Weekend round-up: GRAND-AM championship gets tighter

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This weekend, Formula One staged a chaotic and exciting British Grand Prix while Sprint Cup continued its charge through the summer with a visit to Kentucky. But they weren’t the only series racing this past weekend…

ACTION EXPRESS TAKES IT AT THE GLEN

The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series got back to work at Watkins Glen International with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, and as you would expect of a long endurance race, there were plenty of twists and turns. But the battle still came down to the wire, with former open-wheeler Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette hanging on by less than three-tenths of a second over the fast-closing Michael Valiante in the No. 3 8Star Motorsports Corvette. For AXR’s No. 5 combo of Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa, it’s their second consecutive victory in GRAND-AM.

As for the Daytona Prototype championship, it got even tighter than before. Opening-lap problems for the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing duo of Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor took them five laps off the pace, and while they eventually made up four of those laps in an eventual 10th place finish, they’ve now fallen into a tie for the points lead, 194-194, with the No. 2 Starworks team of Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow (who finished eighth with IndyCar’s Sebastien Bourdais after extensive time at the front). Fittipaldi is four points back after his victory, and the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings team (Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty) have dropped to fourth in the standings at 189 points after suffering a suspension failure on Lap 38 on Sunday.

In the GT class, the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro team of John Edwards and Robin Liddell took their fourth win in the last five events, while in GX, the No. 00 Speedsource Mazda trio of Joel Miller, Tristan Nunez and Yojiro Terada earned top honors.

SEBASTIEN LOEB SHATTERS PIKES PEAK RECORD

Nine-time World Rally Championship title-holder Sebastien Loeb annihilated the old track record at Sunday’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, throwing down a run of 8 minutes, 13.878 seconds in a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak car. That eclipsed the former mark by over a minute and a half.

“There was a lot of pressure to have to achieve a big project,” Loeb said to the Colorado Springs (Colo.) Gazette. “I love the people behind it, and I was really happy with my time.”

The previous record holder, Rhys Millen, was second to Loeb in the Unlimited Class with a time of 9 minutes, 2.192 seconds in a Hyundai PM580T, while Jean-Philippe Dayraut was third with a time of 9 minutes, 42.740 seconds in a 2011 Mini Countryman.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”