Photo: Porsche

Porsche’s No. 1 trio wins third straight FIA WEC race at Austin

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The trio of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley have secured their third straight win in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas, in their No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid while Audi’s hopes of victory were dashed in the final couple hours.

Consistent pace coupled with the Audis falling back into the rest of the field was enough to secure Porsche its fifth win in six FIA WEC races this season.

A crash for the No. 7 Audi R18 – then driven by the returning Benoit Treluyer in the fifth hour of the six-hour race – with the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Olivier Pla took that car out of the running.

Meanwhile the No. 8 Audi, which led early, fell back in the later stages even behind the No. 6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, which ended ahead of both cars with the four rings.

Up front, Bernhard, Webber and Hartley added the COTA win to their past wins at the Nürburgring and Mexico City, the two most recent rounds, while the No. 6 Toyota of Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi ended ahead of the Loic Duval/Lucas di Grassi/Oliver Jarvis No. 8 Audi.

The second of each of these cars – the No. 2 Porsche, No. 5 Toyota and No. 7 Audi – took positions four through to six.

In LMP2, the No. 36 Signatech Alpine A460 Nissan of Gustavo Menezes, Stephane Richelmi and Nicolas Lapierre took their fourth win in six races this year. Menezes, the young American rising star, now has an FIA WEC win on home soil in his cap to go along with his class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans earlier this year.

RGR Sport completed its North American bow with a second place finish to come after its win at Mexico City, with the trio of Ricardo Gonzalez, Bruno Senna and Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 43 Ligier JS P2 Nissan. The JOTA Sport-run G-Drive No. 26 Oreca 05 Nissan of Rene Rast, Roman Rusinov and Alex Brundle, the latter of whom turned in an early storming stint, completed the podium.

As in qualifying, Aston Martin Racing dominated the proceedings in the GTE classes.

The No. 95 “Dane Train” Vantage V8 took the GTE-Pro win with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen, while in GTE-Am the No. 98 of Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy won in GTE-Am.

The No. 97 Aston of Darren Turner and Richie Stanaway won in GTE-Pro at Mexico City but this marks the first win of the year for the No. 95 car. The No. 98 car, meanwhile, wins its third race of the season, having also won Round 2 in Spa and Round 4 at the Nürburgring.

AF Corse’s pair of Ferrari 488 GTEs, the No. 51 clear of the No. 71 car, were second and third in GTE-Pro while the No. 78 KCMG Porsche 911 RSR and No. 50 Larbre Competiton Corvette C7.R, which featured American Ricky Taylor in its lineup, completed the podium in GTE-Am.

Following this two-race in three-week stretch, the FIA World Endurance Championship has a month break until the next round, the Six Hours of Fuji on Oct. 16.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”