Former CART championship and Indy 500 winning owner Steve Horne putting the ‘Super’ in V8 Supercars

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After accomplishing pretty much what he wanted when he came to America first as a team manager and then a team owner – including an Indianapolis 500 win (1986, with Bobby Rahal behind the wheel), two CART championships and five Indy Lights titles – Steve Horne decided to return to his native New Zealand two years ago.

But Horne isn’t the retiring type. Nor is he part of a “Where Are They Now?” question.

If anything, Horne is as busy as he’s ever been, both running his own team as well as serving as chairman of the V8 Supercars Commission in New Zealand and Australia, according to a story on Stuff.com.nz.

Horne has helped reenergize the V8 series with a number of changes, most notably its new super sprint format, as part of his role of overseeing rules, regulations and formats.

The super sprint format includes two 100 kilometer races on the same day, plus 10-minute qualifying sessions, and then a 200 kilometer main event the following day.

Horne still keeps his hand somewhat in racing in America, serving as manager for driver and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan.

But back in New Zealand, Horne is has approached his involvement in V8 Supercars in much the same fashion as when he first came to the U.S. to become involved with the now-defunct CART series.

“It has given me another perspective and I am enjoying it,” Horne told Stuff.com.nz. “I can also look at things from a competitor’s viewpoint about the issues they face.

“Racing is a tough business on the track and off it. Hopefully I can bring a level viewpoint to it.”

With the V8 series expected to grow and become even more popular – Roger Penske is reportedly interested in fielding a team next year, perhaps with current NASCAR driver Marcus Ambrose behind the wheel – Horne is certainly enjoying his new challenge.

“I am impressed by the quality of the teams and the quality of the drivers,” he said. “It is a parity formula which is designed to give everyone equal opportunity.

“I think it has a great future. It’s well-recognized in Australia (and) has an excellent television and media package. It is really, really popular in New Zealand and it’s great racing.”

Also check out Horne’s recent Q&A interview on V8Supercars.com.AU, as well as the video below that gives a great retrospective on Horne’s career in CART and Indy Lights.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raBJ-HFQ87E&w=560&h=315%5D

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
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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.