2015 Spanish Grand Prix Preview

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MONTMELO – Whilst many Formula 1 fans will have been frustrated by the three-week break between the last race in Bahrain and this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, the period has given the teams a much-needed chance to work on their cars and prepare for the European leg of the 2015 season.

Starting in Spain this weekend, eight of the next nine races will take place on the continent, with the only exception being the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal at the beginning of June. These are the ‘home’ races for the F1 teams and paddock, putting an end to long flights and treks across the globe for grands prix.

Lewis Hamilton heads to Europe in complete control of the championship fight, enjoying a 27-point lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg after clinching his third win of the season in Bahrain.

The more worrying statistic for Rosberg is that his head-to-head record with Hamilton is 0-4, and he has beaten the Briton just once in the past eleven races. It is not the kind of form to carry when you’re hoping to fight for a world championship, not can it continue.

The Spanish Grand Prix also heralds the first batch of upgrades for the majority of the field, which could act to shake up the pecking order somewhat. Mercedes will want to retain its advantage at the front, but with Ferrari sniffing and a number of others on the charge, Hamilton and Rosberg will need to keep an eye on their rear-view mirrors.

Here is our full preview of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

2015 Spanish Grand Prix – Talking Points

Updates aplenty in Spain

With four races of the season now in the books, the teams are now well prepared to make the first major changes to their cars and give themselves a boost heading into the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. You can expect to see some differences in the way of bodywork, but some of the changes will be hidden in the depths of the power units. For Ferrari, the race is on to catch Mercedes, whilst the likes of McLaren and Manor will just be hoping to improve their pace and move a step closer to the other runners.

McLaren’s new look

As well as making a number of changes to the workings of the MP4-30, McLaren has revised its livery for the race in Spain, as promised by Ron Dennis during pre-season. The new design does away with the chrome/silver look, favoring a more ‘granite gray’ color with some red McLaren ‘swooshes’ mixed in. Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will hope that the new livery – and perhaps more importantly the upgrades on the car – mark a turnaround in fortunes after the team’s worst ever start to an F1 season.

Rosberg’s needed revival

Nico Rosberg’s start to the season has been far from ideal, even if he does sit second in the drivers’ championship. Not only has he lost to his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, in all four races, but he has also finished behind Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen on occasion. The three-week break should have given Rosberg a chance to refocus, but if he can’t turn things around quickly, then the title race may slip even further away from his grasp.

Another Ferrari challenge?

The Spanish Grand Prix is one of the most variable for tire usage and strategy, with races being won on two, three and even four stops in the past. Given that Ferrari’s advantage lies in the less aggressive tire usage of the SF15-T, the Italian marque could be poised to mount another challenge to Mercedes this weekend. If Vettel and Raikkonen can make a two stop work, Hamilton and Rosberg would need to keep an eye on their pace and tire wear to make sure they don’t get jumped by the prancing horse yet again.

Wolff’s practice run-out

Susie Wolff ended a 22-year wait for a female driver in a grand prix weekend at last year’s British Grand Prix, and will get a third chance to impress at a race during practice on Friday. The Williams driver enjoyed a successful pre-season test back in February, even with a run-in with Felipe Nasr, and will want to prove that all talk of a woman-only F1 championship is irrelevant by putting in another competent display in Spain.

2015 Spanish Grand Prix – Facts and Figures

Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Laps: 66
Corners: 16
Lap Record: Kimi Raikkonen 1:21.670 (2008)
Tire Compounds: Medium (Option); Hard (Prime)
2014 Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2014 Pole Position: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:25.232
2014 Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:28.918
DRS Zones: Main Straight (T16 to T1); T9 to T10

2015 Spanish Grand Prix – TV Times

Free Practice 1: NBC Sports Live Extra 4am ET 5/8
Free Practice 2: NBCSN 8am ET 5/8
Free Practice 3: NBC Sports Live Extra 5am ET 5/9
Qualifying: CNBC 8am ET 5/9
Race: NBCSN 7:30am ET 5/10

For more information on all of NBC Sports’ broadcasting options for the Spanish Grand Prix, click here.

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