Sebring 12-hour: Selected quote roundup

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Here’s a selection of post-race driver and team quotes from the second round of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring:

  • “It was incredible. We couldn’t believe we were in position to win. It’s certainly the biggest day in my career. We were lucky the way the traffic and the restart went. With about an hour to go I didn’t think it was going to work out. The car was a real handful but we finally found the sweet spot right at the end and the whole team and my team-mates did a great job,” –Marino Franchitti, No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley, overall and P class winners.
  •  “The part of the race that is hard to swallow is the mistaken penalty to Cooper (MacNeil) eight hours into the event. That mistake by the officials cost us any chance at winning the race. It was too bad because the car and the drivers never missed a beat all day. The car didn’t have a scratch on it. We just deserved more. Disappointing,” –Alex Job, team principal, Nos. 22/23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT Americas in GTD.
  • “The No. 2 car had a great day and unfortunately had a little bit of contact and they would have been right there shooting it out for the win. David (Brabham) and Ryan (Dalziel) raced the No. 1 car to the front and did an incredible job.
 We just were very unfortunate with the yellow.  If the Ganassi No. 01 car was two-thirds of a lap down and or the yellow never came, they wouldn’t have been able to gain the ground and catch us, so we would have won,” –Scott Sharp, No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b, finished second in P.
  • “This was the hardest race I have ever done. We had no grip on the track during the day and we suffered a lack of power compared to DPs and HPDs,” –Gustavo Yacaman, No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan, finished fourth in P.
  • “The car felt quite lively and very quick in my first stint. It was nice that when I came out from my pit stop, we were able to run a very similar pace to the other prototypes. We had a bit of a brake issue in the first stint, but once I had the opportunity to cool them down during the long yellow, it was fine. But once again, the DeltaWing proved to be a fantastic car in traffic – it was a good stint and it was good to lead a race again,” –Andy Meyrick, No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13 coupe, first hour race leader.
  •  “I was just telling myself ‘don’t mess it up’ those last laps. Patrick (Long) always says I am good at night and I am just happy that it did work out,” –Jorg Bergmeister, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR, won GTLM.
  • “It’s still very surreal to be here. Having so many challenges throughout the race made for a very exciting 12 hours, and I’m still in a bit of shock that we came away with a victory,” –John Potter, No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America, won GTD.
  • “For a program that was pulled together at the last second, to come out of here with a second was more than we could have hoped for, so I’m very pleased. Starting the year with podiums at Daytona and Sebring is not too bad!” –Townsend Bell, No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, finished second in GTD.
  • “We had the drive shaft yoke break at the rear axle. The shaft stayed connected to the transmission and what I felt was it banging around in the driveshaft tunnel, which was all beat up. My power had gone, no drive, and I bet it knocked off a fuel line, I was sitting there trying to start it, feeding, fueling the fire, no pun intended,” –Ben Keating, No. 33 ViperExchange.com SRT Viper GT3-R, GTD, car burned to the ground in the first hour.
  • “The performance of the SRT Motorsports car was flawless, absolutely flawless all day. I just couldn’t believe how close the race was. For almost 12 hours there was less than 20 seconds separating the top-three. It was probably the most exciting race I’ve seen yet,” –Ralph Gilles, SRT President & CEO; Nos. 93 and 91 finished second and seventh in GTLM.
  • “My second stint was really fun. My back-and-forth with the No. 09 got a little bit closer than I wanted it to. I kind of got caught up on the restart there when the whole pack of DP cars came by. But I managed to recover from that and retake the lead,” –James Gue, No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09, won PC, had great lead battle with David Heinemeier Hansson for class lead.
  • “That was probably the most fun I’ve had in a stint in a long time. The car is excellent. I had a phenomenal battle with the CORE car,” –David Heinemeier Hansson, No. 09 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09, finished second in PC.
  • “The team actually did an incredible job when repairing the car because we only lost about 18 laps, which is pretty good considering the damage we sustained. We had setup issues beforehand and found that they had been cured after the crash, so I don’t know whether we had some mechanical problems beforehand or whether the track just came to us,” –Tom Kimber-Smith, No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09, finished fifth in PC.
  • “I got a little wide and then got into the marbles that sent me right in to the wall. I’m OK, the car not so much. I know the guys will get on it, I know they will. It’s just about putting this one behind us and looking ahead to the next one,” –David Ostella, No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09, PC (accident in fourth hour)

Sebastian Vettel: Ferrari still in the dark over 2017 F1 chances

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Sebastian Vettel believes that Ferrari is still unsure about its Formula 1 championship chances in 2017 despite finishing as the fastest team through pre-season testing.

Following a winless campaign in 2016, Ferrari sprung a surprise in winter testing by dominating proceedings in Barcelona, with Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen finishing as the fastest drivers.

The new SF70H car appears to be a marked improvement on its predecessor following the change in the technical regulations, with three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton naming Ferrari as the favorite to win the first race in Australia this weekend.

Vettel remained coy about his chances when speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference, saying it won’t be until the first sessions of the weekend in Melbourne are complete that Ferrari will truly know where it stands.

“So far we don’t know anything. For all of us it will be exciting to find out where we are on Saturday and Sunday, to get a first impression,” Vettel said.

“For us a lot of new things last year didn’t really go the way we expected, so I think for this year we have really focused on ourselves. We have tried to do our job back in the factory and in testing.

“I think testing times, I don’t think they are that crucial, I think it matters much more what you show from here onwards. We’ll see. I think we are a bit in the dark like everyone else, not knowing what other people have done.

“For ourselves we can be reasonably happy, we did decent mileage, we didn’t have any major issues with the car and hopefully we can carry that momentum into the race.”

Vettel added that Mercedes rival Hamilton “must be” the favorite for the drivers’ title in 2017 given the German team’s form, having won over 50 races in the past three years.

“Mercedes obviously has been in very, very strong form the last three years and even though we changed the regulations, if a team is strong then they will build a strong car the year after, no matter what you do with the rules,” Vettel said.

“I think it’s very clear who is the favorite. For all of us sitting here, we are trying our best to catch-up. How much we have succeeded, we will see and, as the season goes on, I’m sure the cars will have big progression and all the teams will bring lots of stuff to develop the cars.

“So, whoever’s in a good place in the beginning and still in a good place at the end will have a chance.”

Full 2017 F1 on NBC Grand Prix race schedule, air times and networks

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NBC Sports Group has released the air times for all 20 Grands Prix ahead of the 2017 season, with all races live on either NBC, NBCSN or CNBC.

Coverage begins with this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix; full times and details for the race at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit can be found here. The race coverage starts at midnight on March 26 with F1 Countdown, with lights out at 1 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

There’s nearly 200 hours of coverage throughout the year throughout the networks. With most races on NBCSN, the four traditional NBC races (Monaco, Canada, United States, Mexico) continue and the remaining three races will be on CNBC for their live first airing.

NBC Sports Group’s Formula One commentating team returns for a fifth consecutive season, with lead race announcer Leigh Diffey (play-by-play), veteran analyst and former driver David Hobbs, analyst Steve Matchett, a former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team, and F1 insider Will Buxton, who will provide live reports on-site for all 20 races this season.

This week’s coverage of the Australian Grand Prix will also include a season preview from veteran motorsports essayist Sam Posey, as he discusses the retirement of 2016 F1 champion Nico Rosberg, and the state of F1 without Bernie Ecclestone at the helm for the first time in 40 years.

Last season, NBCSN’s 2016 F1 coverage (14 races) averaged 429,000 viewers, up 3% vs. 2015 (418,000; 13 races), to rank as the best F1 season for a single cable network since 1995 (ESPN: 755,000 viewers). Viewership has more than doubled since the first season on NBCSN, up 107% vs. 2013. Click here for more information on last year’s record F1 viewership.

In addition, NBC Sports Group will present comprehensive coverage of practice and qualifying of all 20 races across its family of networks and NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Streaming coverage will also enhance race coverage with dedicated feeds, including:

  • On-Board Feed –  NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app’s channel for live on-board cameras;
  • Pit Lane Feed – A dedicated channel on pit lane featuring all pit stops and team communication;
  • Driver Tracker – real-time data showing where all 22 cars are on track.
2017 FORMULA ONE SCHEDULE (all times ET)
Date Grand Prix Time Network
Sun., March 26 Australian Grand Prix 12:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., April 9 Chinese Grand Prix 1:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., April 16 Bahrain Grand Prix 10:30 a.m. CNBC
Sun., April 30 Russian Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., May 14 Spanish Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., May 28 Monaco Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBC
Sun., June 11 Canadian Grand Prix 2 p.m. NBC
Sun., June 25 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 8:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., July 9 Austrian Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. CNBC
Sun., July 16 British Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. CNBC
Sun., July 30 Hungarian Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., August 27 Belgian Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., September 3 Italian Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., September 17 Singapore Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., October 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., October 8 Japanese Grand Prix 12:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., October 22 United States Grand Prix 3 p.m. NBC
Sun., October 29 Mexican Grand Prix 3 p.m. NBC
Sun., November 12 Brazilian Grand Prix 10:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., November 26 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBCSN

 

Hamilton maintains Ferrari is F1 favorite, says Vettel is cooling hype

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Lewis Hamilton has maintained that Ferrari is the team to beat heading into this weekend’s Formula 1 season-opener in Australia, believing that Sebastian Vettel is trying hard to keep a lid on the hype surrounding his chances.

Hamilton enters 2017 chasing a fourth world title after losing out to ex-Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg last year, and is one of the favorites for the drivers’ championship.

Ferrari sprung a surprise in testing by finishing as the fastest team ahead of Mercedes – winner of over 50 races in the last three years alone – after capitalizing on the change in the technical regulations for this year.

Hamilton said throughout testing that he believed Ferrari would be the team to beat in Melbourne, and did not change his view in the Thursday press conference ahead of Sunday’s race.

“I see Ferrari being the quickest at the moment and I think they will definitely be the favorites, but we’ll find out more going into the weekend,” Hamilton said.

“It’s interesting to see, Sebastian’s usually a lot more hyped and I can tell he’s trying to keep a lid on it. But their pace was obviously great in testing.

“I’m very keen to see what Red Bull bring because they were quite far behind through testing, at least compared to Ferrari and didn’t see them bring many upgrades, or an upgrade as far as I could see.

“So I’m assuming they’re bringing something here which I’m excited to see what they do bring.”

Hamilton has ordinarily battled with just one driver – Rosberg – for race wins over the past three years given Mercedes’ pace advantage, but is excited about the prospect of battling with multiple racers from different teams at the front in 2017.

“Having more teams and more drivers up at the front fighting for wins, that’s what racing is all about. I’m hoping that’s the case,” Hamilton said.

“As far as I know, no team has won back-to-back through rule regulation changes, so that is our goal as a team. We’re here to win, we’re here to do something no-one else has done.

“Whether or not we’re in the right place at this moment in the season, we’ll find out. But I have every belief in my team that we can do that.”

Sam Schmidt to enter the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame

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Sam Schmidt, co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, is set to be inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame as part of its 2017 class. He joins boxer Floyd Mayweather, professional golf coach Butch Harmon, and 1950s college football star Overton Curtis as inductees. The Las Vegas Bowl college football game will also be inducted as part of the ceremonies.

“I’m truly honored to be recognized with this group of incredible athletes and organizations,” said Schmidt, who resides in Henderson, Nevada. “When you look at the other recipients over the past 21 years, it is truly a who’s who of Nevada sports and community leaders, all of whom I respect tremendously and several I call friends. I am proud that this award represents both accomplishments on the track and as a team owner, as well as a commitment to giving back to the local community which has always been important to my family.”

Dan Dolby, executive director of the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, described that this year’s inductees exemplify everything they look for in the Nevada sports community. “The class of 2017 is accomplished in so many different ways. We have an outstanding group of athletes who have contributed so much both in the competitive arena and in the community, as well as one of most iconic and longest-lasting sporting events in our city. This class again represents the best attributes of our community, and we are thrilled to bestow upon them the state’s highest sports honor in welcoming them to the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.”

Sam Schmidt’s teams have claimed seven Indy Lights championships, the most of any team in series’ history, although the Lights team ceased operations this offseason. His Verizon IndyCar Series teams have also claimed two poles for the Indianapolis 500.

But, Schmidt’s accomplishments extend beyond the IndyCar and Indy Lights paddocks. He piloted a specially prepared Corvette, using a combination of breathing and neck movements, that was designed by team partner and sponsor Arrow Electronics to the top of Pikes Peak, which stands at more than 14,000 feet. He also completed an exhibition run in the same car prior to pole qualifying for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

The ceremony will take place on June 2 a the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.