Ricciardo finally claims first podium finish in F1

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After suffering heartbreak in Australia when he was disqualified for exceeding the fuel flow limit, Daniel Ricciardo has finally secured his first podium in Formula 1 with a brilliant third place finish today in Spain.

The Australian driver started the race in P3, but dropped behind Valtteri Bottas off the start. However, when Williams went too far into the race before pitting the Finn, Ricciardo got the advantage back and moved into third place once again. He then had quite a lonely race from then on, but eased home to finish in third ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel.

He came home almost 50 seconds behind the Mercedes drivers, but he knew that third was the best he could wish for today.

“They were a long way ahead,” Ricciardo said on the podium after the race. “I think coming into the race today, we knew a boring race would have been a pretty good one for us.

“We knew we didn’t really have the pace for Mercedes, and we looked like a third placed car. In the end that’s what it was.”

Ricciardo acknowledged that it was a relatively trouble-free race, and merely about managing his pace and his tires to secure a podium finish.

“We had a pretty comfortable third place, and we just had to focus on getting the tires to two stops,” he said. “Really nice to be on the podium, and I’m sure I’ll get to keep it this time.”

Ricciardo has made a superb start to his career with Red Bull, and with third place is now just six points behind esteemed teammate Sebastian Vettel. The team will now be hoping to make up some ground on Mercedes at the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, but for Ricciardo, finally getting this monkey off his back will mean a lot.

IMSA: CJ Wilson Racing to enter WeatherTech Championship

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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CJ Wilson Racing, a championship winning team in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, is set to join the ranks of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team will make its IMSA debut during testing this week at Sebring International Raceway and will campaign an Acura NSX GT3 in the GT Daytona class.

Marc Miller and Till Bechtolsheimer are scheduled to handle the driving duties during the Sebring test, and a third driver, to be named at a later date, will join them for their debut race at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17.

“As a young kid watching IMSA races, it was always my dream to race in the premier sports car series,” said team owner and former MLB all-star pitcher Wilson. “It looks like I still have some time before I race in (the) WeatherTech (Championship, as a driver) but I’m happy for Marc and Till to take on the toughest track in the country in the NSX.”

Wilson continued, “We have been aiming to get into this paddock for years but now the real fight begins to see what we can do against the much more experienced teams. So, we felt like, hey, if we’re going to go in and spend X-amount of dollars, maybe we’re better off spending that in GTD, getting our feet wet, and taking a real run at this and being where we want to be, which is having a chance to compete with the best teams in the Western Hemisphere.”
In addition to Sebring, the team will contest the other two rounds of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup – the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the Motul Petit Le Mans – with plans to add additional events, as team manager Andris Laivins explained.
“Right now, the plan is to run the remainder of the Patrón NAEC, and hopefully add on a couple other rounds as we go,” Laivins detailed. “Last fall, as we approached Thanksgiving, it became clear that putting a proper effort on track for the Roar and Daytona was going to be tough, and the last thing you want to do is show up to the biggest race of the year unprepared, so we made the tough choice to sit it out and keep working.”
CJ Wilson Racing’s IMSA efforts date back to 2010, when the team debuted in the Mazda MX-5 Cup as well as what is now called the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The team went on to win a championship in 2015, in the Street Tuner class of the Continental Tire Challenge.
The team currently fields Porsches in the Continental Tire Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class. Wilson himself has also been an IMSA competitor as a driver, most recently competing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series last year.