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IndyCar race in Boston cancelled

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INDYCAR’s race in Boston is off, first with multiple local reports and later the sanctioning body posting confirmation that the second-to-last race of the year is now back in the TBD department.

Both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, reported the cancellation of the event, which was scheduled for Sept. 2-4, 2016, Labor Day weekend.

John Casey, president of the Grand Prix of Boston, told the Globe the relationship between it and the city is “untenable.”

He also said the race promoters are “willing to do without the headaches of Boston.”

A company email told the Herald that the planned Seaport race cited “deteriorated relations with the city and the state.”

Casey told the Herald that “I feel like I got out of an abusive relationship.”

A statement from Patrick Brophy, Chief of Operations for the City of Boston, reads:

“The City of Boston will always be open to opportunities that will positively showcase our city, however as we continued to work with Boston Grand Prix they were unwilling or unable to meet the necessary requirements to hold an event of this size. The Mayor feels strongly in protecting the taxpayers and limiting the impact to residents, and we are not shy that we held them to very high standards.”

INDYCAR released a statement which reads:

INDYCAR was made aware of the news involving the Grand Prix of Boston this evening. We are obviously disappointed with these media reports and are in the process of gathering additional details and will respond accordingly at the appropriate time. At this stage it is premature for INDYCAR to comment further on the situation locally in Boston or the prospect of an alternate event.

Here’s the statement from the Grand Prix of Boston organizers:

After nearly two years of planning and preparing for the Grand Prix of Boston race organizers have decided that the current demands to secure additional line of credit funding make the race fiscally untenable to be held in the City of Boston and the Seaport district September 2-4, 2016.

“An event of this magnitude requires considerable city and state support and though we did overcome significant obstacles and demands that have been presented to us, the most recent demands regarding the flood zone issues and requirements of additional expenditure on the line of credit with no guarantees of overcoming those issues have left us no options but to cancel the race in Boston and look at other options,” said John Casey, CEO and President of the Grand Prix of Boston.  “At this juncture the demands that have been asked of us make this event in Boston economically unviable and despite robust corporate partnerships and excellent tickets sales, if we have no guarantee of MEPA approval then time was of the essence to make this difficult decision.  It is very disappointing for everyone who has worked so hard on the event and all of our corporate partners and fans who have supported the Grand Prix of Boston.  We have had a team of over 50 people, as well as the city and state agency personnel who have been working tirelessly to find successful and viable solutions and unfortunately we are at an impasse.  We are exploring all options and will have further information available in the coming days.”

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., INDYCAR’s parent company told veteran reporter Bruce Martin for National Speed Sport News, “We will assess the situation and see where we go from here. There may be other possibilities for this Labor Day.”

Additional Miles tidbits are below, via the Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin and USA Today Sports‘ Brant James:

An alternative venue could be possible; the Herald suggested it could move to Providence.

The Boston race weekend affects more than just IndyCar. The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America and SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks, Presented by TRAXXAS were also on the dance card.

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.