Grosjean: Hamilton ‘completely ruined’ Silverstone Q3 lap

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Romain Grosjean has ended 10th in qualifying for the 2017 British Grand Prix, but the Haas F1 Team driver was livid it wasn’t higher after alleging he was significantly blocked by Lewis Hamilton on his first flying lap in Q3.

Grosjean told NBCSN’s Will Buxton he could have been at least one spot higher, possibly more, but lost several tenths in the final corner right before the start/finish line. His second run he said was better, but unable to leapfrog as high as he would have liked.

Hamilton is under investigation by the stewards, with any potential penalty due to ruin Hamilton’s 67th career pole and fifth at Silverstone, courtesy of a storming 1:26.600 lap of the circuit.

“The first run in Q3, but I got completely blocked by Hamilton, and lost a good three tenths,” Grosjean told NBCSN.

“I got to Turn 3 on my second run then had a massive lock. We had much more performance than what we’re showing.

“I’m very unhappy with the first attempt being completely ruined in the last corner. I had the big snap on the second run.

“We’re doing a good job, trying to fight the Force India. Great to be in Q3, but there was so much more.”

Grosjean said he would have been “at least one position” further up, and said “I would have got (Stoffel) Vandoorne at least.” The Belgian first year driver for McLaren made his first Q3 appearance in ninth.

Grosjean will use Carbon Industrie brakes for the race for the first time on Sunday, but at a track where braking performance isn’t as important as at others, there’s more excitement about the race prospects.

“I think we use the brakes, maybe three out of 19 corners!” Grosjean laughed. “From Turn 7 to 13 is just flat out! It’s so much fun. There’s been some emotional moments sometimes. I’m feeling it.”

Teammate Kevin Magnussen got knocked out in Q1 for the fourth time this year, ending 17th before grid penalties get applied. The Dane was unhappy with single-lap pace but estimates Haas has a better race package in store for Sunday.

“We’re not as strong as we expected. We need to look at why,” he told NBCSN. “Our race pace looked much better. Qualifying over one lap is not very competitive this weekend.”

The race airs from 7:30 a.m. ET on CNBC on Sunday.

GAINSCO partners with JDC-Miller for Simpson, Goikhberg

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The bright yellow No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson, nicknamed the “JDC Banana Boat,” will morph into the latest incarnation of the bright red “Red Dragon” for 2018.

The now GAINSCO Auto Insurance-backed No. 99 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson will run the full 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, and the new livery will be revealed at the Roar before the Rolex 24.

GAINSCO revealed last month it wouldn’t run its own team, having partnered with Bob Stallings Racing for more than a decade with great success in GRAND-AM Rolex Series competition. But it was still going to partner with a team and received multiple proposals from other teams. The initial deal with JDC-Miller Motorsports is one year for 2018 with an option for 2019, but both parties envision this growing into a multi-year deal.

The last few years the team has run only on-and-off, with a one-off appearance in the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona as Alex Gurney scored pole, but a devastating accident for Memo Gidley having left him seriously injured. Gidley has made significant strides in his recovery.

Since that point, GAINSCO/BSR moved into Pirelli World Challenge, running first a Hyundai Genesis, then a McLaren 650S GT3, and then a Porsche 911 GT3 R with Gurney’s longtime co-driver Jon Fogarty. The same level of success was hard to find and while the team scored several podium finishes, wins eluded them over two years.

Alas, this provides John Church’s quality operation a major supporter both from visibility and agent standpoints, as GAINSCO is one of the biggest at-track activators in the sport. Primary drivers Stephen Simpson and Misha Goikhberg continue for the full season with Chris Miller the third driver for Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup rounds.

A fourth driver will be named later (likely within the next week to 10 days), but won’t be Jon Fogarty, as Bob Stallings offered him the opportunity but Fogarty declined owing to other business commitments.

“We offered Jon Fogarty the opportunity, took a couple days (to think), he couldn’t feature anyone else driving but him… he has successful business ventures and that takes priority at this time,” Stallings said.

Church and Stallings. Photo courtesy of GAINSCO Racing

Stallings, Executive Chairman of GAINSCO, as well as the founder of the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Race team, recently decided not to run his own race team, but is committed to continuing the legacy of the Red Dragon by partnering with an organization capable of a long-term winning program.

“We had many opportunities to continue our quest for championships and JDC-Miller MotorSports was an easy pick,” said Stallings of the Minnesota-based team. “John Church and John Miller have established themselves as a team to be reckoned with, even against the formidable competition in IMSA.”

“We are very honored to gain the support of GAINSCO Auto Insurance and to carry on the livery of the No. 99 Red Dragon,” Church added. “It was immediately evident that the GAINSCO folks are as committed as we are.  This is a tremendous opportunity for JDC-Miller MotorSports and we look forward to the season ahead.”

Andy Jordan, Sr. Vice President of Marketing and Business Development led the search for the GAINSCO’s 2018 racing partnership.

“We were amazed and flattered by the amount of interest we received from teams who felt their racing programs would be elevated by an opportunity to partner with us and run the famous “Red Dragon” livery.  There were several important considerations for GAINSCO; the team had to compete at the highest level, and it had to feel like the kind of family we could be a part of and believe in.

“JDC-Miller Motorsports was the team we kept coming back to.  They race prototypes, they are great people, they are committed to win and the parallels between JDC-Miller Motorsports today and GAINCSO/Bob Stallings Racing in 2006/2007 were abundant.  I couldn’t be prouder and more excited to join John and his team for the 2018 season and hopefully beyond.”

JDC-Miller is adding a second car this season, with Simon Trummer its first confirmed driver and Robert Alon having tested with the team at Daytona earlier this month. This car will maintain the “banana boat” livery and will announce the rest of its program later.

Church said there “hasn’t been a discussion” in terms of adding Bob Stallings Racing personnel to JDC-Miller’s lineup as it sits, but it could be integrated.

The JDC-Miller Oreca 07. Photo courtesy of IMSA