IndyCar notes: Hinch begins St. Pete track construction; IMS ticket unveiled

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A couple quick news and notes from the IndyCar world, as we enter the final month of five this offseason before the season opener:

  • 2013 St. Petersburg winner James Hinchcliffe (right) headed down to the site of this year’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to help participate in the ceremonial start of the track build. More than 20,000 feet of steel-reinforced concrete block will line the picturesque but challenging 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit that incorporates a runway of Albert Whitted Airport. Said the Canadian, who’s also riding high on the backs of his national hockey team’s double Gold medal-winning performance in Olympic hockey, “Obviously, with what happened last year, it holds a special place in my heart. It was a very emotional day last year on race day for all the right reasons.”
  • While the “Mayor of Hinchtown” was deployed to St. Pete, 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan was at the Crane Bay Event Venue in downtown Indianapolis to unveil the 2014 race tickets for this year’s race. The tickets feature the likeness of the defending champion; it’s the latest in a series of events Kanaan has done to promote his win, which this winter also included receiving a “Baby Borg” and “Mini Baby Borg” from BorgWarner for both him and son, Leo.
  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will make a team announcement regarding its third driver on Wednesday for the Indianapolis 500, although the identity of that driver already has been released by RACER.com on Monday night. We’ll do further posts after the official announcement, and what it could mean for the sport and/or the race at that time.

Toyota victorious in Bahrain on Porsche’s LMP1 swansong

Toyota Motorsport GmbH
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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Toyota denied Porsche a swansong victory in its final LMP1 appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a commanding win in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.

Porsche started from pole in the last competitive outing for the three-time Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid car, only to lose out to Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi within the first half an hour of the race.

Porsche lost one of its cars from contention for victory after an errant bollard got stuck underneath Timo Bernhard’s No. 2 entry, leaving Nick Tandy to lead its charge in the No. 1 car.

Tandy moved into the lead just past half distance after a bold strategy call from Porsche to triple-stint the Briton after a fuel-only stop, vaulting him ahead of Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota.

Tandy’s win hopes were soon dashed when he tangled with a GTE-Am backmarker at Turn 1, sustaining damage that forced Porsche into an unplanned pit stop that put the car a lap down.

With the No. 7 Toyota losing two laps following a clash with a GTE-Pro car earlier on, Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went unchallenged en route to the car’s fifth victory of the season.

Porsche rounded out the podium with its cars, with the No. 2 leading home the No. 1, leaving Toyota’s No. 7 car to settle for P4 at the checkered flag.

Vaillante Rebellion clinched the title in LMP2 after a stunning fightback led by Bruno Senna, with the Brazilian securing his maiden motorsport championship win in the process.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse complete a hat-trick of titles in 2017, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi wining the class’ first world championship recognized by the FIA, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda sewed up the GTE-Am title.