Fernando Alonso sweeps Legends Trophy sim victories at Indianapolis

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Fernando Alonso made a triumphant return to the virtual version of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, sweeping the Legends Trophy doubleheader sim races Saturday.

After beating 2009 Formula One champion Jenson Button by 0.037 seconds in the first race, Alonso started 21st in Race 2 and managed to weave his way to the front over the next 20 minutes. The two-time Formula One champion beat World Touring Car veteran Tiago Monteiro in the second race.

After stunningly failing to qualify for his second Indianapolis 500 start last year, Alonso will be entered in the rescheduled 104th running of the race Aug. 23 with Arrow McLaren SP.

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As a 2017 Indy 500 rookie, he qualified fifth, led 27 laps and finished 24th because of an engine failure after 179 laps.

“I was super scared of losing the first (Legends Trophy) race,” Alonso said. “Jenson is a very smart guy, and we were both playing games trying to be in front or behind.

“We were studying each other, but with Jenson you never know. He’s always one step ahead, and I was very worried that I would slip. He had a moment in turn four one lap before the end, and that was enough of a gap for me.”

It was the second Legends Trophy appearance for Alonso, who made his surprise competitive sim racing debut in the series just last week.

“I’m very new at this,” Alonso said. “I only received the rig last Thursday before (last week’s Legends Trophy race at) Zandvoort. After one week and a half, I’m still playing with some buttons. It was great
today, and it’s good fun always at the Indianapolis Speedway.”

There were six former Indy 500 winners and four F1 champions competing in the Legends Trophy event at the Brickyard, including the series sim debut of 1969 Indy 500 winner and 1978 F1 champion Mario Andretti.

Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 winner took fifth in the first race, and three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves was third in the second race. Two-time F1 and Indy 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, 73, matched his season-best finish with a 10th in Race 2.

Andretti, the oldest driver in the race at 80, recovered from a slow start to finish 19th in the second race.

“I had a blast,” Andretti said. “Obviously, it seemed like I was part of every situation that was happening out there, but other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Will I do it again? You never say never. We have the rig here, I have to get a lot more familiar with it.

“It was not natural. It was so different. What I have going against me is that you drive it differently. The line is a little different, so you have to understand just what the rig wants, what the sim likes and how aggressive you can get. There’s a definite learning curve, no question about it.”

By finishing fourth in the second race, Button is the championship leader with 322 points. Five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro is 39 points behind in second (283).

The two top-four finishes by Button extended his points lead to 39 (322-283) over five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro. Four-time Le Mans winner Magnussen is third in the standings with 271 points.

NEXT: The final race in this round of the Torque Esports/Engine Media’s The Race All-Star Series Legends Trophy championship will take place Saturday at noon ET (ESPN2) at a track to be determined. The winner will have $30,000 donated in his name to a favorite charity.

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
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Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

With the 10-hour race requiring an extra driver, several stars from other racing series have been added. In addition to Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as third drivers in Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Cadillacs.

Jimmie Johnson also will be making his last DPi start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac with Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi. Petit Le Mans could mark the last start in an IMSA prototype for Johnson, who has said limited inventory likely will keep him out of the GTP category in the Rolex 24 next year.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta


Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans