Associated Press

2016 IndyCar season preview: All posts, one place

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We’ve had an extensive buildup to the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season on NBCSports.com the last two weeks. The season kicks off this weekend with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg; the first NBCSN race will be at Phoenix International Raceway on April 2.

In case you missed any of the content, see all posts in the buildup from the last two weeks below:

TEAM-BY-TEAM PREVIEWS (9)

SERIES PREVIEWS (4)

Pivotal 2016 season lurks ahead for IndyCar, starting at St. Pete (owner feedback on series direction)
PREVIEW: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (race preview)
Fast Facts: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (IndyCar PR race outline)
IndyCar’s St. Petersburg entry list confirmed with 22 cars (entry list)

ADDITIONAL TEAM/DRIVER FEATURES (18)

IndyCar to take “First Priority” for Rossi’s 2016 campaign
Penske’s 50th anniversary season presents another shot at IndyCar glory
DiZinno: Rossi’s divided focus could hurt, not help, dual program
RLL Racing seeks to roll on with even better 2016 season
IndyCar’s rookie battle features three drivers with chips on shoulders
Michael Andretti: “The team’s never clicked this well before”
Spencer Pigot’s IndyCar debut arrives, at last, in home race
When Jimmy Vasser’s 1996 title kicked off Ganassi’s IndyCar reign
Rising Star Racing’s Art Wilmes’ passion fuels continued U.S. support
Graham Rahal on IndyCar sponsorship: “The money doesn’t find itself”
Pagenaud’s comfort level at Penske on upswing, seeks big 2016
Bourdais hoping one-car focus at KVSH pays dividends
Vasser, “Sulli” shooting for more wins, possible KVSH title in 2016
IndyCar teams still full speed ahead on Red Bull GRC prep for 2016
Phoenix Test in the West notes, musings, observations
Despite late start, Andretti, Herta excited to reunite in 2016
Mario Andretti on IndyCar 2016: “It’s better than I’ve felt in years”
Extra Indy 500 entries come clearer into focus at PIR test
IndyCar test at PIR: All posts, one place

ADDITIONAL NEWS (22)

St. Petersburg weekend, Thursday notes
Brembo, INDYCAR extend brakes partnership for fifth year
Takuma Sato looking forward to start of season, return of A.J. Foyt to track
Team Penske takes wraps off silver Verizon cars for Power, JPM
Sarah Fisher named primary Verizon IndyCar Series pace car driver in 2016
Alexander Rossi named Manor F1 reserve for 2016
Andretti Autosport inks hhgregg for multi-race sponsorship deal, including Indy 500
Scott Dixon joins TODAY Show’s “Guys Tell All” segment
Carpenter confirms only one car for St. Petersburg opener
Mouser Electronics to sponsor Sebastien Bourdais
Vern Schuppan on board with Matt Brabham
James Hinchcliffe slides into 2016 with new sponsor
Aleshin gets his work visa sorted, looks set for St. Pete
Rising Star Racing rolls out its version of Egg Russian Roulette (VIDEO)
NBCSN’s Kevin Lee hosts first annual kart event for charity
Skrillex to headline Snake Pit at 100th Indy 500
Fuzzy’s Vodka offers fresh look of Turn 2 suites at IMS
Social roundup: IndyCar testing at Sebring
Spencer Pigot feeling right at home at Sebring and in IndyCar
Even though they’re in Sebring, drivers still talking about Phoenix test
Chaves back at Sebring as Pigot, Rossi set for first 2016 tests
Hoosier Lottery to commemorate 100th Indy 500 with new scratch-off game

MAZDA ROAD TO INDY SERIES PREVIEWS/NOTES (8)

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda
New 2017 Tatuus USF-17 rolling chassis set at $51,800
MRTI: Barber Warmup Weekend times, notes
MRTI: Big test ahead at Barber for Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000
Alberico’s next step arrives with Carlin, Rising Star in Indy Lights
Rosenqvist gunning for Indy Lights as one of 2016 main targets

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.