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Stadium Super Trucks join Race of Champions

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The Stadium Super Trucks series will be part of the 2019 Race of Champions weekend, it was announced Friday on the Race Champions web site. The ROC will be hosted in Mexico City this year.

Helmed by former NASCAR / IndyCar driver and current off-road star Robby Gordon, the Stadium Super Trucks will compete January 19-20 at the Foro Sol, the amphitheatre forming part of Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Formula 1 circuit.

The series will have standalone support races on both days featuring aluminum jumps .

“We’re especially thrilled that the Stadium Super Trucks will have their own separate support race once the main racing action has finished on both Saturday and Sunday,” said Gordon at RaceofChampions.com. “I know the trucks will be a first for many of the competing drivers – not to mention the spectators – but these 650 (horsepower) trucks have the capability to jump 20 or 30 feet off the ground for the length of a football field so either way it will be exciting.”

The Race of Champions is an all-star event encompassing the entirety of motorsports. It has been an annual event of more than 30 years. The drivers compete in a variety of identical cars. Drivers have to switch among the car types and adapt their driving style from one to another while competing in head-to-head races.

“Robby is one of the most colorful figures in world motor sport,” said Fredrik Johnsson, ROC President. “At his first Race Of Champions appearance in 2001 he rolled one car, pulled off another spectacular save and set a lap record round our Gran Canaria circuit that still stands … talk about giving the fans value for money!

“But if that sounds good just wait till you see his SPEED XX’s and his Stadium Super Trucks, which are sure to put a smile on the faces of all the drivers – and everyone watching. We have greats racing from Formula 1, Le Mans, IndyCar, NASCAR and RallyX but I bet you will never have had the chance to watch them drive anything like this before. If you’ve never seen a truck fly, now’s your chance.”

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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.