Indianapolis 500

Alex Zanardi finishes 13th in Blancpain GT Sprint debut

Leave a comment

Yesterday, the toughest man on the planet got back to doing what he does best.

Former CART champion and F1 pilot Alex Zanardi – who lost his legs in a 2001 crash but has become a two-time Paralympic champion in hand cycling – got back behind the wheel in the Blancpain GT Sprint Series’ season opener at Nogaro, France.

Zanardi drove a modified BMW Z4 GT3 for the Roal Motorsport team, whom he competed for in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The Italian appeared on line for a Top-10 finish at Nogaro, but in the final laps, problems with the clutch caused him to fade to 13th at the finish.

Afterwards, Zanardi tried to look at the big picture but still called finishing out of the points in his Blancpain debut “a pity.”

“In the race, our BMW Z4 GT3 was probably better than many other cars, so this gives me hope for the next races,” he said in a team statement. “Unfortunately we had this problem – which has nothing to do with BMW – but it was the clutch which we installed for me. It compromised my race even in the first half.

“After the pit stop, I managed to somehow start without the clutch, but then the car became very difficult to drive and basically, I was driving the whole third sector in fourth gear to avoid problems. At the hairpin, I tried to shift down but nothing was happening, then all of a sudden the gears were there. But what can you do, this is racing. Now I am looking forward to the next round.”

Nonetheless, Zanardi held his own on Monday, with team principal Roberto Ravaglia noting that he logged one of the ten fastest laps during Monday’s race.

“This shows how competitive Alex can be,” he said. “In the first stint, before the clutch troubles, he was consistent and was able to go faster and faster, lap by lap, and in all track sectors.

“Now we need to work in order to improve in qualifying and to let him start from a better position than this weekend’s 14th.”

BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt also hailed Zanardi’s effort, which he said proved that “he is still a real racer.”

“He can be satisfied with his performance,” said Marquardt. “You should not forget that GT racing is something new for him, and that he is competing against strong and experienced rivals.”

Mercedes drivers Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz won the race at Nogaro.

Here are your TV times for the German GP on NBCSN, NBC Sports app

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 20:  The drivers go round the first cornerat the start of the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 20, 2014 in Hockenheim, Germany.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Formula 1 returns to Germany this weekend after a two-year absence as Hockenheim hosts the final grand prix before the summer break.

Lewis Hamilton arrives in Germany leading the drivers’ championship for the first time in 2016 after taking a fifth win in six races last time out in Hungary.

Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg will be looking to regain his advantage on home soil by taking a second German Grand Prix in victory, his first coming in 2014.

The German Grand Prix is live across NBCSN and the NBC Sports app this weekend. Here are all your times and channels:

The Formula One season drives into Germany this Sunday on NBCSN with a new points leader, as Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) now sits atop the drivers’ championship for the first time in 2016 following a dominant win in Hungary on Sunday. Hamilton passed teammate and rival Nico Rosberg on the first lap of the race and never looked back. The win marked Hamilton’s fifth career Hungarian Grand Prix victory and his fifth win in the last six races overall. Hamilton (192 points) now holds a six-point lead over Rosberg (186 points), followed by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (115 points). Hamilton is a two-time winner of the German Grand Prix (2011 and 2008), while Rosberg won the most recent running of the event in 2014 at Hockenheimring.

Coverage begins Friday on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app at 4 a.m. ET with Practice 1, followed by Practice 2 at 8 a.m. ET on NBCSN. NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app will stream coverage of Practice 3 on Saturday at 5 a.m. ET, prior to NBCSN’s live coverage of qualifying at 8 a.m. ET. Live race coverage from Hockenheimring begins Sunday at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN. NBCSN will air an encore presentation of the German Grand Prix on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports Group’s lead F1 broadcast team of Leigh Diffey (play-by-play), veteran analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs, and analyst and former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team Steve Matchett will call the action. F1 insider Will Buxton will report on-site from Germany.

NBCSN will also air a brand new episode of Off The Grid on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET, immediately following German GP qualifying. Off The Grid takes fans off the track and into sights and sounds of the culture that surrounds motorsports. Hosted by Will Buxton and producer Jason Swales, this week’s episode visits Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix

Date

Coverage

Time (ET)

Network

Fri., July 29

F1 German Grand Prix – Practice 1

4 a.m.

Streaming

F1 German Grand Prix – Practice 2

8 a.m.

NBCSN

Sat., July 30

F1 German Grand Prix – Practice 3

5 a.m.

Streaming

F1 German Grand Prix – Qualifying

8 a.m.

NBCSN

Off The Grid – Montreal

9:30 a.m.

NBCSN

Sun., July 31

GP2 – Germany

6 a.m.

NBCSN

F1 Countdown

7 a.m.

NBCSN

F1 German Grand Prix

7:30 a.m.

NBCSN

F1 Extra

10 a.m.

NBCSN

F1 German Grand Prix (Encore)

8 p.m.

NBCSN

Follow @LukeSmithF1

Formula E confirms pre-season testing dates at Donington Park

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 3:  In this handout image supplied by Formula E Sam Bird (GBR), DS Virgin Racing DSV-01  during the London Formula E race on JULY 3, 2016 in Battersea Park, London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Zak Mauger/LAT/Formula E via Getty Images)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Formula E has confirmed the dates for collective testing at Donington Park in England ahead of its third season.

The new campaign is due to start in Hong Kong on October 9, but teams have already been extensively testing their season three powertrains for many months.

Besides the 15 days of private testing, all 10 teams are able to take part in the two collective tests at Donington Park over the summer.

The first three-day test will take place from August 23-25, with the second and third days being open to the public.

The second test is scheduled to be held from September 5-7. Details regarding access for fans will be released at a later date.

Testing at Donington will offer the Formula E paddock a first chance to check out its rivals ahead of the new season, including the new Jaguar team.

Sebastien Buemi enters the new Formula E season as the defending champion after defeating rival Lucas di Grassi at the London ePrix finale earlier this month.

Red Bull GRC: Washington, D.C. set to kick off second half of year

DCgrcpreview
Leave a comment

After six action-packed races to kick off the first half of the 2016 season, Red Bull Global Rallycross heads to the Northeast for another returning event, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

The championship has about five realistic contenders with now five races remaining in the 11-race season, following the official cancellation of the second MCAS New River race.

Tanner Foust of Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross leads the way from Chip Ganassi Rallycross’ Steve Arpin and defending series champion Scott Speed, Foust’s teammate.

Those three are at 295, 286 and 279 points, and the three clear front runners. Brian Deegan (Ganassi) and Patrik Sandell (Bryan Herta Rallysport) have 248 and 243 points and could capitalize if the three top drivers hit a rough patch.

It gets tougher from there on back, for the pair of Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic drivers (Sebastian Eriksson and Joni Wiman) and SH Rallycross/DRR, the latter team of which provides one of the weekend’s most interesting stories with the return of Nelson Piquet Jr. in the team’s No. 07 MET-Rx Ford Fiesta ST.

Piquet won last year at Washington, D.C., and his presence this weekend will provide a good baseline whether SH Rallycross’ tough 2016 season is more setup or driver-related. Jeff Ward hasn’t forgotten how to wheel it by any stretch, but Ward has only one top-five finish in the first six races of the year for the James “Sulli” Sullivan-led team.

“I’ve missed competing in Red Bull GRC with SH Rallycross/DRR,” said Piquet Jr. “I had such a great couple of seasons with the team and I love rallycross. Sulli and I are friends and have kept in touch. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to race again with the team that helped me get my first GRC victory.”

Behind Piquet at this race last year, Patrik Sandell and Ken Block completed the podium – a Ford podium sweep. Arpin made it a top-four sweep with Foust and Speed in fifth and seventh, respectively.

Only once since that race have the pair of Volkswagens been off the podium (Daytona 1, 2016), and that race saw both drivers in win and podium positions before both fell out in the final stages of the race.

Deegan and either Honda driver is still in search of their first win this year, with Deegan having been the closest to breaking through thus far this year. The “General” of Metal Mulisha came a hard-luck second at MCAS New River, having lost the win on the final lap by way of taking the Joker while Speed took the standard course to the inside, and moved ahead.

The D.C. course, a 10-turn, 0.899-mile course, switches to a clockwise direction from counterclockwise last year. Even more notable, the jump is right before the finish line.

There’s also a new fantasy game Red Bull GRC has introduced; details of which are linked here.

You can watch the action LIVE this Saturday, July 30, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC. Toby Moody, Townsend Bell and Kristen Kenney have the call from RFK Stadium.

Haryanto keeps Manor seat for German GP

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 28: Rio Haryanto of Indonesia and Manor Racing in the Drivers Press Conference during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 28, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rio Haryanto will keep his Formula 1 seat with Manor for this weekend’s German Grand Prix as talks to secure funding for the remainder of the 2016 season continue.

Haryanto joined Manor at the beginning of the year after four seasons in GP2, becoming Indonesia’s first F1 driver when he debuted in Australia.

However, Haryanto only had funding up to the last race in Hungary, leading to questions being raised about his place with Manor for this weekend’s race at Hockenheim.

“I intend to put all the speculation regarding my future to one side and concentrate on the racing here in Hockenheim,” Haryanto said in Manor’s race preview.

“We’re working as hard as possible on the future behind the scenes, but that’s where I want to keep that side of things for this weekend.”

Haryanto has been listed on the entry list by Manor and appeared in Thursday’s FIA press conference where he was asked about his future.

“I have a contract for one year. Of course there are certain obligations that we need to fulfil,” Haryanto said.

“My management are working very hard. I would like to say thanks to the team and the people in Indonesia who have been very supportive.

“Hopefully I can keep my seat for the rest of the season.”

The German Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App this weekend.