Pagenaud, Bourdais lead IndyCar Long Beach second practice

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Throughout most of the second 45-minute session for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the field was tight – within a second for all 23 cars. As it was, the top 19 ended within 0.9377 of a second, with the field covered by just 1.4354.

Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay led most of the session before Justin Wilson, driving for Dale Coyne Racing, got ahead of him at 1:09.7016. Only two drivers made it into the 1:09 bracket in first practice, led by RHR’s Andretti teammate James Hinchcliffe.

It was close until Simon Pagenaud dropped a 1:09.1488 in the newly liveried blue, white and green No. 77 Charter Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports that put him up by more than half a second.

“It’s been good thus far,” said Pagenaud. “The Honda is behaving really well; the drivability is right there. We have good power delivery.”

But his countryman got within 0.012 of a second, with Sebastien Bourdais second in the No. 11 Mistic Electronic Cigarettes Chevrolet for KVSH Racing at 1:09.1608. Bourdais said the balance is good on his car.

Both are past Long Beach race winners; Pagenaud won the 2010 American Le Mans Series race, with Bourdais a three-time winner in the Champ Car ranks from 2005 through 2007.

A second Charter-sponsored entry, the No. 98 BHA/BBM Honda driven by rookie Jack Hawksworth, clocked in third at 1:09.4409.

The last two Long Beach race winners, Takuma Sato and Will Power, completed the top five.

Times are linked here; the session had no red flags.

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.