Chilton mulling 2016 options ahead of Le Mans debut with Nissan

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LE MANS, France – The one 2014 Formula 1 driver who did make it onto Nissan’s new LMP1 program, Max Chilton, stands at something of a career crossroads heading into this weekend’s 2015 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is nearly the same place he was at the start of the year.

Chilton, the former Marussia F1 driver, has since moved onto a dual program this season with the debuting Nissan GT-R LM NISMO and the new Dallara IL15-Mazda with Carlin in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, although the latter was only meant to be a one-weekend program that has since grown.

So for 2016, he has no set plans and because he likes both, is a bit torn on where to go next.

“It depends what comes along, the best offer, to be honest. I like both. I haven’t made my mind up,” he told MotorSportsTalk.

It’s an interesting time for Chilton, who’s only 24 but has two years F1 experience banked, has done adequately well in Indy Lights and looks ahead to his Le Mans debut this weekend in Nissan’s first race with its new car.

“The most tiring thing is the travel,” Chilton said. “Yes so is F1, but it’s only a maximum of two weeks at a time. I’m sometimes to the States for a day and then back. I only did a couple trips originally, and every one I did was tied in with a test or seat fit. It’s made it slightly easier. But it’s been a very busy four months.”

The dual program has not gone exactly as planned. He has settled into Indy Lights and podiumed, but Chilton meant to focus more on the Nissan program from the start.

The program’s delays and additional testing done in place of its originally scheduled race debut at Silverstone has thrown everything a loop.

“Mixing the two projects isn’t fully working,” he admitted. “This [Nissan] is my main focus.

“I was only planning to do one race in Indy Lights, but it’s nice to be helping the team out.

“I believe you sort of make your own luck. It’s good we’ve had a couple podiums in the last couple meetings, and I’ve definitely shown my pace. But I’m in a weird stage at the moment, figuring out whether I want to do IndyCar.

“I’ll try to carry [Indy Lights] on as long as I can, but it might not be the whole year,” he added.

Indeed Chilton will miss Toronto this weekend – Carlin named Nelson Piquet Jr. as his replacement on Monday – and figure Chilton could return as early as Milwaukee on June 12, which is the next Indy Lights race after Toronto.

If he does return for that, he’d have a chance to make his actual first oval start after being sidelined before the green flag at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It was a leak in the fuel cell. In my career I’ve had it like once. It’s pretty rare,” he said. “It was very frustrating. They gave us the parts to fix it, and it still didn’t fix it. It’s a bit of a design fault with the fuel cell.”

We’ll see where Chilton goes next after he takes the green in the flagship No. 23 Nissan with Olivier Pla and Jann Mardenborough on Saturday.

Adam Cianciarulo sweeps to second straight Pro Motocross 450 win

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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).