Lotterer’s one-off F1 appearance ends after just a single lap

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Andre Lotterer’s one-off F1 appearance for Caterham at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix came to an early end after the German was forced to retire following a loss of power at the end of the first lap.

The three-time Le Mans winner was confirmed to be replacing Kamui Kobayashi for the race earlier this week, with Caterham citing his experience as the main reason for acquiring his services.

Lotterer managed to outqualify full-time driver Marcus Ericsson despite only stepping in the car on Friday, and made a good start in the race on Sunday before being sidelined when he lost power.

“I didn’t even get to sweat unfortunately,” Lotterer joked after the race. “I was really looking forward to a good race and I had a good start, but then I went a bit wide at turn 17 and there was a sudden loss of power. The team and Renault will have to investigate this tonight and see what happened.

“It’s a shame, but I am pleased with my race weekend. I made no mistakes and did a reasonably good job.

“Of course it would’ve been fantastic to finish the race and do a whole grand prix, but it’s still been an amazing weekend. I can go home happy even though it didn’t really end the way I would’ve liked it to.”

Lotterer was quick to thank the team for giving him the chance to make his F1 debut at Spa, and he will now turn his attention back to his endurance racing commitments with Audi.

“I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this amazing opportunity,” he said. “It’s been fantastic to experience Formula 1, I got a lot of support and the team has been great. It’s frustrating to have only completed one lap of the race, but this is motorsport and these things happen.”

Top Fuel driver Austin Prock earns 2019 NHRA top rookie honors

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Having just completed a promising first year in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Austin Prock is on the road to even greater drag racing success in his career.

That’s why it’s not surprising that Prock was named the winner of the 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future Award during Monday night’s annual NHRA Awards dinner at the Ray Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

The Road to the Future Award is NHRA’s version of Rookie of the Year, and Prock was among the brightest young stars on the circuit this past season, including winning his first national event at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle, the 16th race on the 24-race schedule.

What made that first win all the more sweeter is it came at the same event that his boss, legendary 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, captured his milestone 150th career win.

One month ago, Prock set a personal best run of 3.688 seconds at 334.40 mph over veteran driver Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals three weeks ago in Ennis, Texas (suburban Dallas).

“I am proud of the season this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team put together,” Prock said in a media release. “My guys worked their asses off all season long to give me the opportunity to win the Auto Club Road the Future Award. I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I would have never been here without John Force and Robert Hight (president of John Force Racing). They gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream and I owe the world to them. I hope I made them proud.”

Prock became only the 10th rookie in the history of the NHRA pro ranks to both win a race in their first season and also go on to win the Road to the Future award. He also was the 13th rookie in the sport’s history to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs.

Prock becomes the sixth John Force Racing driver to earn the Road to the Future Award, joining Tony Pedregon (1996), Hight (2005), Ashley Force-Hood (2007), Mike Neff (2008), Courtney Force (2012) and Brittany Force (2013).

Austin Prock is the son of veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock, who tuned Hight to his third career NHRA Funny Car championship this past Sunday.

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