Category Archives: General

LAGUNA SECA

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to Host 2019 INDYCAR Season Finale

MONTEREY, Calif., July 17, 2018 — INDYCAR and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca announced that the historic Northern California road course with deep Indy car roots will return to the schedule in 2019.

The three-year agreement, approved today by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors overseeing operation of the facility, calls for Laguna Seca to be the host site of the final race of the 2019 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Next year’s race weekend will be Sept. 20-22. The remainder of the series schedule will be announced later.

County of Monterey Board of Supervisors Chair Luis Alejo, bottom left, signs the agreement with Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, owner of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Joining them are, from top left to top right, Assistant County Administrative Officer Dewayne Woods, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca CEO Tim McGrane, District 5 Supervisor Mary Adams, District 4 Supervisor Jane Parker, WeatherTech’s Cooper MacNeil, District 2 Supervisor John M. Phillips, and District 3 Supervisor Simon Salinas. (photo: T.M. Hill)

Laguna Seca held Indy car races annually from 1983-2004. The 2.238-mile permanent road course near Monterey, California, was the site of the season finale from 1989-96.

Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, praised the agreement that returns Indy car racing to the track.

“I can’t imagine a more attractive destination location for INDYCAR’s season finale,” Miles said. “Monterey is a place people want to be, and we will bring all of our guests. I think it’s a great choice for us.”

The 22 previous Indy car races at Laguna Seca have seen their share of the sport’s greats drive to victory. Bobby Rahal won four consecutive years at Laguna Seca and Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Bryan Herta and Patrick Carpentier each won twice. One of the most famous racing moments in Indy car history occurred at Laguna Seca in 1996, when Alex Zanardi completed a daring last-lap pass of Herta in the famous downhill Corkscrew turn to get the race win.

“It’s great news, but I might be biased,” Rahal, now co-owner of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team that competes in the Verizon IndyCar Series, said of the agreement. “I personally won four Indy car races there and won my first Can-Am race there. Our Indy car team won with Bryan Herta and Max Papis and our sports car team won IMSA races there, so I would almost bet you that Laguna Seca is the site of more victories for me as a driver and team owner combined of any track I’ve ever raced on.

“There is nothing better than the Monterey Bay area, and it’s a great circuit that always drew great crowds, so I’m thrilled to have Indy car racing coming back to a circuit I love so much. We will put on a good show, for sure.”

The competition expects to be just as fierce and exciting when the Verizon IndyCar Series heads to the popular Monterey-Carmel area on the California coast to complete the 2019 season. For 12 years running, the Verizon IndyCar Series championship hasn’t been decided until the last race on the schedule.

“The return of INDYCAR to its spiritual road racing home of Laguna Seca is a tremendous honor and testament to the appeal of Monterey, and through the support of the County of Monterey will provide a significant economic benefit to our area businesses,” said Timothy McGrane, CEO of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “We are looking forward to creating more memories in race fans’ minds like Bobby Rahal’s four consecutive Indy car wins from 1984-1987, Mario Andretti’s farewell race in 1994 and Alex Zanardi’s last-lap overtaking of Bryan Herta in the Corkscrew in 1996 that simply became known as ‘The Pass.’”

NBC Sports Group has secured exclusive domestic television and digital media rights for INDYCAR races beginning in 2019. Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, agreed that Laguna Seca is an ideal venue to close out the schedule.

“We commend INDYCAR for returning to Laguna Seca, a historic track and an inspired place for the 2019 season finale,” Miller said. “The 2019 season will be our first as the exclusive media rights partner of INDYCAR, and we could not be more pleased to broadcast the championship from beautiful Monterey.”

DTM

The champion is back: René Rast with a hard-fought victory at Zandvoort

  • Defending champion secures first win of 2018 for himself and for Audi
  • Gary Paffett comes second and extends his points’ lead
  • Philipp Eng best-placed BMW driver in fourth

A huge relief and massive joy for René Rast and Audi: in the tenth DTM race of the season, the reigning champion secured the first victory of the year, both for himself and for his manufacturer Audi. Having started from third place on the grid, the German crossed the finish line as the winner after 35 laps. “That was a huge relief after a long drought and a lot of bad luck,” Rast commented after the race. “Gary was massively fast and I didn’t really expect to win.” And at the same venue, no less, where he made his DTM debut two years ago. For the Audi driver, it was the fourth victory in his 30th DTM race. Second place in the race on Sunday went to Mercedes-AMG driver Gary Paffett ahead of his teammate Paul Di Resta. Philipp Eng took the chequered flag as the best-placed BMW driver in fourth position.

A guarantee for Rast’s success was his pit stop strategy. Contrarily to the race on Saturday, he already headed into the pits for the wheel change at the end of the opening lap. This plan worked out. After Paffett’s stop on lap ten, Rast took the lead, corrected for pit stops, and temporarily extended it to over two seconds. A safety car intervention on lap 21 after a collision between Jamie Green and Bruno Spengler made the battle at the front of the field. At the restart, however, Rast kept Paffett at bay in a spirited manner and defended first place until the finish. “The last 15 minutes were really difficult,” Rast said. “Especially for the spectators, it surely was another thrilling duel.” Second-placed Paffett also praised Rast’s hard-fought victory: “René absolutely deserved this win. For me, it was a perfect race and I am happy with second place. One can only dream of such a DTM weekend with two pole positions, one victory and a second place.”

Fourth-placed Philipp Eng with the fastest BMW M4 DTM was also happy with his Sunday. “The race was much fun, flat-out from the first until the final lap. I was able to keep up with the front-runners, but mounting a challenge to Paul was impossible. We can build on this performance.” At the halfway point of the season, Di Resta, wo finished third, is the only driver to have scored points in every race so far.

After ten of this season’s 20 races, Gary Paffett remains in the lead of the drivers’ standings. The Brit is in first place with 148 points from Paul Di Resta (121) and Timo Glock (101). At the halftime point of the DTM season, Marco Wittmann (98) and Edoardo Mortara (97) are in fourth and fifth place.

After a four weeks’ summer break, the DTM returns to the United Kingdom on 11 and 12 August. At the long circuit of the Brands Hatch race track with its rich heritage, the DTM gets the second half of its season underway with the eleventh and twelfth race in Kent.

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP

RALF ARON WINS AHEAD OF TWO TEAMMATES

Event: 04 Zandvoort
Session: Race 1
Track: Circuit Zandvoort / NL
Pole position: Guanyu Zhou (PREMA Theodore Racing)
Race winner: Ralf Aron (PREMA Theodore Racing)
Weather: sunny, 21.5 °C

In summerly conditions at the 4.307 kilometres long Circuit Zandvoort, Ralf Aron (PREMA Theodore Racing) scored his second win of the season in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Guanyu Zhou (PREMA Theodore Racing) in second and Mick Schumacher (PREMA Theodore Racing) in third place joined the Estonian on the winner’s podium. Points’ leader Marcus Armstrong (PREMA Theodore Racing) took the chequered flag in fourth place as the best rookie. Thus, he extended his lead from Daniel Ticktum (Motopark), second in the drivers’ standings, to three points.

Ralf Aron came out in front in the dash towards the first corner, having demoted pole-sitter Guanyu Zhou to second right after the start. Behind the two, Mick Schumacher slotted into third place from Marcus Armstrong and Daniel Ticktum. In the opening stages, Zhou attempted to put the leader under pressure, but also had to keep an eye on Schumacher behind him. However, the order remained unchanged throughout the race.

Towards the end of the race, Armstrong closed up to Schumacher and tried to put the German under pressure. However, the New Zealander with Italian licence turned out to be unable to mount a successful challenge. Thus, Schumacher scored his second podium finish in the 2018 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Ahead of him, Aron and Zhou came first and second while Armstrong finished behind the German to complete the clean sweep of the top four for Prema drivers.

Ticktum finished fifth from Jüri Vips (Motopark), Jonathan Aberdein (Motopark), Robert Shvartzman (PREMA Theodore Racing), Ben Hingeley (Hitech Bullfrog GP) and Alex Palou (Hitech Bullfrog GP).

Ralf Aron (PREMA Theodore Racing): “My starts have always been quite good and here, I had a good getaway as well. In the first corner, I was on the inside and I was able to take the lead. On the fifth or sixth lap, I had a bit of a moment when I almost lost the car because there was gravel and sand on the track due to an excursion by another driver. Then, Guanyu was able to attack me, but I kept the lead.”

Guanyu Zhou (PREMA Theodore Racing): “At the start, Ralf was better and he also was on the more favourable inside of the first corner. Then, I tried to stay closely behind him to be able to benefit in case he had made a mistake. I am quite happy with my race, although I should still work on improving my starts for the next races.”

Mick Schumacher (PREMA Theodore Racing): “It is quite easy to sum up my race: I was third at the start and stayed there until the end of the race. At the end, I was having problems with the clutch and I am happy to have made it to the finish in the first place.”

FORMULA 1

ASTON MARTIN RED BULL RACING GERMAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

Daniel Ricciardo… “Hockenheim is a fun circuit and I’ve always enjoyed going there. My highlight is probably the battle I had there with Alonso in 2014 which I loved. Turn 1 is super-fast and the track is good for overtaking. The stadium section is also fast with a big bold left hander.

All round it’s a good track and one I’ve always gone well on and enjoyed. It’s good to have a bit of a break after the triple header as things haven’t quite gone my way over the last three races, but I’m looking forward to getting back on track and to things turning around in Germany and Hungary. The German crowds are great, the German beer is good and of course I always look forward to more Schnitzel.

Max Verstappen… “The German Grand Prix is back on the calendar and I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure quite a few Dutch fans will also come over and visit the track to support me. At the last German Grand Prix we had a double podium, so that is of course a good memory.

Hockenheim is a historic track with some interesting corners, especially in the last sector where you can try different lines, so that’s enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the whole weekend and to experience it again. Also, I think for Germany to have a Grand Prix is very important as there are so many motorsport fans living there. So, I’m happy to go back.”

DTM

DTM AT ZANDVOORT: MAXIMUM ACTION AT THE SEA!

  • Wittmann travels to Zandvoort with boosted confidence
  • Local hero Frijns hopes for a home win ‘for his fans’
  • Paffett the most successful still active driver in the dunes
  • Nasir Hameed to be in attendance

DTM makes its stop at the sea. This weekend (13th to 15th July), the Circuit Zandvoort stages the fifth of the 10 race meetings on the 2018 DTM calendar. The race weekend at the Dutch North Sea coast means summer, sun and race action. But that’s not the only reason why Zandvoort is so popular with all the 18 drivers. The drivers representing the Audi, BMW and Mercedes-AMG camps all look forward to racing at the arguably most demanding racetrack in the season. The unique dune circuit provides an exciting mix of fast and slow sections – and those who hope for asphalted run-off areas will be disappointed. This means that every mistake will have severe consequences and often even can mean the end of your race.

The circuit at the Dutch seaside town provides a special atmosphere. And it has got a special feature: sand! All the time, the finest grains of sand are blown on the track from behind the grandstand. Particularly in the morning, for instance during the practice sessions, the 4.307-kilometre circuit is covered by a fine film of sand that only disappears over the course of the morning sessions. And the more sand on the track, the more the DTM cars will slide around and the higher the tyre wear as the tyre tread is subjected to an even higher load, resulting in higher temperatures.

Five-way battle at the front end of the leader board
After the races at the Norisring, the battle for the lead is far closer than it was before and while just two drivers fought for the lead prior to the Norisring, the fight for the top position on the leader board turned into a five-way battle. Marco Wittmann, Edoardo Mortara and Paul Di Resta joined Timo Glock and Gary Paffett in the fight for the championship. The biggest winners in the seventh and eighth rounds of the season were Wittmann (BMW) and Mercedes-AMG driver Mortara. Local hero Wittmann finished third on Saturday and on Sunday, he finally secured his first DTM home win, thus scoring a total of 41 points. With 92 points on his tally, the two-time DTM Champion now holds third position in the championship and is tied for points with fellow BMW driver Timo Glock. “Zandvoort is one of my favourite circuits,” Wittmann says. “There is nearly no other circuit I have been as successful at as I was there. I secured several poles and race wins at Zandvoort and look forward to racing there again to the max. And of course the Norisring weekend boosted my confidence. I was away on vacation for a week and now my batteries are fully recharged.”

With impressive 46 of 56 possible points scored at the Norisring, Mortara leaped to second position in the championship. With 93 points on his tally, his gap to the championship leader, fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Gary Paffett, amounts to just six points. Of the drivers still racing in DTM, Paffett is the most successful driver at Zandvoort. He won there in 2005, 2009 and 2010 and says: “Zandvoort is my favourite DTM circuit. It’s a great venue and a really demanding circuit where racing is big fun.” Prior to the Zandvoort weekend, Mercedes-AMG holds the lead in the drivers’, constructors’ and team championships.

GOODWOOD

MULTIPLE LE MANS WINNER PIRRO TO DRIVE WILLIAMS FW08B AT GOODWOOD

Five-time Le Mans 24 Hours victor Emanuele Pirro has been confirmed to drive the Williams-Ford FW08B at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed on 12-15 July.
Pirro, who drove the FW08B at last year’s Festival of Speed, will be reunited with Williams’ famed six-wheeler when he takes to the hill on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
Last month, Williams Heritage confirmed Karun Chandhok will drive the Williams-BMW FW26 at this year’s Festival of Speed, which celebrates its Silver Jubilee anniversary, with the FW08B originally intended for static display.
The FW08B is a six-wheeled race car based on the FW08 designed by Sir Patrick Head and Frank Dernie. The car has four driven wheels at the rear, with two undriven wheels at the front. Powered by a Ford DFV engine, the car looked promising during testing in 1982, but the FIA banned the technology in 1983 before the car was ever raced.
Jonathan Williams commented: “I’m thrilled to see this unique race car take to Goodwood hill once again. The car and the technology behind it isn’t something you get to see every day, and naturally it drew a lot of attention at the various events we attended last year. I’m pleased to see both the FW08B and the FW26, which Karun will drive, play a part in Goodwood’s anniversary celebrations this year. The event serves to be a real treat for us, and fans alike.”
Also making its public debut will be the 1990 Porsche 911 Reimagined by Singer – Dynamics and Lightweighting Study. This is a client-inspired collaboration between Singer and Williams Advanced Engineering in pursuit of the most advanced air-cooled Porsche 911 in the world. The car will also take to the hill throughout the weekend.