Punta del Este track modified ahead of Formula E race

© FIA Formula E
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The track in Punta del Este, Uruguay that will host next weekend’s Formula E race has been modified in a bid to improve safety and encourage overtaking.

Last year’s Punta del Este ePrix proved to be one of the most exciting and eventful races of the season, with the fast-flowing street course catching a number of drivers out.

However, the track did receive some criticism due to the way in which some of the chicanes were profiled, and also as the pit exit released drivers onto the racing line.

In a bid to remedy these issues, Formula E has confirmed that changes have been made to the track ahead of next weekend’s race.

“This year the first corner is completely different, as instead of a right-left chicane it’s now left-right,” last year’s winner Sebastien Buemi said ahead of the race weekend.

“The idea behind it is to make the pit exit much safer as last year we were exiting the pits on the racing line. Now, with this tweak, we will be able to exit easier and it will hopefully offer another good overtaking opportunity.

“There are also two chicanes which have been slowed slightly. It will be Punta like last year but with improvements. The FIA have kept the positive points of the track and tweaked the negative ones.

“It’s the most unique track that we experience with a lot of quick, tight chicanes. It’s a very high-speed circuit, which I enjoy.”

2014 Version

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2015 Version

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“Following the success of the opening two races of the season we are looking forward to arriving in Punta del Este, a beautiful and picturesque location to host a Formula E race on the beaches of South America,” Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said.

“The circuit is one of the quickest on the calendar and the fans in Uruguay are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable. We are thankful for the continued support and co-operation of the ACU [Automobile Club of Uruguay] and the local authorities on helping us put on such a fantastic event.”

The Punta del Este ePrix takes place on December 19.

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

Petit Le Mans championship
IMSA
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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.

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.

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 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.”