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.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”