Sports cars: Porsche’s new livery, lineup; OAK, Ax Ex, DeltaWing news (UPDATED)

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Porsche has, officially, taken the wraps off its new 919 Hybrid challenger for this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.

The new LMP1 car tested in a camouflage livery from the fall through the winter, and as part of a combined livery with the factory GTE Pro car, there will be a unified branding image highlighting Porsche Intelligent Performance.

Along with the livery reveal, the GTE Pro class lineup for the WEC was confirmed. Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Pilet rejoin after 2013, with Marco Holzer (raced in U.S. last year) and new factory driver Fred Makowiecki (raced with Aston Martin) completing the lineup. Specific pairings haven’t been revealed.

Richard Lietz and Nick Tandy, who co-drove with Pilet to the GT Le Mans class victory in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship opener, the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, will round out the Porsche Team Manthey lineup at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In other sports car news…

  • OnRoak Automotive has taken the wraps off its new Ligier JS P2 coupe. It will be raced through 2017, and can take an HPD, Judd or Nissan engine in the back. It will make its debut later this year, likely at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with OAK Racing, and not before.
  • The DeltaWing Racing Cars team has confirmed Gabby Chaves will return for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring as third driver alongside Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge. Chaves made his debut as a last-minute add as fourth driver at the Rolex 24.
  • Action Express Racing has confirmed Jon Fogarty as third driver of its No. 9 Corvette DP for Sebring, alongside brothers Burt and Brian Frisselle. Fogarty has a ride after the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team announced it would withdraw for the rest of the season. “It’s an unfortunate situation we found ourselves in after Daytona, but the opportunity to go and participate at Sebring with Action Express Racing in such a big and historic event is great,” he said in a release.
  • Continental Tire’s “Through the Driver’s Eyes,” hosted by Dario Franchitti, will air Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, in a bit of ancillary TUDOR Championship program. Here’s a teaser of the show as released by Continental earlier Tuesday.

IMSA: Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Update – 3 hours in

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The opening hours of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring have been action-packed, with the early hours highlighted by racing that we would not expect from an endurance race.

For example, Acura Team Penske’s No. 7 ARX-05, currently fourth with Graham Rahal at the wheel, has had a couple run-ins with traffic, both from the Prototype and GT classes, as shown below.

Reports on happenings in the first three hours from all three classes are below.


Turn 1, Lap 1 proved to be a disaster for one of the contenders in Prototype. Olivier Pla, starting on the outside of the front row in the No.2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi, tried to pass polesitter Tristan Vautier, in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R, on the outside.

Vautier held his ground when Pla tried to pinch him against the inside wall, with the two making contact and sending Pla into a slide across the outside of the corner. Although he limped around back into the pits, the team ultimately uncovered a terminal gearbox issue, cause by the contact, and retired car, ending their race before it ever had a chance to get going.

The lone caution of the opening hours also came in the Prototype class. Sebastian Saavedra, in the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 Gibson for AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, spun exiting Turn 17. In trying to avoid, Frank Montecalvo, in the GT Daytona class No. 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Scuderia Corsa, drifted out wide, but made contact with the right-front of Saavedra, which launched Montecalvo airborne and into the tire barriers exiting the corner.

Montecalvo emerged unhurt from the spectacular incident, while Saavedra returned to the pits for a new front nose on the No. 52 Ligier, and continued on.

Vautier, meanwhile, continued on unscathed and led the opening stint.

Just over three hours in, Eric Curran leads in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac for Action Express. The No. 22 ESM Nissan sits second in the hands of Nicolas Lapierre, with Jordan Taylor third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac.

GT Le Mans (GTLM)

BMW Team RLL has dominated the opening hours of the 12 Hours of Sebring, with their No. 24 BMW M8 GTLM leading the way early on. Nicky Catsburg is currently behind the wheel.

Risi Competizion currently holds down second, with Alessandro Pier Guidi currently at the helm of their No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing holds third with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford GT, though they had a clumsy run-in with the sister No. 66 in the pits early on, with both cars bumping each other exiting the pits.

However, no damage was done and both carried on.

GT Daytona

The polesitting No. 51 Ferrari from Spirit of Race also had a messy start to their 12 Hours of Sebring, with Daniel Serra getting together with the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3, in the hands Jack Hawksworth at the time. The contact cut the right-rear tire of Serra, forcing an early pit stop. They now sit 16th in class.

Montaplast by Land Motorsport leads in the way in the No. 29 Audi R8 LMS GT3, with 17-year-old youngster Sheldon van der Linde at the helm. Running second is Corey Lewis in the Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with 3GT Racing sitting third with Kyle Marcelli in the No. 14 Lexus.