Getty Images

Thought of IndyCar stars making pilgrimage to Bathurst is tantalizing

2 Comments

Today marks one of the emerging endurance race classics on the planet, the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour from Mount Panorama.

And today also marks a day – or week – of envy for those drivers, onlookers and participants who haven’t yet been to Bathurst but are salivating at the prospect of heading to one of the world’s most iconic race circuits.

The Bathurst race generally draws a mix of international sports car stars beyond the locals in Australia, and today alone, a swath of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers expressed both their interest and desire to race at Bathurst while watching via the event website, Radio Le Mans, or NISMO’s YouTube channel (NISMO.TV).

It seems surprising that as a New Zealander, Scott Dixon has never raced at Bathurst. But the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion kicked off a bit of discussion about it earlier today:

Dixon’s endurance race teammate in one of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs, Sebastien Bourdais, has won overall at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and he added a class win in the Ford at last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bourdais added his enthusiasm for racing there:

Fellow IndyCar veterans Oriol Servia and JR Hildebrand have also chimed in, and that’s in addition to other drivers (Connor De Phillippi, Dion von Moltke, Felix Rosenqvist, Pipo Derani, Wayne Boyd, Mike Hedlund and more), media folk and other onlookers who are desiring and dreaming of making the pilgrimage.

This is where I queue up the Liz Lemon in “30 Rock” clip and say, that yes, I want to go to there.

And someday, this needs to happen for those drivers too. Because as we’ve seen, Dixon and Bourdais have already tackled Le Mans – well – and adding Bathurst to their already glittering resumes would be even more to fun to watch.

Dario Franchitti, the four-time IndyCar champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 champion, also extended his best wishes prior to the race. Franchitti was the Rolex 24 at Daytona grand marshal last week.

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.”