Joao Barbosa

Sebring 12-hour: Extra drivers to watch

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As the second round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is a great chance to see an extra bumper crop of drivers in action before their regular campaigns in other series begin.

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship sees a number of all-star third and fourth drivers in action in all four classes. The P and GTLM class have no driver restrictions and as such, can afford to bring in ringers to aid their two main drivers.

They include but are not limited to:

PROTOTYPES

  • Gabby Chaves (No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13),
  • David Brabham (No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b), Simon Pagenaud (No. 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b),
  • Sebastien Bourdais (No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP), Jon Fogarty (No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP)
  • Jann Mardenborough (No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing ORECA 03 Nissan)
  • Max Angelelli (No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP)
  • Alex Brundle (No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan)
  • Justin Wilson (No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley)
  • Mike Rockenfeller (No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP)
  • Marino Franchitti (No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley), and all three drivers in No. 02 CGR car
  • Tristan Vautier (No. 07 SpeedSource Mazda SKYACTIV-D Coupe)

GT LE MANS 

  • Ryan Briscoe (No. 3 Corvette C7.R), Robin Liddell (No. 4 Corvette C7.R)
  • Marco Holzer (No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR)
  • Joey Hand (No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4), Dirk Werner (No. 56 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4)
  • Andrea Bertolini (No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 Italia), Gianmaria Bruni (No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia)
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 91 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R), Rob Bell (No. 93 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R)
  • Patrick Pilet (No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR), Jorg Bergmeister (No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR)

PROTOTYPE CHALLENGE

Sam Bird (No. 8 Starworks Motorsport), Sean Rayhall (No. 25 8Star Motorsports), Stephen Simpson (No. 85 JDC/Miller), Martin Plowman (No. 88 BAR1 Motorsports) and David Heinemeier Hansson (No. 09 RSR Racing) are “good gets” for third drivers given the pro-am nature of the class requires at least two Silver drivers in a three-driver lineup.

GT DAYTONA 

Like PC, GTD requires a pro-am lineup, with at least two Silver drivers in a three- or four-driver lineup. But there are some star pros who can fill in if teams have a higher volume of Silvers.

Some extra drivers to watch here include:

  • Matt Plumb (No. 13 Rum Bum/Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Philip Frommenwiler (No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America), Alex Riberas (No. 23 Team Seattle/AJR Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Klaus Bachler (No. 28 Konrad Motorsport/Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Christina Nielsen (No. 30 NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Marc Basseng (No. 32 GMG Audi R8 LMS)
  • Filipe Albuquerque (No. 35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS), Markus Winkelhock (No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS)
  • Christopher Mies (No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 LMS)
  • Stefan Johansson (No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
  • Norbert Siedler (No. 71 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Patrick Huisman (No. 81 GB Autosport Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Markus Palttala (No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3)

Sports cars: Lizards win Thunderhill; more confirmations

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Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image
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Notes from the last week or so in the busy, wild world of sports car racing:

  • Flying Lizard Motorsports benefitted from late-race issues that hit the Ryno Racing Team, where the right rear stub axle broke on its Ginetta G57 LMP3. The Lizard’s No. 45 Audi R8 LMS of Darren Law, Johannes van Overbeek, Mike Hedlund and Dion von Moltke delivered a flawless drive en route to the win, the car’s second straight. More here from Sportscar365.
  • Rebellion Racing confirmed a Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup entry. Nick Heidfeld, Neel Jani and Sebastien Buemi will be an all-star lineup in the team’s Oreca 07 at the 51st running of the 24 Hours of Daytona, January 26-29, and at the Roar, January 6-9.
  • Grasser Racing Team will run a two-car Lamborghini Huracán GT3 effort at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Rolf Ineichen (Switzerland), Christian Engelhart (Germany), Mirko Bortolotti (Italy) and Ezequil Companc (Argentina) will be in one car, with Ineichen and Engelhart the first two drivers listed for the second car.
  • Former Fall-Line Motorsports team manager Michael Harvey has been named Director of Race Operations for VISIT FLORIDA Racing, which is a great get for the Troy Flis-owned team. Renger van der Zande and Marc Goossens are the team’s full-season drivers for the No. 90 Riley-Gibson car.
  • IMSA has confirmed a couple things on the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – which is linked here.
  • Mercedes-AMG will build a GT4. More here from Sportscar365.
  • Two Porsche announcements in PWC. Patrick Long will be back with Wright Motorsports in its No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R, while Jon Fogarty will be back in a Porsche, following a surprise switch by the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing from McLaren this year.

Indy’s unsung heroes: RRDC hails Holmatro Safety Team (VIDEO)

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In this video produced by the Road Racing Drivers Club SAFEisFAST initiative, we take a look behind the scenes at the Verizon IndyCar Series’ unsung heroes: the Holmatro Safety Team.

You’ve heard about their heroic efforts over the years, particularly with saving James Hinchcliffe’s life last year in Indianapolis.

But how do they do what they do? This video explains it.

Red Bull, Aston Martin partnership continues into 2017

GAYDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing talks on stage at the Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing Project AMRB 001 Unveil on July 5, 2016 at the Aston Martin Headquarters in Gaydon, England on July 5, 2016 in Gaydon, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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The partnership between Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin will continue into 2017, Red Bull confirmed on Tuesday.

Branding on the Red Bull Formula 1 chassis will continue, while bigger news has come in terms of the AM-RB 001 hypercar.

Red Bull and Aston Martin announced that all 150 road-going cars of the 175 cars built (the other 25 are track-only specials) have been sold and customer deliveries will begin in early 2019.

An AM-RB 001 prototype is expected to run for the first time by the end of this season.

“We first conceived our Innovation Partnership with Aston Martin in the realization that it could be truly pioneering,” said Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing team principal.

“In blending our distinct but unique skills under a shared creative vision, we have already seen tangible development to both of our brands and businesses. The extraordinary success of the AM RB-001 is testament to the expert and collaborative spirit in which it was forged, and extending our relationship with Aston Martin through 2017 was a simple and pleasing decision.”

Aston Martin President and CEO Andy Palmer added,  “By bringing together the talents of Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin, AM-RB 001 is destined to become the defining hypercar of this decade and a hugely desirable investment for collectors and enthusiasts.

“Our relationship with Red Bull Racing has done for Aston Martin exactly what we expected it to do,” he continued. “It is helping us to continue to build our brand across the globe. Partnerships like this are good for business both in terms of technical innovation and brand awareness, so we are pleased to continue into 2017.”

FIA WEC Prologue changes date to avoid Papal visit clash

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 14:  Pope Francis attends a meeting with engaged couples from all over the world gathered today, on the feast of St. Valentine, in St. Peter's Square   on February 14, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the event, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Family, Pope Francis emphasised that living together is 'an art, a patient, beautiful and fascinating journey' which can be summarized in three words: please, thank you and sorry.  (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
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The FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue has shifted dates, moving from its originally scheduled March 24-25 date to April 1-2 still at Autodromo di Nazionale, Monza.

The reasoning is that His Holiness Pope Francis will be making an official visit to Monza on those dates. Naturally, organizational, security and logistical preferences will follow for that.

The European Le Mans Series continues as planned on March 28 and 29 with its preseason test.

For fans of clashes, two more have been created on account of this date shift. The FIA Formula E Championship race at Mexico and Blancpain GT Series season opener at Misano fall on the same weekend as the Prologue.

The full revised calendar (for the moment, and for the last time, we hope) is below.