Phanfone upgraded to Super Typhoon, but Japanese GP start time not set to change

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The start time for the Japanese Grand Prix looks set to remain unchanged despite the threat of Typhoon Phanfone, which has now been upgraded to ‘super typhoon’ status.

Phanfone has been lingering the Pacific for some time, and it was confirmed earlier this week to be heading towards Japan across the course of the grand prix weekend.

The worst of the weather is thought to be hitting Suzuka on Monday, which could seriously compromise the planned logistics of getting the paddock to Sochi in Russia for next weekend’s grand prix.

Heavy rain is set to affect tomorrow’s race, with some even speculating that it could be reduced to two laps behind the safety car to avoid being cancelled altogether. In such an instance, half points would be avoided.

One option raised was to bring the start time for the race forwards from 3pm local time, given that sunset is at 5:30pm. However, the plan is to go ahead with the race weekend as originally scheduled, and to deal with the weather as it comes.

The typhoon has today been upgraded to a ‘super typhoon’ by the US Naval Observatory, which will only further concerns about the logistics of getting to Russia over the next few days.

Speaking to Forbes yesterday, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said that there were no plans to make any changes to the schedule in spite of the incoming typhoon.

“I’m not moving anything anywhere,” he said. “Nothing is changing at the minute. If it rains the teams will race.

“Nobody knows what it’s going to be like. I asked somebody a few minutes ago and they said that the weather is nice. It rained on Thursday but otherwise it’s okay. Maybe there’s going to be a storm.”

You can watch tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix live on NBCSN from 1:30am ET.

UPDATE – 2300 ET

In a very interesting twist, veteran F1 journalist Adam Cooper has reported that the FIA actually asked the race organizers – Honda – to bring the race start time forwards by as much as four hours, only to be refused.

NBCSN’s Will Buxton confirmed that the weather was as expected, albeit bearable at the moment.

IndyCar race weekend doubleheader schedule at IMS road course

IndyCar weekend schedule Indianapolis
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The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time this season but with a weekend schedule that will put the action in front of fans for the first time in 2020.

The track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course will play host to IndyCar and sports cars series over four days. The action will begin Thursday with practice and concluding with an eight-hour race Sunday featuring the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America.

The NTT IndyCar Series will hold a Friday-Saturday race doubleheader called the Harvest GP presented by GMR.

ENTRY LISTS: Who’s racing IndyCar at IMS this weekend

The name is a nod to the Harvest Classic, which was held Sept. 9, 1916 to help the track stay solvent during World War I. The event had three races of 20, 50 and 100 miles (all won by Johnny Aitken) that was the only racing held outside May at IMS from 1911-93.

A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed each day this weekend, and those fans will be the first to experience new video boards, concession stands, restrooms and 5G wireless connectivity.

Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Harvest GP:

(All times are Eastern)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Thursday, Oct. 1

Noon — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America test session
2:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
6:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 1 (NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 2

10:20 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
1:40 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 (USA Network, NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 3

10:20 a.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC Sports Gold)
12:10 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America qualifying
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC, NBC Sports Gold)
5:30 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America pole shootout

IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 4

10 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America race