RHR, Andretti get their Baby Borgs

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The run of accolades continues for 2014 Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, as he and team owner Michael Andretti received their Baby Borg-Warner trophies at a ceremony at the Detroit Auto Show.

For Hunter-Reay, this follows on from when his face was revealed on the actual Borg-Warner Trophy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum in December.

They’re two different, distinct ceremonies – each with a different cache – and were equally special to Hunter-Reay.

“They’re two completely separate events really,” Hunter-Reay told MotorSportsTalk in a phone interview. “Seeing my face on the Borg, for years I’ve gone to IMS museum, and seen the faces in awe. It was a pretty emotional moment.

“But now being able to bring home a piece of the 500 win for sure, two very distinctly separate moments. This one, I’m certainly enjoying.”

Added team owner Andretti, “It’s great. This one was really special in a lot of different ways, because one, Ryan has become so close to the family. Two, I was calling his race. Three, it was the first one for Andretti Autosport. To win it the way we did, those last six laps some of the most exciting laps ever run.”

This is Andretti’s third Baby Borg – but the previous two came under the Andretti Green Racing umbrella with Dan Wheldon (2005) and Dario Franchitti (2007). This marks the first since the Andretti Autosport name came into being.

“Both were special with Dan having had our first one, and Dario was a part of the team for a long time. Looking at it here, we both have them on the table, mine (trophy) is bigger than Ryan’s,” Andretti joked.

A size question – whether Hunter-Reay thought the trophy would be bigger or smaller than he anticipated – drew some laughs and a polite “It’s the perfect size, because I get to take it home.”

“I really appreciate Borg-Warner doing this,” Hunter-Reay said. “They’ve supported the sport for so long and led on the legacy. To have my face on the trophy, they give you the same face on the Baby Borg. It’s going front and center in my office at home.”

Photos from the event (Photos by LAT/Borg-Warner) are below.

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.