2014 United States Grand Prix Preview

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After a three-week break following the Russian Grand Prix, Formula 1 heads to Austin this weekend for one of the biggest race weekends of the season: the United States Grand Prix.

Since returning to the calendar in 2012, the event has been an unmitigated success, welcoming huge crowds and becoming one of the most popular races on the calendar among the F1 community and the paddock faithful.

This year’s race will be run under a cloud following Jules Bianchi’s accident and the recent demise of both Caterham and Marussia, but the show must go on. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will continue to fight for this year’s world championship, with a 17-point gap making the race for the title quite one-sided at the moment. Of course, that could all change this weekend in Austin.

Here’s our complete preview of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

2014 United States Grand Prix – Talking Points

Lewis chases a high-five in the USA

America has been a very happy hunting ground for Lewis Hamilton in the past. The Briton has lost just once, winning the final race at Indy in 2007 and the first event at COTA in 2012. This year, he has the best car on the grid underneath him, and appears to be in the form of his life, winning the past four grands prix. With Rosberg rattled, Lewis can seek a knock-out blow in Austin that could give him a healthy breathing room of 24 points at the top of the championship.

The grid may be two light, yet the show must continue

Caterham and Marussia will both not be racing in the United States this weekend after encountering economic difficulties since the last race in Russia. As a result, just 18 cars will line up on the grid in Austin. Will it be a repeat of Indy ’05? No. However, one similarity is there: once again, this is a problem that is a result of the selfish interests of the teams in Formula 1.

The FIA interestingly issued a statement earlier today saying that it felt its fears about cost control made public at the beginning of the year were truer than ever, and that it would be “in favor of any initiative that will help reduce costs in order to ensure the survival of the existing grid and attract potential new entrants” – basically, ‘we told you so’.

Vettel and Alonso remain coy

If you were hoping that either Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso would make their futures known in Austin, prepare to be disappointed. Both drivers look to be on the move for 2015, and their moves appear to be simple: Vettel to Ferrari, Alonso to McLaren, right?

One would imagine that this is how things will end up, but across the United States GP weekend, the intrigue is set to continue. Both drivers will be gunning to complete the podium behind the Mercedes drivers, but with Williams looking in particularly good stead, they may be left fighting over fifth and sixth place – hardly the stuff of champions.

The race for points at Sauber

With Marussia and Caterham out of the equation, Sauber will be breathing a sigh of relief as it has no chance of being upstaged this weekend by the backmarkers as we saw in Monaco earlier this year. Scoring in Austin would be particularly timely for the team given the fact that it ranks behind Marussia with not a single point to its name. It would be all the more timely given that Esteban Gutierrez will be racing in front of many of his home fans who have made the trip over from Mexico for the weekend. As pressure builds on the Swiss team, breaking its duck in Austin would be a huge result.

Cracking the US market

For the first time, the V6 turbos will be racing in the United States in front of the American audience, meaning that many will be hearing the new sound of the cars in person for the very first time. Like many, they could end up disappointed and compare the sound to that of a vacuum cleaner, but this is unlikely to be much of a dent on the booming growth that the sport is enjoying in the United States at the moment.

United States GP – Facts and Figures

Track: Circuit of The Americas
Laps: 56
Corners: 20
Lap Record: Sebastian Vettel 1:39.347 (2012)
Tire Compounds: Soft (Option); Medium (Prime)
2013 Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2013 Pole Position: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:36.338
2013 Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:39.856
DRS Zones: Main Straight (T20 to T1); T11 to T12

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

With the 10-hour race requiring an extra driver, several stars from other racing series have been added. In addition to Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as third drivers in Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Cadillacs.

Jimmie Johnson also will be making his last DPi start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac with Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi. Petit Le Mans could mark the last start in an IMSA prototype for Johnson, who has said limited inventory likely will keep him out of the GTP category in the Rolex 24 next year.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta


Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans