Going into today’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, five teams are within five points of each other in the battle for the Daytona Prototype class championship.
But one of the DP teams not involved in that battle will lead the field to the green flag this afternoon. The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP, driven by Richard Westbrook and Ricky Taylor, took the top spot on the grid yesterday with a lap of 1 minute, 21.557 seconds around the famous California circuit.
The Westbrook/Ricky Taylor combo has had a trying 2013 with just one podium finish to their credit so far, a third at Barber Motorsports Park. Naturally, Spirit of Daytona is itching to have a strong result today.
“We’re not happy with the way this season has gone; it’s been really tough for everyone,” Westbrook told GRAND-AM.com. “I’m proud of the way the team has bounced back. [Today] is very important for us.”
Starting alongside the No. 90 will be the DP-class leading No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette of Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor. Angelelli narrowly missed out on pole by 21 one-thousandths of a second, but the No. 10 will still have a clear track ahead at the drop of the green.
As for the other DP title contenders, the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa will start fifth; the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing BMW/Riley of defending class champs Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett will start seventh; the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will start eighth, and the No. 2 Starworks BMW/Riley of Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel will start ninth.
A potential wild card is also in the mix at Laguna Seca, as two of Ganassi’s IndyCar drivers – Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti – will start fourth on the grid in a second CGR BMW/Riley, the No. 02.
The GT pole for today’s race went to the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro of John Edwards and Robin Liddell. Edwards threw down a lap of 1 minute, 27.529 seconds to take the honor over the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette of Eric Curran and Boris Said.
The Stevenson camp is part of the GT class’ own electric title fight. Alessandro Balzan currently holds a one-point edge over the Magnus Racing duo of John Potter and Andy Lally, while the Edwards/Liddell combo sits three points back.
17-year-old youngster Tristan Nunez took the GX class pole for the No. 00 Speedsource Mazda 6.
Formula E has confirmed that June’s Berlin ePrix at Tempelhof Airport will use a revised layout to the one run in its first season.
Made famous for its role during the Berlin Airlift in the early Cold War years, Tempelhof Airport closed in 2008 and was turned into a public park, becoming the location for Formula E’s first visit to Germany in 2015.
The recent refugee crisis saw Tempelhof be turned into a temporary camp, forcing Formula E to move to the city center for season two.
Government officials in Berlin announced earlier this year that Formula E would not be able to return to the Alexanderplatz region for 2017, with the all-electric series opting to return to Tempelhof.
The series has now confirmed that it will race with a revised layout at the airport for the upcoming double-header in order to reflect the faster nature of the cars used in season three compared to the season one runners.
For us as a German team with German partners, and me as a German driver, it is great news that we will have two home races this season,” ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’s Daniel Abt said.
“It’s no secret that I loved the track around Karl-Marx-Allee a lot. But now that I have seen the new Tempelhof layout, I can’t wait to get there. The fans will love the unique setting that brings everyone so close to the action and us drivers.
“The track is perfect for great racing and a lot of overtaking. I’m looking forward to meeting my home crowd. We will put on a great 48-hour Formula E party for the fans in Berlin.”
The Berlin ePrix takes place on June 10-11.
Three-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says the sport needs Fernando Alonso to be racing in a competitive car so that the Spaniard can show his quality and fight for race wins again.
Alonso won world titles in 2005 and 2006, but is yet to add a third to his collection despite being in contention for the drivers’ crown at the final race in 2007, 2010 and 2012.
Since joining McLaren in 2015, Alonso has been mired in F1’s midfield amid ongoing issues with the team’s Honda power unit, preventing him from even finishing on the podium in that period.
2017 looks poised to offer one of the closest title fights in recent years between Mercedes driver Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, the latter winning the opening race of the year in Australia.
Speaking about the prospect of a close title fight with Vettel, Hamilton said he relished the idea, but wants to see Alonso battling at the front once again as well.
“I think the fans want to see that but even between all of us. We need [Fernando] to have a good car so he can get up there and fight with us as well, before his time’s up,” Hamilton said.
“We got a hint that it’s another couple of years at least, so that’s good. I feel we’re yet to see the best of Fernando. The sport needs that and he deserves to be able to show that.
“You want to be racing against the best. I think that’s what the fans want to see. That close racing and sheer competitiveness and see the ups and downs of the best doing their best.
“I’m definitely looking forward to racing with all these guys and I hope there’s lots of close racing.”
Alonso and Hamilton were last in contention for a championship together in 2012, when they raced for Ferrari and McLaren respectively, only for Vettel to clinch a third crown with Red Bull.
Honda’s Verizon IndyCar Series teams are set visit Sonoma Raceway on April 4 for an all-day test session for the manufacturer.
Andretti Autosport (Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, and Takuma Sato), Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, and Max Chilton), Dale Coyne Racing (Sebastian Bourdais and Ed Jones), Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin), and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Graham Rahal) are all scheduled to run. Of that group, Kanaan, Andretti, and Dixon are former winners at Sonoma Raceway.
The Sonoma test follows Honda’s March 24 test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, Team Penske also scheduled a team test at the 2.5-mile oval on the same day, forcing Honda to share the track with their rival manufacturer.
However, no such conflict appears to be in play on Saturday. The test will be open to the public as well with free admission into the facility. Testing will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time.
Taylor Swift playing last year’s U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin was always going to be a hard act to match, or perhaps top.
Yet COTA has pulled it off with confirmation Wednesday that Justin Timberlake will be playing on the Saturday before this year’s race, on October 21.
Timberlake will play at the conclusion of track activity on Saturday for a full show. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. CT, with more info via COTA’s website. Here’s the pertinent details:
- The concert will take place at COTA’s Super Stage Festival Lawn, not Austin360 Amphitheater
- Seating is general admission, first come first served
- All holders of a Saturday ticket for USGP weekend, including the 3-day GA wristband, will have access to the show
Circuit of The Americas announced a crowd of more than 80,000 last year for T-Swift, for her first and only planned concert of the year.
Timberlake is on par from a stratospheric level as Swift is. And half the draw of the COTA weekend, it seems, is ensuring you can get concertgoers to the track as well.
This should make for a fun end-of-day on Saturday.