Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: Nasr holds off Taylor in Prototype, MSR goes 1-2 in GTD at Detroit

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Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran gave the No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R for Action Express its first win of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Clever pit strategy, and quick pit work, put the No. 31 out front in the second half of the race. An early caution – after David Heinemeier Hansson nosed into the Turn 5 tire barrier in the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RCF GT3 – jumbled the running order and strategy, with several teams staying out while others elected to pit.

The No. 31 team played their strategy correctly, pitting under that early yellow and taking fuel only on their second stop, while some mighty quick laps from Nasr helped put them in position to win in the final minutes.

However, Nasr needed to battle with a fast-charging Ricky Taylor, on fresher tires after the Acura Team Penske group elected to put fresh Continentals on his No. 7 ARX-05 for the final stint.

Taylor managed to close in as they worked through traffic, but never got close enough to try and overtake Nasr, who scored the first win of 2018 for himself, co-driver Eric Curran, and the No. 31 AXR team.

Taylor hung on for second, while teammate Dane Cameron came home third in the sister No. 6 Acura. Of note: the pole sitting No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi, in the hands of Pipo Derani at the start, suffered steering problems in the early laps, forcing an unscheduled pit stop.

Johannes van Overbeek took over to finish the race during their final stop, and the combo eventually finished seventh.

In GTD, it was a banner day for Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian, with Katherine Legge and Mario Farnbacher – in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 – leading teammates Justin Marks and Lawson Aschenbach – in the No. 93 NSX – in a 1-2 for the MSR squad.

Katherine Legge and Mario Farnbacher scored the first win of the 2018 season for Meyer Shank Racing. Photo courtesy of IMSA

The No. 86 team moved to the lead during a cycle of pit stops, after keeping Legge out one lap longer than rivals Paul Miller Racing, with the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3. Bryan Sellers, who started the race for the Paul Miller squad, was the first of the leaders to pit, but Legge stayed out to put in a blistering in-lap and it was enough to see Farnbacher, who took over for Legge at that stop, to emerge in the lead.

Meanwhile, quick pit work saw the No. 93, in the hands of Aschenbach after Marks started the race, come out ahead of the No. 48 Lamborghini to run second.

And they stayed in that order the rest of the way, with Legge and Farnbacher – subbing for Alvaro Parente – giving Meyer Shank their first win of 2018. Madison Snow brought the No. 48 Lamborghini home in third.

Full results can be found here.


Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

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Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”