More details on NASCAR’s new qualifying format…

Leave a comment

We now have the main details involving NASCAR’s new knockout format for qualifying in all three of its national series, so this post will serve to list some of the additional details that will go along with it:

“RESET BUTTON”
After each qualifying round, the top speeds will be reset and drivers will have to post their best laps again in the next round.

IN THE PITS
Teams will be allowed to make a limited number of adjustments during breaks between qualifying rounds such as wedge, track bar, tire pressure, tape, and plugging in oil. However, repairs will not be allowed on pit road (teams can’t jack up the car or raise its hood, either).

THERE’S NO GOING BACK
If a car re-enters the garage, it will be removed from qualifying and will have its starting position set according to its best lap speed from its last round completed.

RANDOM DRAW FOR FIRST ROUND
Cars will be lined up for Round 1 of qualifying on pit road according to a random draw.

GOTTA HAVE ONE
Cars do not have to run for the entire duration of a qualifying round, but must complete at least one lap to set a qualifying time.

WATCH THE CLOCK
Once the clock runs out on a qualifying round, cars are allowed to pass the start/finish line one time.

PROVISIONALS
The new format will not impact NASCAR’s current policy for provisionals, which will be assigned at the end of Round 1 of qualifying.

TIE-BREAKERS FOR SAME SPEED
Should two or more cars have the same lap speed, their starting positions will be determined by owners’ points. If owners’ points fail to break the tie, the driver that set the duplicate time first will start in front of the other. (A note: Owners’ points from last season will be used to break ties until after the third race of this season).

PIT STALL SELECTION
The selection of pit stalls after qualifying will remain the same; the top qualifier gets first choice, the second-fastest qualifier gets the second choice, and so on.

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
3 Comments

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.