The Toyota Hybrid team saved their best for last as its No. 8 TS030 Hybrid (pictured, from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans), featuring drivers Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin, scored its first win of 2013 in the World Endurance Championship’s six-hour season finale in Bahrain.
Only two of the five LMP1 cars – the winning No. 8 from Toyota and the runner-up No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler – managed to go the full six hours.
The No. 26 G-Drive Racing LMP2 machine of IndyCar part-timer Mike Conway, John Martin and Roman Rusinov claimed the final spot on the overall podium while netting their fourth class win of the season.
Additionally, ex-IndyCar drivers Martin Plowman and Bertrand Baguette picked up a fourth-place class finish alongside Ricardo Gonzalez that enabled the trio to win the LMP2 drivers’ championship.
The LMP2 team title went to the OAK Racing side after their No. 24 Morgan/Nissan finished second in class with Olivier Pla, David Heinemeier Hansson and Alex Brundle at the wheel.
In GTE-Pro, Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander were victorious in Bahrain for AF Corse, helping secure the class team title and drivers’ title for Bruni after their rivals from Aston Martin Racing lost both their cars to retirements during the six-hour running.
However, Aston Martin wouldn’t come away empty-handed. Their No. 95 team of Nicki Thiim, Kristian Poulsen, and Christoffer Nygaard earned the race win in GTE-Am, while their teammates from the No. 96 squad – Jamie Campbell-Walker and Stuart Hall – came away with the drivers’ title after finishing fifth in class with Roald Goethe today.
A second-place effort from the No. 81 8Star Motorsports team (Enzo Potolicchio/Rui Aguas/Davide Rigon) brought the GTE-Am team title to that outfit.
The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.
With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.
Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.
With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.
“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!
“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”
Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.
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