The lone Audi Sport LMP1 driver who has found a full-time ride in next year’s FIA World Endurance Championship, Andre Lotterer, has made his debut aboard his new car with his new team this week.
Lotterer joined several others of his Porsche Team drivers at a test at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain. Porsche LMP1 head Fritz Ensinger officially welcomed Lotterer to the team after the images were revealed.
He’ll be part of a new-look lineup in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid next year, with reigning World Champion Neel Jani and Porsche factory ace Nick Tandy, who’s now a full-time LMP1 driver after stepping up from the Porsche GT program. Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber, who replaces the retired Mark Webber, are in the No. 2 Porsche.
The three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and 2012 FIA WEC World Champion shifts to Porsche for the 2017 campaign, following Audi’s withdrawal from the championship announced late last year. He has competed in every FIA WEC race since the series’ inception at 2012 at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, one of only a handful of drivers to do so.
The remainder of Audi’s six factory drivers are yet to sort their FIA WEC plans. Loic Duval and Audi GT ace Rene Rast will join the manufacturer’s DTM program. Lucas di Grassi is set to focus on FIA Formula E with the Audi ABT Schaeffler squad, while Oliver Jarvis, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer’s full 2017 programs remain to be determined.
Fassler and Duval will race at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Fassler in an encore with Corvette Racing while Duval will make a one-off run with Elton Julian’s DragonSpeed team.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).