WEC: Porsche storms to front-row lock-out in Shanghai


Porsche’s dominant form in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship continued in qualifying for the 6 Hours of Shanghai on Saturday as it romped to another front-row lock-out.

The no. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard romped to its fourth pole position of the year by seven-tenths of a second, leaving the sister no. 18 entry to settle for P2 for the start of tomorrow’s race.

The result maintains Porsche’s 100% pole record in 2015, as well as extending its streak that dates back to last year’s race in Shanghai.

Audi struggled to match the relentless pace of the Porsche cars once again, being forced to settle for third and fourth place on the grid. The no. 7 entry of Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer will start from P4, starting Sunday’s race in Shanghai one point behind Webber, Hartley and Bernhard at the top of the championship standings.

Toyota assumed its usual grid slots of P5 and P6 once again in Shanghai, finishing some three seconds off the pace of the pole-sitters.

LMP2 class pole went to the no. 26 G-Drive of Roman Rusinov, Julien Canal and Sam Bird, with the latter duo sharing duties in qualifying. A blistering lap from Bird saw the Russian team claim pole ahead of the no. 47 KCMG car by six-tenhs of a second, with the second G-Drive runner rounding out the top three.

In GTE Pro, defending champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander claimed their second pole position of the season in the no. 51 AF Corse entry, heading up a one-two for the Ferraris ahead of the no. 71 of James Calado and Davide Rigon. Aston Martin Racing’s no. 99 was forced to settle for P3, finishing less than three-tenths off the pole time.

AMR hit back in GTE Am, though, as the no. 98 of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda charged to pole by less than two-tenths of a second, edging out the British marque’s no. 96 entry. The no. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette finished third as the Ferrari and Porsche privateer entries struggled for pace in qualifying.

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