Porsche powers to 1-2 in final Nürburgring WEC practice


NÜRBURGRING – After trailing Audi in both sessions on Friday, Porsche hit back to top final practice for the 6 Hours of Nürburgring on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying.

Porsche was narrowly edged out by Audi’s no. 7 car in FP1 and FP2 on Friday, but made an early impression by lapping a full second quicker than Friday’s benchmark in the first ten minutes of FP3.

Eventually, it was the no. 18 car of Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani that finished at the top of the timesheets, six-tenths of a second clear of the sister no. 17 Porsche.

After seeing Dumas post a quickest lap of 1:36.7s, Lieb managed to find an extra seven-tenths of a second during his early stint to break Audi’s stranglehold on P1 at the Nürburgring.

However, it was not all plain sailing for the no. 18 car as a run-in with the no. 83 AF Corse runner left both cars with damage and a visit to the stewards’ office later in the day.

Timo Bernhard and Mark Webber shared driving duties for FP3 in the no. 17 Porsche, with the latter’s lap of 1:36.647 being enough to secure him second place.

Audi managed to keep the pressure on Porsche by finishing third and fourth, one second down on the top time. The no. 8 car of Loic Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis finished third ahead of the no. 7, which could only finish P4 overall.

Toyota one again struggled for pace, finishing fifth and sixth. However, with the team’s attention already turning to 2016, much of its work this weekend will be about preparing as best possible for the future.

In LMP2, Strakka Racing managed to break G-Drive’s dominance from Friday by finishing fastest. The no. 42 car of Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane and Danny Watts posted a fastest lap of 1:45.720 to finish less than one-tenth of a second clear of the KCMG no. 47 at the end of the session.

AF Corse and Aston Martin Racing continued their close fight in GTE Pro in FP3, and were joined in the mix by Porsche. Defending champions Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni finished fastest in the no. 51 AF Corse car, but with just six-tenths of a second separating the three manufacturers, a close battle is on the cars for qualifying later today.

GTE Am saw the no. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing car of Khaled Al Qubaisi, Earl Bamber and Chirstian Ried finish fastest, even managing to beat three of the GTE Pro cars. The no. 98 Aston Martin Racing car finishing half a second back in second place despite suffering a tire blow, whilst AF Corse’s no. 83 rounded out the top three.

Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Nürburgring takes place later today, with the race starting at 1pm CET on Sunday.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change