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Dixon leads, Pagenaud has accident during Wednesday Fontana test

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Verizon IndyCar Series teams had the opportunity to get several hours of running in during Wednesday’s test at Auto Club Speedway, which ran from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. in Fontana, Calif.

Scott Dixon led the charts with a best speed of 219.462 mph, one of four drivers over 219 at the 2.0-mile oval. It was difficult to gauge which drivers were able to post their best speeds unassisted or with a tow.

The other story that emerged Wednesday night was that championship contender Simon Pagenaud, who’s still alive but needs a minor miracle in order to catch and/or overtake the Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves, had a light accident leaving the pit lane late in the session.

Per RACER Magazine, which was on site during the session, Pagenaud lost control leaving pit lane and suffered some rear end damage, but nothing that isn’t fixable.

The three title contenders will be in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday at The Grove LA for an IndyCar Championship Event from noon til 2.

Meanwhile here’s the times from Wednesday night:

Results Wednesday from the Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway.with position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed.

1. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8075, 219.462 mph
2. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8528, 219.159 mph
3. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8595, 219.115 mph
4. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 32.8692, 219.050 mph
5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.8773, 218.996 mph
6. (25) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 32.9059, 218.806 mph
7. (10) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9191, 218.718 mph
8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 32.9369, 218.600 mph
9. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9725, 218.364 mph
10. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Dallara-Honda, 32.9819, 218.302 mph
11. (8) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevrolet, 32.9907, 218.243 mph
12. (14) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 32.9912, 218.240 mph
13. (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 33.0011, 218.175 mph
14. (17) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevrolet, 33.0950, 217.556 mph
15. (34) Carlos Munoz, Dallara-Honda, 33.1509, 217.189 mph
16. (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 33.1580, 217.142 mph
17. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Chevrolet, 33.2117, 216.791 mph
18. (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 33.2984, 216.227 mph
19. (19) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 33.3215, 216.077 mph
20. (98) Jack Hawksworth, Dallara-Honda, 33.4034, 215.547 mph
21. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevrolet, 33.4391, 215.317 mph
22. (18) Carlos Huertas, Dallara-Honda, 33.6346, 214.065 mph

Sim racers join Formula E teams ahead of Las Vegas eSports event

2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship.
Marrakesh ePrix, Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Saturday 12 November 2016.

Photo: Sam Bloxham/LAT/Formula E
ref: Digital Image _SLA8272
© FIA Formula E
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Ten sim racers have joined up with teams on the Formula E grid ahead of the Las Vegas eSports event at the beginning of January.

Formula E announced last summer that it would be holding a non-championship event in Las Vegas that would pit its drivers against racers from the virtual realm.

With $1 million in prize money on offer, the race is poised to be one of the most lucrative eSports events.

Ahead of the event in Las Vegas, each of the 10 of the sim racers that have qualified have been paired up with a Formula E team.

“I’d like to officially welcome the sim racers who qualified through the Road to Vegas Challenge to participate in the inaugural Visa Vegas eRace,” Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said.

“I’ve been following the progress of the sim racers throughout the qualification process, and I can’t wait to see them on the same track as the rest of the Formula E grid.

“Accessibility and fan engagement are two of the key cornerstones of Formula E, and what better way to promote this than getting the sim racers to compete in the same colours as their Formula E counterparts – it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top.”

The sim racers in the event are:

  • Gregor Huttu (FIN) – Panasonic Jaguar Racing
  • Aleksi Uusi-Jaakkola (FIN) – Andretti
  • Olli Pahkala (FIN) – Mahindra
  • Enzo Bonito (ITA) – Techeetah
  • David Greco (ITA) – Renault e.dams
  • Graham Carroll (GBR) – DS Virgin Racing
  • Aleksi Elomaa (FIN) – Venturi
  • Bono Huis (NED) – Faraday Future Dragon Racing
  • Petar Brljak (CRO) – NextEV NIO
  • Patrick Holzmann (DEU) – ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport

The Vegas eRace will take place on January 7.

Hunter-Reay, Rahal complete Acura NSX GT3 lineup at Rolex 24

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Photos: Acura
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Verizon IndyCar Series stars Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal will complete the eight-driver lineup for the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona in the pair of Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3s.

These two drivers join the previously announced six-pack of Andy Lally, Ozz Negri, Jeff Segal, Katherine Legge, Mark Wilkins and Tom Dyer. The first four are the full-season drivers while Wilkins and Dyer are the third drivers for the full Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup slate of races. Daytona, as a 24-hour race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, makes up the longest round where four drivers are expected for most entries.

Exact lineups are yet to be determined. Both Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda) and Rahal (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) run Hondas in IndyCar, and switch from their previous teams in IMSA. Hunter-Reay was third driver in the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP last year, Rahal the fourth driver in one of the BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLMs.

Both Hunter-Reay and Rahal will test the car at Daytona next week.

“We’re thrilled to have Graham and Ryan join the Michael Shank Racing effort at Daytona,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development (HPD), the racing arm for Acura in North America. “The debut of the NSX GT3 at the prestigious Rolex 24 will mark the return of the Acura brand to IMSA sports car competition. The addition of Graham and Ryan to an already excellent driver lineup, coupled with the experience provided by Michael Shank and his team, will make the NSX GT3 a serious contender for the GTD class victory at Daytona.”

Jenson Button receives honorary degree from University of Bath (VIDEO)

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 25:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda in the garage during practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 25, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
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Jenson Button became ‘Dr. Jenson Button’ earlier this week when he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bath in England.

Button, 36, made what looks set to be his final Formula 1 appearance at the end of last month in Abu Dhabi, drawing the curtain on a 16-year stint at the pinnacle of motorsport.

The Briton won the F1 drivers’ championship in 2009 and was runner-up in 2011, as well as winning 15 grands prix.

Button added to his list of achievements by picking up an honorary degree in engineering from the University of Bath earlier this week.

“I didn’t go to university and work hard in my early years, but I would say that a lot of my achievements in motorsport are down to my engineering understanding of a racing car,” Button said when addressing the audience at the ceremony.

Button does have a contract to race for McLaren in 2018 should both he and the driver be keen, but looks unlikely to return.

Button does remain keen to race occasionally through 2017, expressing an interest in racing in Super GT and rallycross.

Williams expecting Stroll to make mistakes through debut F1 season

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 24:  Lance Stroll of Canada and Williams talks in the Paddock  during previews for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 24, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
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Williams Formula 1 chief technical officer Pat Symonds says he expects 18-year-old Lance Stroll to make mistakes during his rookie season in 2017.

Williams announced last month that Stroll would be stepping up from Formula 3 to a full-time F1 seat for 2017, replacing the retiring Felipe Massa.

Stroll has an impressive track record through his junior racing career, becoming the youngest ever FIA F3 champion in 2016.

However, his on-track actions have caught attention for the wrong reasons at times, with the Canadian receiving a race ban in June 2015 for causing an accident.

Speaking to Reuters, Symonds said that Williams is braced for Stroll to make mistakes during his rookie campaign as he gets to grips with life in F1.

“Of course he’ll make mistakes and we’ll be repairing cars. These things happen as part of the process,” Symonds said.

“If you look at his Formula 3 career, in 2015 he was having quite a few accidents in that. The Monza one is just staggering.”

However, Symonds has no doubt in Stroll’s talent, believing the youngster to have proven himself during his two-year stint in F3.

“He hasn’t won that championship with anything other than a lot of skill and maturity,” Symonds said.

“For a guy that young, he’s driven really well in pretty well every condition. He’s raced well, he’s led at the front. He’s come through the field a bit, he’s driven well in the wet.

“He is the real deal.”

Besides his F3 commitments, Stroll has also completed an extensive F1 testing program through 2016 that saw him conduct running in a 2014-spec Williams in order to prepare him for his race debut in Australia next March.