WTCC unveils Tour de France-style ‘MAC3’ time trials

© Getty Images
2 Comments

The FIA World Touring Car Championship has unveiled a new concept for motorsport in the form of Tour de France-style time trials.

From 2016, the WTCC manufacturers will take part in a separate MAC3 (Manufacturers Against the Clock) time trial besides the regular two races that all drivers take part in.

Each manufacturer will field three cars for each time trial, taking place soon after the conclusion of qualifying, which will all go out on track together.

The clock will start when the first car crosses the line, and will stop when all three have seen the checkered flag. The regular distance will be 10km, but only one lap at the Nordschleife in Germany.

Points will be awarded to the top six manufacturers on a sliding scale (10-8-6-3-2-1) for their championship. No drivers’ points will be on offer, with the MAC3 concept being introduced to give greater focus and weighting to the team competition.

“Every manufacturer competing in FIA world championships will tell you that the most important title to bring home is the manufacturers’ world title,” head of WTCC promoter Eurosport Events Francois Ribeiro said.

“Paradoxically, the drivers’ title always gets the most media exposure. MAC3 is designed to promote the WTCC manufacturers’ championship title in a different way and widen its appeal so that it becomes a bit more than the addition of the two best results from the drivers in each race, and a points classification at the end of each race.

“MAC3 will drive more value to WTCC factory teams, it will enhance the spectators’ experience after Qualifying, it will increase broadcast volume, it will offer new stories to media and will introduce a true collective effort parameter into the WTCC manufacturers’ championship title, which is a very positive value for a brand.

“It will require teams to line up three good and consistent drivers who will have to drive together and help each other, straight after they’ve given a very individual effort in qualifying. It will be interesting to follow the dynamic within each factory team.”

You can find out more about the MAC3 concept in the video below.

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

Petit Le Mans championship
IMSA
0 Comments

Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”