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di Grassi’s stunning ’16 form continues with Spa WEC victory

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SPA – Lucas di Grassi’s impressive run of racing form in 2016 continued on Saturday at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps as he claimed his first FIA World Endurance Championship victory with Audi.

Alongside teammates Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval, di Grassi weathered a race of attrition to give the German marque victory in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, going some way to make up for its disqualification from the season-opener at Silverstone.

“What a crazy race! We really didn’t expect this result,” di Grassi said after the race.

“In the end, it was about endurance racing qualities and we were the only driver squad in a hybrid sports car to finish without issues. Following the season opener at Silverstone, Audi provided us with a very reliable car today.

“I’m very happy about my first victory with this team. This is a motivational boost for all of us. Now I’m wishing for us to have a good race at Le Mans.”

The result marked the latest in a string of successes for di Grassi, who splits his focus between WEC and Formula E.

In 2016, di Grassi has taken part in seven races: four Formula E rounds, two in the WEC and a one-off appearance in a Brazilian stock-car event at Curitiba.

He has crossed the line first in four races (losing one due to exclusion from the Mexico City Formula E event), taken one further podium finish and retired when in contention for the win at the WEC Silverstone round.

When looking at the most dominant top-line racing drivers in global motorsport at the moment, di Grassi is certainly in the conversation. The fact he is proving himself across two series – in neither of which he has the fastest car – makes his success all the more impressive.

Besides di Grassi, Formula 1 championship leader Nico Rosberg is obviously in excellent form, having won the last seven grands prix. Simon Pagenaud’s start to the IndyCar season (two wins, two second places) also puts him in the mix.

Di Grassi is unlikely to settle for how he has started 2016, though. In the next two months, he will fight for his first Le Mans victory and his maiden Formula E title, leading the latter’s drivers’ championship with three races remaining. There’s still plenty of time to fit in more victorious in the coming seventh months.

Relive the 1911 Indy 500 in living color

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Race fans and historians will have an opportunity to relive the 1911 Indy 500 in color this Sunday, November 25 at 8 p.m. ET.

Airing on the Smithsonian Channel as part of their America in Color series, a colorized version of the first Indy 500 highlights a race that began a tradition more than 100 years old.

The Indy 500 helped establish the auto racing industry and part of the episode deals with the lives of the Ford, Firestone and Edison families.

On board mechanics were a fixture of racing at the time – in part because they also served as spotters. On Lap 90 Joe Jagersberger (running three laps down at the time) broke a steering mount and his rider tumbled onto the track, causing Harry Knight to careen into the pits – which had no wall separating it from the track. Remarkably, no one was killed.

The documentary describes how Ray Harroun likely won because of his use of a rear view mirror that allowed him to drive without an on board mechanic. Innovation in that inaugural race set the tone for racing today.

Harroun beat Ralph Mumford by a margin of 103 seconds in a race that took six hours, 42 minutes to run.