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marcosambroseTeam Penske announced today that it will form a partnership with one of the most successful motorsport teams in Australia to compete in the popular V8 Supercars Championship, beginning in 2015.

Working with Dick Johnson Racing (DJR), the longest-established motor racing team in Australia, Team Penske plans to race next season in the ultra-competitive touring car series that features events contested at Australia’s top motorsport venues.

DJR Team Penske will compete with Ford Falcons in the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship with a true hero of Australian motorsports behind the wheel. Marcos Ambrose will return to the Series where he drew international acclaim to race the iconic No. 17 Ford for DJR Team Penske. Ambrose is a two-time V8 Supercars champion; winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. He transitioned to a winning career in NASCAR where he has earned seven wins and eight pole positions while competing in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series over the past nine seasons.

“Team Penske is excited to partner with Dick Johnson Racing to compete in the V8 Supercars Championship starting next season,” said Roger Penske. “We believe in building our businesses through racing and our success on the track. With our new business ventures in Australia, it makes sense to showcase our brands through the V8 Supercars Championship and the opportunity to work with DJR and Marcos Ambrose convinced us to go forward.”

Ambrose, a native of Launceston, Tasmania, is one of the most successful drivers in the history of the V8 Supercars Championship. In the 65 rounds in which he competed from 2001 to 2005, he won 28 individual races.

“This is a great opportunity to return home to a place that I love in a Series where I’ve experienced a lot of success,” said Ambrose, who has earned two career victories at the highest level of NASCAR competition – the Sprint Cup Series. “It will be an honor to race for two motorsport legends in Roger Penske and Dick Johnson.”

The partnership between Team Penske and Dick Johnson Racing brings together two organizations that have experienced tremendous success in their respective disciplines. Team Penske has produced more than 400 race wins and 26 national championships in its storied history while DJR has earned over 80 victories and seven Australian Touring Car/V8 Supercar titles in over 35 years of racing.

“We are certainly looking forward to this new challenge,” said Dick Johnson, a legendary driver himself who claimed five Australian Touring Car Championships and won the prestigious Bathurst 1000 race three times before he retired from racing in 1999. “I have always admired what Roger Penske has accomplished in business and with his racing teams and it will be a thrill to work with Team Penske and Marcos in 2015.”

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General Motors has invested heavily in its Corvette Daytona Prototype platform since the car made its debut in 2012, but it's unclear whether GM will maintain its presence in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship's Prototype category when DPs are phased out at the end of 2016.

GM's Corvette DP, which earned the final Grand-Am Rolex Series DP championship in 2013 and currently leads the TUDOR Championship Prototype standings, has become synonymous with the DP formula. Yet with tubeframe DPs set to be replaced by carbon-fiber P2 coupes in 2017, GM Racing is facing a decision whether to make a new investment in Prototype for 2017, or shift its road racing focus entirely towards GT racing.

"We're curious as to where it's all going to go, and it's still fairly unclear where things are headed," GM Racing Director Mark Kent told RACER. "We'll have representatives at the upcoming [2017] meeting in Paris to see what's happening."

Other than acknowledging the 2017 P2 will be a closed-top car, few decisions have been made by the ACO, FIA and IMSA regarding its next-generation chassis and engine regulations.

For a manufacturer heavily invested in DP – one where custom bodies like the Corvette silhouette are featured – Kent says similar DP-style branding and road-relevant engines need to be included in the new formula.

"I think the beauty of the Corvette Daytona Prototype is there's relevance in not only how it looks, but also the powertrain," he added. "There is a V8 Corvette, which the Corvette DP is modeled after, and that link works quite well for us. The question we have is what the future holds.

"Will it be a car that is aesthetically production relevant, or will it have a production relevant powertrain, and offer us an avenue to explore something different there if we choose? Until we understand what the new car is going to offer, we really don't know what our participation will be right now."

vette2The ability to use custom bodywork for the 2017 P2 car would seem to be a requirement for GM Racing to continue its Prototype program.

"Having a car that does not allow us enough production relevance with the bodywork would be a drawback," said Kent. "When you look at the current Corvette DP, it's got a Corvette shape, a Corvette greenhouse, it's got Corvette fenders and taillights. If the new car has a roofline that doesn't look like anything we produce, or doesn't allow us to make the front and back look like a production car, that is a step back from where we are today and could potentially diminish our interest in participating in that class."

There's no rush for Kent to decide on GM Racing's future in Prototypes, but he does expect to have a clearer indication sometime soon.

"We're going to have to wait to see what comes out of this next meeting – what the vision is – and if it makes sense to unify or if it makes sense to look at another alternative," he confirmed.

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Brad Keselowski opened the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase by fighting back from a pit delay for victory at Chicagoland Speedway.

An additional pit stop for a loose wheel dropped the Penske Ford down the order early on, but going into the closing stages he joined two other drivers on comeback runs in the battle for the win.

Longtime race leader Kevin Harvick had overcome exactly the same pit problem as Keselowski, while Ganassi's rookie Kyle Larson fought through from last to first after a practice crash forced him to switch to his back-up Chevrolet.

Having narrowly missed out on a Chase spot, Larson looked capable of beginning the title shootout by defeating all the championship contenders, as he battled with Harvick on what turned out to be the penultimate restart. But Keselowski was right behind them, and with 17 of the 267 laps to go he surged through the middle of the two Chevrolets while they diced and started to get away.

Keselowski begins Chase with victory

Another yellow, caused by Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. colliding, prompted a final restart with six laps left, but Keselowski had no trouble pulling clear for his fifth win of 2014 and an early pass straight through to stage two of the Chase.

Jeff Gordon, another lead contender all afternoon, came forward to fight Larson for second, with the pair swapping places incessantly as Larson favored a bold high line. He eventually went too high and brushed the wall, allowing Gordon to secure the runner-up spot.

Harvick fell back to fifth behind Joey Logano as both chased Larson over the line.

Chase contenders filled most of the top 15 spots, with Denny Hamlin sixth ahead of Busch brothers Kyle and Kurt – who survived contact with each other in the closing laps. Both Kurt and 10th-placed Matt Kenseth also managed to spin in the pit entry during the race.

The only non-Chase interlopers in the top 10 were the two Ganassi cars. Larson's teammate Jamie McMurray led in the early stages and finished ninth, despite all slapping the wall during the race.

The first Chase runner to hit major trouble was title underdog Aric Almirola, whose Richard Petty Ford blew its engine while running a strong sixth 37 laps from the finish.

Results - 267 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 2h48m50.000s Chase 2. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet +1.760s Chase 3. Kyle Larson Ganassi Chevrolet +2.270s 4. Joey Logano Penske Ford +2.790s Chase 5. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +3.203s Chase 6. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota +4.223s Chase 7. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota +4.827s Chase 8. Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +5.293s Chase 9. Jamie McMurray Ganassi Chevrolet +5.406s 10. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota +6.160s Chase 11. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet +6.516s Chase 12. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet +6.698s Chase 13. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet +8.320s Chase 14. Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row Chevrolet +8.812s 15. Ryan Newman Childress Chevrolet +9.081s Chase 16. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet +9.617s 17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford +12.071s 18. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +14.013s 19. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +18.577s 20. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford -1 lap Chase 21. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet -1 lap 22. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Chevrolet -2 laps Chase 23. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford -2 laps Chase 24. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota -2 laps 25. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford -2 laps 26. Casey Mears Germain Chevrolet -3 laps 27. Justin Allgaier HScott Chevrolet -3 laps 28. Landon Cassill Hillman Chevrolet -4 laps 29. Reed Sorensen Baldwin Chevrolet -5 laps 30. Cole Whitt BK Toyota -5 laps 31. David Ragan Front Row Ford -5 laps 32. Michael McDowell Leavine Ford -5 laps 33. Josh Wise Parsons Chevrolet -5 laps 34. David Gilliland Front Row Ford -6 laps 35. Alex Bowman BK Toyota -6 laps 36. Joe Nemechek Robinson Toyota -9 laps 37. Joey Gase Go FAS Ford -10 laps 38. Travis Kvapil FAS Lane Ford -11 laps Retirements: Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 244 laps Michael Annett Baldwin Chevrolet 233 laps* Aric Almirola Petty Ford 230 laps Chase Ryan Truex BK Toyota 184 laps Mike Bliss Baldwin Chevrolet 13 laps * Running again at finish

Originally on Autosport.com

DSC 0996Enjoy Sunday's slate of events from one of the world's great historic race meetings.

Iconic cars spanning the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s will be raced by a host of legendary drivers and modern stars at the high-speed Sussex track, with another incredible entry for the Revival's 17th year.

Bentley-podium

(ABOVE, left to right: Chris Dyson, Bentley Motors president and CEO Christophe Georges, Rob Dyson, Guy Smith, Butch Leitzinger, after a 1-3 finish in Pirelli World Challenge's penultimate round.)

 

If all goes according to plan, the lessons get smaller.

In the beginning of a new race program, the lessons are large. As time goes on, they shrink. Each gain is usually smaller than the last. In its first half-season of Pirelli World Challenge competition, it would seem Dyson Racing Team Bentley has dispensed with the large lessons and only needs to hone; in the Bentley Continental GT3’s ninth race, Guy Smith put the car on pole, set the fastest lap and took the win at Miller Motorsports Park. It was not only a great way to celebrate his 40th birthday, but it was also the first Bentley victory on American soil in the marque’s history.

Bentley-Smith-actionWhile victory this early in the program is certainly cause for celebration, it hardly tells the whole story. The win was much harder than it needed to be, and like all motorsport victories, required Fate’s help, too. The World Challenge’s standing starts have troubled Smith and Butch Leitzinger, who finished third in Round 15 at Miller for his second podium, after the same result in Sonoma. And so it was on Friday in Utah. Smith went from pole to sixth at the start while Leitzinger slid from third to eighth.

Annoying at the time, that in fact gave the pair a stage on which to showcase their own talents and the Continental GT3’s potential, as both sliced through the field. At the end of lap five, Smith was third behind Ryan Dalziel’s Porsche and Robert Thorne’s McLaren. A clutch problem for Dalziel and an error in negotiating traffic for Thorne put Smith on top.

“We didn’t come in with dreams of dominating and jumping to the top of the podium every race from the first race,” says Leitzinger. “The way we’ve been able to progress and be competitive – and increasingly competitive – every weekend has laid a great foundation for us next year. And that’s what 2014 was really about: getting an understanding of the car, a foothold, so we had something to launch next year and really try to make a challenge for the championship.”

Bentley-Smith-helmetLeitzinger, after making the Continental GT3’s debut at Road America with a pair of strong finishes, campaigned a single car for six races. The streets of Toronto were a painful lesson with a crash followed by a ninth place finish, not bad for a car that had never seen a street circuit. “It took a little bit to figure our how to make the car not jump from manhole cover to manhole cover!” Leitzinger notes.

The twisty Mid-Ohio circuit presented another challenge for the team. Both tracks were rather different from the European circuits such as Silverstone and Paul Ricard where Smith, along with Steven Kane and Andy Meyrick, has won races in the Blancpain Endurance Series. That doesn’t even take into account the very different nature of the sprint races in Pirelli World Challenge.

For the final two doubleheader weekends of the World Challenge season, Dyson Racing Team Bentley entered a second car and brought in Smith, who has a long history with Dyson, just as Leitzinger does, to drive. Having a second car certainly elevated the program, and Leitzinger scored a third and a fifth at Sonoma Raceway, while Smith finished ninth and then 16th after starting the second race from pole but experiencing a temporary mechanical glitch.

“Having a second car online was a huge help to everyone, me included, just because I was able to see where I was losing time to Guy,” notes Leitzinger. “Also, we’re able to split our setups at the beginning of the weekend and see whose was working better where and kind of come to a convergence for qualifying. When you have two cars, it’s not even double the data you’re getting, it’s more than that. With one car, you’re kind of afraid to go too far off your base setup, because you don’t want to get lost. When you have two, you can be more adventurous.”

Smith, who has played a key role in developing the Continental GT3 from the get-go, was quite familiar with car before he stepped into Dyson’s. He, Leitzinger and the team bring a wealth of experience with many of the tracks that World Challenge races on. The team itself has 19 racing championships in a variety of series. Bringing all that experience together made the jump into the strange waters of World Challenge much more successful.

 

 


 

Bentley-Leitzinger-action“I think what I bring is the experience of the car,” says Smith. “I think the team is very well acclimatized to the car. I think I bring… not a benchmark, that’s not the right word… but I’m a known quantity and I know the car well. They know that, pace-wise, that’s where the car is. And I think it’s been a good gauge for Butch, because Butch hasn’t done much GT racing and until Sonoma, he’s only been driving the Bentley on his own. So he didn’t know if he was driving good, bad or indifferent. The truth is he’s been doing a fantastic job. Me and him are on a par; he’s driving brilliantly.”

Adapting a car designed for endurance racing, as the new GT3-based world order in World Challenge requires, is something many teams are facing. But most of them had a half-season advantage over Dyson Racing Team Bentley, and some of them, such as the Audi R8s, had even more as the teams had been running them in the Bentley-drivers-celebrateseries for a year in near-GT3 form. The learning curve in getting the car competitive in 50-minute sprint races – which often turn into a pair of 20-minute races thanks to cautions – has been steep.

“It’s about combining the institutional knowledge we have of the tracks and linking it to the new project with Bentley,” explains Peter Weston, the team’s technical director. “Just learning how much the tires will give back to us. We’ve got the four big tires on the car, and that’s a unique package in the pit lane. Our LMP prototype had the big front tires on it, so we brought some of that experience to how much capacity there is in a tire of that size.

“Getting the car to respond to [the short stints] has been one of our challenges here that is not such a priority in Blancpain. They go for the long distance endurance. You can keep a good long burn, whereas here, we’ve got to be a little more explosive. Engineering the car to do that without limiting the downsides  of doing that –keeping the tires on the car and yet having them come in quickly. The challenge of the short races is to get the car punchy.”

And that includes the problematic starts. There hasn’t been much time in the season to do any testing, and so fixing the launches is a priorBentley-driversity over the winter as it prepares for a full assault on the championship next year. This half season was all about getting the basics down.

“The program came together really quickly and we knew we had some very good bases from which to start,” says Chris Dyson, vice president and sporting director of the team, “but with the style of racing being so different with the sprint format, we wanted to manage expectations both within and without the organization. Our goal going in was to get on the podium regularly and be threatening for race wins. But, deep down, we wanted a race win and I think Friday everything fell into place for that to happen. I would say that met our expectations. Exceeding our expectations would be multiple race wins! But by and large our goals were to pick up a strong point and carry forward for a more sustained championship attack.”

The team hasn’t made any decisions on drivers, although 2011 American Le Mans Series P1 champ Dyson readily admits he’s itching to get back behind the wheel again. But whoever drives, he believes the team has a solid foundation on which to build.

“The main thing with any racing car is to have a cookbook,” he says. “By that I mean really an established recipe for where you go with the setup when you see a certain problem. That was something we were learning all year. I think as you build your base of experience quickly, you then have a much clearer window of answers and solutions.”

Weston has a similar outlook. Much of the Continental GT3’s first half-season in Pirelli World Challenge has been about adapting. Next year it will be about refining.

“Converting the setups that have worked so well in Europe to the setups we’re now developing here – they’re the things we can take away,” says Weston. “We’re homing in on a setup that is going to be quite portable from race to race, which is key when you have short test sessions. And the car has a good operating window.

“If we can get a sort of base setup, it will make a very good customer car. You don’t want a car that’s got a very sharp peak of performance that you’re going to hit one race in 10. You want a car that is good everywhere without a lot of testing time required, because you don’t have it. That is one of the car’s strengths, its portability.”

While the competition in World Challenge is only going to get stronger, so, likely, is Dyson Racing Team Bentley. While it still has one big lesson to master, the season just completed has served as a strong educational foundation. The remaining instruction is details. Then, perhaps, it’s time for them to teach the competition a thing or two.

Bentley-pair-action

McLaren-ThorneJohnny O'Connell (GT) and Lawson Aschenbach (GTS) have captured class championships for the Pirelli World Challenge 2014 season, following the conclusion of Saturday's final round of the season at Miller Motorsports Park. Additionally, Michael Mills has become the first driver to take home the Sportsman's Cup as top driver in the first year of GT-A.
 
Robert Thorne (GT) and Jack Baldwin (GTS) won in Round 16, the Pirelli World Challenge Nissan Championship Finale brought to you by Motul. Tim Pappas was the top classified GT-A driver.
 
O'Connell (BELOW), of Flowery Branch, Ga., in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R clinched his third straight GT Driver's Championship. Meanwhile Cadillac emerged as Manufacturer's Champion, breaking a pre-race tie of 85 points apiece. Andy Pilgrim finished third and no Audis made the top six to score points.
 
JohnnyOCadillac"Big team effort, and I could not be more proud of the guys," O'Connell said. "The driver is just the quarterback. If you don't have a great team, good things won't happen. There's a saying where you should surround yourself with good people and at every level of Cadillac racing we have that. We're very fortunate, Andy and I, to represent the excitement that happens on the race track."
 
In GTS, the same three title protagonists fought for the title this season finale as last. Aschenbach, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro took the title with second at the finish. It is his second straight GTS title and fourth overall (2006 GT, 2011 TC).
 
"Never say die. I really have to say thanks to everyone at Blackdog Speed Shop," Aschenbach said. "This season we had some ups and some pretty hard downs that basically took us out of the championship.  But we kept fighting and that became our motto and we kept fighting and kept pushing and at the end of the day I am really proud to say that I am proud of what we accomplished this year, especially considering what we've been through."
 
Kia secured the GTS Manufacturer's Championship over Ford. It entered with a seven-point lead over Ford (88-81), got an additional point for pole courtesy of Nic Jonsson, of Buford, Ga., with the fastest lap in Round 15. Neither Kia finished in the top 10, but Ford was unable to win.
 
The race itself ran caution-free for 50 minutes and featured an incredible bout between Thorne, of Littleton, Col., in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 12C GT3 and Ryan Dalziel, of Winter Park, Fla. in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche GT3 R.
 
Despite several attempts to pass, and despite encountering traffic late, Thorne was able to hold on for his first GT victory, and first for the K-PAX Racing McLaren this season. Thorne won by just 0.130 of a second, at an average speed of 82.296 mph. Thorne also won a Touring Car race at Sonoma in 2012.
 
"It was quite a battle, especially towards the end," Thorne said. "I had radio issues and lost communications to the pits and I wasn't sure actually how many laps were left. Every time I drove by and trying to hold off Dalziel, I was waiting for the 1 more lap and finally it came out.  It was a great day and a great day for the end of the season.  We had some struggles this year with the car and trying to get the launch to work.  Getting the launch and going right to the front shows we are going to be a big contender next year."
 
Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., was third in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R ahead of the Dyson Racing Team Bentley teammates, Butch Leitzinger, of State College, Pa., in the No. 08 Bentley/Breitling/Mobil 1 Bentley Continental GT3 and polesitter Guy Smith, of Beverley, U.K. in the No. 88 Bentley/Breitling/Mobil 1 Bentley Continental GT3.
 
Pappas, of Boston, Mass., in the No. 54 Black River Caviar Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, atoned for a mechanical issue that sidelined him on Saturday to secure his second GT-A win of the season.
 
Marcelo Hahn, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in the No. 0 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 was second with GT-A champion Mills, of Angleton, Texas, third in the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche GT3 R.
 
"It's an honor to be here with Johnny and Lawson," Mills said. "Chuck and I started this team basically for a one-off race deal and it turned into a full season in 2012 and full season in 2013 and we missed the championship by one point last year.  It's an honor for me to bring home the championship for Effort.  I have to thank everyone for letting me do this and the team for helping me do this.  I also need to thank my wife for letting me do this, it takes a lot of time and energy and thank the Bergmeisters, Nick Tandy and Ryan Dalziel for everything they've done."
 
GTS saw the Kia Racing/Kinetic Motorsports drivers star early before mechanical issues struck them both.
 
Polesitter Nic Jonsson, of Buford, Ga., in the No. 36 DonorsChoose.org led the first seven laps before falling back with a half shaft problem. Meanwhile Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, in the No. 38 PutOnTheBrakes.org Kia Optima turned in a storming drive to climb from 17th to sixth by Lap 8, before overheating.
 
Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga., took the lead on Lap 9 in the No. 73 RESET-MD Porsche Cayman S and wouldn't look back for the remainder of the race en route to his third victory of the season.
 
"It was a great day for GTSport Racing, our sponsors and Porsche. The way the guys were able to adapt and overcome all of what we have endured this season is remarkable," Baldwin said. "The guys never gave up and to finish second overall with a win is a fantastic achievement."
 
Aschenbach was second with Drew Regitz, of Denver, Col., third for the second straight day in the No. 02 TRG-AMR North America Aston Martin GT4. Michael Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y., was fourth in the No. 28 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro with Dean Martin, of Westland, Mich., fifth in the No. 50 Picture Cars East/Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S.
 
Of note, both Martin and Anthony Lazzaro, of Atlanta, Ga., in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 took home two specialty awards.
 
Lazzaro won both the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race with Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race, en route to finishing sixth in GT. Meanwhile Martin won both the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start with a gain of 11 positions, and the Sunoco Hard Charger with a gain of 15 from start to finish. Martin ended fifth in GTS.
 
Results and points are provisional until posted as final.
 
The Miller Motorsports Park rounds will air on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

TOOELE, UT - Results from Saturday's 27 lap 82.296 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTS Round 16 race, part of the Nissan Championship Finale Presented by Motul at Miller Motorsports Park, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown,  car, laps and reason out (if any).
 
1. GT, (2), Robert Thorne, Littleton, Colo., McLaren 12C GT3, 27.
2. GT, (3), Ryan Dalziel, Winter Park, Fla., Porsche GT3R, 27, -.130.
3. GT, (7), Andy Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Fla., Cadillac CTS-V R, 27, -10.509.
4. GT, (4), Butch Leitzinger, State College, Pa., Bentley Continental GT3, 27, -12.735.
5. GT, (1), Guy Smith, Beverly  UK,   , Bentley Continental GT3, 27, -16.874.
6. GT, (9), Anthony Lazzaro, Atlanta, Ga., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 27, -17.463.
7. GT, (6), Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac CTS-V R, 27, -19.949.
8. GT, (8), Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., Audi R8 Ultra, 27, -20.662.
9. GT, (10), Andy Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo., Lamborghini Gallardo FL2, 27, -20.914.
10. GT, (11), Andrew Palmer, Chicago, Ill., Audi R8 Ultra, 27, -25.770.
11. GT, (12), James Sofronas, Villa Park, Calif., Audi R8 Ultra, 27, -34.602.
12. GT, (14), Tim Pappas(A), Boston, Mass., Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, 27, -41.658.
13. GT, (15), Marcelo Hahn(A), Sao Paulo Brazil, BR, Lamborghini Gallardo FL2, 27, -44.607.
14. GT, (13), Michael Mills(A), Angleton, Texas, Porsche GT3R, 27, -44.991.
15. GT, (16), Alex Welch(A), Englewood, Colo., Audi R8 Ultra, 27, -1:04.023.
16. GT, (18), Dan Knox(A)(R), Pilot Point, Texas, Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R, 27, -1:22.474.
17. GT, (19), Jeff Courtney(A), Milwaukee, Wis., Audi R8 Ultra, 27, -1:45.903.
18. GT, (17), Henrik Hedman(A)(R), Ft Lauderdale, Fla., Ferrari 458 GT3, 27, -1:56.127.
19. GT, (22), Louis-Philippe Montour, Saint-Donat, Quebec, Dodge Viper Coupe, 27, -1:57.491.
20. GT, (20), Brent Holden(A), Newport Coast, Calif., Audi R8 Ultra, 26, -1 lap.
21. GT, (23), Walt Bowlin(A), Tarpon Springs, Fla., Audi R8 Ultra, 26, -1 lap.
22. GT, (21), Alex Lloyd, Westfield, Ind., Chevrolet Corvette, 24, -3 lap.
23. GT, (5), Alex Figge, Denver, Colo., McLaren 12C GT3, 9, -18 laps.
 
1. GTS, (3), Jack Baldwin, Marietta, Ga., Porsche Cayman S, 26.
2. GTS, (9), Lawson Aschenbach, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 25, -1 lap.
3. GTS, (6), Drew Regitz, Denver, Colo., Aston Martin GT4, 25, -1 lap.
4. GTS, (5), Michael Cooper, Syosset, N.Y., Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, 25, -1 lap.
5. GTS, (18), Dean Martin, Westland, Mich., Ford MustangBoss302S, 25, -1 lap.
6. GTS, (2), Nick Esayian, San Diego, Calif., Aston Martin GT4, 25, -1 lap.
7. GTS, (8), Jack Roush Jr, Livonia, Mich., Ford MustangBoss302R, 25, -1 lap.
8. GTS, (7), Mark Klenin, Denver, Colo., Aston Martin GT4, 25, -1 lap.
9. GTS, (11), Mitch Landry, Lake Charles, La., Ford MustangBoss302S, 25, -1 lap.
10. GTS, (12), Tony Gaples, Libertyville, Ill., Ford MustangBoss302S, 25, -1 lap.
11. GTS, (15), Buz McCall, Boca Raton, Fla., Porsche Cayman S, 25, -1 lap.
12. GTS, (14), Geoff Reeves(R), Cleveland, Ohio, Chevrolet Camaro, 25, -1 lap.
13. GTS, (16), Jorge De La Torre(R), McAllen, Texas, Aston Martin GT4, 24, -2 lap.
14. GTS, (4), Vesko Kozarov, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nissan 370Z, 22, -4 lap.
15. GTS, (13), Brad Adams, New Orleans, La., Ford MustangBoss302S, 22, -4 lap.
16. GTS, (1), Nic Jonsson, Buford, Ga., Kia Optima, 15, -11 laps.
17. GTS, (17), Mark Wilkins, Toronto, Ontario, Kia Optima, 8, -18 laps.
18. GTS, (10), Alec Udell, The Woodlands, Texas, Ford MustangBoss302S, 7, -19 laps.
 
Time of race: 50 minutes, 44.222 seconds.
Average speed: 97.320 mph
Margin of victory: .130 Seconds (GT); 1 Lap (GTS)
Lap leaders: Laps 1-27, #6 Robert Thorne (GT); Laps 1-8, #36 Nic Jonsson; Laps 9-26, #73 Jack Baldwin (GTS)
Fastest race lap: #88 Guy Smith, 1:49.939 (99.808 mph) (GT); #73 Jack Baldwin, 1:59.002 (92.206 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #88 Guy Smith, 1:50.650 (99.166 mph) (GT); #36 Nic Jonsson, 1;59.107 (92.125 mph)

DiGrassiThe inaugural Formula E race, held around Olympic Park in Beijing, will be remembered for Lucas di Grassi scoring one of the luckier wins of his career, and Nick Heidfeld having one of his luckiest escapes, following a last lap collision with Nicolas Prost.

An eventful, though rarely thrilling race had seen polesitter Prost keeping his e.dams-Renault at the head of the field throughout, barring the car-changing mid-race pit stops. However, in the second half of the race, he’d been under pressure from Heidfeld’s Venturi machine, as well as di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT) and Franck Montagny (Andretti Autosport).

With three laps to go, though, the leading pair edged away into a private battle, and Heidfeld appeared to have timed the winning pass to perfection, ducking out from behind Prost going into the braking zone on the last turn of the last lap. Despite his Rebellion Racing sports car teammate being fully alongside, Prost swerved hard left.

This pushed the Venturi car over high curbing and out of control, launching it into the catch fencing (see video below). Heidfeld wriggled free from his upside down machine but was clearly unimpressed with Prost.

Di Grassi, who’d been fast all weekend, was a grateful victor. He said: "We were a bit lucky, but I was happy to be in the right place today. I didn't see the accident, but the main thing is that Nick is OK, which proves that this car is absolutely safe."

The former British Formula 3 champion appeared to have headed an Audi Sport ABT 1-3, as teammate Daniel Abt crossed the line third. However, a penalty imposed post-race for using too much electrical energy saw Abt drop to 10th. Thus Sam Bird of Virgin Racing grabbed the final podium spot after climbing from 12th on the grid, and prevailing in a spirited battle with Mahindra Racing’s Karun Chandhok in the closing stages.

Chandhok fell a further place behind the second Andretti car of Charles Pic when the Mahindra machine's battery overheated in the closing laps. The Dragon Racing entries of Jerome d'Ambrosio and Oriol Servia were seventh and eighth, while Nelson Piquet Jr.'s China Racing car was ninth ahead of the demoted Abt.

Results - 25 laps:                              
                                           
Pos Driver             Team        Time/Gap
 1. Lucas di Grassi    Abt                 
 2. Franck Montagny    Andretti     +2.867s
 3. Sam Bird           Virgin       +6.559s
 4. Charles Pic        Andretti    +19.301s
 5. Karun Chandhok     Mahindra    +23.952s
 6. Jerome D'Ambrosio  Dragon      +31.664s
 7. Oriol Servia       Dragon      +41.968s
 8. Nelson Piquet Jr   China       +43.896s
 9. Stephane Sarrazin  Venturi     +43.975s
10. Daniel Abt         Abt       +1m02.507s
11. Jaime Alguersuari  Virgin    +1m03.613s
12. Nicolas Prost      e.dams        -1 lap
13. Nick Heidfeld      Venturi       -1 lap
14. Katherine Legge    Aguri         -1 lap
15. Michela Cerruti    Trulli        -1 lap
16. Ho-Pin Tung        China        -2 laps
                                           
Retirements:                               
                                           
    Takuma Sato        Aguri        21 laps
    Sebastien Buemi    e.dams       14 laps
    Jaruno Trulli      Trulli        2 laps
    Bruno Senna	       Mahindra      0 laps
    

 

14TEX2rl3864Silly season in IndyCar has gotten downright goofy in the past few days.

A rumor circulated that three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was in jeopardy of losing his ride to Simon Pagenaud but it was squashed instantly Friday night by Roger Penske.

"I don't know where stuff like that starts but it's crazy," said Penske. "Helio has done a great job for us and, going forward, I expect him to be with us for the next couple years. And we're not running four cars next year."

The 39-year-old veteran from Brazil just completed his 17th season with Team Penske, where he nearly won his fourth Indianapolis 500 and finished second to teammate Will Power in the Verizon series point standings.

briscoeAnother story that won't go away is that either Pagenaud or James Hinchcliffe will be replacing Ryan Briscoe in Chip Ganassi's fourth car for 2015 but it sounds like that's also more fiction than fact.

"I can tell you it's been our plan to move ahead and I haven't signed a deal yet but we're working on it," said Briscoe (LEFT).

Coming off another strong season for Schmidt/Peterson Racing, Pagenaud was linked with Michael Andretti's team a couple months ago while Hinchcliffe was also hopeful of staying with Andretti Autosport where he's spent the past three years.

But with the prospect of losing Josef Newgarden to Chevrolet with the merger of Ed Carpenter and Sarah Fisher, Honda would seem keen to do whatever necessary to keep Pagenaud with SPM or Andretti.

RACER's Marshall Pruett spoke with SPM team manager Rob Edwards, who insists no one has been signed for 2015 and Pagenaud's contract expires Oct. 1.

It's believed Schmidt is also talking seriously to Hinchcliffe, who also has had discussions with KV Racing to team with Sebastian Bourdais, so that makes one wonder if Pagenaud has, indeed, moved on.

Another potential free agent is Justin Wilson, who has been talking with several teams as well and waiting to see where Pagenaud and Hinchcliffe land.

 

 

Video: The Insider Issue

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FROM THE RACER CHANNEL ON YOUTUBE

The Eagle Soars. Episode 2 of "Dan Gurney: All American Racer," presented by Bell.

 

The First 200mph Lap. Episode 5 of "Dan Gurney: All American Racer," presented by Bell.

 

Verizon IndyCar Series: News and views from Robin Miller and Marshall Pruett.

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