IMSA: OAK dominates CTMP; Corvette and Viper take GTLM, GTD wins

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After coming close all year, the No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan finally broke through in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for its first win of the year. Drivers Gustavo Yacaman and Olivier Pla led flag-to-flag from Yacaman’s pole position to secure the win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix.

Richard Westbrook’s late pass of Jordan Taylor netted Watkins Glen winners Spirit of Daytona second place in the No. 90 Corvette DP over the fellow Corvette DP, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry. Westbrook co-drove with Michael Valiante; Taylor with older brother Ricky.

The GT Le Mans class also saw domination, with Corvette Racing’s No. 3 pair of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia winning their fourth straight race in their Corvette C7.R. Magnussen has his sixth win at the former Mosport circuit; Garcia his first.

The Dodge Viper SRT GTS-Rs finished second and third for the second race running, although this time the No. 93 of Kuno Wittmer and Jonathan Bomarito finished ahead of the sister No. 91 of Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens. Bomarito made a late run at Garcia through traffic, but was unable to catch the Spaniard.

Meanwhile in GT Daytona, the polesitting No. 33 Riley Motorsports Viper Exchange Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R took its first win of the year with drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating.

Bleekemolen made a late race pass of Kevin Estre in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America; Estre having been banged at Turn 3 by Michael Christensen in the factory, CORE autosport-run No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR in the GT Le Mans category.

That Porsche-on-Porsche violence allowed Bleekemolen through on the inside, while Estre was stuck in second. He co-drove with Patrick Lindsey.

Despite a penalty, Turner Motorsport rebounded to third with Dane Cameron and Markus Palttala in the No. 94 BMW Z4 GT3.

The race ran caution-free, the third such TUDOR Championship race to do so this year after the Prototype/GT Le Mans classes put on caution-free events at Long Beach and Monterey, respectively.

The P, GTLM and GTD classes race next at Indianapolis Motor Speedway July 25, with the PC class also back in action that race.

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.