The 2018 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s most challenging endurance race, finally was Toyota’s time to shine. Qualifying results placed the pair of Toyota TS050 Hybrids on the pole and No. 2 starting positions for the race, which began Saturday at 9 a.m. ET (3 p.m. in France) and ended Sunday at the same time with the same two cars atop the field.

In both of the last two years in the LMP1 class, Porsche had stolen victory from Toyota, which had experienced differing issues. Both TS050 Hybrid’s were able to avoid issues this year on their way to a 1-2 finish. This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans featured perhaps the strongest group of Toyota drivers ever. Among those who drove for the winning No. 8 team was two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso; he was joined by Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi.

F1Weekly podcast # 759


Nakajima claims pole for Toyota!

In a heavily interrupted final qualifying session for this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Kazuki Nakajima claimed pole position for the No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry he will share with Fernando Alonso and Sébastien Buemi with a time of 3:15.377.

The Japanese driver was one of a few to make an improvement since yesterday, and he finished the second a full two seconds ahead of the sister TS050 HYBRID to make it a Toyota 1-2 on the starting grid for the second round of the WEC Super Season.

Kazuki Nakajima: “I was more or less at the maximum on that lap, I had no traffic so I cannot complain too much. It was much better than yesterday when I didn’t feel as good grip as today. The lap time was not as good as I expected but I have to be happy with it. More importantly I had a really good balance for the race trim and we are ready for the race.”

The third session was extended by 30 minutes to balance a red-flag-shortened early evening qualifying and, although it started in the dry, rain began to fall over the track towards the chequered flag.

Rebellion Racing claimed third place with the No.1 Rebellion R13-Gibson of Bruno Senna (3:19.449). Just four hundredths of a second behind the second Swiss car was the No.17 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1-AER. Thomas Laurent in the No.3 Rebellion actually set a faster time but was one of several drivers to have his times deleted for pit infringements.




VETTEL: “I said yesterday how much this place means to Ferrari,” he says. “To have a race like we had today is unbelievable. After a long stretch without a win here, we’re all happy. It’s a day to remember the great Gilles Villeneuve. Everybody will have a blast tonight. There’s still a long way [to go in the championship.”

Mercedes’ failure to bring any engine updates to Canada hurt them grievously, with Hamilton struggling all weekend both in his cornering and straight-line speed. The effect was severe: where the reigning world champion had arrived at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with a 14-point lead, he left it trailing by one. On this occasion, Vettel was supreme in achieving his 50th win. From the moment he surged away from Bottas off the start line, the outcome looked settled.

Canada has hosted many of F1’s finest dramas, from Hamilton’s maiden win in 2007 to Jenson Button’s improbable, rain-lashed triumph from last on the grid four years later. This latest instalment was not a contender, alas, to join the classics. A conspicuous absence of overtaking made for a one-dimensional procession. It was fitting, in a way, that model Winnie Harlow decided to wave the chequered flag a lap early, as if she, like everyone else, had seen quite enough.



MAX VERSTAPPEN Position: 3rd 1:10.937 (Practice 3 – P1 1:11.599)
“I think we did a really good job today, the car has been performing very well and we made the most of it. In Q3 we were just lacking a little top speed but we were close and I’m happy. We have no issues, the pace was decent and we are not too far behind. The whole weekend I felt very good on the hypersofts which makes me more comfortable to attack the corners and this is always a good combination. The little engine upgrade probably pushed us a bit closer which is always nice to have. This track feels a little like a go-kart track and hitting all the kerbs is good fun. We have been fast all weekend and in the race we are usually faster than in Qualifying. We are starting on a different tyre which will make things interesting in the race but we will see, because many things can happen and if the safety car comes out that can change everything. We can definitely overtake on this track so that will give us many possibilities.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 6th 1:11.116 (Practice 3 – P5 1:12.153)
“I think my weekend has lacked a little bit of rhythm and we’ve been one step behind due to some of the issues on Friday. In Qualifying, we actually made really good progress and I feel like we should be better than sixth with the way we performed. It’s all very close; disappointing to be at the tail end of that top pack but actually I don’t think we could have done more. Even though Max was quickest in each practice session, I think we still knew getting pole here would be tricky and for that reason we thought it would be better to start tomorrow on the hypersoft. We knew we would probably have a couple of cars to pass and it gives us a chance off the start and on the first lap with a bit more grip, afterwards we will have to manage them. This strategy sets us up to be aggressive and attack. The first few laps will dictate a lot of the race but I think we still have a chance of a podium and it should hopefully make some good TV as well.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “A really exciting Qualifying today, with nothing much between the times set, which is particularly encouraging for us at this type of circuit. It was an excellent performance from Max to qualify in P3, less than two-tenths from pole position, topping a strong showing in the practice sessions here in Montreal. Having been quickest during Q2, Daniel will start tomorrow’s grand prix in P6 but in Qualifying there was not much to separate him from those further up the grid. We have elected to start on a different strategy to our immediate competitors, starting tomorrow’s race on hypersoft tyres, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out tomorrow.”



PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (June 6, 2018) — It was the early 1960s. It was a time of change. And at the Brickyard—more formally the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—an outright revolution was underway.

The composition of a racecar was being totally re-envisioned, with the engine moving from front to rear.

Early in the decade, in 1961, Jack Brabham’s nimble new rear-engine Cooper made its way onto the track at the start of the 45th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes—and finished ninth, besting many of the more powerful front-engine competitors by virtue of its superior handling. Just two years later, Jimmy Clark piloted a Lotus, one of four rear-engine cars in the race, to second overall. And another rear-engine car placed second the following year. The writing was on the wall.

This 1963 Agajanian Willard Battery Watson Special, coming to us from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, was one of the last of the traditional roadsters to win the Indianapolis 500.

Old-school “roadsters” with their big, front-mounted Offenhauser engines still outnumbered rear-engine cars by nearly two to one in 1964, and a roadster driven by A. J. Foyt won. But that victory was short-lived. In truth, the roadster was done.

European Formula 1 expertise was about to radically change an American tradition.

Dan Gurney convinced Lotus Founder Colin Chapman to build an all-new rear-engine car for the 1965 race, and Ford Motor Company provided a powerful new 4-cam V-8. Fully 27 of the 33 cars that started this 500 were rear-engine designs. But the Lotus 38 created by Chapman, powered by Ford, and driven by Clark scored a convincing victory, recording what was then the highest-ever average speed (150.686 mph).

This 1961 Quinn Epperly Indy Roadster, owned by Bill Akin, features a unique “laydown” configuration, with the engine on its side, to allow for a lower more aerodynamic body. It has just been freshly restored.

Bell bottoms and flower power were passing passions, but the rear-engine racecar was here to stay.

“At first, Indy traditionalists scoffed at these light and lithe new cars, but they proved to be significantly faster than the old roadsters, and once they could be reliably raced, it was obvious that the rear-engine configuration was the only way to go,” says Ken Gross, Pebble Beach Concours Selection Committee member and Chief Class Judge.

The Indianapolis Revolution will be celebrated with a special class on the competition field of the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 26. Front-engine cars, including a freshly restored “laydown” roadster (with the engine on its side), will battle once again with a wonderful variety of of rear-engine cars, including the historic 1965 Indy winner.

The 2018 Concours will also feature Motor Cars of the Raj, Rollston Coachwork, Postwar Custom Citroën, Sporting Vintage Cars and Tucker—and organizers also promise another surprise (or two or three!) to be unveiled this summer. So I expect to meet many F1Weekly supporters at this edition of the 2018 Pebble Beach concours d’Elegance.



Daniel Ricciardo “I think it’s only just really sinking in that I won the Monaco Grand Prix and crossing the line after such a challenging race felt amazing. My name is on the board now and it feels good to win the most iconic F1 race there is. After winning in Monaco it’s awesome to be going straight to another street circuit that I love. It’s definitely one of my favourite races of the year, both because of the track and also the city of Montreal itself. The city is just awesome. I’ve had some mixed results in the race but I did win my first Grand Prix there in 2014 and had a podium last year. We’ve got some new updates coming, it’s the hypersoft tyre again, the chassis is running sweet, so we could be looking alright. Hopefully we can have another strong weekend and start chasing down the championship leaders.”

Max Verstappen “Across all of Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve I think the last chicane is really important to get right. You arrive at such high speed so when you hit the braking point the brakes can be a bit cold which means you have to be careful and get it right every time. This will also set you up for the exit where you come very close to the wall, it is important not to brush it as you can damage the rim. A millimetre or centimetre doesn’t make too much difference, just don’t touch the wall. Turn one and two have a pretty cool atmosphere as the grandstands are usually full at that part of the track and it creates a small stadium feel, this makes the start a bit more special. The 2017 race ended with disappointment for me, as I had to stop after only 10 laps with a technical issue. Our car as it is now should perform well in Montreal so I am hopeful of achieving a solid result and making up for last year. Besides that, I’m always excited to get back over to the American continent as I really enjoy being there, the people, food and atmosphere are always amazing.”

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast