Mark Webber crashes hard in final stages of WEC finale in Brazil

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Mark Webber’s first season in the FIA World Endurance Championship came to an early end at Interlagos today when he crashed out in the final hour of the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo.

After qualifying on pole position on Saturday, Webber assumed sixth position when getting into the Porsche #20 LMP1 car for the final stint of the race, pushing to pick up a podium finish to close out the season.

However, with 27 minutes remaining, Webber slammed into the wall at the final corner following contact with Matteo Cressoni in the 8 Star Motorsports #90 Ferrari, running in the GTE Am class.

The shunt ruined the Porsche, with a small fire breaking out on the rear of the car. The safety car was immediately deployed, along with a medical vehicle to tend to both Webber and Cressoni. Marshals at the site of the crash were able to put out the fire on Webber’s car before it spread.

There were immediate concerns about Webber’s condition due to the severity of the crash, but Porsche’s official Twitter account tweeted that the Australian was okay.

Webber was placed onto a stretcher by the staff at the scene of the crash, but managed to wave one arm and give a thumbs up to the crowd before being moved to the medical centre, suggesting that he is indeed okay. Cressoni walked away from the incident, but also required medical attention.

We will update this post accordingly with more information on Webber’s condition once we have it.

UPDATE 1611 ET

The series’ official account has confirmed that Webber is awake and alert in the medical centre, where he has been taken for further checks.

UPDATES 0520 ET 12/1

Mark Webber’s website has published the following statement on his condition:

“After clinching pole position for the last race of the season, Mark had a very heavy accident in Sunday’s six-hour race in Sao Paulo. With less than half an hour to go Mark, who shares the Le Mans Prototype with Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Brendon Hartley (New Zealand), crashed heavily into the barriers at the fast last turn of the lap.

“Mark was taken to the medical centre and has later been transferred to a hospital in São Paulo. He is in a satisfactory condition and will stay overnight for further checks.”

 

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.