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Porsche wraps up WEC titles as Toyota takes race win in Shanghai

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Porsche will bow out of the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class off the back of a third straight championship-double after wrapping up both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in Sunday’s 6 Hours of Shanghai.

Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard became the first drivers in history to win multiple overall drivers’ titles in the WEC, with a second-place finish ensuring they hold an unassailable lead alongside first-time champion Earl Bamber heading into the season finale in Bahrain.

Porsche also sewed up the manufacturers’ title after a late mistake from Toyota’s Jose Maria Lopez cost the Japanese marque a surefire one-two finish, crashing with a Porsche GT car while leading late on.

The clash allowed the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid crew of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima to pick up their fourth victory of the season, finishing a lap clear of the newly-crowned champions.

Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and Neel Jani took third in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, while the No. 7 Toyota recovered to fourth place following the shunt for Lopez.

The manufacturers’ championship was also settled in GTE-Pro as AF Corse’s James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi finished third in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE, with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing taking class victory through Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the No. 67 Ford GT.

Calado and Pier Guidi head into the season finale in Bahrain leading the drivers’ standings by just two points from Porsche’s Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, with Priaulx and Ticknell a further 5.5 points behind.

A title decider is also on the cards in LMP2 after the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion squad of Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost and Julien Canal took their third win in the last four races, moving into the lead of their championship in the process.

Senna and Canal will head into the Bahrain finale four points clear of No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing drivers Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent, with the Le Mans class-winning trio only finishing fourth in Shanghai in front of team owner Jackie Chan after an incident-strewn race.

Aston Martin Racing dominated proceedings in GTE-Am with the No. 98 Vantage GTE of Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana, the trio taking victory by a lap from the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

The result saw the No. 98 crew move 10 points clear in their class championship heading to Bahrain, with the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing team losing ground after finishing third on Sunday.

Latest INDYCAR Aeroscreen test continues to provide feedback; data to series

Bruce Martin Photo
Bruce Martin Photo
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RICHMOND, Virginia – After completing its third Aeroscreen test since October 2, INDYCAR continues to collect valuable data and feedback from the drivers and engineers involved in testing.

The latest test of the Aeroscreen came Tuesday, October 15 at Richmond Raceway, a .750-mile short oval. Five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon has been involved in testing dating all the way back to 2017 at Phoenix with the original “Windscreen.” Tuesday’s test was the first-time two-time NTT IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden was able to test the device that partially encloses the cockpit proving greatly enhanced driver safety.

It was also the first time the current “Aeroscreen” designed and created by Red Bull Advanced Technologies, Pankl and Dallara has been tested at a short oval – a track that measures under 1.5-miles in length.

The previous tests were at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 2 and the Barber Motorsports Park road course on October 7.

“It wasn’t a problem getting in the car today and relearning a new viewpoint,” Newgarden told NBC Sports.com at the conclusion of Tuesday’s test. “It felt like a new viewpoint. It’s still an Indy car. It still feels like an Indy car. The car does a lot of the things it did before. It required some slight tuning differences to accommodate a different center of gravity and different total weight.

“Overall, it still felt like the same Indy car I drove three weeks ago. You get used to that new viewpoint within 30 or 40 laps. It was alien at first but halfway through the day it feels like home again.”

Newgarden’s Team Penske test team along with INDYCAR officials worked on changes to getting air into the cockpit and directing the air to the right place where the driver can utilize it.

“We’ve come up with some solutions that we like,” Newgarden said. “INDYCAR and the teams will continue to fine-tune this. That is why we are doing these tests. The main goal was to figure this out and fine-tune this stuff. We have come up with a lot of good solutions to all of the little things we have talked about that we have needed so when Sebastien Bourdais goes to Sebring (on November 5), it will just be another version.

“We are already close. Because they are such small details, it feels like normal racing stuff and we will come up with solutions for that.”

Some drivers who have participated in the Aeroscreen test has said, they almost feel naked without having the halo-like structure with a clear windshield protecting them on the race car.

“Once we got through a whole IndyCar season, if you took it off, it would feel really strange,” Newgarden said. “People adapt so quickly to a change, what the car looks like. Once you give us a couple of races and a full year, it will feel like home and something we are very used to as drivers.

“It is already starting to get that way. People are feeling more comfortable with it. The field of view is almost identical to the way it was before. Your peripheral vision is identical, the way you look out the front of the cars is identical, the way you see the tires is identical.”

Individual driver preference will allow for shading of the sun and that can be accomplished with the visor strips on the helmet and the tear-offs on Aeroscreen.

Drivers will also have a bit of a quieter atmosphere inside the cockpit. The partial enclosure makes it easier to hear his radio communication and the sounds of the engine in the driver’s car. It partially blocks out the sounds of the engines in the other cars and the rush of wind traveling at high speeds that used to buffet in and around the helmet.

“It has changed the noise level slightly inside the cockpit,” Newgarden said. “For me, it wasn’t super dramatic. It’s a slight reduction in wind noise. You’re not getting the wind directly over your head as dramatically as you would before. All that external noise has just been dimmed.

“You can hear the radio a touch better, things like that. But the engine noise is still quite prominent. It’s bolted directly behind us, so you still hear quite a bit of what’s going on in the car and the engine.”

Dixon was in the car at Indianapolis on October 2 and returned on Tuesday. The Barber test on October 7 included this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner, Simon Pagenaud, in a Team Penske Chevrolet and Ryan Hunter-Reay in an Andretti Autosport Honda.

“The only differences are the openings on the front wing that creates some more airflow around the legs and body and a different inlet in the screen that was in place today,” Dixon told NBC Sports.com. “There were helmet cooling options since the Barber test because on the road course, some of the drivers were getting a little hotter.

“This project has been very in-depth. It hit the ground running very smoothly. There are some alternate options they are trying to create, especially on the street courses where we will experience hot condition. On street conditions, your depth perception changes because of how close you are to the walls, but we should get used to that.”

Two weeks ago, Team Penske driver Will Power said it takes a different style to get out of the race car because of the added height of the Aeroscreen.

That hasn’t been a problem for Dixon.

“That’s easy, man,” he said. “Just go through the hole in the top.”