Audi on pole for WEC swansong in Bahrain

© Audi

Audi will start its final race in the FIA World Endurance Championship from pole position after Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi topped qualifying for the 6 Hours of Bahrain.

Audi announced last month that it would be quitting the WEC following the final race of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit, ending its LMP1 program after 18 years.

Despite trailing rivals Porsche throughout practice, Audi hit back in qualifying as Jarvis and di Grassi combined for an average of 1:39.207 to secure their third pole of the season.

Porsche heads into the final race of the year pushing to add the drivers’ championship to its manufacturers’ success secured last time out in China, with the no. 2 crew of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb needing a sixth-place finish to wrap up the title.

The trio could only qualify third on Friday in Bahrain, losing out to the sister no. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid car after a late improvement spearheaded by Timo Bernhard that reduced the pole-sitting Audi’s advantage to just two-tenths of a second.

The no. 7 Audi R18 ended the session fourth, half a second off the pole time from across the garage, while the Toyotas lagged over a second behind in P5 and P6.

LMP2 saw G-Drive Racing take pole with its no. 26 Oreca Nissan, edging out the championship-winning no.36 Signatech Alpine entry by just 0.018 seconds. The no. 44 Manor slotted into third place, finishing a further three-tenths of a second further back.

Aston Martin Racing continued to dominate proceedings in the GTE Pro class by clinching a one-two finish, headed up by the no. 97 Vantage V8 shared by Jonny Adam and Darren Turner. Remarkably, the duo set the exact same lap time to the thousandth of 1:56.953, handing them class pole by just over one-tenth of a second.

The championship-chasing no. 95 AMR entry of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen ended up second in class, while the no. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 ended up third, a further three-tenths of a second behind.

Aston Martin also tasted success in GTE Am as Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana combined to take class pole, ensuring that the title fight will continue until race day. The no. 83 AF Corse crew had been able to clinch the title by scoring pole, but ended up three-tenths of a second behind in P2.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.