TUSC: BAR1, Scuderia Corsa each announce two-car programs

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BAR1 Motorsports and Scuderia Corsa will each field two entries in the Prototype Challenge and GTD categories respectively for the 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

BAR1 finished the 2013 American Le Mans Series season on a tear with three consecutive victories for its No. 8 ORECA FLM09 at Circuit of the Americas, Virginia International Raceway and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. One of the No. 8’s drivers, Chris Cumming, narrowly missed out on the PC class driver’s championship by a single point to Mike Gausch.

“Looking back at 2013, I can’t say enough about the effort our team put forth,” said BAR1 team owner Brian Alder in a statement. “To win the final three races of the season was a huge accomplishment. We finished on the podium a total of eight times this season. We proved week in and out we are one of the premier teams in the highly competitive Prototype Challenge class.”

“Today’s announcement serves notice we’ll be back to finish the job. We want more wins and we want the championship.”

As for Corsa, they’ll field the No. 63 and No. 64 Ferrari 458 Italias for the inaugural TUSC season. The No. 63 will feature the final GRAND-AM GT champion, Alessandro Balzan, pairing up with Jeff Westphal. Dr. Rod Randall and Ken Wilden are set to drive the No. 64.

“I’m very happy to be joining such a great championship team,” Wilden said in a Corsa release. “The Ferrari 458 is an awesome car. Scuderia Corsa has done an exceptional job in the series and we look forward to the year ahead.

“Rod and I both felt this was a great opportunity after running with the team at Indy last year; it was such a great fit and an easy decision. We are looking forward to a very competitive season.”

The No. 63 Ferrari was the fastest in GTD during this past week’s test session at Daytona International Speedway.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).