GMDetroitDomination

GM enjoys banner weekend on home soil of Detroit

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The third year of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, run by Roger Penske and his entire organization and set in the backdrop of General Motors headquarters, really couldn’t have gone much better to plan for the host team and manufacturer.

Chevrolet swept the pair of Verizon IndyCar Series races, the aptly named Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans. After going 0-for-3 in the first three IndyCar races on site in Detroit in 2012 and 2013, this was a needed bounce back.

In 2012 and 2013, Honda took eight of the nine podium positions. The 2012 and second 2013 races saw a Honda podium sweep, and the only Chevrolet podium was Ryan Hunter-Reay finishing second in-between Dale Coyne Racing teammates Mike Conway and Justin Wilson in 2013 Dual 1.

But five of six podium positions this weekend went to Chevy drivers. Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) and Tony Kanaan (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) were first and third on Saturday with Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet), Power and Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) completing the first podium sweep by any manufacturer in the first seven races of the season.

Chevrolet also took a win with the Dallara-chassied and Corvette-bodied Daytona Prototype, driven by brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor (No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing) in Saturday’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic. A second Corvette DP, the Coyote-chassied entry of Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante (No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing), finished second.

Cadillac swept the pair of Pirelli World Challenge races, the Cadillac V-Series Challenge presented by the Metro Detroit Cadillac Dealers, with Johnny O’Connell scoring both GT and overall race wins in his No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R. Teammate Andy Pilgrim finished second on Sunday to make it three podium finishes out of a possible four attempts; O’Connell has now won five of the six GT races at Detroit since the event came on board in 2012.

The best person to sum up the banner weekend from GM’s side was Jim Campbell, vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, after GM products completed a sweep of five wins in five total races spread over the three series, at the only race where GM sponsors the event.

“Racing and performance are important parts of our heritage,” he said. “For Chevrolet and Cadillac to combine to win five races this weekend, right here in our own backyard, demonstrates the preparation, teamwork, determination and never-give-up attitude by our Chevrolet and Cadillac teams.”

Esteban Ocon secures Mercedes DTM seat for 2016

2015 GP3 Series Round 9
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Sunday 29 November 2015.
Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C8733
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2015 GP3 Series champion Esteban Ocon will race in the DTM championship this year with Mercedes in tandem with a reserve role in Formula 1 at Renault.

Ocon joined Mercedes’ junior program in the spring of 2015 before becoming a fully-fledged member at the end of the year just days before his GP3 title success.

The Frenchman was known to be considering a move into either DTM or GP2 for 2016, but will now replace F1-bound Pascal Wehrlein at Mercedes’ factory team for the new DTM campaign.

“It’s an incredible feeling to be part of such a professional and strong racing series,” Ocon said.

“I’m very pleased to be driving for Mercedes-Benz. It’s the best team in the DTM and I’m very grateful for this fantastic opportunity.

“Mercedes is the most successful manufacturer in DTM history. You can only achieve that with real passion and hard work, and those are characteristics that we share. After driving in free practice during the final race weekend of the 2015 season at Hockenheim, I can’t wait to start a DTM race.

“I obviously have a lot to learn, but my goal – and that of everyone in the team – is to fight for wins as soon as possible.”

Trident completes 2016 GP2 line-up with Armand

2015 GP2 Series Test 3.
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Friday 4 December 2015.
Philo Armand (INA, Status Grand Prix).
Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _L0U4261
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Trident has completed its line-up for the 2016 GP2 Series season by signing Indonesian driver Philo Paz Armand.

Armand has previously raced in a number of European Formula Renault 2.0 championships, and most recently took part in half of last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 rounds, scoring one point.

Armand will now step up to GP2 for the 2016 season, racing alongside 2015 GP3 runner-up Luca Ghiotto at Trident.

“We are very excited to start this collaboration with Philo and we are confident he will express all his talent thanks to the team’s help,” Trident team manager Giacomo Ricci said.

The grid for GP2’s support series, GP3, is also beginning to come together for the new season following the announcements of Tatiana Calderon and Honda junior Nirei Fukuzumi.

Calderon moves into GP3 from FIA F3 and will race for Carlin, while Fukuzumi joins ART Grand Prix, continuing the French squad’s association with Honda.

Marchionne calls for Alfa Romeo to consider F1 entry

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  The Alfa Romeo 4C on display at the Vanity Fair Campaign Hollywood Alfa Romeo Ride and Drive luncheon at The Polsky Residence on February 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
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Fiat-Chrysler CEO and Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne believes that Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo must consider entering Formula 1 with a team in the near future.

Alfa Romeo last raced as a constructor in F1 between 1979 and 1985, but has enjoyed no involvement within the series since 1988 when it supplied engines to the Osella team.

Marchionne believes that a return to F1 would be an effective way for Alfa Romeo to grow as a brand and gain more public awareness.

“In order to restore their name, they must consider returning to Formula 1,” Marchionne told Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Alfa Romeo are capable of making their own chassis, just like they are capable of making their own engine,” he added, before conceding that it could enjoy an engine supply from Ferrari should it wish to enter F1.

Marchionne believes that adding more manufacturers to the F1 grid is key to safeguarding the long-term future of the series.

“In the end this sport must be saved,” Marchionne said.

“The important thing is to make other car manufacturers enter grand prix racing.”

Grosjean unveils new helmet design for first F1 season with Haas

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Romain Grosjean has revealed his new-look helmet design ahead of his first Formula 1 season with Haas in 2016.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas won the race to get an F1 team on the grid back in 2014, and has spent the past 18 months meticulously planning its arrival in the sport.

Haas F1 Team’s full debut is now just five weeks away, with the first on-track test of its new car coming on February 22 in Barcelona.

Grosjean walked away from Lotus at the end of last year to join Haas for the new season, where he will race alongside former Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez.

In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, Grosjean unveiled his new helmet design for the 2016 season, featuring plenty of Haas signage.

Grosjean also revealed earlier this week that he would be racing with a tribute to Jules Bianchi on his helmet, who died at the age of 25 last July.