Six hours complete at Le Mans

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Racing with heavy hearts after the death of teammate Allan Simonsen in the opening moments of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Aston Martin Racing team is performing admirably as the race crosses the six-hour mark.

In the GTE-Pro category, the No. 99 Aston of Bruno Senna, Robert Bell and Frederic Makowiecki and the No. 97 Aston of Stefan Mucke, Peter Dumbreck and Darren Turner are running first and second in the class, ahead of the two Porsche AG Team Manthey 911s. The third GTE-Pro Aston, the No. 98 for GRAND-AM vets Bill Auberlen, Paul Della Lana and Pedro Lamy, currently sit seventh in the class.

“It’s not easy conditions out there,” Mucke told SPEED Channel after stepping out of the No. 97 following his stint. “We’ve had a lot of safety cars and a lot of dirt on the track…But so far, everything is running good. The team is doing a good job and I think we can be happy.”

As for the remaining Aston in the GTE-Am category (the class that Simonsen was racing in), the No. 96 of Jamie Campbell-Walter, Roald Goethe and Stuart Hall are eighth in the class.

Back up front, the Audi contingent has control of the proceedings, currently holding the top three positions overall with the No. 1 R18 E-Tron Quattro (pictured) of Benoit Treyuler, Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler leading their teammates in the No. 2 (Loic Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish) and No. 3 (Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gene, and Oliver Jarvis) R18 hybrids. However, the No. 2 camp had a bit of a scare during the fifth hour when the No. 24 Oak Racing LMP2 Morgan-Nissan of David Heinemeier Hansson lost control in front of Duval at the Porsche Curves.

Fortunately for Audi, Duval was able to escape unscathed and continue on; he has since set his fastest lap of the race at 3 minutes, 23.269 seconds on Lap 86 around the massive Circuit de la Sarthe.

In the LMP2 category, the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca-Nissan of John Martin, Roman Rusinov and IndyCar part-timer Mike Conway led the race at the six-hour point, while in GTE-Am, the No. 55 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Piergiuseppe Perrazini, Darryl O’Young and Lorenzo Case are on top.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home ofΒ Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.