Pirelli World Challenge primer: Detroit

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The Pirelli World Challenge heads to the Raceway on Belle Isle in Detroit this weekend, as the GT and GTS classes prepare for the Cadillac V-Series Challenge doubleheader event. Race live streaming begins on Saturday at 9:45 a.m. ET on www.world-challengetv.com, with the race broadcast on the NBC Sports Network Sunday, June 16, at 5 p.m. ET.

Detroit is a hotbed for manufacturers, particularly GM, whose headquarters is on the other side of the street across the river. Cadillac swept the weekend last year with Johnny O’Connell.

This weekend, the question is whether the hometown brands can hold serve against the marquee manufacturers not based in Detroit.

So far Audi has taken three of five wins in GT with James Sofronas, the thus far dominant points leader in the No. 14 GMG R8, with Cadillac (O’Connell) and Volvo (Alex Figge) adding a win apiece. Besides the two Cadillacs, Mike Skeen’s CRP Racing Corvette could capture a win in the shadows of GM HQ. Otherwise, the selection of contenders from Audi, Volvo, Nissan, Porsche and Mercedes will fight it out for honors in the 12-car class.

GTS has a wide-open field between its 28 cars. Still, like in GT, one driver dominated the doubleheader a year ago: Andy Lee of Best IT Racing, in his Camaro. Lee got on the scoreboard for 2013 two weeks ago at the Circuit of the Americas, and has leapt to fourth place in points.

The other contenders include points leader Jack Baldwin in the GTSport Racing with Goldcrest Porsche Cayman, the Blackdog Camaro driven by Lawson Aschenbach, the RealTime Acura TSXs of Peter Cunningham and Nick Esayian, the pair of Kinetic Racing Kia Optimas and the fleet of Ford Mustang Boss 302Ss, which seek a solid run for the first time this year. Other manufacturers in the GTS field include Nissan, Lotus and Scion FR-S.

The full entry list is linked here.

‘No desire’ for Lewis Hamilton to race in Indianapolis 500

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Lewis Hamilton has ruled out a future appearance in the Indianapolis 500, saying he has “no real plans” to do any serious racing once his time in Formula 1 is over.

Former teammate and current McLaren driver Fernando Alonso took part in the 101st running of the Indy 500 in May, qualifying fifth and running high up the order before retiring late on with an engine issue.

The F1-to-IndyCar crossover proved to be one of the biggest motorsport stories of the year, and has stirred the imagination of other drivers to make a similar step into other events in the future, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans which is known to be on Alonso’s radar as well as that of Haas racer Romain Grosjean.

Three-time F1 world champion Hamilton admired 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato’s victory ring when on the podium at the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month, trying it on and joking it may spur him to enter the race to try and win the jewelry.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Hamilton stressed he made the comment in jest, saying he holds not interest in entering the ‘500.

“Honestly it hasn’t inspired me to do the Indy 500,” Hamilton said.

“I’ve always respected it and appreciated it. I got to watch part of it when Fernando did it which I thought was super exciting. I love the idea of drivers being able to do more than one series.

“Just the other day I got to drive an F1 car on an oval circuit which was interesting. I have a huge amount of respect for those drivers as it is quite scary approaching those banks at the speeds that they do.

“I personally don’t have a desire to drive it. Maybe one day I will go out and have some fun.

“I have a lot of opportunities to do those kinds of things, but no real plans to do anything serious.”

Hamilton has previously said he would like to try a NASCAR race for fun one day, but has made clear his plan after his F1 career is over is to distance himself from racing in order to pursue other interests.