Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge 2013 Season Review

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Last in our list of major or supporting North American series we’re reviewing on MotorSportsTalk is the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, the undercard on most GRAND-AM Rolex Series weekends in 2013.

The GS (Grand Sport) class saw Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi take the title in their Rum Bum Racing Porsche 997, by 32 points over the Stevenson Motorsports’ Camaro pair of John Edwards and Matt Bell. Plumb and Longhi won three races to the Edwards/Bell pair’s two, and were also generally more consistent over the course of the year.

Things were closer in ST (Street Tuner) as the Burton Racing BMW 128i pair of Terry Borcheller and Mike LaMarra edged the Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si pair of Ryan Eversley and Kyle Gimple. Borcheller and LaMarra won by nine; they also won twice to offset their bad days, while Eversley and Gimple’s consistency wasn’t enough to overcome their lack of a win.

Generally these races are barnburners with combined fields anywhere from the mid-50s to north of 70 cars on track at any one time between the two classes. Many TUDOR United SportsCar Championship drivers often dovetail their commitments there with appearances in the Continental series, and the latter series is the better for it. It’s always an entertaining show and hopefully we can provide more coverage, time and availability pending, in 2014.

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).