Photo courtesy of IMSA

Pruett, Lexus sustain heavy crash in Hour 2 at Rolex 24

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The flagship driver of the 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 program, Scott Pruett, has seen his 55th Rolex 24 at Daytona likely come to an end following a heavy accident exiting Turns 1 and 2.

It appeared as though Pruett overcorrected while trying to come back to power on corner exit, and went across the road directly in front of the No. 4 Corvette C7.R driven by Tommy Milner. Pruett crashed his Lexus head-on into the barriers at pit exit, which caused heavy front-end damage to the car.

The five-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner and recently minted 2017 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America driver, who owing to the odd quirks of the FIA Driver Rating system is actually a Silver-rated driver (he’s 56 years old, which automatically qualified him for a downgrade from Gold to Silver last year), emerged from the wreckage under his own power OK.

“Well, we were just rolling around. The Lexus was running. We were just putting in the hours, you know?” Pruett said, in quotes released via Lexus. “Not exactly sure what took place. We were racing pretty hard there in a group. It felt like I got just a little nudge from behind.

“It could have been just the air taken off the rear wing cause we were in a pack or something, but it snapped pretty hard, pretty quick down in turn one and unfortunately it got into the fence on the left hand side, so I don’t know if we’ll get going again. You just feel disappointed for all the guys, all the team, everybody that’s put this thing together and this is not how you want to start, so hopefully we’ll get back out there and get a little more running in and see what we can do.

“Just disappointment. There’s so many people here that are a part of this program that have put so much energy and effort into getting here and then to have something like this happen it’s just frustrating. It’s not how you want to get things going.”

Pruett’s No. 14 Lexus started 13th in the GT Daytona class. He was meant to share the car with Sage Karam, Ian James and Gustavo Menezes.

Karam has posted the team will work to repair the damage and get the car back out.

Dutch Grand Prix becomes fourth Formula 1 race canceled this season

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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — The Dutch Grand Prix became the fourth Formula One race canceled this season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after organizers decided Thursday they didn’t want to play host to an event without spectators.

It was to be the first Dutch GP since 1985, but F1 wants to start the season with no spectators at races.

“We would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands,” race director Jan Lammers said in a statement. “We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”

The race in Zandvoort was set for May 3 and initially postponed. Fans who bought tickets can use them next year.

The coastal circuit has been redesigned, with some corners banked to facilitate faster racing.

The other races canceled this year were the season-opening Australian GP on March 15; the Monaco GP on May 24; and the French GP on June 28.

Another six have been postponed.

F1 organizers still hope to reschedule those and hold 15 to 18 races this season, starting in July with back-to-back races at the Austrian GP.