Tudor_USCR

TUDOR Championship makes schedule tweaks, sets tentative car count caps

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Covering sports car racing is a challenge because of the various regulations, classes, requirements for drivers and other extenuating circumstances. But, because of the variety offered, particularly compared to single-spec stock car and open-wheel series, I dig my sports car fix.

However, sometimes, you can easily get confused.

I don’t think it was the intent of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship to make things even more confusing than they already are with the intricacies of putting together series and ideologies (GRAND-AM Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series) about as far apart as the divide in Washington.

But today’s press release with schedule updates and announcing tentative car capacities has made its best effort to make things more convoluted.

Kansas Speedway has been added as a 13th race weekend for the TUDOR Championship, which is something of a surprise. It will hold a PC class race on June 7. Earlier Friday, the track itself released details of Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, IMSA Cooper Tire Prototype Lites and IMSA Porsche GT3 Challenge races there to be held that day, but said nothing of a TUDOR Championship race.

The PC class will, if I’m reading the press release correctly, run “doubleheader sprint races” at both Kansas June 7 and Virginia International Raceway August 24, “alongside” Prototype Lites. That would be unprecedented if the PC class ORECA FLM09 chassis race alongside the Panoz DP02s, which run in Prototype Lites.

Where PC gets shafted is that it loses the Detroit and Mosport rounds it was already promised, and announced with the rest of the 2014 schedule at the Circuit of the Americas weekend in Austin in September.

IMSA series officials have said repeatedly throughout this process that there was “one chance to get the schedule right,” and so after what was a very good, by most accounts, full schedule release at COTA, we now have a Friday afternoon where the schedule’s been changed. Go figure.

The above copy doesn’t even get into the tentative car count capacity, projected for each race. IMSA officials have outlined the below numbers as tentative caps in the four classes, and rather than repeat them in words, I’ll just list them below.

Date Location

Class

Car Cap

Class

Car Cap

Jan. 25-26 Daytona

P

PC

19

10

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Mar. 15 Sebring

P

PC

20

10

GTLM

GTD

14

19

Apr. 12 Long Beach

P

20

GTLM

16

May 4 Monterey

P

20

GTLM

12

May 4 Monterey

PC

10

GTD

19

May 31 Detroit

P

20

GTD

21

Jun. 1 LM24

Test Day

Jun. 7 Kansas

PC

10

Jun. 14-15 LM24

LM24

Jun. 29 Watkins Glen

P

PC

19

10

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Jul. 13 Mosport

P

19

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Jul. 25 Indianapolis

P

PC

20

10

GTLM

GTD

14

19

Aug. 10 Rd. America

P

PC

19

10

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Aug. 24 VIR

PC

10

Aug. 24 VIR

GTLM

19

GTD

19

Sept. 20 COTA

P

PC

19

10

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Oct. 4 Petit

P

PC

19

10

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Not to be outdone, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge schedule has also been announced. It will follow the TUDOR Championship to most events, with the standalones at Lime Rock Park May 24 (the Saturday before the Indianapolis 500) and also, with the PC race at Kansas June 7.

Complicating matters further is that next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will directly conflict with two parts of the TUDOR Championship calendar. The test day is June 1 and scrutineering, technical inspection, begins June 7.

So, that’s where we stand at the close of business this Friday afternoon.

2014 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Schedule
Date    Venue
Jan 24  Daytona International Speedway
Mar 14  Sebring International Raceway
May 3   Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
May 24  Lime Rock Park
Jun 7   Kansas Speedway
Jun 28  Watkins Glen International
Jul 12  Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Jul 25  Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Aug 9   Road America
Aug 23  Virginia International Raceway
Sep 20  Circuit of The Americas
Oct 3   Road Atlanta

Handful of Indy 500 sponsor announcements made on Thursday

100th indy 500 logo
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It’s Cinco de Mayo and the sponsor announcements for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil are flowing in a bit like margaritas will be later today around the country.

Get out your pen and paper, or laptop and spreadsheet, to add these names and figures to your entry list for the race. Because there’s a lot of companies and brands stepping up to the plate.

Four different teams have made sponsor announcements and here they are:

  • unnamed (1)Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) announced today that Lucas Oil and Jahia Solutions Group will co-sponsor the No. 77 SPM with Marotti Racing entry driven by Oriol Servia in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Lucas Oil is a longtime SPM partner. “My number one aim was to make sure I was participating in the 100th Indy 500 with a team that could give me a car to contend for the win, and I have no doubt that Sam Schmidt and all his group at SPM will do exactly that,” Servia said in a release. “Being sponsored by Lucas Oil and Jahia are just the cherry on the cake and I couldn’t be happier to represent companies with such high standards. I can’t wait for May 29th to hopefully make them proud.”
  • unnamed (27)Royal Purple announced its sponsorship of the Ed Carpenter Racing team for the 2016 race season. The lubricant will adorn the engine cover of Carpenter’s No. 20 Chevrolet. Additionally, Royal Purple is launching the 2016 Royal Purple Indy 500 Sweepstakes, offering race fans the opportunity to win a one-of-a-kind Royal Purple racing helmet signed by Ed Carpenter. From May 5 – June 1, fans can enter the sweepstakes by completing the online entry form at http://www.RoyalPurple.com. Following the close of the sweepstakes’ entry period, one winner will be chosen at random to receive the grand prize.
  • BANDITRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Bandit Industries Inc., a premier global manufacturer of industrial wood chippers and wood processing equipment, will be an associate sponsor for the No. 16 Verizon IndyCar Series entry of reigning Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot in both events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Pigot raced the season opener at St. Petersburg and is hopeful to run further races after the pair of events during the month of May.
  • contextdesignThe latest partner to adorn the No. 88 Dale Coyne/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Honda driven by Bryan Clauson is Context Design, which was established in 1998 as a small, client-focused landscape architecture and land planning firm near Indianapolis, Indiana. Context’s award-winning site design studio is passionate about helping clients to create meaningful spaces and experiences that connect people to the land.

Wolff doubts Ferrari’s Sochi struggles will continue

SOCHI, RUSSIA - MAY 01: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO7 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H Ferrari 059/5 turbo (Shell GP) on track  during the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on May 1, 2016 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff thinks that Ferrari’s lack of pace in last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix was specific to the Sochi Autodrom circuit and not a sign of things to come in 2016.

Ferrari entered 2016 hopeful of mounting a serious challenge to Mercedes after a strong showing in pre-season, only to struggle to keep up with the German marque in the first four races of the season.

The deficit was particularly worrying for Ferrari in Russia last weekend when Kimi Raikkonen finished as Ferrari’s lead driver but over 30 seconds down on race winner Nico Rosberg.

Talking to reporters after the race, Wolff refused to read too much into Ferrari’s pace, believing the deficit to be largely down to the nature of the track in Sochi.

“The track is very different with a very smooth surface, and we saw that the pace of many teams was different to the races before,” Wolff said.

“Williams was very strong, Red Bull weren’t, and Ferrari weren’t as good as expected. This is a circuit where you have to get it right in terms of mechanical grip and aerodynamic downforce – and engine power plays a role.

“I would say that the dent in the Ferrari performance is Sochi-specific. But that is only my guess.”

Mercedes’ advantage was perhaps even bigger than the 30-second gap between Rosberg and Raikkonen suggested, considering that the race winner was hindered by an issue on his power unit in the second half of the race.

Ferrari’s main problem so far this season has been with the reliability of its cars, as both Raikkonen and teammate Sebastian Vettel have hit trouble in the opening four races.

A James Hinchcliffe tattoo exists, and it is glorious (VIDEO)

AVONDALE, AZ - APRIL 02:  James Hinchcliffe of Canada, driver of the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motosports Honda IndyCar is introduced before the Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway on April 2, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Only fitting that on Cinco de Mayo – 5/5 – we do a post about the driver of the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda in James Hinchcliffe.

And given Hinchcliffe’s proclivity for humour (the Canadian spelling is intentional here), we thought it appropriate to show off this gem of an advert produced by Honda Canada.

Apparently such a thing as a James Hinchcliffe tattoo exists, and it’s featured within the ad.

Hinchcliffe rocks up in a new 2016 Honda Civic Coupe. Problem is, the superfan played by Hinchcliffe’s countryman and Canadian actor Justin G Landry has the right tattoo, but no longer the right car to match his racing hero.

You can see the full video below, as well as a couple tweets to go along with it:

RGR Sport by Morand keen to build on debut WEC victory in Spa

Car # 43 / RGR SPORT BY MORAND / MEX / Ligier JS P2 - Nissan / Ricardo Gonzalez (MEX) / Filipe Albuquerque (PRT) / Bruno Senna (BRA) - WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone - Silverstone Circuit - Towcester, Northamptonshire - UK
© FIA WEC
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After claiming an impressive victory in its debut FIA World Endurance Championship race at Silverstone three weeks ago, the RGR Sport by Morand team heads to this weekend’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with high hopes of a repeat result.

RGR Sport by Morand became the first Mexican team to enter the WEC earlier this year when it entered the LMP2 class, signing ex-Formula 1 driver Bruno Senna and former Audi racer Filipe Albuquerque to race alongside team owner Ricardo Gonzalez.

The iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps plays host to its annual six-hour race this Saturday, and with the addition of the no. 38 G-Drive entry, the LMP2 class is now up to 12 cars, the biggest on the grid.

However, Gonzalez is unconcerned, instead relishing the challenge of racing at such a famous circuit as he bids to make it two wins from two races.

“Spa has always been one of my favorite tracks so to go there with our own team is going to be great,” Gonzalez said.

“We’re coming in off a win and as the championship leaders so it’s important to carry the momentum forward.

“The team has done a lot of work back at the shop to give us an even better car for Spa, so there’s no reason why we can’t go out and fight for another win.”

Senna hopes to follow in the footsteps of his uncle this weekend by claiming a first win at Spa. Ayrton Senna won the Belgian Grand Prix five times in F1, including four-in-a-row for McLaren between 1988 and 1991.

“After great success during the team’s first race at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, I’m looking even more forward to racing with Ricardo and Filipe and the RGR Sport by Morand team,” Senna said.

“Nothing has changed in terms of our approach for this weekend in Spa, but efforts have not been spared since Silverstone and lots of analysis and developments are ongoing to make sure we keep improving and get more competitive as the championship progresses.

“Spa is one of my favorite tracks and I’ve qualified on pole and front-row there many times, but I’m still yet to win it. Will push very hard for it!”

The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps takes place on Saturday May 7.