United States GP wins Sports Event of the Year award

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The 2012 United States Grand Prix has been awarded the prestigious Sports Event of the Year award at the SportsBusiness Journal/Daily Business Awards, which was held in New York last night.

The race was attended by over 265,000 fans, and the atmosphere was complimented by all of the drivers and teams in Austin. The track has quickly become a firm favorite among the fans and the F1 establishment thanks to its unique layout and undulations, and this award only furthers the credentials that the race can now boast.

Steve Sexton, president of the Circuit of the Americas, accepted the award at the ceremony last night.

“From the very beginning, there was some doubt whether our project would happen, but we hustled and we had a great team and a great group of owners behind us the whole way,” Sexton said. “We embarked on a nine-month journey, pulled the construction together, pulled the race off amidst a lot of complicated logistics, and had a great group of fans. I’m really proud of the team that pulled this off.”

The race marked Formula One’s return to the United States after a five year absence, and the success of the event has led to the approval of a second race in New Jersey for 2014, and rumors suggest that the sport could even return to Long Beach in the near future.

COTA will host its second United States Grand Prix on November 17 this year, and the track has also hosted V8 Supercars and Moto GP in recent weeks, both of which have gone down as huge successes.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.