close and personal with drivers in the unrestricted paddock areas is another one of those organic, ripple-effect elements that make the larger ecosystem of RMMR so special. The event starts with practice on Friday,14 August followed by full-on racing over the weekend for 550 period correct racing machines in 15 different groups. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s challenging 2,238 mile circuit has drivers negotiating its undulating twists and turns while spectators freely roam to watch from whatever perch they prefer, whether it be in a particular grandstand or on a certain patch of grass. And there are non-racing options such as enjoying a multitude of exhibits, including Automotive Alley; shopping or cheese- and wine-tasting in the Marketplace; and attending various special events, including Friday’s popular Picnic in the Park with notable guests and legendary drivers, held throughout the venue’s 542 acres.

The Shadow Knows
There have only been a handful of American drivers in Formula 1 over the years and only three American constructors who have raced more than a season or two.  One of those three American teams, Shadow, competed in F1 for ten years beginning in 1973. In the 112 Grand Prix events the team entered during that time it scored one victory, three pole positions, two fastest laps and six podium finishes.

Within earshot of the racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca lives the American icon, Don Nichols, who founded Shadow Cars and whose race teams were among the most recognized of the 1970s. (A 1975 Shadow DN6 is entered in Saturday’s Formula 1 race by Craig Bennett and will be driven by David Arrowsmith.)

“I wanted to compete at the very highest level, so when I decided it would be motorsports I went for the top,” said Nichols, a World War II veteran who formed the company Advanced Vehicle Systems in 1968, naming the cars he would race after his favorite childhood radio show “The Shadow.” “Our goal was to compete internationally, so in 1973, with UOP sponsorship, we entered Formula 1 with George Follmer and Jackie Oliver as drivers.” (Graham Hill also famously drove a Shadow DN1 with Embassy sponsorship.)

Stunningly all-black with white UOP graphics, the Shadow DN1 Formula 1 was designed by Tony Southgate and was out-of-the box fast. “George finished sixth in the car’s first race, and later in the season both he and Jackie had podium finishes,” said Nichols. “These were great results considering it was our first year in Formula 1.” Then, on August 14, 1977 at the Osterreichring in Austria, all of Shadow’s efforts paid off when Alan Jones came from 14th on the grid to win that Grand Prix in the UOP Shadow DN8. “This is what our team was waiting for and it was a truly rewarding experience.”

CROFT

Vulcan Bomber to wow Nostalgia Festival crowds during Farewell Season

  • Rare chance to spy iconic and much-loved British aircraft
  • Spine-tingling roar to be heard at retro-flavoured festival
  • Cold War peacekeeper to enter retirement later this year

The last airworthy Vulcan Bomber is set to wow crowds at Croft Nostalgia Festival next month (8/9 August) – representing a rare opportunity to catch sight of this legendary Cold War peacekeeper during its final flying year.

The mighty Avro Vulcan XH558 ‘Spirit of Great Britain’ is the last remaining Vulcan in the skies, and will perform one high-speed and two low-speed Fly Pasts over Croft Circuit – fittingly, a former RAF bomber airfield – at 3pm on Sunday, 9 August, weather permitting.

The Avro Vulcan is a powerful example of British aerospace engineering at its world-beating best. The design brief was issued by the Ministry of Defence in 1946 and the aircraft flew for the first time on 30 August, 1952. A true feat of engineering innovation, its speed and agility were so close to that of a jet fighter that it was given a fighter-style control column in place of the traditional bomber pilot’s yoke.

To add further poignancy to the momentous occasion, the Vulcan will be piloted by Martin Withers, who captained Vulcan XM607 on the famous Black Buck raid on Port Stanley Airport during the 1982 Falklands conflict, initiating the campaign that would recapture the islands and earning a Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroics. Two years later, the last Vulcans were withdrawn from service. Withers has promised ‘plenty of noise and different angles of our lovely old girl’ at Croft Nostalgia Festival.

“The Vulcan was one of the most significant steps forward in aerospace technology, and thoroughly British,” explains the man who is now Operations Director and Chief Pilot for Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST), the charity that owns and operates the aircraft. “She fires young people with a passion for engineering and innovation and is the most powerful symbol of a remarkable period in global history that we must never forget.”

This Vulcan has already drawn massive crowds around the country during its ‘Farewell Season’, and her appearance at Croft Nostalgia Festival offers one of the final chances to see the aircraft in flight in the north of England before she is grounded forever – a legacy of increasing airframe hours and remaining engine life.

“It is extremely gratifying for XH558 to be making her debut at Croft, albeit sad that she will never be seen here again,” reflected VTST Chief Executive Dr. Robert Pleming.

“XH558 is an iconic example of that remarkable period of intense post-war innovation that made British aviation technology the envy of the world. If you don’t see her this season, there will be no more opportunities to hear a Vulcan’s famous spine-tingling howl as she climbs high into the sky for another dramatic display, or to see her rolling onto her side to reveal her giant delta silhouette.”

“I am thrilled to be able to show the Vulcan at our event, but also sad as it was my pin-up poster as a lad and is still one of the very few aircraft that makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck,” added Croft Circuit Manager Mike Cantelo. “Its power, manoeuvrability and grace are nothing short of spectacular, and the chance to see the Vulcan in flight and hear the unique, dinosaur-like roar of its four Rolls-Royce Olympus engines really is not to be missed!”

F1Weekly podcast # 685

Clark struggles to cope with another Mercedes 1-2 at Silverstone and Nasir tries to alleviate the pain with an outstanding Motorsports Mondial report which includes this weeks WTCC results…

LÓPEZ AND MA, THE TRUE KINGS OF REAL!

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 - CIRCUITO DE VILA REAL - RACE OF PORTUGAL - WTCC-10/07/2015 A 12/07/2015 - PHOTO : @World <p– The European portion of the FIA WTCC season ended in triumph for the Citroën Total team, which scored two one-two finishes in the streets of Vila Real.

– In race one, José María López and Sébastien Loeb built on their qualifying form to take an uncontested one-two finish.

– Marked by a multitude of incidents, race 2 brought a smile to Ma Qing Hua. The Chinese driver won his second career race in the FIA WTCC ahead of Yvan Muller.

– The four Citroën drivers hold down the top four places in the World Championship: José María López (322 pts) ahead of Yvan Muller (267), Sébastien Loeb (230) and Ma Qing Hua (146).

Race one got underway just before lunch time, while the temperature began to rise in the streets of Vila Real. For José María López and Sébastien Loeb, the big unknown was the grip level of the starting grid, which isn’t part of the circuit’s racing line.

When the lights went out, Pechito managed to get the best launch ahead of Seb, and the two Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs pulled away from the rest of the field. Third on the grid, Valente blew his start and squeezed Yvan Muller, who was trying to get by on the inside. Ma Qing Hua took advantage to overtake Van Lagen and Castburg and close up to Valente… who then made contact with the Chinese driver! Valente dropped out a few minutes later and Ma Qing Hua was up to sixth place behind López, Loeb, Michelisz, Tarquini and Monteiro. Yvan Muller followed in seventh place.

As the laps ticked down, the gap between the leading drivers rose steadily. While Ma Qing Hua narrowed his deficit to Tiago Montiero late in the race, the positions stood pat all the way to the chequers. In triumphing for the sixth time of the season, José María López also scored maximum points, while Sébastien Loeb secured yet another one-two finish for the Citroën Total team.

Following a long break, the cars were back on the starting grid late in the afternoon. This time, Ma Qing Hua and Yvan Muller shared row one. Thanks to two perfect starts, the team mates led the way, while contact eliminated Van Lagen and Monteiro. The safety car was called into action to allow marshals to clear away the damaged cars.

When the race resumed, Ma held on to the lead in front of Muller, Catsburg, Tarquini, Michelisz, Loeb and López. While the two leading Citroëns pulled away, the chase group was tightly bunched due to the absence of overtaking opportunities on the Vila Real circuit.

On lap 10, Catsburg made a mistake, allowing Michelisz then Loeb to close the distance. But the three cars made contact under braking and Seb’s race ended prematurely in the tyre barrier! The race continued without the nine-time World Rally Champion, who also lost valuable points along the way.

Two laps later, Catsburg had a big shunt. His car was stopped on the racing line and the marshals made the wise decision to bring out the red flag. This didn’t alter the joy of Ma Qing Hua, who scored his first win in the FIA WTCC since Moscow 2014. Second, Yvan Muller helped Citroën to score maximum points over the weekend. Championship leader José María López picked up valuable points with his fifth place result in race 2!

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Yves Matton Team Principal Citroën Racing: “We end this first long portion of the season with everything looking strong; 14 victories in 16 races, our four drivers leading the World Championship and a nice lead for Citroën in the manufacturers standings… We are delighted with the performance of Ma Qing Hua, who solidified this increase in performance with a win. Our four drivers have all won this season, and we can head to the Asian swing with confidence.”

José María López: “While it may have looked easy from the outside, stringing together 13 laps on this circuit is a proper challenge. It was a real mystery for the start; we didn’t know how the car would react on this piece of the circuit. In the end, everything went well and I was able to keep my advantage over Seb. I had good pace and managed to pull away rather quickly. Then, I had to cope with the heat and look after my Citroën C-Elysée WTCC. I could feel the car suffering on the bumps and curbs. I had to stay focused all the way to the end! I am very happy to have won on such a demanding circuit. Race 2 was chaotic, but I managed to avoid the incidents to move from 10th to 5th place. With a 55-point lead with four meetings remaining, I am in an ideal situation!”

Sébastien Loeb: “Pechito and I both got a good start in race 1. It was a bit intense at the first chicane, because we made the same the mistake in exiting a little wide. Then, I tried to stay close, but it was hard due to the slipstream that created a little more under-steer for me. The gaps grew because Pechito was a little quicker. For my part, I tried to maintain a sufficient gap to Michelisz. I got a good start in race 2, by avoiding the accident in front of me. Then, a pack of cars formed and I couldn’t try very much. In a corner, I saw that Catsburg was nearly completely stopped. He got going, but Michelisz was in the midst of passing him on the inside. I came up on them way to fast and I couldn’t brake to stay behind them. I was trail braking and then I was hit on the right-rear; the car began to slide and came to rest in the tyres… The result isn’t very good for the championship. I was faster than Yvan, but the pure performance wasn’t rewarded.”

Ma Qing Hua: “I want to especially thank my team of engineers and mechanics. In betting on the reverse grid in qualifying, the objective was clearly to win race 2. Everything strung together nicely, with a perfect start and very good race pace. I was focused on not creating a possibility for Yvan to catch up to me. Even though the race ended with the red flag, it was a huge moment when I realized I had won. And it was an even bigger moment when I heard the Chinese national anthem on the podium. I am proud for my country and for Citroën, and I think that this new victory will be beneficial in the development of motor racing in China. “

Yvan Muller: “After a difficult time in qualifying, I couldn’t have hoped for much better this weekend. I am all the same satisfied to be on the podium. Ma Qing Hua was very fast in the race and he totally deserves his win. I tried to attack to threaten him, but it was to no avail. Even though the World Championship situation isn’t going my way, I haven’t given up and I will attack the second half of the season with the firm intention to catch up to Pechito!”

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DTM

WITTMANN LEADS BMW TO HISTORIC SUCCESS

Probably, hardly anyone had expected this after the results from the first six DTM races of the season: BMW dominated the race at Zandvoort in The Netherlands on Saturday and saw seven of its eight BMW M4 DTMs lock out the first seven places. Reigning DTM champion Marco Wittmann was the dominant winner in the 40 minutes’ race. “A dream result,” a delighted Wittmann said after the finish. “I wouldn’t say no when things continue like that tomorrow.” António Félix da Costa, who scored his best DTM result in second position, and third-placed Belgian Maxime Martin rounded out the podium at Zandvoort. Augusto Farfus, Bruno Spengler, Timo Glock and Tom Blomqvist in fourth to seventh place completed the historic success for BMW.

On Saturday, Audi and Mercedes-Benz had no luck. Both Gary Paffett with his Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM and points’ leader and Audi’s spearhead Jamie Green failed to score points in spite of their good stating grid positions. Green slid into the gravel trap following a driver’s error on lap 18 and had to retire. “That was a little error with a big effect,” Jamie Green commented. Only a slight consolation for the brand from Ingolstadt: Mike Rockenfeller and Nico Müller were the best-placed Audi drivers in eighth and ninth place.

In the battle for fourth on the penultimate lap, Paffett also took too many risks while trying to overtake Augusto Farfus. After slight contact, he slid off the track and thus lost his fifth place that seemed to be certain until that mishap. Eventually, Paffett took the chequered flag in eleventh place. “Augusto did a good job in defending his position and briefly tapped the brakes there, which really surprised me,” Paffett explained. “I knew that consistency would be the key to success and that I could only make up positions towards the end of the race. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out.” A few metres after the start, Paul Di Resta caused a five laps’ safety car intervention: after contact with Robert Wickens, the Scot crashed into the Armco barriers. At Zandvoort, Pascal Wehrlein was the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver in tenth position.

Wittmann already laid the foundation for his first win of the season and the fifth victory of his DTM career at the start. The 25-year-old had a significantly better getaway than his fellow BMW driver and pole sitter Augusto Farfus and took the lead. In the course of the race, only second-placed Félix da Costa remained within striking distance to Wittmann. The Portuguese placed several attacks on his fellow BMW driver, but eventually didn’t take any risks and safely brought second place home. “For the first time this season, we were really quick,” Félix da Costa said. “Second place is wonderful, and tomorrow, I already have the next chance to score a good result.”

BMW’s success is a historic one in the DTM: never before did a manufacturer succeed in locking out the first seven places. Mercedes-Benz had a clean sweep of the first six places at Hockenheim in 2001 and at Barcelona in 2007. Audi also scored a top six lock-out in the DTM, at Valencia in 2011. “Of course, such a success is sensational,” BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt says. “The track suits our car and the performance weights have contributed to this success, too. However, we have to be realistic: since the race at Norisring, the balance of power hasn’t changed as much as it looks. For the motivation of our team, today was very important.”

After seven races, Jamie Green remains on top of the drivers’ standings with 81 points from Mattias Ekström (70 points) and Pascal Wehrlein (68 points). After his first win of the season, Marco Wittmann has moved up to sixth behind Edoardo Mortara (58 points) and Robert Wickens (57 points). He now has 39 points.

The second race at Zandvoort gets underway on Sunday at 14:10 hrs (live on ARD). Prior to that, grid positions for the race will be determined in qualifying from 11:35 hrs.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast