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52nd Running of Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona Concludes with Win from Joao Barbosa and Action Express Racing Team 26
Jan
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in audi, Automotive, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Jacksonville, FL, Motorsports, porsche on 01 26th, 2014
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The 52nd run of the Rolex 24 race at Daytona commenced yesterday captivating automotive enthusiasts all over the world. The field started off as any man’s race but was abruptly halted momentarily with a red flag due to a horrific crash involving the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari (GTLM) driven by Matteo Malucelli who was plowed into by Memo Gidley in his No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP (GTLM). Both drivers were awake and communicated after being admitted to the hospital where Gidley required surgery for a broken back, injuries to his left arm and left leg. Malucelli is being held for additional evaluation but resting comfortably.

90 minutes or so later the race restarted after a lift of the red flag and clearing the crash debris.

Joao Barbosa (Sebastien Bourdais, Christian Fittipaldi) in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP took home the over-all win and win in the Prototype class while Patrick Pilet (Richard Lietz, Nick Tandy) in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR captured the win for the GT Le Mans class. Alessandro Pier Guidi in the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia finished first in the GT Daytona class but some controversy ensued as officials announce a time penalty for allegedly having contact or not leaving a lane to Markus Winkelhock (Nelson Canache, Spencer Pumpelly Jr, Tim Pappas) in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Audi R8 LMS, which ultimately took the win. Colin Braun (James Gue, Jonathan Bennett) brought home the win in the No. 54 Core Autosport ORECA FLM09 for Prototype Challenge class.

Update: Level 5 Motorsports No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 has been announced as the new GT Daytona Class winner after IMSA officials revealed the situations after a protest filed by Level 5.

Official Statement:

“A full post-race review of the incident on the last lap of the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona was completed by IMSA Supervisory Officials. The decision has been made to reverse the decision by the race director, rescind the penalty against the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia team, and reinstate drivers Scott Tucker, Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, Jeff Segal and Alessandro Pier Giuidi as the GT Daytona class winners. We regret the confusion following the race, and appreciate the patience by our fans, drivers, teams and the media so we could properly review and subsequently report this decision.”

Elkins expanded on that official statement shortly thereafter: “The uniqueness of this was that it was on the last lap of a 24‑hour race, and so the race director was doing exactly what he is expected to do, which is to make a decision and try to have some finality prior to the end, and that’s what he did,” he said. “The process worked.  If you’re asking could we have done it differently, I don’t think so.”

“The fact is the winning team is now declared the winner, and I think that’s the right thing that needs to happen.”

 

Rolex 24 at Daytona Full Results

Finish CLASS CAR CAR TYPE LAPS COMP BEHIND LEADER BEHIND NEXT IN CLASS
1 P 5 CORVETTE DP 695 – – – – – –
2 P 10 CORVETTE DP 695 1.461 1.461
3 P 9 CORVETTE DP 695 19.489 18.028
4 P 90 CORVETTE DP 693 2 LAPS 2 LAPS
5 P 6 NISSAN ORECA 692 3 LAPS 1 LAPS
6 GTLM 911 PORSCHE 911 RSR 679 16 LAPS – – –
7 GTLM 55 BMW Z4 GTE 679 16 LAPS 2.838
8 P 42 NISSAN MORGAN 678 17 LAPS 14 LAPS
9 PC 54 ORECA FLM09 678 17 LAPS – – –
10 PC 25 ORECA FLM09 677 18 LAPS 1 LAPS
11 P 2 HPD ARX-03B 676 19 LAPS 2 LAPS
12 GTLM 91 SRT VIPER GTS-R 675 20 LAPS 4 LAPS
13 PC 38 ORECA FLM09 669 26 LAPS 8 LAPS
14 GTLM 56 BMW Z4 GTE 668 27 LAPS 7 LAPS
15 P 02 FORD ECOBOOST/RILEY 667 28 LAPS 9 LAPS
16 GTLM 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R 666 29 LAPS 2 LAPS
17 PC 52 ORECA FLM09 662 33 LAPS 7 LAPS
18 GTD 555 FERRARI 458 ITALIA 662 33 LAPS – – – penalty for contact
19 GTD 45 AUDI R8 LMS 662 33 LAPS 1.293
20 GTD 58 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 662 33 LAPS 0.159
21 GTD 72 FERRARI 458 ITALIA 662 33 LAPS 13.760
22 GTD 35 AUDI R8 LMS 661 34 LAPS 1 LAPS
23 GTD 556 FERRARI 458 ITALIA 661 34 LAPS 3.061
24 PC 8 ORECA FLM09 659 36 LAPS 3 LAPS
25 GTD 94 BMW Z4 659 36 LAPS 2 LAPS
26 GTD 22 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 656 39 LAPS 3 LAPS
27 GTLM 93 SRT VIPER GTS-R 653 42 LAPS 13 LAPS
28 GTD 30 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 652 43 LAPS 4 LAPS
29 GTD 65 FERRARI 458 ITALIA 649 46 LAPS 3 LAPS
30 GTD 63 FERRARI 458 ITALIA 647 48 LAPS 2 LAPS
31 GTD 44 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 645 50 LAPS 2 LAPS
32 GTD 73 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 645 50 LAPS 31.014
33 GTD 64 FERRARI 458 ITALIA 645 50 LAPS 25.084
34 GTD 23 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 639 56 LAPS 6 LAPS
35 P 50 DINAN/RILEY 631 64 LAPS 36 LAPS
36 GTD 48 AUDI R8 LMS 626 69 LAPS 13 LAPS
37 GTLM 57 FERRARI F458 ITALIA 625 70 LAPS 28 LAPS
38 GTD 51 FERRARI 458 ITALIA 620 75 LAPS 6 LAPS
39 GTD 49 FERRARI 458 ITALIA 618 77 LAPS 2 LAPS
40 GTD 33 SRT VIPER GT3-R 615 80 LAPS 3 LAPS
41 P 31 CORVETTE DP 613 82 LAPS 18 LAPS
42 PC 7 ORECA FLM09 612 83 LAPS 47 LAPS
43 P 01 FORD ECOBOOST/RILEY 610 85 LAPS 3 LAPS
44 GTLM 97 ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE V8 610 85 LAPS 15 LAPS
45 GTD 19 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 603 92 LAPS 12 LAPS
46 GTD 28 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 601 94 LAPS 2 LAPS
47 P 60 FORD ECOBOOST/RILEY 599 96 LAPS 11 LAPS
48 GTD 007 ASTON MARTIN V12 VANTAGE 580 115 LAPS 21 LAPS
49 GTD 71 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 566 129 LAPS 14 LAPS
50 GTD 27 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 566 129 LAPS 13.590
51 GTD 81 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 560 135 LAPS 6 LAPS
52 GTD 009 ASTON MARTIN V12 VANTAGE 516 179 LAPS 44 LAPS
53 GTD 18 PORSCHE 911 GT AMERICA 492 203 LAPS 24 LAPS
54 GTLM 912 PORSCHE 911 RSR 489 206 LAPS 121 LAPS
55 PC 87 ORECA FLM09 460 235 LAPS 152 LAPS
56 P 07 MAZDA SKYACTIV-D 445 250 LAPS 154 LAPS
57 P 70 MAZDA SKYACTIV-D 369 326 LAPS 76 LAPS
58 PC 08 ORECA FLM09 361 334 LAPS 99 LAPS
59 P 1 HPD ARX-03B 359 336 LAPS 10 LAPS
60 GTLM 3 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R 329 366 LAPS 160 LAPS
61 P 0 DELTAWING DWC13 288 407 LAPS 71 LAPS
62 P 78 DINAN/RILEY 238 457 LAPS 50 LAPS
63 PC 09 ORECA FLM09 177 518 LAPS 184 LAPS
64 GTD 32 AUDI R8 LMS 151 544 LAPS 341 LAPS
65 P 99 CORVETTE DP 92 603 LAPS 146 LAPS
66 GTLM 62 FERRARI F458 ITALIA 88 607 LAPS 241 LAPS
67 GTD 46 AUDI R8 LMS 5 690 LAPS 146 LAPS

 



Lexus RC F GT500 Race Car Displayed at 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon 10
Jan
Posted by Darryl in Auto Addiction, auto show, Automotive, LEXUS, Lexus RC F, Lexus RC F GT500, Motorsports on 01 10th, 2014
lexus-rc-f-gt500-tokyo-auto-salon

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Who in their right mind would use a pit crew dressed in tuxedos to tend to race car? Lexus would do it of course. Only thing, this pit crew isn’t real – but the vehicle shown in the image above is very real, which is the newly-revealed Lexus RC F GT500 race car on display at the 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon.

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The all-new Lexus RC F Coupe greeted us earlier this week with its early presence before the official Detroit debut and now Lexus is keeping that momentum moving forward by unleashing the new RC F GT500 race car to replace the brand’s SC 430 race car for competing in the 2014 Japanese Super GT series.

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We look for the RC F Coupe to be display that the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.



The Roar Before the Rolex 24 Gets Us All Excited 6
Jan
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Chevrolet, Events, Jacksonville, FL, Motorsports, Rolex 24 At Daytona, Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona, Rolex 24 Hour Race on 01 6th, 2014
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Over the weekend AutomotiveAddicts.com took a trip to Daytona Speedway to check out the practice and testing sessions leading up to the Rolex 24 Hour race. I have to say, we are truly excited and patently waiting for the Rolex 24 Hour race, which takes place in just a few weeks.

With the kickoff of the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona quickly approaching, we thought it would be a good time to start things off right in lower gear as we prep for a highly anticipated race between GRAND-AM Rolex Sport Car Series and the American Le Mans Series race cars. At the practice sessions we had sensory over-load as the roaring sounds of many re-worked Prototype and Grand Touring style cars left the garages to acclimate their fresh rubber with the familiar pavement of Daytona Speedway.

Some of the highlights during the test runs was us catching the all-new Corvette Stingray C7.R make its rounds on the road-course leading the decibel race alongside of Ferrari 458s, Aston Martin Vantage V8s, Porsche GT3s, Audi R8 V10s, Viper GTS-Rs, BMW M3s and 328i to name some of our favorites.

We look forward to some of our avid readers and fans attending the Rolex 24, which kicks off January 25th and lasting through the night into the morning for some magical and thrilling endurance racing.

Be sure to check out some of our quick garage and pit shots below and a short video clip of the camouflaged Corvette C7.R Racecar.

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The Roar Before the Rolex 24 Gets Us All Excited 6
Jan
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Chevrolet, Events, Jacksonville, FL, Motorsports, Rolex 24 At Daytona, Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona, Rolex 24 Hour Race on 01 6th, 2014
IMG_3667

IMG_3667

Over the weekend AutomotiveAddicts.com took a trip to Daytona Speedway to check out the practice and testing sessions leading up to the Rolex 24 Hour race. I have to say, we are truly excited and patently waiting for the Rolex 24 Hour race, which takes place in just a few weeks.

With the kickoff of the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona quickly approaching, we thought it would be a good time to start things off right in lower gear as we prep for a highly anticipated race between GRAND-AM Rolex Sport Car Series and the American Le Mans Series race cars. At the practice sessions we had sensory over-load as the roaring sounds of many re-worked Prototype and Grand Touring style cars left the garages to acclimate their fresh rubber with the familiar pavement of Daytona Speedway.

Some of the highlights during the test runs was us catching the all-new Corvette Stingray C7.R make its rounds on the road-course leading the decibel race alongside of Ferrari 458s, Aston Martin Vantage V8s, Porsche GT3s, Audi R8 V10s, Viper GTS-Rs, BMW M3s and 328i to name some of our favorites.

We look forward to some of our avid readers and fans attending the Rolex 24, which kicks off January 25th and lasting through the night into the morning for some magical and thrilling endurance racing.

Be sure to check out some of our quick garage and pit shots below and a short video clip of the camouflaged Corvette C7.R Racecar.

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Merger Of Grand Am And ALMS Creates United SportsCar Racing 15
Mar
Posted by Kurt Ernst in ALMS, Automotive, Grand Am, Kurt, Motorsports, News, United SportsCar Racing on 03 15th, 2013
United SportsCar Racing Logo

United SportsCar Racing Logo

Last September, one of the worst-kept secrets in the North American racing world was revealed: the American Le Mans Series (ALSM) would join forces with Grand-Am to form a single new series for the 2014 season. The announcement created far more questions than it answered, including the primary question of what the new series would be called.

The answer to that particular question was revealed in a news conference yesterday afternoon: the future of sports car racing in North America will soon be in the hands of United SportsCar Racing, which will be sanctioned by the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA).

And here’s where things get a bit convoluted. From what we can tell, the Grand-Am series (backed by NASCAR) is essentially taking over the assets of the ALMS. IMSA was the sanctioning body for the ALMS, which also has ties to the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which governs competition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Despite Grand Am being the “owner” of the new series, sticking with the ALMS’ sanctioning body should make it easier for United SportsCar Racing teams to compete at Le Mans, since the ACO and IMSA (via the ALMS) have worked together since 1999.

The new series will run five classes, including Prototype (consisting of Grand-Am Daytona Prototype, ALMS P2 and DeltaWing cars), Prototype Challenge (ALMS LMPC cars), GT Le Mans (ALMS GTE cars), GT Daytona (Grand-Am GT and ALMS GTC cars) and GX (Grand-Am GX cars).

Will the rest of the integration go as smoothly as the early steps have? We’ll know for sure when the green flag drops on the next 24 Hours of Daytona in January 2014.



Bad News: Speed Television Goes Off Air On August 17 7
Mar
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Editorial, Fox Sports 1, Kurt, Motorsports, Nascar, SPEED TV on 03 7th, 2013
The Fox Sports 1 logo - image: Fox Sports
The Fox Sports 1 logo - image: Fox Sports

The Fox Sports 1 logo – image: Fox Sports

If you love cars and racing, chances are good the Speed channel is programmed as a favorite on your remote control. Though the channel was out-bid for Formula One coverage by NBC Sports, Speed still offers up NASCAR racing and qualifying, as well as coverage of Grand Am and ALMS races. There’s Barrett-Jackson classic car auction coverage, too, and racing commentary on shows like Wind Tunnel, NASCAR RaceDay and Speed Center.

That changes on August 17, as the Speed Channel will become Fox Sports 1 (FS1). To grow more competitive with NBC Sports (formerly Versus) and ESPN, FS1 will expand its coverage to focus on more mainstream sports. In 2014, it picks up select Major League Baseball games, while coverage of college football and college basketball begins this year. In 2015, certain NASCAR races will be aired on FS1, meaning that those lacking cable television won’t be watching their favorite drivers compete each weekend.

FS1 will cover international soccer and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, too, which seems like an odd collection of sports to portray alongside racing and baseball. We have no idea if the Barrett-Jackson events will be televised in the future, and as far as we can tell Wind Tunnel is going away, too. Adding to our confusion is the announcement that Regis Philbin will host a daily talk show, called “Rush Hour,” which will feature a panel of guest star athletes and celebrities. Fox calls the show “unpredictable,” but we’re already predicting it will crash and burn.

Now that Versus has become NBC Sports and Speed is becoming FS1, those of us with a passion for cars will likely have a lot more free time on the weekends to attend car events instead of watching them on television. Maybe that’s a good thing after all.



Nissan Teases Major NISMO Announcement 22
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Kurt, Motorsports, News, Nismo, nissan on 02 22nd, 2013
Nismo-teaser-image

Nismo-teaser-image

If you’re a fan of Nissan and its performance division, Nismo, you may want to check back with us next week. On February 26, Nissan will announce “major news” for its Nismo group, tied to the opening of a new factory located near Yokohama, Japan.

The news will come from Nissan head Carlos Ghosn, and the teaser promises a “new direction for Nismo’s core mission.” In the past, Nismo has been primarily focused on designing and building performance parts, as well as the occasional race car and street car. It’s no secret that Nissan wants to grow its market share, and introducing a more complete line of products aimed at enthusiasts is one way to do so.

Nissan already sells the track-focused Nismo 370Z on these shores, and a new version of the car will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show. The Juke Nismo will soon hit U.S. dealer showrooms, and it’s already proven to be a hit in Europe. Nismo’s new factory location will also include a showroom and retail operation, so it’s a safe bet that its product catalog of parts and complete vehicles is about to get a whole lot larger.

Expect Nissan to expand Nismo’s presence in professional motorsports as well, since nothing sells perfromance-oriented cars like victories on the track. We’ll bring you complete details on Nissan’s big news next week.



Toyota Announces GT86 Racer Ready for Testing 5
Feb
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Motorsports, News, racing, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, TOYOTA, Toyota GT 86 on 02 5th, 2013
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If there was any doubt as to the future development of performance variations of the infamous Toyota GT86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ, let that doubt vanish into thin air as the latest Toyota GT86 Racer powered by a 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged Boxer 4-cylinder engine is developed in conjunction with Nicholson McLaren Engines to hit the track later this month.

Toyota has readied the Toyota GT86 racer for testing slated to hit the track this month following the complete of the first chassis by Buckingham-based motorsport engineering pioneer GPRM. The Toyota GT86 Racer is further conclusive proof of this vehicle’s potential and future sights on motorsports competition.

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GPRM and its directors Gary Blackham and Roger King believe the new Toyota will be a serious GT4 contender: “The new engine from Nicholson McLaren will be capable of between 360 and 400 bhp,” said Blackham, “although of course the definitive output figure will be determined by the balance of performance testing.

GPRM goes on to say that “We have gone all out to engineer quality and reliability into the GT86 as well as competitiveness, and the result has provoked a lot of interest from all around Europe.”

Not only will this vehicle be a thoroughbred competitor, but it will be a cost-efficient entry-level endurance car. It all makes sense to select the Toyota GT86 for GT4 duties and combining race-proven teams and engineers to pioneer the development and implementation of the GT86 racer makes it all more the merrier.

Although not a works effort, the GT4 project has the blessing of Toyota GB, which is providing technical support.

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Audi Driver Frank Stippler Narrates A Lap Of Daytona: Video 28
Jan
Posted by Kurt Ernst in audi, Audi R8, Automotive, Daytona, Editorial, Motorsports on 01 28th, 2013
The Audi R8 pace car
The Audi R8 pace car

The Audi R8 pace car

If you think of Daytona only as a NASCAR tri-oval, think again. Its infield road course, as used for this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, presents drivers with different challenges than they’d face on the track’s high banks alone. Infield corners aren’t banked, so finding the traction needed for braking and acceleration can be a challenge. Get off-line to the outside, and the accumulated debris all but guarantees a spin.

The infield horseshoe corners do make for great fan viewing, but our advice is to get there early to stake out a seat. There’s plenty of passing in the International Horseshoe (the first of two seen on the video), so that’s really where you want to camp out.

It wouldn’t be Daytona without the track’s legendarily-steep banking, so the road course still uses all of the track’s oval-configuration corners. The back straight gets a chicane (the legendary “Bus Stop”) to slow speeds as the cars enter the turn three banking (which is turn 12 on the road course).

While Stippler’s lap may seem leisurely, we assure you that it’s anything but. It may not be at a full-on race velocity, but the quattro GmbH driver isn’t piloting a race car – he’s driving the Audi R8 Pace car.



Audi Nearly Sweeps The GT Class In The Rolex 24 At Daytona 28
Jan
Posted by Kurt Ernst in audi, Automotive, Kurt, Motorsports, News, Rolex 24 At Daytona on 01 28th, 2013
The GT Class winning Audi R8 of Alex Job Racing
The GT Class winning Audi R8 of Alex Job Racing

The GT Class winning Audi R8 of Alex Job Racing

Consider this: 18 of the 33 GT Class cars that started last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona were Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, either running the new 4.0-liter flat-six engine (with a restrictor on the intake) or the proven (and unrestricted) 3.8-liter flat-six. Seven entrants were Ferrari 458 Italias, followed by four Audi R8s, followed by a Camaro, a Corvette, a BMW M3 and a Dodge Viper.

In terms of percentages, nearly 55-percent of the cars on the GT Class starting grid were 911s, which have long been the dominant car at Daytona. Blame it on rule changes or blame it on Audi’s sheer will to win, but the first Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to cross Daytona’s checkered finish line did so in fifth place (13th overall), behind a pair of Ferraris (taking third and fourth spots) and a pair of Audi R8s (taking first and second).

The second-place Audi R8 of APR Motorsports

The second-place Audi R8 of APR Motorsports

Filipe Albuquerque drove a near-perfect stint race to bring the #24 Audi Sport Customer Racing / Alex Job Racing R8 across the finish line first in class, despite transmission problems at the end of the race. It was the driver’s first visit to Daytona, making the win that much more impressive. Rene Rast brought the #52 Audi Sport Customer Racing / APR Motorsport R8 across the line in second place, after holding off the #69 AIM Autosport Team FXDO With Ferrari 458 Italia in the closing laps.

Had the #13 Audi Sport Customer Racing / Rum Bum Racing Audi R8 not run short of fuel in the closing laps, it almost surely would have been a clean podium finish for Audi. The Audi R8 Grand Am has come a long way since last year, when two cars were entered and finished a disappointing 44th and 45th overall.

Rum Bum Racing's R8 hits the International Horseshoe

Rum Bum Racing’s R8 hits the International Horseshoe

Aside from the Audi R8s and Ferrari 458 Italias, the GT class is in danger of becoming a Porsche 911 spec series, as the Camaros, Corvettes and Vipers have all been rendered non-competitive by rule changes. Let’s hope that changes before too much longer, since the world already has all the Porsche 911 spec series it needs.



BMW-Riley of Ganassi Racing & WeatherTech Audi R8 Win Rolex 24 at Daytona 27
Jan
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in audi, Automotive, BMW, Motorsports, News, porsche, Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona, Rolex 24 Hour Race on 01 27th, 2013
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Piloting the #1 Chip Ganassi Racing BMW-Riley protype, Scott Pruett (fifth over-all win), Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball and Scott Dixon take home the win for Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona for DP class this year, while the #24 Audi Sport Customer Racing/AJR WeatherTech Audi R8 of Filipe Alburquerque, Oliver Jarvis, Edoardo Mortara, and Dion Von Moltke take the checkered flag for GT class. The Napleton Racing #16 Porsche Cayman won in the GX series with Shane Lewis, David Donohue, Dr. Jim Norman and Nelson Canache.

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There was no doubt that this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona was eventful with an exciting last couple hours thought to come down to a fuel-racing-game. All through the night there were only a few incidents while the race as a whole did not have many serious mishaps. Scott Pruett will surely get a nod in the history books as he ties Hurley Haywood with a record 5 Rolex 24 at Daytona wins.

NASCAR drivers Marcos Ambrose and A.J Allmendinger (one of last year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona winners) finished third. Jamie McMurray in the #02 car for CG finished in 32nd position. Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip in the GT series finished 15th overall.



Nissan Delta Wing Crashes In Petit Le Mans Practice: Video 18
Oct
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Crashes, Kurt, Motorsports, Nissan DeltaWing, Petit Le Mans, video on 10 18th, 2012

Nissan’s DeltaWing racer, sideways in turn 11

We’re not ones to give in to superstition, but there’s a growing body of evidence to suggest the Nissan DeltaWing racer is cursed. The innovative race car crashed hard at Le Mans when it collided with a Toyota TS030, and many thought the car’s racing days were over. Fans were thrilled when it was announced the car would return to the American Le Mans Series for one more race, this weekend’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

As the video below (from HighcroftTV, via ALMS) shows, driver Gunnar Jeannette ran out of luck as he headed into turn 11, the steepest drop-off on the Road Atlanta circuit. It’s a blind corner, meaning that you can’t see the entry until you’re right on top of it, which makes it… entertaining at high speeds. The correct line is essential, as turn 11 ultimately leads on to the front straight.

From what we can tell in the video, the driver of the green Porsche 911 went wide on the entry to turn 11. Given that he abruptly turns into the DeltaWing, causing the crash, we’d say the Porsche driver never even saw the car closing on him. Could that be the issue behind the DeltaWing’s string of bad luck? It’s low profile and stealth color make it nearly invisible?

That makes more sense to our logical minds than the car being cursed. Word is that the car will be repaired in time for qualifying, and it will run in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans. Let’s hope the ALMS is able to address the visibility issue before the race, because we really don’t want to see another DeltaWing crash video.



Felipe Massa Returns To Ferrari For 2013 17
Oct
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, F1, Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Kurt, Motorsports, Scuderia Ferrari on 10 17th, 2012

Felipe Massa at Suzuka in 2012 – image: Ercole Colombo for Scuderia Ferrari

Felipe Massa’s contract with Scuderia Ferrari ends at the end of 2012, and many fans of Formula One believed the Brazilian driver would be looking elsewhere for a ride in the 2013 F1 season. Citing Massa’a lackluster performance throughout much of the 2012 season, critics were sure he’d be replaced by Lewis Hamilton or perhaps Sergio Perez, the rising star from Mexico.

Then, the stars aligned in Massa’s favor. Lewis Hamilton announced he was leaving McLaren Mercedes to join the Mercedes AMG team, while Sergio Perez would fill his vacant seat at McLaren. With both drivers out of contention for a possibly vacant seat, it seemed like the job was again Massa’s to win or lose.

And win it he did. After finishing no better than fourth throughout much of the season, Massa delivered a second place finish for Ferrari in Japan, backed up by a fourth place finish in Korea. That seemed to resolve any doubt in Ferrari’s mind, and on Tuesday the team announced it had re-signed Massa for the 2013 season.

As is currently the case, Massa’s role will be to back up the team’s star driver, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. While Massa has no chance of winning the championship this year, Alonso does, but only with his teammate’s help in the remaining four races.



Race Car Builder Lola Closes Its Doors 12
Oct
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Kurt, Lola Cars, Motorsports, News on 10 12th, 2012

2012 Lola LMP1 – image: Lola Cars

If ever there were a race car constructor that was too big to fail, it was Lola. Throughout its storied history, the brand competed in nearly every form of racing, from Can Am through CART and even Formula One. In later years, it branched out into defense and aerospace manufacturing as well.

When Lola declared bankruptcy last May, a victim of the global economic downturn, no one seemed too concerned. After all, it was Lola that was up for grabs, and surely there would be buyers lined up to take over its operations. As Speed TV (via Autoblog) reports, that sadly wasn’t the case, and Lola has now closed its doors, laying off its remaining workforce.

In the words of the appointed administrators, CCW Recovery Solutions, “During the first week of October we concluded that a going concern sale of the business was not going to be possible, and the company ceased to trade on Friday, October 5, which unfortunately led to the redundancy of the remaining staff working in the business.”

All that’s left for Lola Cars International is the sale of its assets. If there’s any good news to be had, its that the Lola name and intellectual property continues to be owned by Lola Group Holdings, and is not considered part of the company’s bankruptcy. The same is true for Lola Composites, which also filed bankruptcy in May but remains for sale.

As Lola supplied cars to the FIA World Endurance Championship, American Le Mans and Euro Le Mans series as recently as this year, it’s unclear where current customers will be able to obtain support or spare parts.



Good News, Race Fans: Grand Am And ALMS Joining Forces 6
Sep
Posted by Kurt Ernst in ALMS, Automotive, Grand Am, Kurt, Motorsports, News, racing on 09 6th, 2012

Grand Am Prototypes run at the Porsche 250 in July 2006 – image: Jeffrey Keeton

If you’re a fan of sports car and endurance racing in the United States, you’ve probably had to choose between following the Grand Am series and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Grand Am, now owned by NASCAR, can trace its roots back to the birth of the SCCA-back United States Road Racing Championship in 1962. The ALMS doesn’t have quite the same legacy, but it brings the drama of European endurance racing to America, allowing those of us on this side of the pond to see the same cars campaigned at the Circuit de la Sarthe during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

For the past 12 years, the two series have battled each other for sponsorship and fan dollars, but that’s about to change. At a press conference in Daytona Beach on Wednesday, the two announced a plan for unification at the start of the 2014 series. Through 2012 and 2013, the Grand Am and ALMS will remain as is, but will kick off the 2014 season in January at the 24 Hours of Daytona, long a premier event on Grand Am’s calendar.

Yesterday’s press conference raised more questions than it answered, and it’s clear that the merger is still in the planning stages. There’s no official name for the new, unified series yet, and the specific classes haven’t been defined. The new series will look to embrace FIA and ACO (Le Mans’ governing body) regulations, which will allow more foreign teams to compete (and more U.S. teams to run at Le Mans), but the details haven’t been worked out just yet. One interesting talking point was a provision to allow teams to miss a series race without penalty, further indication that teams would be allowed (and even encouraged) to run at Le Mans.

While there was clearly a sense of cooperation and good will at yesterday’s press conference, there’s a lot of work to get done before the new series kicks off in 2014. Mergers between the two series have been discussed in the past without agreement, so let’s hope that both sides can continue to work together towards the common goal. For U.S. sports car racing fans, things are about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Image credit: Jeffrey Keeton, CC 2.0







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