PWC: Title battles intensify as series heads for streets of Toronto

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While open-wheel racing will take up the majority of time on the streets of Toronto this weekend, the Pirelli World Challenge is also in action with a doubleheader for the GT, GT-A and GTS classes. Rounds 9 and 10 of the season occur Saturday and Sunday; they’ll air Sunday, August 10 on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET.

In GT, Johnny O’Connell has won three of four street races this season in his No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R. The defending class champion is also the defending race winner in Toronto.

Others who’ve podiumed on the street courses this year include Johnny O’s Cadillac Racing teammate Andy Pilgrim, Anthony Lazzaro in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and Andrew Palmer in the No. 21 GMG Racing Audi R8 Ultra. Lazzaro’s teammate, Nick Mancuso in the No. 16 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, also has a GT-A podium on street courses but hasn’t achieved one in GT yet this year.

Those five, plus Butch Leitzinger (Bentley), Road America double winner Mike Skeen (CRP Audi), and guest drivers Nick Tandy (EFFORT Porsche) and Kuno Wittmer (Dodge Viper SRT) will also be some to watch.

The GT-A battle is wide open with five drivers having won a race this year and only Brazilian Marcelo Hahn bagging more than one victory. There are 12 cars entered this weekend.

GTS is also wide open with Kia Racing/Kinetic Motorsports teammates Nic Jonsson (No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Kia Optima) and Mark Wilkins (No. 38 PutOnTheBrakes.org Kia Optima) are separated by only a single point in the championship entering the weekend. Others who should figure into the equation are the other two street course winners this year, Lawson Aschenbach (St. Petersburg) and Dean Martin (Detroit), and veteran Jack Baldwin in the No. 73 RESET-MD Porsche Cayman S.

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Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

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Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”