Photo courtesy of IMSA

New Chevy Camaro GT4.R scores first win in CTSC at CTMP

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The new Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R has taken its first win in sports car competition, with Robin Liddell and Matt Bell breaking through in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports entry in today’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge two-hour race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Liddell and Bell debuted the car in the third race of the season at Circuit of The Americas, and had been building towards this result over the last three races in the GS class. The CTSC season intensified in volume of races starting last week at Watkins Glen, having not raced since COTA in May. But Watkins Glen kicked off a stretch of five races over the next two months, with CTMP today, Lime Rock later this month and Road America and VIR in August.

The Camaro also runs in Pirelli World Challenge and while it’s been a model of consistency with Lawson Aschenbach banking a bevy of podiums for Blackdog Speed Shop, it hasn’t yet won a race in the sprint series. Stevenson was the Continental Tire series GS champion with the previous generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R in 2015 with Liddell and Andrew Davis winning, and their last race win came in September of that year at COTA.

RS1 moved into second place on the final lap with the No. 28 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR driven by Dillon Machavern and Dillon Murcott, while the Motorsports in Action No. 69 McLaren 570S GT4 of Jesse Lazare and Chris Green fell to third on the final lap despite having a likely fuel edge and pitting later on the final pit stop sequence.

In ST, a late-race push from Eric Foss saw the sports car veteran emerge on top in his No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman he shares with Jeff Mosing.

CRG-I Do Borrow’s No. 44 Nissan Altima of Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo came second, Trinkler nearly having a late go at Foss but unable to get him after running wide at Turn 3.

Prior leaders LAP Motorsports were unable to get another win with the No. 37 MINI JCW driven by Mike LaMarra and James Vance, Vance having done well to lead late before Foss came charging and barging through in the final stages.

‘Game-changing’ multi-year agreement will take INDYCAR, NBC Sports ‘to the next level’

Photo: Chris Estrada, NBC Sports
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NEW YORK – As the fourth Nor’easter in three weeks bore down on the Big Apple, it was tough to spot people that were clearly in a good mood.

But Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, was clearly in a good mood.

On Wednesday morning at 10 am ET, we all found out why: NBC will become the exclusive home of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, starting in 2019.

The new three-year deal not only makes “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” part of the network’s “Championship Season” – its collection of high-profile championship events from May to July – but also reaffirms NBC’s status as the home of motorsports television in the United States.

That status is something Miller doesn’t take for granted.

“It’s important people know that storytelling is in our DNA, and motorsports lends itself very well to storytelling,” Miller said as he, INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles and driver James Hinchcliffe made a snowy trek to the New York Stock Exchange to promote the deal on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“We’ve had great success with the second half of the entire NASCAR season, and then we’ve had half of the IndyCar package [since 2009] … But we never had the real meat of the series and that didn’t set anybody up for success.

“Having the entire package of IndyCar now – all 17 races, qualifying, practice, you name it – really sets IndyCar on a strong path and solidifies NBC’s position as the home of motorsports. I think it becomes a property much like the Premier League, the NHL, and even the Olympics and the Triple Crown. We have 100 percent of the media opportunity and we can put all those great assets behind it.”

With the storm no doubt keeping some traders home, the floor of the NYSE was relatively subdued. But that made it no less important to be at the heart of Wall Street. Miles and his team are pursuing a new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series to replace Verizon, which will fully focus its efforts in the series with the powerhouse Team Penske going forward in 2019.

The new deal – which includes 8 races per year on the NBC network (with the remaining races going to NBCSN), live streaming of all races, and a direct-to-consumer package with NBC Sports Gold – gave Miles plenty to push for any potential backers. As for Hinchcliffe, he held his own nicely in an interview that also explored IndyCar’s global ambitions, the impact of technology on the sport, and of course, his spin around the ballroom on “Dancing with the Stars.”

On the ride back to 30 Rock, Miles was confident that NBC can play a big role in attracting a sponsor that can help the series keep growing.

“With respect to our work in finding the best title sponsor, it’s really important – and this has not been talked about much – but we expect to work with hand in glove with NBC’s sales,” he explained. “We have the opportunity to create packages which are both broadcast sponsorship and series sponsorship, I think, in a way that doesn’t come along very often.

“Usually, the media deal and the sponsorship deal doesn’t align like this, so we’re really excited about the offering we’ll have and the approach to the market we can take.”

Should the partnership with NBC bear fruit on that front and others, it will only add to the upswing that the IndyCar Series has had in recent years.

Hinchcliffe has been a witness to that. He entered the series in 2011, when it was trying to find its footing after the sport’s reunification three years earlier. After 13 years of CART vs. the Indy Racing League, getting everything back under one roof was not a smooth process.

But fast-forward seven years, and things have changed for the better. TV ratings and digital viewers have gone up. Race scheduling has become more stable and enhanced with the return of traditional open-wheel markets. And this year’s debut of the universal aero kit aims to pump up the action on the track, while also giving the cars a cleaner, meaner look.

Now, with NBC all in, Hinchcliffe is bullish on his sport’s future.

“This is a game-changing thing for us,” he declared. “If you look at the last four or five years, we’ve seen a steady growth in pretty much every measureable metric that there is – in a time where, globally, motorsports is in a bit of a downturn.

“The fact that IndyCar was able to rally against a global dip in motorsports interest, attendance, sponsorship – it speaks volumes to what we have been doing and this is just gonna take us to that next level.”