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IMSA: Taylors among several who extend win streaks at COTA

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The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R continued its win streak in the fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor dominated the weekend in Prototype thanks in large part to an incredible setup from the off from the Wayne Taylor Racing team.

This means they’ve now won more races in the first four races this year than they did all of last year, three, on four entirely different types of circuits and race lengths – in spite of various Balance of Performance adjustments assessed in the opening weekends.

“It was really nice today,” said Ricky Taylor. “It was one of the best race cars I’ve ever had. The team has just done an amazing preparation for this car. We’re just getting to know it more and more. Every race weekend we’re learning. This weekend, it shows how much we’ve developed through the year. We unloaded off the truck really strong, then qualified really well. It was fantastic.”

Action Express Racing returned to the podium after a nightmare Long Beach, with defending class champions Dane Cameron and Eric Curran second in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac ahead of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac.

The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Stephen Simpson and Misha Goikhberg ended fourth for the third straight race with the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi completing the top five in the hands of Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown. The second Nissan, Ryan Dalziel’s and Scott Sharp’s, was poised for a podium before a late fire within the final seven minutes.

What looked like a golden opportunity for BMW Team RLL and its BMW M6 GTLM to finally break through in GT Le Mans went awry even after both cars survived a five-car pileup in class at the first turn of the first lap.

Corvette Racing seized its chance with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia moving forward early, Magnussen climbing from sixth to third at the first lap, and then taking the lead in his No. 3 Corvette C7.R. Once over to Garcia the car was never headed the rest of the day. It’s Corvette Racing’s third straight win as a team, with the No. 3 adding this win to its Sebring win, and what should have been a Long Beach win was picked up by the sister No. 4 car.

“I definitely made the right choice to pick the inside line,” said Magnussen. “Everything was happening on the outside and a few cars got in big trouble and had some heavy damage. I’m really happy I escaped all that without a scratch.”

BMW’s No. 25 and 24 cars finished second and third, short of a win but at least on the podium. The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR was fourth, and the other five cars in class were all damaged or out as a result of the first turn chaos.

GT Daytona saw the Mercedes-AMG GT3 win its third straight race, in the hands of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes AMG-GT3 for the second time. This is Keating’s fourth class win in five COTA starts, and Bleekemolen’s third in five.

Scuderia Corsa banked another podium with defending champions Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan in their No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3, while the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored its second podium of the year with Tristan Vautier and Kenny Habul.

Performance Tech Motorsports also carried its win streak through to a third straight event, with James French and Pato O’Ward top of the three-car Prototype Challenge class in its No. 38 Oreca FLM09.

Next up for IMSA is Detroit in June, except for the GTLM class, which is off until Watkins Glen in July to allow teams competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans to prep for that.

Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean to launch cookbook

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Haas Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean may be one of the sport’s most promising talents on-track, but he also has a burning passion off it: cooking.

Grosjean may have been spent a good part of this year cooking his brakes, but you’ll now be able to cook bakes instead…

F1’s resident foodie is set to release a cookbook alongside wife Marion Jolles in the coming weeks, as announced on his Facebook page.

Grosjean currently sits 13th in the F1 drivers’ championship with 18 points to his name, helping Haas to match the points total from its debut season after just 10 races in 2017.

Mercedes F1 engine chief warns against underestimating Honda

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Mercedes Formula 1 engine chief Andy Cowell has warned against underestimating the threat of Honda despite its ongoing power unit struggles, tipping the Japanese manufacturer to bounce back in the near future.

Honda returned to F1 as a manufacturer in 2015, supplying V6 turbo power units to the McLaren team, but has struggled for either performance or reliability through that period.

The struggles have led McLaren – currently sat bottom of the constructors’ championship – to consider cutting ties for 2018 given how far adrift compared to the other three engine suppliers Honda has been.

Mercedes has been the benchmark for engine performance since the change in regulation for 2014, but Cowell feels that Honda could make up ground quickly, with the removal of the token system for 2017 helping performance to converge through the field.

“I think collectively we’ve helped with convergence in Formula 1 in the opening season, performance development through the year,” Cowell said.

“But then the opportunity to do a big change with Honda coming in, we all agreed that Honda could have that same opportunity to change everything in the first year and then the request came from manufacturers in addition to Honda saying ‘please can we take this crazy token table away because it’s bad for the sport?’

“It’s bad if somebody can’t train to get better and so we agreed, yeah, take the table away because it’s better for the sport because it means that you can innovate, you can introduce whatever you like.

“I think none of us should underestimate the technical prowess of Honda and of McLaren and I think my money is on that combination coming good and coming good pretty quickly. No pressure…”

Williams happy to ‘hold off’ on 2018 F1 driver decision

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Williams is happy to “hold off” on making a decision on its Formula 1 driver line-up for 2018 as it focuses on improving its on-track displays after a tough start to the season.

Williams currently fields Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, a mix of experience and youth, but has failed to keep up with midfield front-runner Force India through the first half of the year.

Force India sits fourth in the constructors’ championship with more than double the points of Williams, who leads a tight-knit group down to Renault in eighth place, 15 points adrift.

While Stroll looks set to continue with Williams and Massa has hinted he may look to continue through to 2018 despite initially planning to retire at the end of last season, deputy team boss Claire Williams has confirmed that no decision about next year’s line-up will come any time soon.

“There’s a lot of talk already isn’t there, about drivers across the paddock. For us, we’ve decided we’re going to hold off a bit on our driver decision,” Williams said.

“We’ve got a fight on our hands on the race track at the moment and to be distracted by those kinds of conversations isn’t something that we want to be happening at the moment.

“[Force India’s] got a nice points haul on us at the moment we need to focus on, rather than anything else.”

Nico Rosberg visits Stanford University, considering study options

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2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg is considering study options at Stanford University after visiting the college earlier this week as part of his tour around California.

Rosberg sensationally announced his retirement from F1 just five days after winning his maiden world title last November, wanting to spend more time with his young family.

The German has been enjoying his retirement, recently embarking on a tour of Silicon Valley and California that saw him hold meetings with electric car giant Tesla, among other companies.

In a video posted to his Twitter account on Sunday, Rosberg spoke warmly about a visit to Stanford, revealing that he is considering some study options in the near future at the historic institution.

Rosberg was previously offered a scholarship to study engineering at Imperial College London when he was younger, only to turn it down in order to embark on a racing career. He also reportedly holds the highest ever score on Williams’ engineering aptitude test.

Should Nico sign up to a course at Stanford, we imagine he’d take things one class at a time…