Le Mans 24h Race

24 Hours of Le Mans entry list updated on race website

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The entry list for the 90th anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans was first revealed in February, with a 56-car grid split between four classes: LMP1, LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am. On Tuesday, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) put out the latest update, with the driver lineups for each car all but set. It can be viewed here.

A total of eight LMP1 cars, 22 LMP2, 12 GTE Pro and 13 GTE Am, plus the experimental Green GT LMP H2 hydrogen-powered as the “Garage 56” entrant, make up the field.

Twenty-nine of the 56 are registered as full-season entrants in the FIA World Endurance Championship, although Le Mans always features a “bumper crop” of entries.

Audi has won the last two years with Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler in versions of its R18, first the R18 TDI in 2011 and the R18 e-tron quattro hybrid a year ago.

There are 17 ex-Formula One drivers on the entry list. They include:

  • LMP1: Allan McNish, Marc Gene, Lucas di Grassi (Audi), Alexander Wurz, Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi, Stephane Sarrazin (Toyota), Nick Heidfeld (Rebellion Lola Toyota)
  • LMP2: Shinji Nakano (Delta-ADR Oreca Nissan)
  • GTE Pro: Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella, Kamui Kobayashi, Olivier Beretta (AF Corse Ferrari), Jan Magnussen (Corvette), Pedro Lamy, Bruno Senna (Aston Martin)

There are also nearly 20 American drivers in the field. They include:

  • LMP2: Kevin Weeda (Lotus), Scott Tucker (Level 5 HPD), Alexander Rossi, Eric Lux (Greaves Zytek Nissan), Matt Downs, Rodin Younessi (Boutsen Ginion Oreca Nissan), Mark Patterson (Murphy Oreca Nissan)
  • GTE Pro: Jordan Taylor (Corvette), Tommy Milner (Corvette), Tommy Kendall, Jonathan Bomarito (SRT Viper), Bill Auberlen (Aston Martin)
  • GTE Am: Ricky Taylor, Cooper MacNeil (Larbre Corvette), Howard Blank (AF Corse Ferrari), Tracy Krohn (Krohn Ferrari), Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, Michael Avenatti (Dempsey Proton Porsche)

A handful of other names to note include Tucker’s teammates at Level 5 HPD, Marino Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe, Mike Conway (G-Drive) in his Le Mans debut and Christophe Bouchut (Lotus) in his 20th Le Mans start.

Ecclestone has ‘no doubts’ Monza will remain on F1 calendar

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MILAN (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Italian Grand Prix in Monza can find the needed cash to stay on the calendar.

Ecclestone tells the Gazzetta dello Sport, “We will find the right solution – I no longer have doubts – to provide a future for the Italian GP.”

No circuit has hosted more F1 racing than Monza, but officials at the track outside Milan have had trouble producing the estimated 25 million euros ($26.6 million) per year that Ecclestone seeks to keep the race in place after the current contract expires next year.

Ecclstone says, “Things have been cleared up and there is only one go between, (Angelo) Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club.”

The Italian GP next year is scheduled for Sept. 4.

Alternative engine solution rejected by F1 Commission

Nico Rosberg

Plans to introduce a new alternative, cheaper engine into Formula 1 for 2017 – hypothetically a 2.2-liter V6 similar to what is seen in IndyCar – will at least temporarily go on the backburner.

The F1 Commission has rejected the so called “alternative engine solution,” where several companies submitted proposals to be that alternative supplier.

“The F1 Commission voted not to pursue this option at this stage — however, it may be reassessed after the Power Unit manufacturers have presented their proposal to the Strategy Group,” the FIA said on Wednesday.

“The parties involved have agreed on a course to address several key areas relating to Power Unit supply in Formula One,” the statement added.

Meanwhile the statement outlined four things the current manufacturers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda – would be tasked with improving on the current 1.6-liter formula:

Those are:

  • a guarantee of supply to teams
  • the need to reduce the engines’ cost
  • simplification of the specification
  • “improved noise”

Further meetings between the manufacturers and the governing body are scheduled, including one this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.

As F1 heads into the final weekend of the season, political/paddock items such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s respective power unit futures, whether Renault’s takeover of Lotus will finally become official and what will happen with Manor’s team leadership stake – this marks Graeme Lowdon and John Booth’s final weekends although ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan has been hired as the team’s new racing director – are among the talking points.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s Super Formula test hampered by engine woes

Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne
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You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Dominant GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne had his first go in a Super Formula car at Suzuka on Wednesday, but the engine woes that have hampered his Formula 1 team’s efforts (McLaren) all season appear to be equal opportunity woes.

Vandoorne only completed a limited day of running due to technical issues; naturally, and in an unfortunate coincidence, the Super Formula cars also have Honda power.

The Belgian is now en route from Japan to Abu Dhabi, where this weekend’s final round of the GP2 season will be held alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

FIA Formula E to remain at Battersea Park following vote

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Wandsworth Council’s Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted seven to four late Tuesday night, in favor of retaining the FIA Formula E event in Battersea Park.

This will see the London ePrix – the season finale for the electric open-wheel championship – continue at the site for at least the next two seasons.

The 2016 race will run July 2-3, to avoid a direct head-to-head clash with the British Grand Prix a week later in Silverstone.

Battersea Park’s race faced local opposition in recent weeks, which put the race under threat.