Photos: Jaden Conwright Racing

American teen racer Jaden Conwright eyes next step after Asian F3 success

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American teen race car driver Jaden Conwright is looking forward to what’s next for his career after an outstanding rookie season in the Asian F3 series.

Conwright earned five podiums – including one win and two poles – en route to finishing third in the championship standings in the series’ inaugural season.

That was quite an achievement, given that Conwright sat out the previous 20 months, his last race being the 2016 Italian F4 championship.

Now after his Asian F3 debut for Absolute Racing – which included finishing outside the top-six just twice in 15 races – it’s time for the 19-year-old Fremont, California native to put his career into the next gear.

“It’s definitely been a good season,” Conwright said. “For somebody who lives and breathes racing like I do, taking a year out to test in 2017 was not easy, but it was the right decision and the prospect of rejoining the grid in 2018 kept my motivation levels high.

“More importantly still, I made sure to apply everything I learned last year to come back stronger than ever, and to achieve the results that we did was extremely satisfying.

“Racing and testing require two completely different mindsets, and whilst my lap times were pretty good right from the outset, it took slightly longer to fully blow the cobwebs away in race situations, where I was a little bit rustier and had to re-adapt to things like standing starts and wheel-to-wheel battles – but I made consistent progress in terms of my driving and mental approach throughout.”

Conwright, a former World Speed Motorsports Rising Star Award winner, continues to work toward obtaining his FIA Super License with his sites set on continuing up the open-wheel racing ladder.

“Working with Absolute Racing was a total pleasure,” Conwright said. “It’s a real family environment and I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more supportive or capable group of guys behind me, and to be able to measure myself against such a high caliber of rivals in Asian F3 was very positive for my own career development.”

As for the future, “I’m not sure what’s in store just yet,” Conwright said. “But I definitely want to continue my progression in single-seaters – be that in Asia, Europe or back home in the US – because I still have more to learn in the discipline, and plenty of unfinished business.”

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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
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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.