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

Photo courtesy of IMSA

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.


NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.