Auto Racing (114)
The race for IndyCar's driver’s championship will be the story line for the MAVTV 500 in Fontana this weekend. Target Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon leads Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves by 25 points heading into the event. It’s the first time this year Dixon has found himself leading the championship and he will be fighting tooth and nail to secure his third driver’s title.
The final race of the year always seems to have new faces on the grid, but one face this weekend you might be familiar with is England’s Pippa Mann, the part-time driver for the #18 Dale Coyne Racing car. Pippa is best known for being the first British woman to ever qualify for the Indianapolis 500 back in 2011.
This will be Pippa’s fourth race for Dale Coyne and she hopes to improve on her 15th place finish at the Pocono IndyCar 400, earlier this year. She’s actually improved every time out this year, so hopefully for her sake that trend continues.
Dale Coyne Racing has turned Pippa into an oval specialist by sharing the second car with fellow-Brit Mike Conway starting at the doubleheader in Detroit. It’s a perfect match as Conway no longer drives on ovals and Pippa is more than happy to take on that role.
Her sponsor for the 2013 season has been Cyclops Gear and it’s hard not to catch her wearing a pair of them. They are sports-shaped sunglasses that work as a video and still camera well-suited to film you in action either going down the ski slopes, surfing in the water, or biking through some outdoor trails. What we all would really love is to capture her Fontana race through those glasses, but safety first!
It will be Pippa’s first start at Fontana, but she’s eager to make a statement and solidify a ride for the 2014 IndyCar campaign.
To gain a more up-close and personal look into the world of Pippa Mann, here are some questions and answers that will help you get to know her better.
Born: London, England
Residence: Indianapolis, Indiana
First street car: Peugeot 206
Car that you drive: an Audi A3
Longest road trip taken: Indianapolis to St. Pete. It was the sacrifices you make to do IndyLights TV
Pets: I don’t have any, but I love dogs
List of favourites:
Vacation Spot: Tahiti
Sports team: Indianapolis Colts
Movies: It depends what side of the bed I’m on. There’s so many to choose from. Let’s say Pretty Woman, Twilight and Top Gun
Race track: For an oval it has to be the Indianapolis 500 and for a road course it would be Sonoma
Racing memory: Qualifying for the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with Conquest Racing
Driver growing-up: Nigel Mansell
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- With a chance to start over and maybe drive in any series he wanted, Juan Pablo Montoya thought long and hard about what mattered most at this stage of his career.
The answer was simple: Winning.
So when a team owner synonymous with winning put an offer in front of him, Montoya snapped at the opportunity. He'll leave NASCAR behind for a return to open-wheel to drive for Roger Penske - the IndyCar Series rival of Montoya's longtime boss, Chip Ganassi.
"He's very excited for me," Montoya said Monday after texting with Ganassi, who is in Europe. "Something that we have with Chip is that we're very good friends. We have a lot of respect for each other. He had to make a decision this year to go in a different direction. I had to do the same thing. I had an opportunity and a great chance with Penske. We're going to be competitors and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Ganassi decided in August not to bring Montoya back next year to his NASCAR program. It put the Colombian on the free agent market, and even though Ganassi has said he'd not ruled out using Montoya in his other programs, Montoya considered everything.
He spoke with Michael Andretti about an IndyCar ride, and Furniture Row Racing about replacing Kurt Busch at the end of the NASCAR season. There were calls to Europe, and a new rumor about a possible test with Lotus in Formula One.
Then came discussions with Penske and all bets were off with the other teams. Montoya will team next season with current IndyCar points leader Helio Castroneves and Will Power while driving for Penske, winner of 15 Indianapolis 500s. He could also drive in some NASCAR races as part of the deal.
"My No. 1 choice was going to be in a winning car. I really wanted to be in a winning car," he said. "It came down to I wanted to race for Roger. In a way it's always been one of my dreams to be able to be part of his organization. Being here, it's unbelievable. I'm so excited. I'm like a 5-year-old kid right now."
Some could also consider the move a big piece of gamesmanship in the racing rivalry that spans two series between Ganassi and Penske. Castroneves and Ganassi driver Scott Dixon are currently locked in a fierce battle for the title, and the competition has heated up over the last two races as Dixon has been involved in incidents with Power and the Penske organization.
"He's a great driver and deserves a great drive," Ganassi told The Associated Press. "He will have that there at Penske Racing."
Montoya won the 1999 CART title, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 and 11 races driving open-wheel for Ganassi. He then moved to Formula One, where he had seven wins and 30 podiums, before reuniting with Ganassi again in 2006 to compete in NASCAR.
But results in NASCAR have been sporadic. Montoya has just two wins in 244 career starts and his best season finish was eighth in 2009. He's 20th in the standings this season.
The program has been through several rebuilds since Montoya came aboard, and it was a middle-of-the-road organization when he signed on in 2006.
Their first NASCAR season was decent and gave the organization a boost with a win on the road course at Sonoma, six top-10s and rookie of the year in 2007. But 2008 was the first sign of trouble as Montoya had two crew chief changes in the first 16 races.
Montoya made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in 2009 with crew chief Brian Pattie behind a career-best 18 top-10s, and he was third in points with six races to go in the season before fading to eighth in the final standings.
He won on the road course at Watkins Glen in 2010, but Pattie was let go before Indianapolis in 2011 for Montoya's fourth crew chief change. The Ganassi team began another overhaul that winter and Chris Heroy was hired as Montoya's fifth crew chief before 2012. That entire season was spent trying to get the Ganassi cars up to speed.
With the hiring, Montoya is now stuck in the middle of a spat between Penske and Ganassi drivers over in IndyCar.
Ganassi driver Dixon was penalized in Sonoma when his car made contact with a crew member for Power, Castroneves' teammate, on the final pit stop. IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield said Dixon had driven into the Penske Racing work space, but Dixon alleged the crew member walked into his car.
The penalty cost Dixon a chance to race for the win, and opinion was split through the paddock as to who was at fault and if race control perhaps should not have penalized anyone.
Dixon and Power collided at the next race at Baltimore, and the contact ended Dixon's day when IndyCar officials did not tow his car back to pit lane for repairs. He then said Barfield should be fired, comments that earned him a $30,000 fine from IndyCar.
Montoya said he'll try to stay out of the fray.
"I think I'm going to have a little white flag, I'm going to be very neutral there," Montoya said. "For one side, I'm still committed with Chip and the NASCAR program for the next nine races. But I think it's going to be fun. It's going to be like mixed emotions watching the last few IndyCar races."
MONZA, Italy (AP) -- Sebastian Vettel withstood a tricky start from the pole position to win the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday and take a commanding lead over Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who finished second.
Vettel locked his tires on the first turn as the Ferrari of Felipe Massa pressured him from behind, but after that the German consolidated his advantage to beat Alonso by 5.4 seconds and Red Bull teammate Mark Webber by 6.3.
"This is the best podium of season, I'm very proud," Vettel said. "We had problems with the gearboxes at the end, but I was OK because I had a good cushion and it was a fantastic win."
Monza is the home race for Ferrari fans and there were loud jeers when Vettel was on the podium.
"You can hear the difference when you don't win here in a red suit, but it means you have done well and beaten the red men (of Ferrari)," Vettel said. "The more booing we get the better we've done today. I don't blame the people to be honest, it's in their genes. They love Ferrari."
With seven races remaining, it looks increasingly likely that Vettel will clinch a fourth straight Formula One title - unless he has an alarming drop in form or Ferrari finds a way to get faster.
"It's a very big gap and we don't have enough races and we don't have the speed now to win consecutive races," Alonso said. "We need to be lucky and we need to have some DNF from Sebastian."
It was Vettel's third career win at Monza - his first was with Toro Rosso in 2008 and then Red Bull in 2011 - his sixth of the season and 32nd overall, moving him even with Alonso's win total.
He was more emotional than usual - pumping his fist several times as he walked up the steps to the podium - and with good reason. He now leads two-time former champion Alonso by 53 points and Lewis Hamilton by 81 with 175 available.
The last driver to win here from anywhere other than the pole was Rubens Barrichello from fifth spot on the grid in 2009, and Alonso never showed he was likely to do that starting from the same position.
"Second place is good, to have this podium ceremony which is the most spectacular podium of the year," Alonso told thousands of his fans. "Hopefully we'll come back next year and have first place."
Vettel shook his head vigorously in celebration and let out his trademark high-pitched whoop as he celebrated his third win in the past four races. Given his tough start, it was more impressive than his dominant performance at the Belgian GP two weeks ago.
"Very good boys, very good race," Vettel yelled over his car radio when he crossed the line. "Sorry for the lock up into the first corner, made the first stint a bit tricky."
Massa finished fourth ahead of German drivers Nico Hulkenberg - a season's best for Sauber - and Nico Rosberg, on a poor day for Mercedes.
There was light rainfall about one hour before the race, but the sunshine returned for the start.
Vettel started from pole for the fourth time this campaign and 40th in his career, but the first since the Canadian GP in June.
He struggled to hold on to the lead after the first turn as Massa boldly passed Hulkenberg and Webber to jump from fourth to second.
Roared on by thousands of flag-waving tifosi, Ferrari had a point to prove and Alonso brilliantly overtook Webber on the outside to move up to third and then zoomed ahead of Massa.
After 10 of 53 laps, Vettel led Alonso by about 5 seconds, but engineers told him that his front right tire had taken some damage on the first turn and Alonso began to shave some time off.
Vettel pitted on lap 24, switching to hard tires, followed shortly by Webber and Massa, but Alonso stayed out on his tires until lap 28 as leading drivers chose a one-stop strategy.
In his last European race before he retires from F1 at the end of the season, Webber got his first podium at Monza.
"Good battle with Fernando," Webber said. "Last time in Monza, so thank you very much."
Lewis Hamilton, starting from 12th after his worst qualifying performance since the Spanish GP in May of last year, finished ninth.
"It is a nightmare weekend for me," Hamilton said.
SPA, Belgium (AP) -- Sebastian Vettel overtook Lewis Hamilton on the first lap and comfortably held on to win the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday and extend his overall championship lead.
It was Vettel's fifth win of the season, the second from three GPs, and 31st of his outstanding career.
Fernando Alonso drove brilliantly from ninth on the grid to take second place ahead of Hamilton and move back into second overall in the title race.
Speculation heading into Spa was of Hamilton emerging as the biggest threat to Vettel's bid for a fourth straight title, but within one minute Vettel dismissed that talk with a slick passing move inside Hamilton's left. The German was never troubled after that.
"When the car works well you don't want the race to stop," Vettel said. "I was very comfortable at the end and the car was just a pleasure to drive."
Vettel started from second on the grid after Hamilton secured his fourth straight pole position.
Vettel, who finished 16.8 seconds ahead of Alonso and nearly 30 ahead of Hamilton, pumped his right fist and then wagged his finger aloft - reminding everyone who really is No. 1 and admonishing those who had doubted him.
"For sure it's a positive message today," Vettel said. "The car was much better than we expected before the race. Looking forward to Monza now."
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg finished fourth ahead of Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber.
Hamilton become the first Briton since Damon Hill in 1995 to win four straight poles and sat on the front row for the seventh consecutive race and eighth in nine.
Vettel has not secured a pole since winning the Canadian GP in June. But it made little difference. Within one minute he was in front as the much-anticipated rain around the Ardennes forest stayed away.
"I tried my best to line up behind Lewis," Vettel said. "Once I passed him I had incredible pace and took control until the end."
Although Hamilton made a good start and held his line at the first turn into La Source turn, Vettel moved into the slipstream of his Mercedes and surged past him down the Kemmel straight.
"Half-decent start and got a good exit out of turn one. But Sebastian just caught me massively," Hamilton said. "There was no defending really, I just had to watch him glide by."
Alonso, meanwhile, looked like he was on a mission as he carved through the field, zooming past last year's Spa winner Jenson Button and Rosberg to move into third.
"Everything went OK from the start, the car had the speed to overtake some cars," Alonso said. "The weekend was good for us ... We felt more competitive."
After earning a one-race ban for reckless driving at last year's Spa GP, where his dangerous driving sent three drivers off the track at the first turn, Frenchman Romain Grosjean made a noticeably conservative start and seemed desperate to avoid even the slightest contact.
Shortly after, Sergio Perez was given a drive through penalty for forcing Grosjean wide.
"He pushed me completely off the track," said Grosjean, who is trying to repair his reputation after several dangerous driving incidents last season.
Hamilton was the first of the front-runners to pit for new tires, followed by Alonso, but Vettel stayed out three laps longer than Hamilton - who was held up by traffic when he came out, enabling Alonso to move past him into second.
Halfway through the 44-lap circuit - the longest in F1 at 4.352 miles and the most difficult along with Monaco - Vettel led Alonso by more than eight seconds.
Kimi Raikkonen, second overall heading into the race, had to abandon on lap 26 with smoke coming from his front right brake, finishing the Finn's remarkably consistent run of scoring points in 27 consecutive races.
Shortly after, Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado crashed into each other.
The nose of Maldonado's Williams nudged into di Resta's Force India, sending it spinning off the track. Maldonado was given a 10-second stop and go penalty.
Di Resta, the British driver who had high hopes after qualifying in an impressive fifth place, looked disconsolate as he trudged off, helmet in his hand and his race over.
Alonso pitted for the second time shortly after and Vettel made his second tire change a couple of minutes later.
Before the race, protesters from the environmental group Greenpeace staged a brief demonstration against race sponsor Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic.
Two paragliders flew over the circuit, trailing a banner, and others then climbed onto the grandstand roof and unfurled a 20-meter long banner that read "ARCTIC OIL? SHELL NO!"
Michael Andretti is trying to find a sponsor to bring Juan Pablo Montoya back to IndyCar with Andretti Autosport.
"I have talked to Juan about IndyCar and told him `Hell yeah, let's find a way to put something together,' " Andretti told The Associated Press on Monday. "I've driven against him and I think he's one of the best drivers I've ever driven against. It just comes down to sponsorship. So we're looking, and if it's a possibility, we want to do something with him."
Andretti only had conversations with Montoya last week after the Colombian learned from Chip Ganassi that he wouldn't be re-signed to Ganassi's NASCAR team for an eighth season. Montoya has been out of open wheel racing since he left Formula One in 2006 to rejoin Ganassi in NASCAR, and he's not ruling out any series now that he's looking for work.
He told AP on Monday a return to IndyCar isn't out of the question, but wouldn't reveal what teams he's spoken to so far.
Montoya won 11 races in 1999 and 2000 in CART driving for Ganassi, including the 1999 CART championship and the 2000 Indianapolis 500. Montoya and Andretti raced against each other those two seasons, with Andretti winning three races in that span. The two waged one of the most memorable battles in series history, with Montoya coming out on top as the two nearly banged wheels racing side-by-side at 230 mph to the finish line at Michigan International Speedway in 2000.
Andretti believes that Montoya's return to IndyCar would be a huge lift for the series.
"I think he could bring what he brought the last time - it seemed like when he raced, half the stands were full of flags supporting him," Andretti said. "When he first got to NASCAR, he had a huge effect there. He brings a huge crowd, a huge support. He's a big personality, and he could be a good personality for IndyCar because he definitely has that `don't give a (crap) attitude.' "
Where Montoya fits into the Andretti lineup remains to be seen because the marketing arm is still working behind the scenes to finalize the 2014 lineup.
The biggest piece of the puzzle is James Hinchcliffe, a three-time IndyCar winner this season and breakthrough star in the final year of his two-year deal. Andretti Autosport much wants Hinchcliffe back, but an offer is contingent on a commitment from sponsor GoDaddy.
While Andretti waits, Hinchcliffe is currently free to negotiate with other teams in the paddock.
"It's all going to come down to GoDaddy and if they are going to play or not. They love Hinch, we love Hinch, but GoDaddy needs to decide if the return on their investment is there or not," Andretti said. "So we're just waiting and Hinch is allowed to be talking to other teams. He's not said that he wants to leave, but it's only fair for him to be allowed to see what's out there because we don't want him to be left with nothing. That's not fair to him, that's not fair to the series."
Hinchcliffe's deal is not tied to Andretti working out a deal with Montoya, he said.
"There's still a possibility of running five cars," Andretti said. "I think we can do it no problem, so long as we have a properly funded deal."
The organization is also still trying to put together a deal for next season with Carlos Munoz, the Colombian who grew up a Montoya fan and finished second in the Indianapolis 500 in his IndyCar debut. He doesn't have a deal yet in place for 2014 with E.J. Viso.
"We have a lot of irons in the fire," Andretti said. "If a sponsor falls out of the sky for Juan, then we don't know what we'd do to make it all work."
Lexington, OH – After three consecutive bad results, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay tried to steer his championship run in the right direction by capturing pole position for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Getting pole has to be only the start, as he finds himself trailing Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves by 69 points for the championship.
It was Hunter-Reay’s third pole of the year and he hopes to repeat his earlier performance at Barber Motorsports Park in which he led 53 of the 90 laps, eventually leading to victory.
Being on pole is crucial at Mid-Ohio as it’s a tough track to pass at. The winner of the last six races since the IndyCar unification has come from the starting six.
“There’s certainly a lot of weight placed on qualifying here,” said Hunter-Reay. “It’s crucial to be up towards the front…it’s tough to get that run, unless you experience lap traffic.”
Castroneves’ teammate Will Power will start second and is attempting to capture his past glory and end his winless drought that has reached 24 races, dating back to April 2012 at the São Paolo Indy 300.
“Definitely would love to get a win. We’ll be doing everything possible,” said Power.
On the second row is Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon and Hunter-Reay’s teammate Marco Andretti. Dixon is on a red hot streak of three consecutive victories at Pocono and capturing both races in Toronto and hopes his success continues. Dixon has dominated the Mid-Ohio track winning four of the last six races, so he will be the one to watch tomorrow.
Andretti sits fourth in the driver’s championship, one point behind Hunter-Reay. He has not tasted victory yet this year, but has stuck in the race thanks to eleven top-10 finishes.
Rounding out the top six are two Chip Ganassi drivers in Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti. Kimball didn’t participate last year at Mid-Ohio after fracturing his finger during testing; while Franchitti is a former winner in 2010 and has been on the podium five times.
As for the championship race, Castroneves didn’t have a great qualifying session and will start 15th on the grid. Starting 15th wasn’t too much of a surprise considering the Penske team was frantically tweaking his car during the morning practice session. Dixon trails Castroneves by 29 points.
The lone Canadian in the field, Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe was the only member of his team to not make it into part two of the qualifying session and will go off in 13th barring any engine penalties.
There will be two drivers making their IndyCar debut this weekend in Dale Coyne’s James Davison and Barracuda Racing’s Luca Filippi. Davison is a third-generation driver from Australia and will be starting 17th; while Filippi comes from the Formula One ladder with plenty of GP2 experience and he will start from the back of the grid in 24th after causing a red flag during the qualifying session.
The Honda Indy 200 goes off at 3:40 ET tomorrow on the NBC Sports Network and on Sportsnet. For more information throughout the event at Mid-Ohio follow @david_miller11 on Twitter.
James Jakes is a name you might not recognize, but he’s in his third year racing in the IndyCar Series. His first two years were spent at Dale Coyne Racing partnering up and soaking in valuable information from race car veterans Sébastien Bourdais and Justin Wilson. This year he’s found himself at Rahal Letterman Lanigan alongside Graham Rahal. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan team is not having an exceptional year, but Jakes is currently having his best year sitting in the 18th position in the driver’s championship with 215 points – already topping his rookie points campaign and closing in on last year’s mark of 232 with six races still to go.
Jakes’ entry into IndyCar was not typical as he moved up the Formula One ladder through Formula Renault, Formula 3 and into GP2 and GP3. All along he was hoping for a Formula One seat, but when Dale Coyne Racing called to test him at Barber Motorsports Park – the game plan changed. Jakes performed well at Barber and found himself with a great offer to drive full-time in the IndyCar Series. Jakes knew that his decision to go to North America would most likely burn his bridges in Europe, but he was up for the challenge.
Jakes always loved the United States and Canada, so coming from overseas wasn’t a big culture shock. His parents call Oakville, Ontario (32 kilometers south of Toronto) home for half the year, so Jakes fit right in. The Toronto scene reminds him of back home with tons of fashion, nightlife, and the multicultural atmosphere, so he had a blast on his stay during the Honda Indy Toronto.
Another stop that he now looks forward to is Mid-Ohio. A big reason for that is the fan group, Jakesy Nation, founded in Columbus, Ohio, not too far from the Mid-Ohio track. Jakesy Nation started up in 2012 and has rooted Jakes on via Twitter, through their website and at certain race tracks during the calendar year. They come out in full-force at Mid-Ohio and they will all be there this weekend to support Jakes and celebrate his birthday.
It was a slow start for Jakes as he was a late signing by the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team. Jakes only had one practice test before the season began, so he’s had to work on the setup of the car and get adjusted to the new team as the season has progressed. His best showing of his career came at the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit finishing tenth in the first race and a career-best second place in the second race giving Jakes his first podium finish.
With some time and more races under his belt, we could be seeing Jakes elevate his game during the final stretch of the year that is predominantly filled with street course races. Jakes has found himself in an enviable position on a team being mentored by the legendary, Bobby Rahal. After finishing second in Detroit, Jakes now knows he can be successful at the IndyCar level and the best might be yet to come for the young-Brit and we could be seeing the name Jakes on a few more podiums in the years to come.
To get an up-close and personal look at James Jakes, here are some questions we asked for you to get to know him a bit better.
Born: Leeds, England
Residence: Orlando, Florida
First street car: 2005 Volkswagen Golf SDI (Diesel)
Current rides: Acura MDX and a Ducati Monster
Longest road trip taken: over 1,000 miles from Manchester down to the Alps
List of Favourites:
Vacation spot: Bahamas in the summer and in the winter it’s Val Di'sere with hopes of changing that to Whister, BC this year if Bobby (Rahal) lets me.
Sports team: Manchester United
Movies: Apollo 13 (1995) and Man On Fire (2004)
Music: anything by Mumford and Sons, Imagine Dragons or the Rolling Stones
Race track: Macau Grand Prix at the Guia Circuit, last drove it in 2008
Racing memory: winning the Pau Grand Prix in F3
Driver Growing-up: Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Räikkönen, as both have a no BS approach and have fun on the race track
BOWMANVILLE, ON – There are many great stories that surround the Grand Prix weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, but none better than Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge driver, Tim Sanderson.
For Sanderson, racing was always in his blood.
“Growing up, I had an uncle that was always racing—he raced in two Formula One races, and some Formula Ford as well,” Sanderson, 52, said. “So I guess I followed in his footsteps.”
There are two classes in Porsche GT3, the Platinum Cup, featuring race-prepped Porsche 911 GT3 models from 2010-13 and the Gold Cup, featuring models from 20051/2 -2009. Sanderson, an Oshawa native, currently leads the Gold Cup standings with just four races to go.
There is no prize money—the eventual champion does, however, get to take a brand-new Porsche 911 home—so the thrill of driving and racing ends up being what it’s all about.
For Sanderson, there’s extra motivation each time he competes. He’s racing to raise awareness for Joanne’s House, a shelter for homeless youth in the Durham Region; his cup-leading team is officially called ‘Fiorano Racing for Joanne’s House.’
In fact, it’s the only shelter for homeless youth in the eight-city region, which presents quite a challenge for the group.
“There are 700,000 people in Durham,” Sanderson said. “We have 13 beds, and (the kids aged 16-24) can stay for 30 days, then they gotta go.” That’s not the shelter’s choice; it’s the rules as stipulated by the government of Ontario.
“We’d love to expand the facility, maybe 50 beds,” he says.
The expansion would not be an easy task as that could necessitate the opening of an entirely new shelter, but Sanderson is game for it. And that’s where the race car comes in.
See all those squiggly lines all over its body panels? Those are signatures from race patrons, who paid $10 to have the chance to put their John Hancock on the purple and green number 07 Porsche racer. That white signature above the driver’s door? That’s mine.
In addition to the race car signatures, the team puts on a 50/50 raffle where half the money will go to the shelter.
The rest of the car’s livery is made up of graphics taken directly from the Durham Youth & Support Services website.
As far as the racing goes, Sanderson finished third in class and 15th overall in Saturday’s race, and second in class and 13th overall on Sunday.
BOWMANVILLE, ON - As is often the case with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the racing at the 2013 edition of the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville saw the lower classes providing the most excitement.
Specifically, it was the race for first in the GT class that provided the most thrills, with Corvette Racing’s car number four being driven by Olivier Gavin and Tommy Milner holding off Dominik Farnbacher in the number 91 SRT Motorsports Viper.
In fact, it took until the final string of curves—numbers 9, 10 and 11—on the final laps for Milner to finally solidify his lead after Farnbacher came close to overtaking the Corvette twice over the final two laps.
Team SRT can leave with its head held high finishing both second and third in its class and ahead of the other Corvette. That means with five races still to go, Team Corvette Racing now sits less than 20 points—just one short race win—ahead of SRT Motorsports.
Either way, it appears that we are seeing a bit of a return to the ALMS landscape of 10-12 years ago, when Vipers and Corvettes battled each round for top class honours both in North America and as part of the Le Mans Endurance Series in Europe.
As for the rest of the classes in the ALMS race, the number 6 Muscle Milk Racing HPD ARX-03c car piloted by Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf made it four straight wins at CTMP/Mosport for Graf, and three for Luhr.
With the win, Team Muscle Milk extends its lead in the Team Championship to 44 points over Rebellion Racing, who didn’t attend the event. Drivers Luhr and Graf extended their lead by the same amount over Rebellion drivers Nick Hedfield and Neel Jani.
Second place overall went to a lower-classed P2 car, the number 551 HPD ARX-03b of Scott Tucker and Marino Franchitti, the brother of IndyCar star, Dario. They finished a lap ahead of third place finishers Scott Sharp and Guy Cosmo in the number 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD.
If there was one sore spot from the day’s racing action, it was the DeltaWing. The fan favourite car driven by Katherine Legge and Andy Meyrick failed once again to finish an ALMS race, retiring with fuel pump problems after 116 laps.
Other class winners on the day included Jonathan Bennett and Colin Braun in the number 05 CORE Autosports Oreca FLM09 in PC, and Cooper MacNeil and Jeoren Bleekemolen in the number 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in GTC.
The next race in the ALMS Championship goes August 11th at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.
The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix is rolling into the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ontario this weekend for some action-packed racing. The race weekend is highlighted by the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) that features exotic prototype and GT race cars.
During the ALMS, teams compete in five different classes including P1, P2 & PC Le Mans Prototypes, and GT & GTC Grand Touring cars, where a winner is declared for each class.
To drum up some attention for the races, CTMP hosted RaceFest at Dundas Square in the heart of downtown Toronto. On display was the DeltaWing race car driven by the all-Brit team of Katherine Legge and Andy Meyrick, who were also on hand signing on autographs along with a few other race car drivers.
One of the highlights of RaceFest was a pit stop challenge involving several media members. Yours truly participated in the event and used an air gun to change tires as quick as possible. It was lots of fun interacting with the Corvette pit crew and doing something I’ve never done before. In the end, I didn’t win, but it showed the level of interactive fan excitement the ALMS can provide.
On hand was CTMP’s co-owner and highly accomplished Canadian race car driver, Ron Fellows. Fellows is looking forward to the event and has been a big part of the renovations to the facility allowing for the fans to have a bird’s eye view of the track. Throughout the weekend, fans will be able to walk around the paddock area and be up-close with the teams and drivers. “The paddock area is a work of art. Fans will get a close look at all the cars first-hand and meet with the drivers – it’s a great experience,” said Fellows.
When asked what race fans should look forward to the most, Fellows smiled and said, “Those long fast corners! They are the fastest anywhere.”
It’s not all roses for Fellows and CTMP as the Ontario stop is not a guarantee next year due to the merge of ALMS with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series into the United SportsCar Racing series starting in 2014. Fellows gives CTMP a 50/50 chance at being on the calendar next year, but gave assurances that they’re pressing hard for it. The best thing going for the CTMP race is there high attendance numbers, to date the highest on the ALMS schedule.
If you’re an IndyCar fan, you will be happy to know that part-time Dale Coyne Racing driver Mike Conway will be in the field driving for Level 5 Motorsport subbing for the injured Ryan Briscoe. Conway will join the HPD ARX-03b P2 squad with team owner Scott Tucker and Marino Franchitti. Outside of his IndyCar schedule, Conway drives full-time in the FIA World Endurance Championship and competed in the 24 hours of Le Mans last month.
If you’re heading down to CTMP this weekend, here’s some key times to watch out for:
9:30 am - 10:30 am - Practice #1 - ALMS (All Classes)
12:00 pm - 12:45 pm - ALMS Driver Autograph Session
1:20 pm - 2:05 pm - RACE #1 - GT3 CUP
2:20 pm - 3:20 pm - Practice #2 - ALMS (All Classes)
3:30 pm - 3:45 pm - Qualifying - ALMS (GTC)
3:50 pm - 4:05 pm - Qualifying - ALMS (GT)
4:15 pm - 4:30 pm - Qualifying - ALMS (PC)
4:35 pm - 4:50 pm - Qualifying - ALMS (P1/P2)
6:05 pm - 6:50 pm - RACE #1 - GT3 CUP CANADA
9:10 am - 9:35 am - Warm Up - ALMS (All Classes)
10:00 am - 10:45 am - RACE #2 - GT3 CUP CANADA
12:00 pm - 2:45 pm - Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix Race for ALMS
3:15 pm - 4:00 pm - RACE #2 - GT3 CUP