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Red Bull GRC’s 2017 TV schedule on NBC, NBCSN released

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On the heels of its schedule release last week, here’s the TV schedule for Red Bull Global Rallycross in 2017, for both the Supercars and GRC Lites divisions.

The release with full details is linked below:

For the fourth consecutive year, NBC Sports will provide comprehensive Red Bull Global Rallycross coverage on NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app.

NBC and NBCSN will combine to produce more than 20 telecasts of the Red Bull GRC Supercar and GRC Lites series, and all events will be live streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming platforms for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs.

“This year’s Red Bull GRC telecast schedule on NBC and NBCSN will feature more racing action and original content than ever before, with over 24 hours of coverage between Supercar and GRC Lites action,” said Red Bull GRC CEO, Colin Dyne. “NBC Sports remains one of our most valued partners, and we look forward to working together again to deliver another great year of racing in 2017.”

“Red Bull Global Rallycross offers a unique brand of racing that viewers connect with,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “The pace of GRC races combined with the skill of these drivers makes for riveting competition every time the cars hit the track.”

Expanded heat coverage will enable fans to follow their favorite drivers from the preliminary rounds all the way to the final through in-depth storylines and additional content on NBCSN companion shows and re-airs of each event.

The 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross television schedule is as follows:

SUPERCAR TELECAST SCHEDULE

Round Location Event Air Date Time (ET) Network
1 Memphis, Tenn. Qualifying April 29 12 a.m. NBCSN
Finals April 30 1 p.m. NBC
2 Louisville, Ky. Finals May 21 1 p.m. NBC
3 Thompson, Conn. Finals June 3 5 p.m. NBC
4 Finals June 4 5 p.m. NBC
5 Canada Finals June 17 10 p.m. NBCSN
6 Finals June 18 4 p.m. NBC
7 Indianapolis, Ind. Qualifying July 8 1:30 p.m. NBCSN
Finals July 9 8 p.m. NBCSN
8 Atlantic City, N.J. Finals August 12 5 p.m. NBC
9 Finals August 13 4:30 p.m. NBC
10 Seattle, Wash. Finals September 9 4:30 p.m. NBC
11 Finals September 10 4:30 p.m. NBC
12 Los Angeles, Calif. Qualifying October 13 3 p.m. NBCSN
Finals October 14 4:30 p.m. NBC

GRC LITES TELECAST SCHEDULE

Round Location Event Air Date Time (ET) Network
1 Memphis, Tenn. Finals May 2 5 p.m. NBCSN
2 Louisville, Ky. Finals May 24 5 p.m. NBCSN
3/4 Thompson, Conn. Finals June 7 5 p.m. NBCSN
5/6 Canada Finals June 21 5 p.m. NBCSN
7 Indianapolis, Ind. Finals July 12 5 p.m. NBCSN
8/9 Atlantic City, N.J. Finals August 23 5 p.m. NBCSN
10/11 Seattle, Wash. Finals September 13 5 p.m. NBCSN
12 Los Angeles, Calif. Finals October 18 5 p.m. NBCSN

Further announcements about the 2017 Red Bull GRC season will be shared at the official series website, redbullglobalrallycross.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @GRCseries.

Wehrlein nonplussed by Sauber-Honda speculation

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Pascal Wehrlein is not paying any attention to speculation that Sauber’s planned Formula 1 engine deal with Honda for 2018 could be on the rocks, saying his future remains open as he focuses on his current duties with the team.

Mercedes junior Wehrlein was placed at Sauber for 2017, and led the team to its first points finish of the year at the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

Sauber had been given a boost two weeks earlier when it announced a deal to become Honda’s second customer team for 2018, including technical and financial support.

However, the deal was put in doubt following Sauber CEO and team principal Monisha Kaltenborn’s departure, leading to speculation that it had not been finalized.

Kaltenborn’s replacement Frederic Vasseur has made it a priority to resolve the matter, but it has made for a bleak outlook at Hinwil for the future.

With the 2018 driver market beginning to stir, Wehrlein has stressed he is not yet thinking about next season, nor is he paying any attention to the speculation about Sauber’s deal with Honda.

“I have no idea what is happening next year. Of course, I have heard all these rumors as well,” Wehrlein told the official F1 website.

“I cannot influence any of these things, so why worry about them? Whatever rumors there are in the air, it is no distraction for me – that is the bottom line.

“I have a contract for this season so I am only focusing on this year. Decisions are made by others and I am only here to drive, to perform as well as I can.

“Of course I want to see Sauber do well. They have the potential and have already been in good positions in the past and I want them to get back there. How and when? That is on another page.”

Wehrlein expressed his confidence in Vasseur’s leadership, although he expects the team to shift focus to its 2018 plans.

“I do have expectations of Fred and the team. I don’t know how fast Fred can change things or how he can change them, but we now have one race left before the summer shut down,” Wehrlein said.

“In the second half of the season the team will focus on next year, so I don’t think you will see his touch too much this year. So let’s see what we can still do with the tools that we have right now.

“I really respect Fred. I used to work with him in DTM. He had a team when I drove there in 2015. He has so much experience in motorsport and in many other ventures outside racing.

“He is a very successful man. He could help Sauber. He could be very good for the team.”

Keeping Grosjean, Magnussen for 2018 ‘a given’ in Gene Haas’ eyes

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Gene Haas is planning to field an unchanged line-up for his Formula 1 team in 2018, believing it to be “a given” that Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will continue beyond the end of the season.

NASCAR team co-owner Haas took his eponymous F1 operation onto the grid in 2016, pairing Grosjean with Esteban Gutierrez.

While Grosjean scored a fifth-place finish in Haas F1 Team’s second race and picked up 29 points across the course of the season, Gutierrez failed to record a single top-10 result.

The Mexican was replaced by Magnussen for 2017, with the Dane taking 11 points through the first 10 races of the season.

Despite the fluidity of the driver market for 2018, Haas revealed in an interview with the official F1 website that the team is planning to race with Grosjean and Magnussen together once again next year.

“We will run with the same drivers that we have this year again next year. That is a given,” Haas said.

“And given the other continuity aspects, we should be better racers next season.”

Haas had been tipped to take on a Ferrari junior such as Antonio Giovinazzi or Charles Leclerc for 2018 given its technical ties to the Italian marque.

Grosjean is understood to be a target for Renault should it miss out on re-signing Fernando Alonso, while Magnussen penned a multi-year deal upon arrival at Haas at the start of the season.

Reflecting on Magnussen’s contribution, Haas believes the team has benefitted from his greater race performance that has allowed it to match its debut season points total in just 10 races in 2017.

“Esteban was a good driver. He was as fast as Romain in practice, but I think that Kevin has an edge in terms of race experience,” Haas said.

“He can score points and that was the key for bringing him on board. Kevin can grab points and Romain can too.

“We now have 29 points. Last year around this time we also had 29 points, but did not score for the rest of the season.

“So now if we can score another 29 points by Abu Dhabi, that would be a great position.”

Pirelli: Slow puncture caused Vettel’s British GP tire failure

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Pirelli has determined that a slow puncture was the cause of Sebastian Vettel’s Formula 1 tire failure towards the end of last Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

Vettel suffered a failure on his front-left tire on the penultimate lap of the race at Silverstone while running third, forcing him into a late pit stop that ultimately left him P7 at the checkered flag.

The incident was just minutes after Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen had also hit trouble with his front-left tire, although Pirelli stressed after the race that the incidents were unrelated.

Pirelli announced on Friday that, after conducting extensive analysis of the tire, it could confirm that its initial belief that Vettel had suffered a puncture was indeed correct.

“As appeared clear since Sunday afternoon, a full investigation has now confirmed that the original cause of the failure was a slow puncture,” Pirelli said.

“The consequent driving back to the pits on an underinflated and then flat tire led to the final failure.

“Kimi Raikkonen’s damaged tire shows less evidence of what occurred, so further tests and analysis are still ongoing in Pirelli’s laboratories and indoor testing facilities.

“It will take a few more days to reach a definitive conclusion.”

BMW completes first test with 2018 M8 GTE in Germany

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BMW has completed the maiden track test of its new M8 GTE car that will race in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2018.

BMW announced back in September that it would be returning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans through the WEC in 2018, entering the GTE-Pro class.

The German manufacturer has since been developing its new M8 GTE car which will also replace the existing M6 GTLM in the IMSA-run series, where it is raced by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

BMW announced on Thursday that it had completed a three-day test last week at the Lausitzring in Germany, with factory drivers Martin Tomczyk and Maxime Martin both enjoying time behind the wheel.

“To see the BMW M8 GTE on the racetrack makes me very proud. Everyone involved has done a magnificent job in recent months to allow us to reach this milestone in the development of our new flagship for the GT racing scene,” said BMW head of motorsport Jens Marquardt.

“In the first instance, the purpose of a test like this is obviously to get to know the car. In this regard, greater emphasis is placed on the safety aspect than performance. However, the first impression of the BMW M8 GTE out on the track is a very positive one.”

“Firstly, I feel very honored to have been able to drive at the first real test of the BMW M8 GTE on the racetrack. I had great fun with the car,” added Tomczyk.

“The BMW M8 GTE is good to drive from the outset, and it is easy for us drivers to work out the way it handles, which is important. We got a lot of kilometers under our belt, and gathered a lot of data. We also took our first steps with regard to performance, which is by no means a given at a first test.

“We will obviously work more intensively on that at the coming tests, and will build on the strong basis we established here at the Lausitzring.”

The BMW M8 GTE is set to enjoy another on-track test next month, with Antonio Felix da Costa due for some lap time.