GP2/WSR 2014 Silly Season Updates

1 Comment

We don’t spend a ton of time at MotorSportsTalk focusing on the GP2 Series and/or World Series by Renault, but considering they’re the two top feeder series into Formula One, we do want to recap who’s lining up where at this stage in the offseason before their 2014 seasons start.

Starting with GP2, some of the F1 aspirational names already confirmed for the 2014 season include McLaren reserve Stoffel Vandoorne and Caterham reserve Alexander Rossi. I spoke to Rossi about his hopes for this year at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, when he raced in the DeltaWing prototype.

“I think you always have a shot (to advance), but the best kind of B-plan option is GP2 for another year and I’m quite pleased with that,” said Rossi, who won his first GP2 race at Abu Dhabi in November. “With the same team, keeping the continuity is a positive thing. We have very high expectations for the next year.”

Here’s the quick rundown of confirmed team/driver combinations in GP2:

  • Carlin: 3-Julian Leal
  • DAMS: 7-Jolyon Palmer, 8-Stephane Richelmi
  • ART Grand Prix: 9-Stoffel Vandoorne, 10-Takuya Izawa
  • Hilmer Motorsport: 11-Daniel Abt
  • Rapax: 14-Simon Trummer
  • Arden International: 16-Rene Binder, 17-Andre Negrao
  • EQ8 Caterham Racing: 18-Rio Haryanto, 19-Alexander Rossi
  • MP Motorsport: 20-Daniel De Jong
  • Campos Racing: 26-Arthur Pic

Those seats not confirmed include both seats at Russian Time (Nos. 1, 2), Racing Engineering (Nos. 5, 6), Trident Racing (Nos. 22, 23), Venezuela GP Lazarus (Nos. 24, 25) and second seats at Carlin (No. 4), Hilmer (No. 12), Rapax (No. 15), MP (No. 21) and Campos (No. 27).

The 2013 champion, Fabio Leimer, does not have his plans set for 2014; series runner-up Sam Bird will run selected TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races with Starworks Motorsport in North America. The GP2 season begins April 5-6 at Bahrain.

Meanwhile in WSR, the series won by new McLaren recruit Kevin Magnussen last year, there’s still more seats to be filled before its first test Feb. 25-27 at Motorland Aragon. Confirmed team/driver combinations are below:

Teams (country): 


  • Arden Motorsport (GBR): William Buller, Pierre Gasly
  • DAMS (FRA): Norman Nato, Carlos Sainz Jr.
  • Fortec Motorsports (GBR): Oliver Rowland, Sergey Sirotkin
  • International Draco Racing (ITA): Pietro Fantin
  • ISR (CZE): Jazeman Jaafar
  • Lotus (CZE): Matthieu Vaxiviere
  • Strakka Racing (GBR): Will Stevens, Matias Laine

Teams still needing to confirm both seats are:  AV Formula (ESP), Carlin (GBR), Comtec Racing (GBR), Pons Racing (ESP), Tech 1 Racing (FRA) and Zeta Corse (ITA). Draco, ISR and Lotus still have to confirm their second seats. The WSR race season opens April 12-13 at Monza.

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
2 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.