Frenchman claims third consecutive Sunday win
Giuliano Alesi’s great run of Sunday form continued this morning when he nabbed his third consecutive Race 2 victory after leading from lights to flag in this morning’s GP3 Series race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, looking unruffled as he lead home series leader George Russell and Trident teammate Ryan Tveter.
The victory was set up at the start when poleman Julien Falchero made a slow getaway, allowing fellow front row starter Alesi to storm across his bow and into the lead at La Source, with Falchero just holding back Tveter, Dorian Boccolacci, Jack Aitken and Arjun Maini. Niko Kari was soon on a charge, blasting past George Russell on the Kemmel Straight and then Kevin Jörg to grab P7 at the end of the first lap.
Next time by and Kari dispatched Maini at Kemmel, with Russell following suit on Jörg behind him: the pair were soon given a helping hand when Jack Aitken and Boccolacci came together on the Kemmel straight, with both men coming into the pits next time through to promote their rivals, and Aitken picking up a 10 second time penalty to make matters worse for the Briton.
But the 2 places weren’t enough for Russell: he was all over the back of Kari and soon dispatched the Finn for P4. Tveter wasn’t waiting around and finally found a way by Falchero for 2nd on lap 6, with Russell compounding the Frenchman’s problems by mugging him for P3 at Les Combes the next time through. Russell was still pushing hard, and almost inevitably outdragged Tveter on the Kemmel Straight on lap 9 to grab P2 before trying to break down the gap Alesi had built back to everyone else.



Monegasque dominates from lights to flag for 6th win
Charles Leclerc put in a crushing display of dominance for victory in this afternoon’s FIA Formula 2 Championship feature race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, storming off from pole when the lights went out and leaving his rivals floundering in his wake as he brought home his sixth win of the season by almost half a minute, ahead of Artem Markelov and Oliver Rowland.
The start was the best chance his rivals had of stopping the Monegasque driver, who sat alone on the front row when P2 man Nicholas Latifi failed to make the grid: a storming start by Oliver Rowland saw the title rivals run side by side through La Source before touching, with an element of the Briton’s front wing detaching as he watched Leclerc pull ahead and away when the pair headed towards Eau Rouge, ahead of Antonio Fuoco, Luca Ghiotto, Gustav Malja, Nyck De Vries, Markelov and Alexander Albon.
Further back Jordan King picked up a puncture after complaining of debris, with the tyre slowly disintegrating around the circuit, while Louis Deletraz and Sergio Sette Camara came together to the Swiss driver’s detriment: he was soon limping back to the pits as a VSC period opened to remove the debris and get the race underway once more, with Markelov soon lining up behind his teammate until Ghiotto slid past his countryman Fuoco to put himself on course for a podium.
Markelov was filling the Italian’s mirrors while further forward Rowland was the first driver to pit for fresh rubber, on lap 7: Malja followed him in next time around, with Ghiotto and De Vries repeating the process on lap 10, but all eyes were on the leader, who stopped next time by and re-emerged ahead of the one-sided fight between Norman Nato and Rowland in P3, with the Briton soon dispatching the Frenchman but unable to get close to Leclerc, who was simply faster than everyone else on track.
Markelov was now in the lead, on the alternate strategy ahead of Fuoco, and the Russian was clearly looking to bring home a strong result following his Budapest disappointments: he could pull away from Fuoco but the Italian’s teammate was relentlessly closing the gap, shrinking it to just 7 seconds when Markelov finally pitted on lap 16, coming out in P5 and hoping his better tyres would propel him forward again.
And so it proved: while Leclerc pulled away from Rowland out front Markelov started to dispatch the drivers between them, mugging Malja on lap 18 and easing past teammate Ghiotto at the end of the Kemmel straight on lap 21, before hunting down Rowland as the laps counted down. Out front Leclerc took the plaudits for a sparkling win, while Markelov attacked Rowland at the Bus Stop, was pushed wide, and out-dragged Rowland to the line for P2.
Just behind the podium Ghiotto held off a huge attack from Fuoco for P4, while Malja won the first battle with new teammate De Vries by a second for 6th, with Sette Camara grabbing the reverse pole for tomorrow’s sprint race after finishing ahead of Roberto Merhi and Norman Nato, who claimed the final point after mugging Robert Visoiu on the penultimate lap for P10.



After setting best time in the collective tests, Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP) kept his momentum going in claiming the first pole on offer at Circuit Paul Ricard. On Sunday, the Russian driver will start ahead of the leader in the general classification Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing). Tomorrow, the Formula Renault Eurocup field will take part in the second qualifying session to determine the start grid for race one that will also take place on Saturday.


Under clear skies, the R-ace GP drivers took turns leading the way before Sacha Fenestraz pulled ahead. The Frenchman and rookie Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) improved five minutes from the end of the session, but Sacha Fenestraz finished on top with a time of 2:05.099. Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing), Gabriel Aubry and wild-card entry Michael Benyahia (R-ace GP) completed the top five.

In the afternoon, Will Palmer, Max Defourny and Robert Shwartzman swapped best time with the Russian getting the nod. While Max Defourny was the first to improve on the morning benchmark time, Robert Shwartzman stopped the clock in 2:04.600 to end the session ahead of Sacha Fenestraz, Max Defourny, Will Palmer and rookie Alexander Vartanyan (JD Motorsport).

Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP): “It is always good to be on pole, even if this one was quite easy to get! Right from the collective tests, I pushed to show our pace. The team did a great job and everything went the way we wanted it to! To take the pole with by 7/10ths of a second is excellent. We’ve found good speed in these hot conditions. Tomorrow, I will give it my all again in qualifying. I think I have chance to get a second pole this weekend, which would be the first time this season!”



Monegasque on pole in rain and red flag affected session
Charles Leclerc has claimed yet another pole position for his collection in this afternoon’s FIA Formula 2 Championship qualifying session at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, defying the rain and a resultant red flag to grab the top spot well ahead of title rivals Nicholas Latifi and Oliver Rowland.
The Monegasque driver emerged from the gloom with a time of 2:20.842, almost 22 seconds slower than his best time from free practice this morning but vitally six tenths ahead of the DAMS duo, the only two drivers within a second of the top spot in a heavily rain affected session.
Qualifying got underway on a very wet circuit following an earlier heavy storm, but with the rain holding off there was the potential for times to improve: all of the field was immediately on track just in case, with Nyck De Vries, Luca Ghiotto and Antonio Fuoco all spending time on the top spot before the Monegasque claimed the honours at the halfway mark with 2 laps in succession improving the times before most of the field headed back to the pits for fresh rubber.
The rain had started again just as they re-emerged on track, and although some drivers were improving their times, most notably Artem Markelov who set the fastest 1st sector time and was looking a real threat to Leclerc’s P1, they were all slowed again almost immediately when a spin for Sergio Sette Camara brought out the red flags, undoing all their good work.
The session eventually restarted with just under 4 minutes on the clock, but with the rain increasing there was no chance of any improvement, ensuring Leclerc retained the honours. Behind the top 3 good drives by Gustav Malja, Fuoco, De Vries, Ghiotto and Roberto Merhi were not reflected in their laptimes, will all of them hoping that their race pace tomorrow will be able to overturn their poor luck today.



Pebble Beach, CA — Little more than 10 days ago, Bruce R. McCaw’s 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer emerged from the restoration shop of Steve Babinsky in Lebanon, N.J. After making the cross-country journey, the boattailed beauty captured the top prize at Sunday’s 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

McCaw’s MB Barker Tourer is a stunner. Photo: Pebble Beach Concours
“This Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer is a combination of speed, style and power,” said Concours Chairman Sandra Button. “Somehow these three elements — along with those fantastic torpedo running boards — become the very definition of elegance.”

“We’ve had the car for several years,” said McCaw, of Bellevue, WA. “The question was whether or not to restore it. I always hate to restore something that doesn’t need it. But we finally found enough pictures that we knew the car needed to be restored.”

Bruce was competing for Best of Show with his brother, John McCaw, and sister-in-law, Gwen McCaw, and their 1957 Ferrari 315 S Scaglietti Spyder. Also in the Winner’s Circle was a 1932 Packard 906 Twin Six Dietrich Convertible Victoria owned by William E. (Chip) Connor of Reno, Nev. Get all the results.

Held on the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links, the concours drew 204 cars from 15 countries and 31 states — and the total included 54 first-time entrants. It also raised over $1.6 million that will benefit more than 80 local charities



by Pete Lyons

Marina, CA — Shadow is what Don Nichols named his race cars, but the image could pertain as well to the man himself. Tall, lean and generally reserved, he was known to have a mysterious background in military intelligence — a mystery he cultivated by generally declining to speak of it.

Yet he strove for a high profile in the gaudy world of international motorsports. His Shadow Cars in their glossy black livery dominated the short, final season of North America’s Big Block Can-Am season (1974, champion Jackie Oliver). In Formula 1 Nichols never achieved dominance, but by persevering from 1973 into 1980 he lasted longer by far than any other American-based team to date. Alan Jones scored Shadow’s one Grand Prix victory at Austria in 1977.

A Missourian, Nichols was born at Eldon on Nov. 23, 1924. An only child, he lost his mother while still an infant when a tornado ripped apart the taxi they were riding in. As his father’s work as an aeronautical engineer required frequent travel, the boy grew up on his grandfather’s farm outside Pleasant Hill, Mo. There young Don learned about horses, taught himself about cars, and starred as a high school track athlete during the early years of World War II.

“But I never graduated,” he admitted. “I was afraid the war was gonna end and I would miss it!”

Signing up as soon as the Army would take him, Nichols trained as a paratrooper, qualified for an elite Pathfinder unit of the famed 101st Airborne Division, and was one of the first to jump at Normandy before dawn on D-Day, 15 miles behind German lines. He was promptly knocked unconscious by an artillery shell.

A few months later, recovered and redeployed to Belgium’s Battle of the Bulge, he took several bullets from a machine pistol. Fortunately, their impact was attenuated by the vest he was wearing — because it was stuffed full of nice, absorbent explosives.

When peacetime proved too peaceful for action man Don Nichols, he rejoined the military, became a Counter Intelligence officer and served in Korea and Japan; this is the period he kept veiled for the rest of his life.

Fluent in Japanese and fond of the country, upon leaving the Army he remained in Tokyo to redevelop himself as a business entrepreneur in Japan’s nascent automobile and auto racing industries. Don did some racing himself, and when Fuji Speedway came along in the 1960s, he found a key role to play in its design, construction and event promotion.

In 1968 he moved his growing family back to California, where in looking for fresh opportunities he soon connected with a brilliant young engineer named Trevor Lee Harris. Fascinated by Harris’ idea for an ultra-low-profile Can-Am car, which he believed would make it ultra-fast on straightaways, Don started Nichols Advanced Vehicles Systems (AVS) to build it.

What would they name their new racer? “Well,” explained Don, “Trevor and I sat around one day talking about absolutely the lowest thing there could be. It would be two-dimensional. A shadow.” Thus began a new chapter in American racing.

Don Nichols was 92 when he died Sunday (Aug. 21)

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