MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Singapore GP

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As darkness descends on the 2013 Formula One season, the sport heads to its only night race in Singapore this weekend. The race has a tendency to provide drama, with the most famous race coming in 2008. After Nelson Piquet Jr. intentionally speared his Renault into the wall, Felipe Massa ended up dragging his fuel hose down the pit lane whilst Fernando Alonso jumped from P15 to win the race comfortably thanks to his team’s trickery. Every race held in Singapore has seen a safety car, and the high rate of attrition does allow for the midfield runners to fight their way into the top ten. As a result, this week’s MST predictions become all the more difficult…

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race winner: Lewis Hamilton. The 2009 Singapore winner has traditionally done well here even if his results haven’t shown it. Mercedes of course thrived on the only other street circuit this year in Monaco, and it will be interesting to see whether they can match it with the different construction tires here compared to earlier in the season.

Surprising finish: Jean-Eric Vergne. Starred at Monaco and can do similarly if his car makes the finish. He’s been a frequent retirement this season. 

Most to prove: Force India. Early season promise and results have faded since the Pirelli construction change. Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta posted a double points-scoring result at Monaco and need a similarly good weekend here.

Christopher Estrada (@estradawriting)

Race winner: Lewis Hamilton. The Monaco-esque nature of the Marina Bay street circuit could play well for the Mercedes camp. And after losing out on a potential win last year here thanks to a gearbox failure, expect Hamilton to be on top form.

Surprising finish: Felipe Massa. Massa’s moving on from Ferrari at season’s end and has declared that he’s in it for himself, not for teammate Fernando Alonso. The Brazilian will be bent on showing that he’s still got it, and that could make him quite intriguing to watch.

Most to prove: Paul di Resta. di Resta has gone scoreless in the last four events after gaining points in seven of the first eight. Fortunately for him, he comes to a circuit that saw him claim his career-best result last year, a fourth-place finish.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. As boring as this prediction may be, it’s hard to see Seb not making it three wins in a row in Singapore. His form of late has been relentless and his affinity for this circuit makes a Red Bull win all the more likely.

Surprising finish: Charles Pic. Putting my neck on the line here… but if there are a high number of retirements and Caterham’s drivers keep their noses clean, we could see them overhaul Marussia in the constructors’ championship. P12 or higher required.

Most to prove: Romain Grosjean. Following Raikkonen’s departure, RoGro now has to prove to Lotus that he is worth keeping instead of taking on Felipe Massa and/or Nico Hulkenberg in his place. A good showing in Singapore would do the Frenchman a lot of good.

Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)

Race winner: Kimi Raikkonen. The Lotus hasn’t just been stronger on high-downforce tracks, it’s also been the car to beat in warmer conditions. Singapore will be a case of both, so although Raikkonen is yet to post a top-five finish here, I’m backing him to win.

Surprising finish: Pastor Maldonado. He planted the Williams second on the grid last year and produced one of his best drives in the race. If the Williams is good enough to get within range of the midfield, it could be one of his better weekends.

Most to prove: Felipe Massa. For the first time in a long while, Massa is racing for himself. Not only has he said he won’t be supporting Alonso, but he’s got to prove he’s quick enough to deserve a seat with a top team. Over to you Mr Massa.

The Callaway Corvette GT3 is coming to America, in PWC

Photo: Callaway Competition USA
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Pirelli World Challenge has been in need of some good news from a car count standpoint early into this offseason, and receives it Monday with confirmation Callaway Competition will bring its GT3-spec homologated Corvette C7 GT3-R Stateside next season.

The withdrawal of the factory Cadillac Racing program after PWC’s season finale in Sonoma in September has opened the door for the factory-blessed Corvette C7 GT3-R to run in North America, because Cadillac’s ATS-V.R has been the lone GT3-spec car under the General Motors awning for the last three seasons, while the Callaway Corvette has raced only internationally.

Reeves Callaway has been on site at the tail end of the PWC season to survey the opportunity and now a deal has been struck for a factory effort to run next year, before the Callaway Corvette program becomes a customer effort in 2019. This follows the same timeline as Acura did with its new NSX GT3 this year to run it as a factory program in 2017 before shifting to customer efforts in 2018.

“Joining the Pirelli World Challenge has been a long term objective for Callaway Competition,” Callaway said in a release. “Now the field is a roll-call of the most capable sports cars from every country. To do well here, you must beat the best in the world. What better way to showcase our iconic American car?

“For 2018, we will run a Callaway factory team to give us the best chance of continuing the championship record the Corvette has achieved in international competition. For 2019, we will not race against our customers, but provide high-quality support to them in the tradition of other manufacturer customer racing support programs.”

“For several years fans have asked when they would see the Callaway Corvette GT3 run in the Pirelli World Challenge,” added Greg Gill, President and CEO of Pirelli World Challenge. “The wait is over and we are very pleased to announce the arrival of the Callaway Corvette GT3 for the 2018 season.”

The Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R will be unveiled and both full season drivers announced at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis on December 7 at the Pirelli World Challenge booth. Following the unveiling event, the car will be on display for the remainder of the trade show. Details of the presentation will be announced in the coming weeks.

Callaway’s confirmation comes amidst the likely drawdown of potentially nine or 10 cars that raced in PWC’s GT and GTA ranks either all season or most of it in 2017, among at least five manufacturers. That’s not to say those losses can’t be recouped elsewhere on the grid, over the next several months before the St. Petersburg season opener in March.

PWC will hold its annual state of the series and competitor meeting to finalize the next year’s plans at the PRI show as well.