IndyCar: Chevy captures doubleheader podium sweep in Toronto

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TORONTO – The Verizon IndyCar Series races in Toronto this weekend were called the Honda Indy Toronto.

The winners, though, rocked the Chevrolet bowtie.

Chevrolet took five of six podium positions on home soil in Detroit, as part of that doubleheader weekend and an overall weekend of dominance across IndyCar, Pirelli World Challenge and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

At Houston, Honda regained the advantage with five of the six podium positions there.

But it was back to Chevrolet holding the edge in Toronto, with a full podium lockout. All six podium finishers – race one podium Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan and the race two podium of Mike Conway, Kanaan and Will Power – drove for Chevrolet-powered teams.

Chevrolet had the IndyCar Manufacturer’s Championship lead heading into the weekend and the double-double in T.O. – not the Tim Horton’s but the actual on-track variety – will go far to help Chevrolet capture another title since its return to INDYCAR in 2012.

“Weekends like this are cherished for their rarity.” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, Verizon IndyCar Series. “Chevrolet is proud to partner with and provide the power to all of our Team Chevy organizations. We leave Toronto with a full head of steam and look forward to Mid-Ohio on August 3rd.”

Added Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicle and Motorsports, “It was an exciting weekend for Chevrolet on the Streets of Toronto to capture four of the top-five finishing positions in Race One, and the top-four in Race Two,” Campbell concluded. “The credit for the results goes to the drivers and the teams In addition, all four of the Chevrolet partner race organizations – KVSH Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing, Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing – contributed valuable manufacturer points in both races.”

Through 14 of 18 races, Chevrolet has eight IndyCar race wins this year to Honda’s six.

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.