Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Sarrazin deputizes for Davidson at WEC’s trip to COTA

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The Toyota Gazoo Racing has gone to its bench to bring up Stephane Sarrazin for this weekend’s upcoming 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas, for what is expected to be the FIA World Endurance Championship’s last trip to Austin, Texas for the foreseeable future (new FIA WEC 2018-2019 “super season” sees Sebring the new U.S. venue in March 2019).

Sarrazin will fill in for Anthony Davidson in the team’s No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid with Toyota citing “personal reasons” for Davidson’s absence.

It will see the Frenchman in alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima this weekend, and will also mean Sarrazin will have driven all three Toyotas in the same season. He co-drove with Yuji Kunimoto and Nicolas Lapierre in the team’s third car, the No. 9 car, in Spa and then was switched on a one-off drive to the No. 7 car with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi at Le Mans. Both cars were listed fifth in LMP1 on those occasions, with Le Mans a failure to finish.

He’s also raced for a pair of FIA Formula E Championship teams this past season, Venturi for the first half and then Techeetah the second half from Berlin onwards.

“It’s a surprise to be racing the TS050 HYBRID again this season but I am excited to be back and I’m looking forward to racing with Sébastien, Kazuki and the whole team,” Sarrazin said. I know the Circuit of the Americas well and it’s an impressive circuit, with some great corners. I will give my all to score as many points for the team as possible.”

Sarrazin has two podium finishes at COTA, with second in 2013 and third in 2016 with Toyota.

“Anthony will not be with us this weekend but he has our full support and we look forward to seeing him behind the wheel again,” said Hisatake Murata, Team President. “We are happy that Austin comes so soon after Mexico, which was not a positive race for us. Everyone is pushing to get a better result this week. The drivers are very motivated to get both cars on the podium and win races again; they fought hard in Mexico and never gave up. The whole team has this fighting spirit so we go to Austin with big hopes.”

Pirelli reveals new super-hard, hyper-soft F1 tires in Abu Dhabi

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Pirelli has confirmed it will add two new tires to its range for the 2018 Formula 1 season, launching the ‘super-hard’ and ‘hyper-soft’ compounds in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Pirelli currently makes three of its five dry compounds available to teams for each race weekend, and despite varying selections across the course of the season has struggled to offer much in terms of strategy options, with one-stop races being the norm.

The hope is that the addition of two new tire compounds and a re-alignment of their durability will offer teams more choices in races.

Pirelli confirmed plans to introduce a new softest tire below the current ultra-soft earlier this month, inviting fans to pick a name.

The pink-colored compound will be known as the ‘hyper-soft’ from next year, with the arrival of a new ‘super-hard’ (colored ‘ice blue’) also being confirmed at a launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola said.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Besides the seven dry compounds made available, there will be the two rain tires – wet and intermediate – taking it to a total of nine for the 2018 season.