European Le Mans series

Alpine ELMS


– The Alpine A450 of Pierre Ragues and Nelson Panciatici secured the 2013 ELMS crown thanks to a score of three podium finishes, including outright victory in Hungary, 35 years after the Alpine A442b’s triumph at Le Mans in 1978 with Didier Pironi/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud.

– Signatech-Alpine claimed fourth place at the final round of the 2013 championship at Circuit Paul Ricard, France, after a drama-packed race. 

Alpine’s renaissance was marked by the brand’s return to motor racing and its maiden season was rewarded with the 2013 European Le Mans Series title.

Signatech-Alpine’s programme for the season was confirmed on March 8 and featured two primary objectives: June’s Le Mans 24 Hours and the European Le Mans Series. In the six months that have elapsed since that announcement, the Alpine A450 has produced a number of top performances, extending from a strong display at Le Mans – which earned the ESCRA Award for the best technical support – to the brand’s first title success of the modern era.

Just two weeks after its landmark victory in Hungary, Signatech-Alpine lined up for the start of the 3 Hours of Paul Ricard with the ELMS title in its sights, 39 years after its last European crown with Alain Serpaggi, Gérard Larousse, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Alain Cudini.

This weekend’s competition saw Pierre Ragues qualify the Alpine A450 on the second row before a cautious start to the race which led to the car initially trailing its chief rival for the championship. However, a lengthy pit stop for the latter enabled the Normandy-based driver to figure in fourth place during his 90-minute stint.

He then handed the car to his team-mate Nelson Panciatici who was forced to pit to change a defective steering wheel shortly afterwards. Overcoming that unscheduled stop, Nelson then successfully fought his way back up the order to clinch the title which came close to slipping from Alpine’s grasp…

Indeed, the N°36 Alpine A450 climbed from seventh place to claim fourth overall after improving its best race lap once again and despite one last pit stop which enabled Panciatici to complete the three-hour race with the pressure off. Fourth place was sufficient to clinch the 2013 ELMS crown for Alpine.

This title is a tremendous reward for a season which I believe was marked by panache, determination and professionalism,” observed Bernard Ollivier after the finish. “Ever since the start of the programme, we have been privileged enough to benefit from strong backing from the media and racing fans alike. We would like to dedicate this title to them. Perhaps it’s just a first step…”

I think we can say that Alpine is back,” observed Signatech Alpine’s Team Principal Philippe Sinault. “This team is like a family; a family which has worked very hard. It wasn’t easy because the programme got off to a late start and it took a little time to get everything into motion. It’s been a highly emotional ride, too. I would also like to congratulate Paul-Loup Chatin on his races which have earned him the title in his category. He was a firm believer in our project and I hope to see him become part of our LM P2 programme next year. It’s too soon to talk about 2014 but we are exploring the possibility of running two Alpine A450s at Le Mans as part of a broader programme.”

Philippe Sinault’s associate Didier Calmels added: “This title is the perfect reward for the hard work and sacrifices put in by Philippe Sinault. He has been the perfect leader and has always put the team first. His passion has undoubtedly lifted this programme with Alpine.”

The team’s drivers were also moved by the occasion, including Pierre Ragues who produced an impeccable season: “This is a very moving moment, and pretty incredible. We survived a few scares but the main thing is to have won the championship. This title showcases our level and we have made consistent progress. It’s time to celebrate our success which Signatech-Alpine deserves 100 percent!”

Nelson Panciatici added: “It was a drama-filled race which turned out to be quite difficult. I pushed as hard as I could during my first stint to move back up the leaderboard, but the end of the race was easier. Perhaps we were a little fortunate today but our sole objective was always the title. Everyone has worked extremely hard on this programme and today we form a real family, so this is a fabulous recompense.”

Like his elders, Paul-Loup Chatin had a dramatic race at Le Castellet, but Alpine’s ‘junior’ driver succeeded in coming second in the LM PC class to clinch the category’s title!

Tristan Gommendy was with Signatech-Alpine at Le Castellet to share the title celebrations. In addition to contesting the Le Mans 24 Hours with Pierre and Nelson, he carried out a significant amount of test work in the Alpine A450 in the course of the year.

2013 3 Hours of Paul Ricard – final positions:
1, Murphy Prototypes (Hirschi/Hartley), 93 laps
2, Morand Racing (Klien/Gachnang), +6.255s
3, Jota Sport (Turvey/Dolan), +21.691s
4, Signatech-Alpine (Ragues/Panciatici), +1m24.350s
5, Boutsen Ginion Racing (Kuppens/Kapadia), +1m38.954s. Etc.

Final 2013 European Le Mans Series standings (Teams)
1, Signatech Alpine (85 points)

2, Thiriet by TDS Racing (77)
3, Jota Sport (71). Etc.

Final 2013 European Le Mans Series standings (Drivers)
1, Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues (85 points)

2, Pierre Thiriet (77)
3, Oliver Turvey and Simon Dolan (71). Etc


19 Mike Rockenfeller (D), Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM

Masterpiece on the North Sea coast: Mike Rockenfeller wins early 2013 DTM championship title—

Zandvoort. Mike Rockenfeller is the 2013 DTM champion. Second place at Zandvoort in The Netherlands was enough for the Audi driver to win an early drivers’ title in the most popular international touring car series for the first time in his career. Although his only remaining rival, Augusto Farfus (BMW) won the race at the dune circuit, the Brazilian was beaten in the battle for the title.

“I can hardly believe it. This is an incredibly heavy load coming off my shoulders. In such a moment, it is all coming back again: the early years in the DTM, how difficult it was and how hard I worked. Many thanks to all those who have made this happen,” said Rockenfeller, who is leading in the drivers’ standings prior to the season finale at Hockenheim (October 18 till 20) with 142 points and has an unbeatable margin of 26 points. This year, Rockenfeller’s consistency was the key to success: with his Audi RS 5 DTM, the 29-year old scored points in every race and won at Brands Hatch (GB) and the DTM premier at Moscow Raceway (RUS).

Rockenfeller’s fellow Audi driver Timo Scheider finished third at Zandvoort, scoring his first podium finish of the season. In ninth position, Gary Paffett was the best-placed driver of a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. In total 41,000 fans attended the penultimate race weekend.

Farfus, who overtook fellow BMW driver Marco Wittmann in the opening stages of the race, scored his third win of the season. “I did my utmost and that was my goal. Hats off to Mike, he has done a great job. He has deserved the title,” Farfus said. At the start of the race, the 30-year old was attacked by Rockenfeller, but eventually clearly had the edge with his BMW M3 DTM and thus secured second place in the drivers’ standings early.

Swede Mattias Ekström (Audi) scored an impressive recovery. The two times’ DTM champion had started eleventh and finished fourth. Marco Wittmann (BMW), who had claimed his maiden pole position in the most popular international touring car series on the day before, finished fifth.

Gary Paffett, runner-up after the 2012 season, moved up into the point-scoring positions from twelfth on the grid and congratulated the new champion afterwards. “Congratulations to Mike, he has had a tremendous season. For me, it was rather disappointing, although our performance wasn’t bad,” the Brit commented.

The race at the dune circuit of Zandvoort was interrupted by a safety car phase after Dirk Werner (BMW) and Jamie Green (Audi) had collided on lap 38. The restart followed in the final lap of the race, allowing Rockenfeller to cross the finish line at racing speed.

Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “Congratulations to Mike, the Audi Sport Team Phoenix and the entire Audi team! Mike has wrapped up the drivers’ title early. Now, we are also on top in the manufacturers’ and teams’ standings. One really can’t hope for more. Mike is a worthy champion who didn’t make any mistakes under pressures today either. Timo Scheider covered his back and deserved his maiden podium finish of the season. Mattias Ekström’s recovery was sensational, too. Tonight, there are so many reasons to celebrate, and we will definitely do so.” 

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport director: “Congratulations to Audi and to Mike Rockenfeller. Personally, I am proud of Augusto, because he has done what he could. He has dominated today’s race, he couldn’t have done any more. In his second season, he is doing well and he is already so strong. There will be many championship titles coming our way and we count on Augusto. There are two titles still to be won, and that is what we will be aiming at in Hockenheim.”

Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM management, Mercedes-Benz:“Congratulations to the entire Audi team and to BMW for winning this race. Unfortunately, for us, it was a weekend to forghet. Too bad, because we didn’t have a chance to interfere in the battle for the championship. Now, the focus is on the finale, where we want to bow out from this season with good results.”


F3 European Championship

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 8, race 3, Zandvoort (NL)

FELIX ROSENQVIST WINS—battle for the title is open again—

With his second victory, Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) concluded the eighth race weekend of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship on the Dutch North Sea coast. As points’ leader, Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) retired early, the Swede was able to reduce his gap in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings to 9.5 points. At the 4.307 kilometres long Circuit Park Zandvoort, Jordan King (Carlin) and Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam) followed behind Rosenqvist.

From pole position, Felix Rosenqvist took the lead at the start, followed by Jordan King, who had already overtaken his team-mate Daniil Kvyat (Carlin) on the first few metres. Alex Lynn moved past the Red Bull junior driver on the opening lap as well, so that Kvyat was in fourth place and came under pressure from Raffaele Marciello. Lynn was only able to relax on lap 16, as Marciello crashed into the barriers all on his own and retired. A safety car intervention followed. At the restart with one lap remaining, Rosenqvist held on to his leading position and soon after celebrated his second victory of the season.

British driver, Jordan King, scored his best result in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship to date by finishing second from his compatriot Alex Lynn. After Marciello’s retirement, Luis Felipe Derani (Fortec Motorsports) moved up to fifth place behind Daniil Kvyat and ahead of Harry Tincknell (Carlin). Lucas Auer (Prema Powerteam) only overtook Tom Blomqvist (Eurointernational) for eighth place on the final lap, followed by Alexander Sims (ThreeBond with T-Sport) and Mitchell Gilbert (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport).

Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) 
“I knew that I had a good chance of winning when I would be first into the first corner. Therefore, I focussed on the start and I did well. Then, I tried to manage my tyres and to keep my margin on Jordan consistent. That wasn’t very easy and I had to do my utmost. Of course, this weekend in general was great for me: I have scored 75 points and I was able to close up in the drivers’ standings.” 

Jordan King (Carlin)
“I was able to overtake Daniil at the start and slotted in behind Felix. Unfortunately, after that, I was never close enough to start an attack. After the restart, I didn’t have a chance against Felix either, even though I was able to reduce the gap. All in all, my weekend was quite good. I have moved up from eighth to sixth in the drivers’ standings.”

Alexander Lynn (Prema Powerteam)
“Making it onto the podium from fourth place on the grid is really good, and even more so as I was driving with used tyres in this race. I didn’t have any chance against Felix and Jordan, but I was able to overtake Daniil. With three podium finishes this weekend, I really can’t complain. Now, we have to work on being able to battle for pole position in qualifying again.”


It's an all-MG front row for tomorrow's first race at Silverstone
It’s an all-MG front row for tomorrow’s first race at Silverstone

Plato on pole at Silverstone BTCC—

MG locks out the front row for the fourth time this season —

MG KX Momentum Racing streaked to its fourth qualifying one-two of the season as Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff produced a stellar performance at Silverstone. The session turned out to be one of the closest in BTCC history with the top twenty cars sensationally covered by less than a second.
The MG duo drafted in tandem during the early running with each racer getting an opportunity to push for the ultimate lap, and it was Plato who edged out his young team-mate by the miniscule margin of just 0.009s to claim his third pole position of the 2013 campaign.
Dave Newsham backed-up his practice pace from earlier in the day with an impressive run to third on the grid – his and Speedworks Motorsport’s best qualifying performance of the season so far.

Championship challenger Colin Turkington will steal a march on his main title rivals by completing the second row for tomorrow’s opener in his eBay Motors BMW, as Honda endured its most difficult qualifying session of the season. The fastest Honda Civic driver has qualified on either the first or second rows in the previous eight events this season, but incredibly Matt Neal produced the best performance for the Japanese marque down in ninth place here at Silverstone. Championship leader Andrew Jordan could only manage tenth while reigning supremo Gordon Shedden qualified in 15th – his lowest position of 2013.
Three young guns took maximum advantage of the woes experienced by the main contenders with Frank Wrathall being particularly impressive. Despite running in the top five early on Wrathall’s Dynojet Toyota failed a mid-session ride height test and the stewards removed his lap times from the leader board. Undeterred by the set-back, Wrathall returned and fired himself back into fifth on his first flying lap after his team had corrected the issue.
Jack Goff completed the best qualifying display of his short BTCC career when he hauled his Vauxhall Insignia into sixth ahead of the ever-consistent Adam Morgan in the Ciceley Racing Toyota Avensis. The eBay Motors BMW of Rob Collard did enough to edge out the aforementioned Neal and Jordan to claim eighth.
Andy Neate narrowly missed out on a top ten qualifying berth but the Team Club 44 squad will be hugely buoyed by the potential shown in its Chevrolet Cruze, particularly after the unfortunate accident in the recent Rockingham opener that forced the car out of the remainder of the event.
Lea Wood continued his dominant day in the Jack Sears Trophy by cruising around comfortably quicker than the Ford Focus of Liam Griffin.

Jason Plato said: “I think we’re in pretty good shape – our race pace was really good last year here so we’re well placed for tomorrow. I’m pleased to get another one-two for the MG KX Momentum Racing team, but we’ve got to convert it to results in all three races tomorrow. It looks like it will be set dry so we won’t have the same issues we suffered at Rockingham, so I’m looking forward to getting out there and having three good races.”
Sam Tordoff said: “I’m not sure where I can find the nine thousandths, but we’ll be looking very closely at the data to try and find out! The car felt really good in qualifying, we’ve made steady progress from an average start in free practice and it’s always good to see positive progression across the weekend. Jason and I went a different way in set-up to learn as much as we can about the car but have settled on very similar things for both cars so it should be a great battle tomorrow.”
Dave Newsham said: “It’s been good to have a strong qualifying because we haven’t been able to hook it up this season so far. We came here with a completely different car and have been on it from the word go. We’ve been refining our set-up all day, and while I don’t think we could have got any more time out of it today I know we’ve got great race pace. We’ve changed pretty much the whole front end and it’s eliminated the understeer we’ve been suffering recently, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Andrew Jordan said: “I’m actually really pleased with my lap – I was really smooth and the car felt great. It’s good to be so close to Matt (Neal) with maximum ballast, and to be ahead of Shedden is really important. Turkington will be really strong from his grid spot tomorrow, but I’ve got to run my own race and we’ve hit our target of the top ten today.”

Colin Turkington said: “Straight line speed is important at Silverstone and it isn’t one of the strengths of our car. We’ve done a really good job to maximise the strengths we do have – we’re particularly good in slow corners and change of direction, and we made the most of that in qualifying today. We lost most of FP2 with a problem on the car, so there was an element of chance in that session. Part of the job is done, but the important bit comes tomorrow.”

2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Silverstone – Qualifying

1 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 58.210s
2 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +0.009
3 Dave Newsham (Speedworks Motorsport) +0.148
4 Colin Turkington (eBay Motors) +0.388
5 Frank Wrathall (Dynojet) +0.491
6 Jack Goff (RCIB Insurance Racing) +0.539
7 Adam Morgan (Ciceley Racing) +0.540
8 Robert Collard (eBay Motors) +0.578
9 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) +0.587
10 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) +0.611

F3 European Championship

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 8, race 1, Zandvoort (NL)

Daniil Kvyat celebrates maiden Formula 3 victory at Zandvoort—

Daniil Kvyat (Carlin) picked up the first winners’ trophy of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship weekend at Zandvoort. At the 4.307 kilometres long Circuit Park Zandvoort, the Red Bull junior driver won with a margin of 2.859 seconds from Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport). Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam) completed the trio on the winners’ podium, while points’ leader, Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam), had to make do with fifth place. He is now 59.5 points clear of his rival Felix Rosenqvist.

Out in front, the battle was decided at an early stage: starting from pole position, Daniil Kvyat took the lead and also defended his position at the two restarts that were necessary after as many safety car interventions. Lucas Wolf (URD Rennsport) had caused the first neutralisation, having already parked his car on the formation lap. On lap seven, Félix Serrallés (Fortec Motorsport) crashed into the Armco barriers, which brought the safety car out for the second time.

While race leader Kvyat handled the two restarts without any problems, Felix Rosenqvist caught Alex Lynn by surprise after the first restart. The Swede overtook the Brit and safely brought second place home. As race winner Kvyat doesn’t score any points because he is a guest driver, Rosenqvist inherited the 25 points for victory. Behind third-placed Lynn, Jordan King (Carlin) was classified fourth, followed by Italian Raffaele Marciello, the leader in the points’ standings, Harry Tincknell (Carlin), Lucas Auer (Prema Powerteam), Nicholas Latifi (Carlin), Tom Blomqvist (Eurointernational) and Sven Müller (Van Amersfoort Racing). 

Daniil Kvyat (Carlin) 
“After starting from pole position for the fifth time already, I finally managed to score my maiden win in Formula 3. I am really happy about it. I have been working on improving my starts for a long time and I managed to stay in front and pull a gap here. I only had to be careful in the two restarts, because the long straight provides many opportunities to attack.”

Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport)
“I started the race with four used tyres and therefore didn’t expect to match Daniil’s pace. At the first restart, I had a very good exit from the final corner and I tried to attack Alex. Fortunately, it worked out, which gave me a couple of more points to allow me to reduce the gap to Raffaele in the drivers’ standings a little bit further. For the two remaining races this evening and tomorrow, I am optimistic. I have fresh tyres and I will be starting from pole position.”

Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam)
“My start wasn’t the best, because there was hardly any grip on the track due to the rather low temperatures. At the first restart, Felix managed to overtake me, which, of course, was a pity from my point of view. But third place and the points for second are also good for the battle with Lucas Auer for third place in the drivers’ standings.”

F1Weekly podcast # 637


This is a Special interview only podcast, Nasir Hameed has a conversation with Peter Windsor—

Peter David Windsor (born 11 April 1952 in Reigate, Surrey, England)  is the former Sporting Director of the US F1 Team and a Formula Onejournalist. He was brought up in Australia, but now has residences in London and Sydney.

Windsor started his journalism career at the now defunct monthly magazine, Competition Car. He was the motorsport editor for the British weekly magazine Autocar from the late 1970s until 1985, and was lauded for his Grand Prix reports.

In 1985 Windsor became sponsorship manager at Williams. He then worked as general manager at Ferrari, only to return to Williams as team manager in 1991. Windsor has won five awards for his writing, and most of his early television work has taken place with networks of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. From 1998 to 2000, Windsor was the on-location reporter for FSN’s Formula 1 coverage. He then joined Sky Sports as a pit reporter on their F1 Digital + package. He also worked as a pit reporter for the American Broadcasting Company’s coverage of the 2002 United States Grand Prix. He also returned to WilliamsF1 as the narrator of the museum in the team’s Interactive HQ website.

Shortly before the start of the 1986 season, Windsor was in an automobile accident when the car he was riding in with Frank Williams crashed on the way from the Paul Ricard Circuit in southern France to the Nice airport, causing Windsor minor injuries but leaving Williams, who was driving, paralysed.

Windsor carried out on-location reports from Formula One venues for Speed; in contrast to SPEED F1 coverage team colleagues Bob Varsha, Steve Matchett, and David Hobbs, who covered the races from the studio, Windsor traveled to the various race venues to provide interviews with drivers and other F1 personnel during the race weekend. After the 2006 season this role increased in prominence with Speed’s addition of a live camera on the pre-race grid, where Windsor wandered the grid to conduct pre-race interviews with drivers, race engineers, managers, team principals, FIA personnel and visiting celebrities. He also frequently chimed in during the race with his own analysis.

For several seasons Windsor was also the moderator for Formula One’s post-qualifying and post-race press conferences. He handed the interviewer’s microphone to James Allen from the 2009 British Grand Prix due to a concern over a potential or perceived conflict of interest as a future team boss; but returned to the interview room at the 2009 Italian Grand Prix. He also did reports and phones in from the pitlane before the start of each race forNetwork Ten (ONE) Australia F1 broadcaster

Windsor is the current senior columnist of the F1 Racing magazine, for which he writes feature articles, and ‘The Racer’s Edge’ column.

He has spoken out against making changes to Formula 1 to improve the quality of racing by making overtaking easier. He said in 2007: “I would change nothing. I think F1 is fantastic as it is. If you want to watch a million meaningless overtaking manoeuvres and lots of shunts go and watch NASCAR or bikes or IRL or something.”

On 4 February 2009, it was reported Windsor and engineer/designer Ken Anderson were to head an American entrant into the 2010 Formula One season called Team US F1. Their application was formally accepted by the FIA on 12 June 2009.[6] Windsor’s role would involve team management and driver development and selection.[2] However, in March 2010, USF1 ceased operations due to sponsorship difficulties. On 25 June 2010 the FIA officially banned USF1 from any further participation in the sport, and the World Motor Sport Council fined them $380,000 USD for failing to meet their commitments for the 2010 race season.