Audi wins in Shanghai, also claims WEC driver’s title

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The Six Hours of Shanghai proved doubly successful for Audi, which came away with both the race win and the FIA World Endurance Championship driver’s title in China.

The No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Benoit Treluyer, Andre Lotterer, and Marcel Fassler (pictured, from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans) took the checkered flag after what had been a strong effort from their rivals at Toyota. But in the race’s fifth hour, the race-leading No. 8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid of Anthony Davidson was forced to retire with a suspension failure.

Then, in the final hour of the race, the No. 7 Toyota of Alex Wurz came to the pits from the lead for a final, fuel-only stop. But with older tires, Wurz was unable to stop Treluyer in the No. 1 Audi from taking the point with a half-hour remaining in the event.

“Our Audi was outstanding,” Treluyer said in a post-race statement  After we didn’t have the right tires at the beginning of the race, we became notably faster on a different type of tire. [Audi] No. 2 helped us out with these tire sets – thank you very much for that! This way, I was able to overtake Alex Wurz in traffic. It was a thrill all the way to the end.”

Treluyer went on to win over Wurz by 15.3 seconds, while the No. 2 Audi of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval finished third to claim the WEC driver’s crown.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment since 1985,” McNish said in his own thoughts. “Even in karting, I battled for the World Champion’s title – back then at Le Mans by the way. In Formula 1, I didn’t have a real chance. Now, in my third motorsport discipline, it’s worked out.

“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together this year. Things were going really well. For me, the race at Austin was a very important element on the way to today’s success. Now I’ve got a feeling of special warmth in my body and of special wetness on my back, after Alex Wurz drenched me in champagne…”

IndyCar part-timer Mike Conway helped the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca/Nissan team earn top honors in the P2 category, winning alongside co-drivers John Martin and Roman Rusinov. The team was able to recover from having to repair bodywork damage in the middle stages of the race.

Also winning in Shanghai were the No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Stefan Mucke and Darren Turner in GTE-Pro and the No. 81 8Star Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia of Enzo Potolicchio, Davide Rigon and Rui Aguas in GTE-Am.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.