Photo: IndyCar

Chilton crashes in pre-qualifying practice at Indy

Leave a comment

INDIANAPOLIS – Rookie Max Chilton had his first accident both at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and in an IndyCar in Saturday morning’s delayed pre-qualifying practice session.

The driver of the No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet lost control through Turn 2 on corner exit, and tattooed the wall first with the nose assembly first, then the left rear wheel.

Chilton got out of the car but the rookie’s team likely will have to go to a backup car, which may mean swapping over the primary Chevrolet engine too into the backup car as well.

He’s the second first-year driver to have an accident, after Spencer Pigot also had one earlier this week.

“It all happened pretty quickly,” Chilton told IndyCar Radio’s Nick Yeoman.

“First green flag lap. Went through 2. The front was the best it’s ever been… but I don’t have much oval experience. You want some understeer… but I had too much front, and lost the rear. Disappointing way to the start the day.

“That’s the biggest impact I’ve ever had for sure,” he added. “I’m usually shunt-free, so it’s frustrating for sure.”

Chilton’s OK and posted this tweet just after 2 p.m. Meanwhile the team has confirmed the need to go to a backup car.

Interestingly, Chilton said in an earlier interview this week that risk management was key to his preparation and methodical growth and development on the IMS oval.

“Without tempting fate too much, I am sort of a risk manager,” Chilton told NBC Sports.

“Here, it’s crucial you’ve got the time to build up to it. Let’s face it – if I didn’t have Dario (Franchitti)and didn’t have a team that’s so good, I’d be in a riskier position.”

Chilton’s now in a tougher position than he was earlier this week.

That being said, he isn’t known as a driver who makes many mistakes and he’s now got his first IMS crash out of the way – it will just force the team into a less than ideal situation to prepare another car.

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
1 Comment

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.