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1RXP6796aaCorvette Racing made history on Saturday at Lime Rock as Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner secured the brand's 100th race win during the Northeast Grand Prix.

The 2h40min WeatherTech SportsCar championship event for IMSA's PC, GT Le Mans, and GT Daytona classes was an ugly mess from start to finish as minimal patience and respect ripped everything from bodywork to wheels from a few too many of the 31 cars on the grid.

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Those surprisingly low driving standards also benefited Corvette Racing, PC winners Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow from Starworks Motorsport, and GTD winners Andy Lally and John Potter from Magnus Racing, as their trips to Victory Lane were accelerated by avoiding the majority of the nonsense.

"Today the engineers did a magnificent job and had wonderful pit stops, but the drivers get my tip of the hat," Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan said. "100 wins? Who would've ever thought?"

With Gavin and Milner's No. 4 Corvette C7.R leading home the No. 3 C7.R driven by Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, the team also earned is 60th 1-2 finish since the program made its ALMS debut in 1999.

"What a job today from everyone on this team," Milner added. "We had some great wins early on [this season], had some struggles for a while, but what a way to get 100. So special for the team."

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The pole-sitting Ford GT driven by Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, which was knocked off track on the opening lap by Toni Vilander in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari, benefitted from attrition and moved ahead of its assailant to take third in GTLM.


Contact was a constant presence in PC as the start was waved off twice due to hits and flying body panels, and frequent impacts ensured the win would be earned in a survival of the cleanest. Deft pit work by the Starworks team moved zan der Zande's No. 8 into the lead, and while the second-place No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen PC driven by Robert Alon and Tom Kimber-Smith appeared to have more pace, traffic management in the final minutes of the event made the difference.

"Alex [Popow] did a great job [to go] from P4 to P2 after getting hit in the start," the Dutchman said after taking his third win of the season. "In the pits the crew did a fantastic job to get me up front. It was a hell of a traffic job getting through the GTs, but it was fun."

Kyle Marcelli and James French completed the PC podium, albeit a lap down, for Performance Tech Motorsports.

GTD featured numerous teams that appeared to have an easy victory in sight, but the theme of the day shaped the final outcome as hits and misfortune positioned the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 to secure the team's second win of 2016.

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"We had the best car in the field, hands down," said Lally, who won the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Potter. "We put like 80 degrees of wing in the thing so we still had grip when the tires burned off. The Audi was amazing, but our guys did an amazing job to make this car fast."

Stevenson Motorsports' Robin Liddell made it an Audi 1-2 and Jeroen Bleekemolen, who took the lead thanks to an amazing pit stop by the Riley Motorsports team and lost the lead in the pits after stopping to have late-race damage repaired, salvaged third in GTD with his Dodge Viper.

From green to checkered flag, IMSA's officials showed little enthusiasm for managing the boorish behavior as it took place. The pending release of IMSA's point standings after Lime Rock could make for interesting reading to see whether, at least during a post-race review, some of the most egregious driving mistakes and overly aggressive moves are worthy of retroactive penalties.

Among the lowlights to consider, Misha Goikhberg triggered a caution at the 45-minute mark by attempting a low-percentage pass on the No. 23 Alex Job Porsche 911 GT3 R. Goikhberg's JDC/Miller Motorsports PC car spun and managed to take out Christina Nielsen's Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 in the process. His PC car retired on the spot; Nielsen was more fortunate and resumed after a visit to the pits cost the team two laps.

She and teammate Alessandro Balzan, who held a decent lead in the GTD standings prior to Lime Rock, weren't helped by finishing 11th in class on Saturday.

Porsche's No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR GTLM entry managed to crash both of BMW Team RLL's M6s out of the race at the same corner – Lime Rock's fastest turn – with both of its drivers.

Porsche's Fred Makowiecki, who drew the ire of Corvette Racing after derailing its 100th win at Long Beach, hit and spun John Edwards' No. 100 BMW M6 at the sweeping Turn 7 right-hander. Makowiecki, visiting Lime Rock for the first time and apparently unaware the corner is not conducive to running side-by-side at the apex, made contact with Edwards' right rear as the BMW driver was put in the position of having to turn in or fly off track. Both cars went sailing into the barriers, which ended the BMW's event. Makowiecki was able to make it back to the pits.

Incredibly, the same exact scenario, this time with Earl Bamber behind the wheel of the No. 912 Porsche, was replayed at the apex of Turn 7 as he hammered Dirk Werner in the No. 25 BMW M6. Where Makowiecki left Edwards with a choice of turning or crashing, Bamber attempted to give Werner a tiny bit of room at the last moment, but rode over the apex and bounced into the BMW's right-rear. Both cars flew into the same barriers that halted the 912 on its first visit and ended the race for both BMWs.

Werner climbed from his battered car, pulled open the passenger door on Bamber's tattered Porsche, and likely expressed something other than a friendly greeting.

IMSA now has time to ponder whether its decision to write off Makowiecki's original move as a "racing incident'" emboldened others – including his teammate – to try it later in the race, and if some of the other bad driving warrants an official response before the series returns at Road America on Aug. 4-7.

Click here for full results.

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Nico Rosberg claimed pole position from Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, after an incident-filled and rain-affected session.

Hamilton held provisional pole after the initial runs in a dry Q3 at the Hungaroring, and looked on course to seal the deal on his second run, but backed out of his lap as Fernando Alonso spun his McLaren at Turn 9 and brought out yellow flags.

Rosberg was running behind Hamilton on the road, and though there was a yellow for Rosberg at Turn 8, Alonso had got going again by the time Rosberg reached Turn 9.

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While the first sector of Rosberg's final flying lap was more then four tenths slower than Hamilton's, he was fastest of all through the second sector on a rapidly improving track and stole pole from Hamilton by less than two tenths of a second.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo also had to abort his final flyer and wound up third fastest, just 0.172s slower than Hamilton in a session he called "crazy."

Max Verstappen was fourth fastest in the second Red Bull, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr's Toro Rosso, Alonso, the second McLaren of Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg's Force India and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton was fortunate to even make it through to Q3 after locking up and running wide at Turn 1 on his final Q2 lap. On a rapidly drying track he tumbled down the order, but remained just inside the top 10 as Romain Grosjean's Haas, Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso, Sergio Perez's Force India, Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari, the second Haas of Esteban Gutierrez, and Felipe Nasr's Sauber all missed the cut.

hungary rainA 20-minute rain delay and four red flags meant Q1 lasted well over an hour.

A second downpour shortly after an already rain delayed start caused the first stoppage, before Marcus Ericsson crashed at Turn 10, Felipe Massa at Turn 4 and finally Rio Haryanto – again at Turn 10 – all had crashes that prompted red flags. Time was finally called with 1m18s remaining on the clock after Haryanto's incident. Jolyon Palmer was the chief loser of the track position lottery and finished the session 17th quickest, having lapped inside the top 10 in final practice.

Massa ended up 18th, ahead of Kevin Magnussen – who began his final run on wets and aborted to switch to intermediates just before the final stoppage – Ericsson, Pascal Wehrlein and Haryanto.

QUALIFYING RESULTS:

PosDriverCarTimeGap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m19.965ss  
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m20.108ss 0.143s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m20.280ss 0.315s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m20.557ss 0.592s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m20.874ss 0.909s
6 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m21.131ss 1.166s
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m21.211ss 1.246s
8 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m21.597ss 1.632s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m21.823ss 1.858s
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m22.182ss 2.217s
11 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m24.941ss -
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m25.301ss -
13 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m25.416ss -
14 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m25.435ss -
15 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m26.189ss -
16 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m27.063ss -
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m43.965ss -
18 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m43.999ss -
19 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m44.543ss -
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m46.984ss -
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m47.343ss -
22 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1m50.189ss -

 

Originally on Autosport.com

2016 6 Heures du Nurburgring Adrenal Media GT7D3643 hdAudi blocked out the top two positions on the grid for Sunday's Nurburgring World Endurance Championship round.

Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler took the pole in the #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro with a 1m39.444s average, which put them 0.266 seconds up on team-mates Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi.

Lotterer set the fastest on the first runs in the 20-minute aggregate session with a 1m39.239s, which was eight tenths faster than second-placed Mark Webber in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

Jarvis had been only fourth after the first runs after losing his quickest lap to a track limits violation. A 1m38.777s from di Grassi, the fastest lap of qualifying, leapfrogged the car ahead of the two Porsches to take second position with a 1m39.710s average. Jarvis returned to the cockpit and was on course to take pole when it started to rain and he spun at the chicane.

2016 6 Heures du Nurburgring Adrenal Media DSCF9183 hd"We targeted doing three laps and it went according to plan," said Lotterer (pictured). "We had a good car, a good tool to do something."

Webber and Timo Bernhard took third with a 1m39.861s average, which put them just three hundredths up on team-mates Marc Lieb and Neel Jani. Both Webber and Lieb were given second runs in their respective cars, but were unable to improve.

The best Toyota was eight-tenths down in the hands of Stephane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi. They ended up with a 1m40.639s average, which eclipsed that of teammates Stebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson by just over a tenth.

Rebellion Racing took privateer LMP1 honors with Alexandre Imperatori and Dominik Kraihamer.

G-Drive Racing maintained its stranglehold on the LMP2 pole position. Roman Rusinov was fifth after the first runs in the Jota-run ORECA-Nissan 05, before Rast set a time nearly a second faster than any of his class rivals to claim the pole by eight tenths with a 1m48.984s average. Stephane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes took second in the Sigantech Alpine ORECA-Nissan with a 1m49.727s average.

Aston Martin took its first GTE Pro pole of the season with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. Thiim snatched pole in the #95 Vantage GTE after the checkered flag had fallen on his second run in the car.

Thiim had been fastest on intermediates on his first run before it was decided to end Sorensen's run on inters early and get Thiim back out on track on slicks. Their 2m01.959s average put them 0.247s up on the 2m01.959s set by Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla in the best of the Ganassi Ford GTs. Mucke, who had taken his first run on wet tires, also returned to the track for a second go on slicks.

Patrick Long and Khaled Al Qubaisi claimed GTE Am pole aboard their Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

QUALIFYING RESULTS:

PosClassDriverTeamCarTimeGap
1 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1m39.444ss  
2 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1m39.710ss 0.266s
3 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 1m39.861ss 0.417s
4 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 1m39.893ss 0.449s
5 LMP1 S.Sarrazin, M.Conway, K.Kobayashi Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m40.639ss 1.195s
6 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m40.748ss 1.304s
7 LMP1 M.Tuscher, D.Kraihamer, A.Imperatori Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 1m46.081ss 6.637s
8 LMP1 S.Trummer, O.Webb, P.Kaffer ByKOLLES Racing Team CLM/AER 1m46.907ss 7.463s
9 LMP1 N.Prost, N.Heidfeld, M.Beche Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 1m47.026ss 7.582s
10 LMP2 R.Rusinov, R.Rast, A.Brundle G-Drive Racing ORECA/Nissan 1m48.984ss 9.540s
11 LMP2 G.Menezes, N.Lapierre, S.Richelmi Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 1m49.727ss 10.283s
12 LMP2 N.Leventis, L.Williamson, J.Kane Strakka Racing Gibson/Nissan 1m49.762ss 10.318s
13 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, B.Senna, F.Albuquerque RGR Sport by Morand Ligier/Nissan 1m50.105ss 10.661s
14 LMP2 T.Graves, A.Pizzonia, M.Howson Manor ORECA/Nissan 1m50.372ss 10.928s
15 LMP2 N.Minassian, M.Mediani SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 1m50.948ss 11.504s
16 LMP2 R.Dalziel, L.Derani, C.Cumming Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 1m51.194ss 11.750s
17 LMP2 M.Rao, R.Bradley, R.Merhi Manor ORECA/Nissan 1m51.294ss 11.850s
18 LMP2 V.Petrov, V.Shaytar, K.Ladygin SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 1m51.667ss 12.223s
19 LMP2 D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung, N.Panciatici Baxi DC Racing Alpine Alpine/Nissan 1m52.506ss 13.062s
20 LMP2 S.Sharp, E.Brown, J.van Overbeek Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 1m56.462ss 17.018s
21 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m01.712ss 22.268s
22 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 2m01.959ss 22.515s
23 GTE Pro R.Stanaway, D.Turner Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m02.220ss 22.776s
24 GTE Pro G.Bruni, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 2m02.512ss 23.068s
25 GTE Pro M.Franchitti, A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 2m03.256ss 23.812s
26 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen Dempsey Racing - Proton Porsche 2m03.681ss 24.237s
27 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, D.Hansson, P.Long Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 2m06.011ss 26.567s
28 GTE Am C.Ried, W.Henzler, J.Camathias KCMG Porsche 2m06.197ss 26.753s
29 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m06.372ss 26.928s
30 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 2m06.589ss 27.145s
31 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird AF Corse Ferrari 2m06.745ss 27.301s
32 GTE Am Y.Yamagishi, P.Ragues, P.Ruberti Larbre Competition Chevrolet 2m09.127ss 29.683s
33 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, B.Barker Gulf Racing UK Porsche 2m09.820ss 30.376s

 

Originally on Autosport.com

16C 7168 1 2Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon topped an important test at Mid-Ohio on Thursday as most of the field turned laps in preparation for the Honda Indy 200 on July 31. The defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion watched as Indy Lights standout Felix Rosenqvist drove his car in the morning, and after the No. 9 Chevy was converted back to the New Zealander's cockpit settings, Dixon ventured out after lunch to post the fastest lap of the day in soaring temperatures.

16C 5696 1"We got out for about three hours of testing in the afternoon after the Target boys switched over from Felix being in the car, and everything was good," Dixon told RACER. "The test ended around 4:30, which was a little early, but we were still able to work through our test plan, we always have a really stable car around Mid-Ohio, and I'm feeling good with what we learned for the race."

With five races left on the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar, and three of those taking place on high-speed, high-downforce road courses, the Mid-Ohio test gave a glimpse of what might be in store for drivers locked in the championship battle.

In addition to the primary title contenders that were present, a number of rookie drivers logged their first miles in an Indy car, and two veterans were there to work directly with the series to evaluate different aerodynamic specifications for its next aero kit.

Team Penske's Simon Pagenaud led the cooler morning session according to the unofficial times that were captured. The championship leader's lap of 1m04.55s was followed by teammates Helio Castroneves (1m04.58s) and Will Power (1m04.73s). Rosenqvist was fourth (1m04.83s) and impressed as Chevy-powered cars took the top four spots.

16C 4712 1Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal was fastest among the Hondas in fifth (1m04.94s, -0.36 seconds to Pagenaud). A.J. Foyt Racing's Jack Hawksworth was sixth (1m04.95s), Penske's Juan Montoya was seventh (1m05.06s), Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay was eighth (1m05.17s), KVSH Racing's Sebastien Bourdais was ninth (1m05.21s) and Foyt's Takuma Sato rounded out the top 10 (1m05.41s).

The rest of the morning's runners were comprised of young talent from 11th to 15th as Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Zachary Claman De Melo (1m05.50s), Dale Coyne Racing's Conor Daly (1m05.64s) and RC Enerson (above, 1m05.70s), SPM's Jack Harvey (1m05.77s), whose test was curtailed after a crash, and Ed Carpenter Racing's Spencer Pigot (1m05.85s) completed the testing order.

Chip Ganassi Racing's Tony Kanaan (1m06.26s) and ECR's JR Hildebrand (1m07.53s) were not aiming for outright speed as they focused on evaluating various downforce packages.

Dixon eclipsed Pagenaud's morning best in the hotter afternoon session (1m04.43s). Pagenaud was close behind in second (1m04.49s), Penske stablemate Castroneves was third (1m04.51s), Bourdais was fourth (1m04.53s), and Power was fifth (1m04.68s). Josef Newgarden's ECR car took sixth (1m04.86s), Kanaan was seventh (1m04.96s), and Montoya was eighth (1m04.97s) as Chevy made another statement.

Rahal also led the Honda charge during the second session by running ninth (1m05.30s, -0.87 seconds to Dixon), Pigot was 10th (1m05.36s), and behind the rookie, Andretti Autosport's Robin Frijns (1m05.39s) was fastest among the first-time IndyCar drivers in 11th. After the Dutchman, 12th through 17th was occupied by Sato (1m05.40s), Daly (1m05.50s), Enerson (1m05.52s), Claman De Melo (1m05.61s), Hawksworth (1m05.61s), and Hildebrand (1m05.96s).

The latest specification of Formula 1's halo cockpit protection device will be debated at the next Strategy Group meeting, which takes place in Geneva on Thursday.

Drivers were shown a powerpoint presentation on the pros and cons of the latest design in their Friday briefing at the Hungaroring. It is the second time they've been given a presentation by FIA safety director Laurent Mekies with race director Charlie Whiting, following one at COTA last year when the initial design was formed.

It is understood the FIA believes the halo will significantly improve safety, having carried out analysis on the impact the device would have had in previous accidents.

The device is ready to be implemented in time for 2017, but it will first go to the Strategy Group. When the drivers were informed of this, it is believed one driver questioned why that was necessary.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said at Silverstone he is not a "big fan" of the halo and he "certainly wouldn't vote in favor at the moment."

Should the halo be blocked at Strategy Group level, the FIA could choose to force it through on the grounds of safety, as permitted by the regulations.

After seeing the presentation, Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr. said: "It's very clear it saves lives, this is 100% sure.

"The voting will start soon. The FIA have done all they can with an item which works pretty well in many situations. After the slides they showed us today and the images, they are quite striking. You can see how it adds [to safety] and how many lives it could have saved.

"The drivers, even if we hate it and know it's not in the DNA of the sport, when you look at it, you say it makes some sense.

"I don't like it – but it's like when you're dad tells you you are wrong and you know he is right but you don't want to admit it!"

 

Originally on Autosport.com

2016WK61It was just over a week ago that Jeff Gordon was vacationing in France when he received the "call me" text from Rick Hendrick, so mentally and physically preparing for a race as grueling as the Brickyard 400 was the furthest thing from his mind.

But here we are, back home again in Indiana, and the four-time Sprint Cup champion has found himself back in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet as a substitute for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is continuing to recover from concussion-like symptoms.

The five-time Brickyard winner called the process "overwhelming" but believes he has never put more preparation toward a race weekend than he has over the past three days.

In short, Gordon is back, and he's ready to compete.

"All I can tell you is that I have done everything I possibly can over the past three days to get ready for this race the best way that I can," Gordon said. "We'll find out what kind of condition I'm in. There certainly are going to be challenges this weekend, but I feel like I am capable of doing it. Rick and the whole team have given me a lot of confidence in choosing me and asking me to do this."

Between not having sat in a car since the season finale at Homestead last November and the extreme heat conditions forecast for this weekend in Indianapolis, Gordon expects a challenge. But he spent several hours in the Chevrolet race simulator on Thursday, and believes the improved cooling system this year will offset his lack of seasoning.

gordon"There are going to be challenges – there is no doubt about it," Gordon said. "Qualifying is the first thing that comes to my mind, even before the heat. To me, qualifying and having to lay down laps, advance to the second round, and hopefully get in the third round will be tough. Qualifying is very important here.

"So to do that in a short period of time with the amount of practice we have today in the heat of the day is going to be tough. As far as hydration and all of those things, that is the most important thing for me, to just make sure hydration-wise that I get through the race in good shape. Jimmie Johnson has offered me his cool vest. They know I'm old and not in the kind of shape that I was, but of any track that I can think of [wanting to] come to, heat or no heat, and come and do a good job for this team, it's right here in Indianapolis."

And why shouldn't he feel that way? Gordon has won this race a record five times and has a 9.9 average finish across 22 starts. He's posted top-5s in 11 of them. That's why he's in the car this weekend. Hendrick believes he's the most capable man for the job while Earnhardt is on the sidelines.

"I think between Jeff agreeing to drive the car and Junior walking in the shop, the team is really excited," Hendrick said. "Jeff's situation with our company, everybody there knows him, [and] the talent that Jeff has here at Indy. But more than anything, when he walked in that building, it just lifted everyone up. So, we're really excited. Everybody is there for Junior and his health is number one priority, but we feel good about where we are right now."

Gordon is set to drive the car for the next two weekends at Indianapolis and Pocono. That will get him to 799 starts, but he doesn't want to speculate about whether he will be needed beyond these two appearances.

"Let's not speculate," Gordon said. "Right now it's through Pocono. We hope that Dale Jr. continues to progress and that he is back as soon as possible.

"The one thing I was encouraged by when I saw him on Wednesday is his passion for racing, how much he loves being in the car and how antsy he is to get back in there. We just want him to be there when he is ready and when the doctors say he is ready."

Between spending time in the simulator and watching videos of the tire test here last week, Gordon says he believes this competition package is similar to the one NASCAR employed back in 2014. Coincidentally, that is the year Gordon earned his fifth Brickyard 400 win. That in itself gives him hope that he can come in and compete for a sixth PPG trophy.

"If you go back to 2014 even though we had more power, the traces are more similar," Gordon said. "I kind of liked '14. It was a good year. I was happy to see that. I took that information and went to the simulator the next morning in Huntersville [North Carolina] with Chevrolet and they put those set-ups and this package in the car and I was able to drive it.

"This [package] is closer to the past with the braking points, turning points, car handling, all those types of things. I'm hoping that really pays off for me."

2016WK140

16C 6140 1Indy Lights veteran Jack Harvey is aiming to make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut at Watkins Glen with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

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The Briton, who won six Lights races with SPM from 2014-'15, took part in his second IndyCar test with the team on Thursday at Mid-Ohio. Cut short by a spin and contact with the barriers in Turn 6, Harvey was unable to complete the full test day, but was encouraged by the progress he made and the potential of piloting a third SPM Indy car.

"I'm really mad at myself for making a mistake, and the team said the car wasn't that bad, but there was damage to the floor and they said fixing it at the track wasn't possible, so we had to stop early," Harvey told RACER.

"It hasn't affected what I've been working towards, and that's being in the car with SPM for Watkins [Glen]. If anything, the team said they felt bad we couldn't continue testing, but I'm confident leaving Mid-Ohio that we could have a very effective race in a third car if we can make everything come together."

16C 6696 1Harvey was the fastest Indy Lights driver when he tested SPM's Honda-powered No. 5 car in August at Sonoma, and was among the fastest young drivers at Mid-Ohio before its premature conclusion. The 23-year-old says he left the track with his full attention focused on returning to the cockpit for the Grand Prix At The Glen on Sept. 1-4.

"Working with this team is really excellent, and we've been trying to get in the car all season," he said. "We've been chasing the budget and we're definitely looking at The Glen as the place to do it, but there's still a couple of sponsors we're waiting to finalize things with before it's possible.

"This was the first time I've been in a car since [the Indy Lights finale] in September, and it all came back very quickly. Getting back in the car as soon as possible is what we're after and doing it with Sam [Schmidt] and Ric [Peterson] would be the perfect scenario."

 L4R1375Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has not ruled out having to navigate another "bumpy road" after Nico Rosberg committed to the Formula 1 team for a further two years.

On Thursday evening Rosberg signed a two-year contract extension to take him through to the end of the 2018 F1 season, the same as teammate Lewis Hamilton. Following the difficulties and on-track clashes between the pair during their three and a half years together, Wolff recognizes in continuing to have two "number one" drivers, there may be more problems ahead.

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"I'm never confident we're on top of the issues [with them]," he said. "It's rock and roll, or if they rock the boat, but we are conscious of that decision. We know that sometimes it can be more of a bumpy road having two number one drivers in the car that keep pushing each other, but that raises the performance of the car.

"It gives those moments where it's about managing a difficult situation, so we are conscious about that."

Wolff has naturally ruled out ever making either Hamilton or Rosberg the lead driver.

"It's always very clear with the two of them this is the philosophy we follow of having absolutely equal material and equal opportunity," added Wolff. "I don't see this happening. I hope it goes until the end. It's exciting for us and exciting for the fans. It might make me grow some grey hair, but up until now I'm doing OK."

Rosberg's new deal ends recent speculation on his future, although Wolff conceded the deal was never "done until it's done and signed."

Wolff added: "We did that yesterday night after a couple of months of discussions. It was never in doubt we wanted to stay with Nico, and I guess it was of interest for him to stay in the best current car. We had the right spirit and right momentum in those discussions, but the final signature came yesterday night."

 

Originally on Autosport.com

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Video: The Legendary Races Issue

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Great Race Day 9 with Andy Bell.

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James Hinchcliffe thrilled his hometown fans with a third-place finish Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto.