FIA WEC: Mark Webber preparing for possible wet WEC debut

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With the possibility of rain for tomorrow’s World Endurance Championship season opener at Silverstone, Mark Webber is expecting a six-hour race filled with challenges.

The former F1 competitor, now driving for Porsche’s factory team, will start sixth on the grid in the No. 20 919 Hybrid that he co-drives with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley.

The Aussie figures that the result was solid considering the lack of preparation going into today’s qualifying.

“One hour of free practice wasn’t a lot to get two guys and the car ready for qualifying and to practice the qualifying procedures,” Webber said in a release.

“Nevertheless, we had an eye on race preparation and kept doing set-up changes. In qualifying, we might have left a bit of performance out there, but the team did a very good job.

“A possible wet race would give us an extra challenge on the operational side as well as on track. Despite the temporary four-wheel drive, any race car on the limit in the wet needs the maximum respect.”

Porsche’s sister car, the No. 14, ended up third on the grid behind the No. 7 Toyota and No. 1 Audi. Altogether, the team was pleased with how the day went.

“Positions three and six are more than satisfactory for our new team,” said Porsche LMP1 vice president Fritz Enzinger. “We have tough months of preparation work behind us. We used to say, ‘Who takes time to breath has lost the battle.’ I feel very happy for every single team member.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).