FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 4, race 3, Hungaroring (HUN)


Ardennes rollercoaster the next venue for the Formula 3 young-guns

Venue: Spa-Francorchamps

Track length: 7,004 kilometres
Lap record FIA F3: Félix Serrallés 2012 (2:16.123 minutes)
Distance: 16 laps

This weekend, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship teams and drivers will travel to Spa for the 13th to 15th races of their 2014 season. Félix Serrallés (Team West-Tec F3) has particularly fond memories of the legendary 7.004-kilometre rollercoaster in the Belgian Ardennes that is regarded as one of the most challenging racetracks on our planet. Two years ago, the young driver from Puerto Rico won a Formula 3 race there and secured another podium by finishing third in the second round. In that year, Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) came second to join Serrallés on the podium.

Today, Tom Blomqvist currently is the toughest rival of championship leader Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam); on the other hand, the Frenchman’s lead over the 20-year-old Briton already amounts to 82 points. With 12 races contested, 17-year-old rookie Ocon is the only driver on the grid who succeeded in scoring in every single race. Blomqvist, the son of former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist, failed to score in two races while third-placed Austrian Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) had to cope with this feat just once.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 3, Pau (FRA)

Currently fifth in the championship, right behind Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam), is Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing). The 16-year-old Dutchman, son of former Formula 1 ace Jos Verstappen, has a very special relationship with Belgium. The rookie was born in Hasselt, Belgium, and still lives in Belgium. So, it goes without saying that the reigning CIK-FIA World Champion who is contesting his maiden car-racing season, this year, would love to celebrate his second Formula 3 race win in his home event in Belgium. At the same time, Verstappen won’t be the youngest driver on the grid of the planet’s most competitive young-driver series, from this weekend, as US American Santino Ferrucci (Eurointernational) is making his long-awaited debut, at Spa-Francorchamps. The Eurointernational protégé who turned 16 only on 31st May – the minimum age for competing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship – will race the Dallara-Mercedes #29.

Santino Ferrucci (Eurointernational): “Having waited five months for it, I’m absolutely delighted with finally having the chance of racing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. I already contested two race weekends in the German ATS Formula 3 Cup and even secured a podium. But I raced an older car, there, and the level also isn’t as high as in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. I haven’t got any special goals for Spa-Francorchamps as I don’t really know what I will have to cope with. I just want to do a good job, avoid getting involved in any incidents and learn as much as possible. One of my main goals is to display a proper learning curve. And I would be happy if I should make it to the top 20, every now and then.”

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Canadian Grand Prix - Race Day - Montreal, Canada

F1Weekly podcast # 657

Clark and Nasir share their excitement on the outcome of the Canadian Grand Prix. We have another great Motorsports Mondial and here is this weeks special bonus interview with Nico Hulkenberg.

Nico, your strong start of the season continued in Montreal…

Yes, we have shown once more to be both competitive and consistent, and to come away with ten points after a very busy race was really positive. I was on a different strategy from everyone else, which meant I was under pressure for most of the afternoon, but I think we were on the fastest strategy for us, even if the early safety car didn’t really help. But everything worked as planned and we came away with a very strong result.

You have scored in every race so far this year; do you see this trend continuing as we enter the summer season?

We are in a very good position to keep scoring points, but we will need to keep our guard up and keep working hard as we did from the start. There will be tracks where we will be stronger and where we can capitalise on the opportunities we have, and tracks that will be more of a challenge. I know what plans the team has for the rest of the season and I see no reason why we cannot keep battling at the level we are at now.

Austria is a completely new track for you, how do you expect to perform there?

Together with Russia, this race is one of the big question marks for everyone this year. The track has some long straights and a few slow corners that should suit us, and we can count on making the most of softer compounds as we did in Canada. When you go to a new track it’s even more important to maximise the practice sessions because there is so much more to learn. The lap is quite short so the gaps between the cars will be minimal and even small mistakes can make a big difference.

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le mans


The 82nd edition met all expectations: for Audi and the trio Marcel Fässler-André Lotterer-Benoît Tréluyer, victory didn’t come into view until late Sunday morning, against Toyota and Porsche.

After 2011 and 2012, the German, Swiss and French drivers won together for the third time. They were ahead of the sister car of Di Grassi-Kristensen-Gené and the No. 8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid of Davidson-Lapierre-Buemi, pushed to the back of the ranking after its incident in the rain shower at the beginning of the race.

In the LM P2 class, the Ligier JS P2 was very impressive in its first race. The French Thiriet by TDS Racing team’s, driven by Ludovic Badey-Pierre Thiriet-Tristan Gommendy, didn’t play out until the very end of the race, with a gap of barely 20 seconds, against the No. 38 Zytek of Harry Tincknell-Oliver Turvey-Simon Dolan (Jota Sport), which finished first in the class and fifth overall. The Alpine A450B of Nelson Panciatici-Oliver Webb-Paul Loup Chatain rounded out the podium.

As to the GTs, two road legends shared the honors: Ferrari in LM GTE Pro, thanks to Gianmaria Bruni-Giancarlo Fisichella-Toni Vilander (No. 51 458 Italia, AF Corse), and Aston Martin in LM GTE Am, with at the wheel David Heinemeier Hansson-Kristian Poulsen-Nicki Thiim (No. 95 Vantage, Aston Martin Racing).

Photo By: Rolex / Jad Sherif

Le Mans


Following the completion of qualification yesterday evening, 54 cars and 162 drivers are ready for tomorrow’s start of the 82nd edition of the 24 Heures du Mans (24 Hours of Le Mans). Excitement is building in sunny Le Mans. An epic edition of the race is forecast, particularly the battle for supremacy in LM P1. Three manufacturers – Audi, Porsche and Toyota – have a realistic chance of claiming the 2014 title, each in a different state of mind and form.

One of Audi’s three starting R18 e-tron quattros – the #1 vehicle driven by defending champions Loïc Duval and Rolex Testimonee Tom Kristensen, in addition to newcomer Lucas Di Grassi, – risked not making the start grid at all. During Wednesday’s free practice session, with Duval at the wheel, #1 spun off violently in the Porsche corner. The car was destroyed, Duval was ruled out of the race but fortunately sustained no serious injuries. Overnight between Wednesday and Thursday, the Audi engineers worked effortlessly and successfully to rebuild the car from scratch. “Our mechanics did a fantastic job. It’s flat-out work and complicated because the engineers had to use a spare monocoque from the test car,” explained Kristensen.

The 24 Heures du Mans’s most successful driver, with nine victories to his name from 17 appearances, remains typically positive. “You have to reflect on your situation and get on with it. I know at Le Mans, always expect the unexpected, you always have to be alert. We are not back at zero, we can still see the goal, but maybe from a different angle or further away.” Duval, who holds the lap record at the event, will be replaced by reserve driver Marc Gené of Spain, no stranger to the circuit having competed eight times. “I couldn’t have better co-drivers. I’ve known Lucas since last year and with Tom I’ve done two tests in 2014,” he revealed. In qualifying, Audi’s three entries finished behind Porsche and Toyota’s two cars, in fifth (car #3), sixth (#2) and seventh place (#1).

Toyota are many experts tip for a first LM P1 title, having dominated the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) to date. Swiss Sébastien Buemi, driver in their #8 car – third in qualifying – admits they start off with an advantage but urges some caution. “If you look at the facts we look like the favourites because you cannot win the last two races and arrive here and say you are not. However, this race is still out of the ‘normal championship’ because it’s a 24-hour race and what you need here is different to a six-hour competition. In terms of speed we are there.” So it proved during qualifying with Toyota claiming pole and third. The fastest lap on the 13.629km Circuit de la Sarthe was set in 3:21.789 by Kazuki Nakajima in Toyota Racing #7. He becomes the first Japanese driver to secure pole at the world’s most renowned endurance race. “The quality of cars is impressive, the gap between the teams is very close and it’s going to be one of the best Le Mans,” explained the 29-year old shortly before qualifying.

Porsche’s return to Le Mans has brought great fanfare. Its two entries registered impressive times in qualifying, recording second (#14) and fourth (#20) position. “Anything can happen, you have to be on your game, there is never a dull moment in Le Mans,” explained New Zealander Brendon Hartley, driving Porsche #20 alongside former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber. “You never know who’s in the car in front, there’s often tired, less experienced drivers. Reading the traffic, learning from the previous lap, learning about the car, being patient is key.”

In LM P2 the fastest time was set by #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing in 3:37.609 while the AF Corse teams #51 and 81 were fastest in GTE Pro and GTE Am respectively. Only #99 Aston Martin Racing Vantage was unable to qualify for Saturday’s start due to a heavy crash during the first qualifying session. All teams are working hard to be ready to peak for tomorrow’s iconic race start as the Rolex clock flicks to 15:00.

The 54 car driver line up includes a rich array of talent, both amateur and professional, ranging from 16-year old American debutant Matt McMurry, poised to break the longstanding record held since 1959 by then 17-year old Pedro Rodriguez, to 64-year old Howard Blank. The average age of the drivers, hailing from almost 30 countries, is 34.

As Brazil celebrates its opening match victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 24 Heures du Mans is welcoming a debutant who has lifted football’s most iconic  and treasured trophy: Fabien Barthez, goalkeeper when France won the trophy in 1998. 42-year old Barthez is racing car #58, Ferrari 458 Italia in GTE AM. “All of the drivers tell me that it’s a unique circuit, an incomparable atmosphere,” he said. “I’m making the most of it. And I’m a little bit the curiosity, the footballer who drives…”

The 24 Heures du Mans is organised by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. Rolex has been the Official Timepiece since 2001.

Porsche Le Mans 2014



Although this first day of track activity was marked with Loïc Duval’s violent incident in the No.1 Audi, Porsche put itself in the lead during the first qualifying session. In the LM P2 class, Morgan topped the time-sheets while Ferrari was dominated the LM GTE Pro and Am classes.

The free practice session that took place between 4 pm and 8 pm was marked by the violent incident that happened to Loïc Duval at the wheel of the No. 1 Audi. The French driver, winner of the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Endurance Championship title holder, had an accident at the exit of the Porsche Curves.

The ACO medical and technical services came to his aid immediately, taking him first to the Medical Center of the circuit before transferring him to the Le Mans Hospital for examination.

His status, considered satisfactory, will not allow him to take part in the 82nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Saturday June 14th and Sunday June 15th. Medical delegates submitted a report to the marshals disallowing him from racing after the accident he experienced.

Marc Gené, Audi reserve driver, entered until now in the No. 38 Zytek Z11SN-Nissan, has been authorized by the college of marshals to join the No. 1 Audi driver line-up as of tomorrow. At the same time, the college authorized the Jota Sport team to replace him with the Brit Oliver Turvey as of tomorrow. Turvey will proceed with all administrative verifications before taking his place in the No. 38 Zytek during Thursday’s session.

Following the incident, the No. 1 Audi chassis is no longer usable. Audi Sport Team Joest presented a request to the technical marshals to be able to use a new tub, and presented this to the marshals. They gave their authorization for Audi Sport Team Joest to rebuild the No. 1 car around this new tub. The team will present it tomorrow for technical inspection.

Strictly in terms of performances, this free practice session, cut short by almost an hour, was dominated by the No. 8 Toyota (Davidson, Lapierre, Buemi) with a time of 3:23:652.

At 10:00 p.m, after a two-hour break, the first qualifying session was underway. It was a session unfortunately cut short. It was 11:04 p.m. indeed when the No. 99 Aston Martin had an incident at the Karting curve, driven by the Brazilian Fernando Rees. Though the driver was ok, the debris left by the incident meant the session would not resume.

All the teams waited patiently to go after the pole position, but it was an assault that could not take place.

At the close of the qualifying session, the No. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid clocked the best time in 3:23:157 ahead of its sister car, the No. 14 (Dumas, Jani, Lieb) at seven tenths. Next came the two Toyota TS 040 Hybrids followed by the two remaining Audis. The fastest LM P2 car was the No. 26 Morgan-Nissan (Rusinov, Pla, Canal) in 3:38:843.

In the LM GTE Pro class, best time for the official No. 51 Ferrari 458 Italia (Bruni, Vilander, Fisichella) in 3:54:754 and in the LM GTE Am class for another Ferrari, the No. 72 (Basov, Bertolini, Shaïtar) with 3:56:787.

The 55 24 Hours of Le Mans competitors return to the track tomorrow starting at 7:00 p.m. for four hours of qualifying (7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. then 10:00 p.m. to midnight). The start of the 82nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be given Saturday, June 14th at 3:00 p.m.

Motorsports / DTM 2013, 3. Rennen Red Bull Ring Spielberg (AUT)



Next Stop: the Red Bull Ring. After 11 years the Austrian GP is back.
A new CGI film featuring four times World Champion Sebastian Vettel and Canadian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo racing round the Red Bull Ring is now available.
Driving RB10s, Daniel and Sebastian explain the track’s unique characteristics as they dual around the 4.3km circuit. As the Red Bull racers contend with changing weather conditions, they explain the circuit’s elevation changes, the four best overtaking opportunities, the track’s nine corners and the four high-speed stretches.
In certain sections of the circuit, Sebastian’s RB10 becomes transparent, showing the intricate inner details of his 2014 race car.
Based in Spielberg, in the Styria region of Austria, the Red Bull Ring is the venue for the next round of the Formula One Championship; the race is on Sunday 22 June, 2014.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast