All posts by Andy Lloyd

Alonso Steals The Show At FIA World Endurance Championship Rookie Test (20.11.17)

Photo: fiawec.com

2005-6 FIA Formula One World Champion Fernando Alsonso took centre stage at the FIA WEC Rookie Test in Bahrain following the season-ending championship round at the International Circuit.

McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team driver Alonso put in 113 laps in the race-winning #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050, circulating in 1:43.013 on his fifty-third lap of 76 in the afternoon session.

Alonso was delighted at the results of the test.

“It was a great day,” said the Spaniard. “Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing. I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy.”

Quickest of the true rookies in the LMP1 category was Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time Formula 1 champion, Emerson, who put in a 1:42.275 on his seventh lap of ten in the afternoon session. Fittipaldi was driving the #1 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid that enjoyed its final competitive outing the previous day in the 6 Hours of Bahrain.

TL a.a. 17.11.20

Photo: fiawec.com

Thomas Laurent, driver of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07 which finished second in both the previous day’s race and also the LMP2 Teams Trophy, drove the #7 Toyota TS050, his best lap being a 1:43.273 in the afternoon session.

In the LMP2 class Jackie Chan DC Racing tested two new drivers. 17-year old Dutchman Rinus Van Kalmthout, who finished second in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, drove the ‘Fortunecat’ #37 ORECA 07 and put in a 1:50.140 on his penultimate lap of the afternoon session.

Also testing with Jackie Chan DC Racing was the 22-year old Canadian Garett Grist. Grist has had some previous prototype experience after contesting two rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship in the Starworks Motorsports ORECA FLM09 in the PC class. Grist was fifth quickest of the test with a 1:50.456.

2017 LMP2 champions Vaillante Rebellion tested Matevoz Isaakyan, the young Russian driver who drove for SMP Racing in the 2017 European Le Mans Series.

With an eye to the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship, Singapore-based Clearwater Racing tested Olivier Beretta and Ishikawa Motoaki in its LMGTE Am #61 Ferrari F48 GTE. Beretta needs no introduction as the Monégasque driver competed in his first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1996 and, twenty-one years later, contested the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series. Beretta lapped in a best time of 2:01.805 in the afternoon session.

Ishikawa has experience in the GT3 version of the Ferrari F488, having competed in the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with AF Corse.

Toyota Wins In Bahrain. Vaillante Rebellion Secures LMP2 Teams Championship (19.11.17)

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Toyota Gazoo Racing took the final victory of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship after Sébastien Buemi brought the #8 Toyota TS050 he shared with Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima home one lap ahead of the #2 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley, Bernhard at the wheel for the final stint.

Taking the final overall podium position was the sister #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Neel Jani, André Lotterer and Nick Tandy.

Porsche LMP Team had previously secured both the Manufacturers and Drivers titles with Bernhard, Bamber and Hartley being crowned 2017 Drivers Champions at the previous round in Shanghai.

#31 VAILLANTE REBELLION / CHE / Oreca 07 - Gibson -

 

Photo: fiawec.com

The LMP2 class saw a titanic battle between the Jackie Chan DC Racing and Vaillante Rebellion. The #31 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA 07, with Bruno Senna at the wheel, crossed the line to take the class victory, and with it the LMP2 Teams Trophy, 10.696 seconds ahead of Oliver Jarvis driving the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07.

Third on the LPM2 class podium was the sister Vaillante Rebellion entry, the #13 ORECA 07, with Mathis Beche taking the final stint in the car he shared with David Heinemeier Hansson and Nelson Piquet Jr.

Ferrari finished 1 -2 in the LMGTE Pro class after AF Corse brought its #71 Ferrari 488 GTE home to take the class victory. Sam Bird was at the wheel for the run to the flag in the car he shared with Davide Rigon.

Second in class was the sister #51 AF Corse entry driven by James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado, Calado bringing the car home at the finish, just .174 seconds behind the #71 entry.

The final podium spot in the LMGTE Am class was taken by the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell.

Ferrari again dominated the podium in the LMGTE Am class although Aston Martin Racing took the class victory with its #98 Aston Martin V8 Vantage completing 170 laps in the hands of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda.

Singapore-based Clearwater Racing, who has already declared its intention to compete in the 2018/19 Super Season, finished second with its Ferrari F488 GTE piloted by Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and Matt Griffin. Spirit of Race also put its F488 GTE on the podium when the #54 entry with the river line-up of Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Miguel Molina finished third in class.

With four cars on the grid in the premier class, it was the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 with Sébastien Buemi at the wheel who took the early lead, ahead of pole-sitting Neel Jani in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

There was drama in the first ten minutes after a bollard became dislodged and found its way under the #2 Porsche for which Timo Bernhard had to pit for removal.

Nick Tandy, driving the #1 Porsche also had an incident shortly before the half-way point when he made contact with the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Nicholas Foster. The #1 car received a Stop-Go penalty after being considered to have been at fault.

Toyota could have finished the season with a 1 – 2 but the #7 car, with Kamui Kobayashi at the wheel, was involved in a collision with the #92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR driven by Michael Christensen. The #7 car lost two laps due to the resulting repair and finished fourth in class.

The 6 Hours of Bahrain was the final appearance for the Porsche 919 Hybrid after first appearing in 2014.

All eyes were on the #31 Vallainte Rebellion entry and the ‘Mighty’ #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry in the LMP2 class as only four points separated them at the top of the class teams standings.

The battle lasted throughout the race with the #38 car, with Thomas Laurent driving, holding the lead in class at the half-way point. Bruno Senna in the #31 car, however, was in the lead as the race entered its final hour but drama occurred when he reported a power-steering failure.

Although early reports suggested that the #31 car was ‘undriveable’ Senna hung on and his lap-times barely dropped. Ollie Jarvis in the #38 car, meanwhile, put in a valiant final stint to close the gap to the lead car by less than 11 seconds but the expected drop-off in performance of the #31 car did not occur and Senna held on to take the victory.

In the Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Pro Teams, AF Corse took the title with its #51 Ferrari F488 GTE driven by James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, who won three times during the season, at the Nürburgring, the Circuit of the Americas and at Fuji. The Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 Ford GT finished second on 146 points.

Aston Martin Racing took the Endurance Trophy For LMGTE Am Teams with its #98 Aston Martin Vantage piloted by Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda. The #98 crew won at Spa-Francorchamps, CoTA, Shanghai and at Bahrain in a season of consistency and excellence.

The FIA World Endurance Championship grid next assembles competitively at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on May 4 – 5 for the first round of the 2018/19 ‘Super Season’.

The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (17.11.17)

This weekend sees the final round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance with the 6 Hours of Bahrain.

The annual visit to Bahrain will be tinged with sadness as the Championship says farewell to Porsche LMP Team after it announced its departure from the prototype stage at the end of the 2017 season. This will also be the last round of what many would regard as a standard (i.e. summer) season for the World Endurance Championship before it moves to the interim ‘Super Season’ ahead of a full Winter championship.

The Super Season will include two visits to the Circuit de la Sarthe and two to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and will conclude with the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although a fascinating prospect, the season will be a huge commitment for teams spanning, as it does, two annual budget periods for many of their sponsors and partners.

There is much to contest in the final round and you can read a preview of the 6 Hours of Bahrain here.

Continue reading The EGT Friday Sportscar Round-Up (17.11.17)

Porsche On Pole For Final Round Of 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (17.11.17)

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Nick Tandy and Neel Jani put the #1 Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid on pole position for the 6 Hours of Bahrain, the final round of the 2017 FIA Endurance Championship.

Tandy lapped the Bahrain International Circuit in 1:39.683 on his fifth lap of six while Jani put in a 1:39.084 on his second lap to average 1:39.383.

The #1 Porsche took pole by .263 seconds from the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 in which Mike Conway lapped in 1:39.517 and Jose Maria Lopez put in a 1:39.776 to average 1:39.646.

Taking the third grid slot will be the sister #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid in which 2017 Drivers Champions Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber averaged 1:40.011.

Continue reading Porsche On Pole For Final Round Of 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (17.11.17)

GT Cup Champions TKS Return To Asian Le Mans Series For Fuji (16.11.17)

Photo: asianlemansseries.com

Current Asian Le Mans Series GT Cup champions TKS have announced that they will return to the series for Round Two at Fuji International Speedway.

For the 2017/18 season, the Japanese team will again be led by Shinyo Sano and will campaign the Ginetta LMP3 in which Sano contested the Asian Le Mans Series Sprint Cup.

It has been a busy twelve months for Shinyo Sano and TKS as the team entered the ‘Road To Le Mans’ race, held as a prelude to the French classic at le Circuit de la Sarthe in June, where he was joined by Takuya Shirasaka to complete the driver line-up.

Team owner and driver Shinyo Sano is excited at the prospect of re-joining the Asian Le Mans Series grid in time for the second round at Fuji.

“The reason I made the team is my dreaming of going to Le Mans,” said Sano. “For me, the Asian Le Mans Series is a necessary race. As the only Japanese team in this race I want to stand on the podium at my home course of Fuji Speedway. And I want to share the pleasure with my team, chasing our dream.”

Further drivers for the TKS GInetta LMP3 will be announced shortly.

Round Two of the 2017/18 four-round Asian Le Mans Series will be held at Fuji International Speedway, Japan on December 1 – 3.

FIA World Endurance Championship Visits Bahrain for Final Round Of 2017 (14.11.17)

Photo: fiawec.com

The FIA World Endurance Championship makes it final stop of the season for The 6 Hours of Bahrain on November 16 – 18 2017.

Round Nine of the Championship sees little change in the entry list from Shanghai. In the nine-car field in the LMP2 class there are two driver changes. In the #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07 Léo Roussel and Loïc Duval replace Pierre Thiriet and Nico Müller.

In the LMGTE Am class the sole driver change is that of Michael Wainwright replacing Khaled Al Qhubasi in the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR (991).

The previous round in Shanghai saw a victory for the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 – Hybrid driven by Buemi, Davidson and Nakajima. The LMP2 category saw two podiums for Vaiilante Rebellion with the #31 ORECA 07 driven by Julien Canal, Nicolas Prost and Bruno Senna taking the victory and the sister #13 entry, piloted by Mathias Beche, David Heinemeier Hansson and Nelson Piquet Jr in the final podium position.

The #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut was second in the LMP2, driven by Nicolas Lapierre,Gustavo Menezes and Andre Negráo.

Continue reading FIA World Endurance Championship Visits Bahrain for Final Round Of 2017 (14.11.17)