Hulkenberg’s Porsche drive a great showcase for modern versatility

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A year ago, I noted how Nico Hulkenberg is now seemingly stuck in the F1 midfield for good, with his move from Sauber to Force India.

While he’s continuously been passed over for that elusive top ride in F1, what he will be able to showcase next year is that the modern F1 driver can be a versatile one, with his announcement on Thursday he’ll be racing for Porsche’s LMP1 program at Spa and Le Mans next season in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Part of the reason drivers such as Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt are regarded as the all-time legends of motorsports is because of their versatility. The top two IndyCar drivers in any order of all-time, Andretti also is a Formula One World Champion, with Foyt having captured the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Dan Gurney. Both are also Daytona 500 winners.

In modern times, drivers such as Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya have stood out for their ability to take up residence in disparate forms of open-wheel and stock car racing.

But in F1 the options are few and far between, frequently due to schedule or political conflicts.

That Force India has been gracious enough to allow Hulkenberg the opportunity to race with Porsche at the two most key FIA World Endurance Championship events in 2015 is a smart, positive development that I wish more teams, or championships, would take note of.

It’s a win-win situation really, for all parties. The media exposure of Hulkenberg racing at Le Mans is staggering, and for nearly every mention of him racing for Porsche will also come the mention that he ranks wherever in the F1 points standings with Force India. Force India will get noticed by the sports car media and world by virtue of its driver doing the running.

For Hulkenberg, it’s a chance to sample machinery of the highest technology besides F1 – the hybrid systems involved in LMP1 are world class by any measure. Mark Webber’s move to the WEC this season was arguably one of the biggest international motorsports story lines. In the same respect, Andre Lotterer’s one-off Grand Prix debut for Caterham at Spa was the story of a guy getting the chance to try out F1 after becoming a sports car star and three-time Le Mans winner, even if he preferred his full-time deal after the trial.

And for Hulkenberg, it’s his opportunity to be in win-contending equipment. Porsche has steadily improved over its first season with its 919 Hybrid and should be even better with another offseason to develop into 2015. Hulkenberg wouldn’t have taken the shot if he didn’t think he could make something out of it.

It gives an extra storyline for F1 during three F1 off-weekends, and it raises the WEC and Le Mans’ profile even more by having a current F1 driver in the field.

By contrast, there’s a conflict going on in Australian motorsport where a date clash of the V8 Supercars test day and the Bathurst 12 Hour GT3 race in February is preventing a crossover of stars.

But for “the Hulk,” Force India, F1, Porsche, the WEC and Le Mans, this signing appears to be a win-win all around.

Adam Cianciarulo sweeps to second straight Pro Motocross 450 win

Motocross Spring Creek Cianciarulo
Align Media
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Adam Cianciarulo (450) and Dylan Ferrandis (250) swept both motos of their divisions Saturday in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship event at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota, significantly impacting the points standings.

After scoring his first career victory Sept. 8 at RedBud, Cianciarulo made it two consecutive victories on his Monster Energy Kawasaki. He won the first moto by 1.7 seconds over Blake Baggett and the second moto by 2.7 seconds over Baggett.

“Man, what a dream come true,” Cianciarulo said. “I really wanted to go 1-1 last round at RedBud and had that silly mistake. Today, we got the job done and made it happen. Two consecutive victories in the 450 Class just feels really good. I just want to keep the ball rolling.”

With three rounds remaining, Cianciarulo is ranked second in the standings at a 15-point deficit to Zach Osborne, who won three of the first five rounds.

In the 250 standings, Dylan Ferrandis jumped ahead of Jeremy Martin (who won three consecutive events earlier in the season) by three points (257-254).

Dylan Ferrandis swept both motos for his second win of the season in the 250 class (Align Media).

Ferrandis beat third-ranked RJ Hampshire in the first moto and nipping Martin by 0.4 seconds in the second.

“That was a difficult race in the second moto and the pressure was on,” Ferrandis said. “It was really good for me to have that battle and come out on top in the second moto. The championship is really close and I think that we were able to put on a good show for everyone today. Jeremy [Martin] and I have a good relationship I think and we congratulated each other and talked about the battle after the race.”

NEXT: The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will hold its seventh round Sept. 26 with the Geico Motorcycle WW Ranch National at Jacksonville, Florida.


RESULTS

Thor Spring Creek National (Spring Creek MX Park, Millville, Minnesota)

450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (1-1)
  2. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (2-2)
  3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (5-4)
  4. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (8-3)
  5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (6-5)
  6. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (3-10)
  7. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda (7-6)
  8. Joey Savatgy, , Suzuki (9-7)
  9. Max Anstie, United Kingdom, Suzuki (10-8)
  10. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (4-16)

450 Class Championship Standings

  1. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 235
  2. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 220
  3. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 215
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 196
  5. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 194
  6. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 190
  7. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 173
  8. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 141
  9. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha – 134
  10. Joey Savatgy, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki – 122

250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-1)
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (5-2)
  3. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki (4-4)
  4. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (3-6)
  5. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (9-3)
  6. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (2-11)
  7. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (7-5)
  8. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Honda (12-8)
  9. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Kawasaki (11-9)
  10. Derek Drake, San Luis Obispo, Calif., KTM (8-12)

250 Class Championship Standings

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 257
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 254
  3. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 202
  4. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki – 194
  5. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Yamaha – 186
  6. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 164
  7. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 162
  8. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki – 140
  9. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Kawasaki – 123
  10. Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., KTM – 114
Adam Cianciarulo won the holeshot in both motos at Spring Creek (Align Media).