Le Mans 24: LMP1 car-by-car preview

Getty Images
0 Comments

Reliability issues have headlined the story for the three factory teams, Porsche, Toyota and Audi, thus far this year in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Porsche and Toyota run in the 8 MJ class, Audi the 6 MJ class.

With the reduction in class size from 14 LMP1 cars down to nine this year – with each of the factory entries only at two cars apiece – there’s the potential of a surprise result.

Here’s quick car-by-car previews:

1-Bernhard/Webber/Hartley, Porsche Team, Porsche 919 Hybrid (M) 

Much to prove for the defending World Champion trio at Le Mans who look to go one better after a hard-luck runner-up finish here last year. Hartley’s mistake at Silverstone was regrettable but one he atoned for. Still though after that retirement and the barely finish at Spa it’s been a tough start to the season. Battery change to revert back to 2015 package is an interesting element for Porsche.

2-Dumas/Jani/Lieb, Porsche Team, Porsche 919 Hybrid (M)

It’s been a better start for the No. 2 crew this year having inherited the win in Silverstone, and then ending second at Spa despite running largely without a functioning hybrid system. Jani enters as the track record holder after his blistering pole last year. Currently have the upper hand in the inter-team Porsche battle and a good result here, with double points, could confirm that for the rest of the year.

4-Trummer/Webb/Kaffer, ByKolles Racing Team, CLM P1/01 AER (D)

Not a ton to forecast here for what is likely to be a race of its own, down on outright pace compared to fellow LMP1 privateers Rebellion Racing and ahead of the LMP2 runners. Kaffer, in his first start in this car this year, is the likely pace standard-bearer with Webb and Trummer hoping to impress in their stints. A finish is the first goal here.

5-Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Toyota TS050 Hybrid (M)

The leading Toyota has a likeable trio with two past World Champions in Davidson and Buemi, plus a past Le Mans polesitter in Nakajima. The new Toyota has borne a brunt of reliability issues this year though and sixth and eighth place finishes – the latter one at Spa seeing the car only just be classified – but looks to turn their season around this week.

6-Sarrazin/Conway/Kobayashi, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Toyota TS050 Hybrid (M)

Perhaps down a very slight notch to the sister No. 5 car in terms of driver talent – Sarrazin’s the leading star here and few would begrudge him a first Le Mans victory – the No. 6 car has had the slightly better start to the season with a second in Silverstone before a DNF in Spa. Conway continues to adapt to LMP1 in his second full season while Kobayashi, the F1 veteran, has past Le Mans experience in GTE-Pro.

7-Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer, Audi Sport Team Joest, Audi R18 (M)

The three-time Le Mans-winning trio won on the road in Silverstone before their exclusion for the skid plank issue there. And with a litany of issues in Spa, they still don’t have a result of note in their pocket heading into this race. The car figures to be a rocket and the trio knows how to win here more than anyone else in the LMP1 field; that being said, reliability will be the telltale sign for the car now in the 6 MJ class.

8-Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis, Audi Sport Team Joest, Audi R18 (M)

Audi’s new breed – who entered in as replacements for Capello, McNish and Kristensen in successive years – appears ready to win now. They got the first win for the new R18 at Spa and the trio has bonded as a unit. Like their sister car, how they go at Le Mans will more dictated by reliability instead of outright pace, because that’s not in question.

12-Prost/Heidfeld/Piquet, Rebellion Racing, Rebellion R-One AER (D)

Bart Hayden’s squad is a scrappy one and Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld have the reputation of punching above their weight at Le Mans. With potential reliability gremlins looming for the LMP1 contenders, this is the most experienced lineup of two that Rebellion fields to score an upset podium this weekend.

13-Tuscher/Imperatori/Kraihamer, Rebellion Racing, Rebellion R-One AER (D)

Like the sister car, the No. 13 Rebellion car boasts the potential to punch above its weight if the reliability is there. Though you wonder if with podiums in Silverstone and Spa, the former coming after the No. 7 Audi’s exclusion, the No. 13 car’s luck has already run out? In Tuscher, Imperatori and Kraihamer here’s a young but determined trio of drivers, albeit a bit down on relative Le Mans experience.

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
0 Comments

The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)