Photo: Spirit of Daytona Racing

New-look Spirit of Daytona Cadillac lineup confirmed

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Troy Flis’ team, the artist formerly known as VISIT FLORIDA Racing, will undergo a series of changes for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

It will revert back to its spiritual name, Spirit of Daytona Racing, swap both of its 2017-spec LMP2 chassis Riley Mk. 30, then Ligier JS P217 Gibson for a Cadillac DPi-V.R and switch drivers with Tristan Vautier and Matt McMurry in to replace Renger van der Zande and Marc Goossens.

The Daytona Beach-based team has acquired its new car a couple weeks ago and will hit the ground running in earnest at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test in January.

“The big thing is the opportunity to work with some of the same folks that we were so successful with when we were racing the Corvette Daytona Prototype,” said Flis. “Hopefully that will help us get up to speed with this car quickly. IMSA is going to be even more competitive in 2018 and we are really looking forward to being a factor this year with our new Cadillac package.”

“We welcome Troy and his team to the Cadillac Racing family,” said Rich Brekus, Global Director of Product Strategy for Cadillac. “Spirit of Daytona Racing sports a successful track record, taking third last year at the Rolex 24 and winning at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I am looking forward to seeing the Vector Blue Cadillac DPi-V.R on track next month in Daytona.”

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.