Speed leads. Photo: Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull GRC releases shaken up 2017 schedule

Leave a comment

Red Bull Global Rallycross has released its 2017 schedule, which features a number of changes compared to the 2016 schedule.

Nearly half the schedule is shaken up for the championship, and only three races return from 2016 into 2017: Atlantic City, Seattle and Los Angeles. Their dates are within the same months of August, September and October as they were in 2016, but not necessarily on the same weekend.

Those three weekends comprise Rounds 8 to 12, with Atlantic City and Seattle featuring doubleheaders and Los Angeles with a single-round finale.

It’s Rounds 1 through 7 where things get switched up compared to 2016, although the series resumes in markets it’s been in before (Tennessee, New England).

Phoenix, Dallas, Daytona and MCAS New River are all gone for 2017. In their place come races in Memphis, Louisville, Thompson, Conn. a TBD-site in Canada and Indianapolis, from April through July. Thompson and Canada will be doubleheader weekends with the others all single-round weekends.

“This should be a banner year for Red Bull GRC as we continue our ascent in the world of motorsport,” Red Bull GRC CEO, Colin Dyne said in a release. “We listened to the feedback from our fans, and the 2017 schedule reflects the demand to bring our unique brand of racing to new locations, as well as to return to a number of fan-favorite venues from previous seasons.”

For those teams that have both IndyCar and Red Bull GRC programs, there are four weekends where they overlap. IndyCar is at Phoenix when Red Bull GRC is at Memphis, and subsequent overlaps occur at Indianapolis qualifying/Louisville, Detroit/Thompson, and Iowa/Indianapolis.

The Phoenix and Iowa IndyCar weekends will also see both IndyCar and Red Bull GRC on the NBC Sports Group networks on the same weekend.

Full TV details should come shortly for Supercars and GRC Lites shows.

The 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross event schedule is as follows:

  • Round 1: Memphis, TN (April 29)
  • Round 2: Louisville, KY (May 21)
  • Round 3: Thompson, CT (June 3)*
  • Round 4: Thompson, CT (June 4)*
  • Round 5: Canada (June 17)*
  • Round 6: Canada (June 18)*
  • Round 7: Indianapolis, IN (July 9)
  • Round 8: Atlantic City, NJ (August 12)*
  • Round 9: Atlantic City, NJ (August 13)*
  • Round 10: Seattle, WA (September 9)*
  • Round 11: Seattle, WA (September 10)*
  • Round 12: Los Angeles, CA (October 14)

*Indicates doubleheader

Specific event details, including venues, ticket sale information and broadcast times, will be released in the coming weeks.

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
3 Comments

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.