Detroit winners Conway, Pagenaud look to climb tomorrow in Toronto

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The IZOD IndyCar Series’ most recent street-course winners, Mike Conway and Simon Pagenaud, may have to show some patience if they want to contend in tomorrow’s first race of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader (3 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).

Both of them were victorious during the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit weekend at Belle Isle back in early June, but for tomorrows’ race, Pagenaud and Conway will be starting unofficially from 12th and 20th respectively.

Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports’ Pagenaud, who came from sixth starting position to win the second Detroit Dual, said that brake issues on his No. 77 HP Honda kept him from a potential pole run.

“We’ve got a really fast car, and I’m honestly very happy with it,” the Frenchman said. “I’m very frustrated, though, because I couldn’t extract the full potential of what the HP car has in it because we’re having brake problems.

“We’ve had the issue since this morning’s practice. When I hit the brake, I can’t stop the car properly, which obviously makes it very difficult to drive. It’s a shame because we had a pole position car today.”

Also expecting to be quick tomorrow is Conway, who is back with Dale Coyne Racing this weekend after finishing first and third with them in the Detroit weekend.

“We have some work ahead of us in tomorrow’s race, but I am confident that we can get the No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda up to the front of the field,” said Conway. “This is a long race and anything can happen, especially with this standing start. I know the team is going to give me the best car possible for the race.”

Pagenaud finished 12th in his Toronto debut last season, while Conway netted a third-place finish for A.J. Foyt Racing after crashing out in 2009 and 2011 (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing).

Watch this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto online and on your mobile device.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.