Grosjean confident Lotus E23 Hybrid will suit Monaco

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Romain Grosjean is confident that Lotus’ 2015 Formula 1 car, the E23 Hybrid, will suit the tight and twisting Monaco street circuit that will host its annual grand prix next weekend.

Grosjean has enjoyed a strong start to the new season, scoring twice as many points in the opening five races as he did in the entirety of 2014.

Much of Lotus’ revival has been thanks to the all-new Mercedes-powered E23 Hybrid car, which has been particularly strong in both qualifying and the races.

Although the team has often struggled at Monaco, Grosjean heads to next weekend’s race full of hope thanks to the new car.

“The emphasis at Monaco is on low speed corners, which is historically hasn’t been our greatest strength,” Grosjean said. “This year our package as proved to be pretty good no matter what the circuit layout: the E23 is a pretty adaptable car!

“Bumpy straights and a low grip surface are the other main Monaco characteristics and how well you adapt to them can make or break your weekend. We generally prefer the softer tires of Pirelli’s range, but you need really, really soft and grippy tyres for Monaco as it’s so slippery.

“Monaco is less engine dependent than most circuits which puts a premium on the driveability and set-up of the car. The E23 has been pretty confidence-inspiring which is something very good on a street course.”

The race will also act as the next best thing to a home grand prix for Grosjean, with a number of French fans making their way to Monaco for the weekend.

“It’s like an unofficial French Grand Prix,” Grosjean said. “It’s great to see so much French support every year and there are so many flags and banners. It’s a very challenging circuit and unique on the calendar.

“As a driver you have to stay calm and relaxed on a track that doesn’t allow for any mistakes. I’ve been super quick in the past, but I’ve also hit the walls too, so there’s a real balance to be struck.

“It’s an exciting and glamorous grand prix but always a step into the unknown, because it’s difficult to predict how well each car will work there. It’s a crazy week with all the focus and attention, but everyone loves Monaco.”

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.