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Doug Kalitta raced to the Top Fuel qualifying lead Friday at the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also led their categories at the fourth of six playoff events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
Kalitta posted a 3.747-second pass at 326.95 mph in his Mac Tools dragster to pace the field. Kalitta, the winningest Top Fuel driver to have never won a championship, is looking for his seventh top qualifying position of the season and second at the facility.
“This is definitely the time to get going if we are going to make something happen,” said Kalitta who is currently fifth in points. “The conditions are really good here. I’m really proud of my guys getting low qualifier after day one. It was a good run. It left (the starting line) and rattled and didn’t seem like it was going to make it, then it kind of just hooked up and went. That was a big relief; so far so good. ”
Brittany Force was second after a 3.765 at 322.81 in her Castrol EDGE dragster, achieved during the same pass as Kalitta. Points leader and seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher piloted his U.S. Army dragster to a 3.766 at 324.67, good enough for third on the leaderboard.
Reigning Top Fuel world champ Shawn Langdon was fourth with a 3.773 at 325.77 in the Al-Anabi Racing dragster while Spencer Massey’s Odyssey Batteries dragster was fifth with a 3.774 at 323.19.
In Funny Car, Pedregon claimed the top spot with his 3.991 at 319.52 in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry, the only Funny Car to run in the three second range during the day. Pedregon, a two-time world champ and a two-time winner at the facility, is two sessions away from securing his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and third career in Reading.
“We were hoping for a low 4.0,” said Pedregon, who sits 10th in points. “The three second was a bonus. I was a little surprised [that it held]. There are some great cars. These cars are very touchy and finicky and I did feel like there would be two or three three-second runs up there, but hey we blew the motor up so we definitely go everything out of it.”
Recent Charlotte winner Matt Hagan, who is third in points, qualified second in his Rocky Boots Dodge Charger following a 4.008 at 321.50. Reigning world champ and point leader John Force is third with a 4.046 at 318.24 in the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang. Del Worsham drove the DHL Toyota Camry to the No. 4 spot by means of a 4.046 at 316.15 while Robert Hight was fifth in the Auto Club Ford Mustang with a 4.053 at 318.17.
Courtney Force, who won the two most recent events and is second in Funny Car points, ran a 4.108 at 305.29, good enough for 12th in her Traxxas Ford Mustang.
Enders-Stevens is going for her fifth No. 1 of the season in Pro Stock following her performance of 6.513 at 211.76 in the Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro. Enders-Stevens, who was second-quickest during the first session, has been the top qualifier during two of the first three Countdown events.
“All those little bonus points are definitely helpful at this crucial point in the Countdown,” said Enders-Stevens, who sits third in points. “I’m really excited and proud of my team. We had a good baseline run the first session and stay No. 2. I’m really proud of my crew chiefs, they did a really great job.
Shane Gray was the quickest in the first session of Pro Stock and currently sits second with a 6.521 at 211.43 in the Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro. Gray, who won the regular season ending event at Indianapolis and finished runner-up to Gray Motorsports teammate Dave Connolly in Dallas, is fourth in points.
Jonathan Gray, who recently claimed his first career Pro Stock win at the Carolina Nationals, ran a 6.541 at 210.97 to put him in the provisional No. 3 spot in the Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro. Reigning world champ Jeg Coughlin is fourth following a 6.542 at 2110.20 in the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart and Chicago winner Vincent Nobile is qualified fifth in the Mountain View Tire Camaro with a 6.554 at 211.36.
Savoie, who claimed his first Pro Stock Motorcycle win at St. Louis last weekend, sits in the top spot after a 6.860 at 194.66 on his Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki.
“We went out first session and we really should have run quicker,” Savoie said. “The bike wouldn’t go in high gear. I had to hit the button three times and it finally went in. Second pass, the conditions were a lot worse than they were the first pass. To go .86 means we actually went in the right direction.”
Points leader Andrew Hines was second on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, running a 6.870 at 194.02. Hines’ Harley-Davidson teammate Eddie Krawiec was third with a 6.877 at 190.40. Hector Arana Jr.’s Lucas Oil Buell was fourth following a 6.888 at 195.76 and Chaz Kennedy was fifth with a 6.899 at 190.78 on the Star Racing Buell.
Qualifying for the NHRA Nationals continues Saturday with sessions at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Eliminations are schedule for 11 a.m. Sunday.
IHRA's Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series will wrap up the 2014 season with some intriguing battles and some great racing entering the final event of the year at the Summit Racing Equipment World Finals October 10-11 at Memphis International Raceway.
Three of IHRA's five Nitro Jam classes have already sewn up their championships with Jason Rupert (AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car), Ron Maroney (Nitro Altered) and Elaine Larsen (Jet Dragster) claiming the championship Ironman in their respective categories. What is left is a four-man race for the Nitro Harley championship and the finale to a spectacular season in Mountain Motor Pro Stock, combined with the championships for IHRA's 10 sportsman classes, during IHRA's biggest race weekend of the year.
"This season we have seen a lot of great performances in a lot of classes. We have seen records reset in Nitro Funny Car, Pro Stock and Nitro Harley and some new stars emerge in each of our classes," said Scott Gardner, President of IHRA Motorsports. "In Memphis, we will culminate an amazing season with our first champions under the return-to-racing format. We will also see some of our biggest and best fields of the season during the Summit World Finals, which should make for one of our most exciting events of the year."
AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car will take center stage at the Summit World Finals with one of IHRA's best lineups to date. Current champion Jason Rupert will bring the "Black Plague" 1969 Camaro into the event having won four races this season as he goes head-to-head against three-time defending IHRA champion Peter Gallen in the "Poverty Stricken" Vega, multi-time DRO champion Shawn Bowen in the "Violator" Pontiac and 2014 race winners Mike McIntire Jr. in "McAttack" and John Hale in the "Mike Burkhart" tribute Camaro. Hale, Bowen and McIntire have one win apiece.
Others in competition in Memphis include Bruce Litton in "U.S. Male," Mark Sanders in "Mr. Explosive," Tim Boychuk in "Forever Forward," Ronnie Young in "Blue Max," Mike Smith in "Hard Guys," Jake Crimmins in "Crazy Jake" and Greg Jacobsmeyer in "All-Star Dodge."
While Rupert has already sealed up the championship, there is still plenty of positioning to be obtained. Two points races will take place during the Summit World Finals weekend, with the drivers remaining in competition from a rainout at Pittsburgh Raceway Park earlier this year completing their race on Friday, followed by eliminations for the World Finals on Saturday.
IHRA's popular Nitro Harley class will also feature two points-paying races in Memphis. The riders of the nitro-powered motorcycle class will make up the Pittsburgh rainout from earlier this season on Friday, followed by regular eliminations on Saturday.
Entering the event, four drivers are eligible for the Nitro Harley championship with Louisiana native Randal Andras bringing a six-point lead over Canadian Mike Scott into the event. Mark Cox, atop the Bojangles-backed bike, sits third 89 points back of the leader and IHRA veteran and North Carolina native Jay Turner is fourth.
Pro Stock will feature IHRA's only other un-claimed championship, as Oklahoma native Cary Goforth brings a healthy 99-point margin over John DeFlorian into the final event of the season. Goforth, in the Dean's Casing Service 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, has amassed three wins in 2014, while DeFlorian, in the AMSOIL-sponsored Black Diamond Motorsports Camaro, has one win and reset to IHRA Pro Stock elapsed time and mile per hour records earlier this year.
The pair will be joined in Memphis by Goforth Racing teammates Todd Hoerner and Dean Goforth, Black Diamond Racing's Kevin Bealko, Scott Hintz, Brad Waddle, Matt Bertsch, John Konigshofer and more.
Finally, both Nitro Altered and Jet Dragster will enter the World Finals with their championships already decided.
Ron Maroney, in the "Blind Faith" Altered, wrapped up the championship in the nostalgia class off the strength of three wins in 2014. He will be joined in Memphis by Kyle Hough in "Nanook," Mike Hilsabeck in "Arizona Thunder," Don Blackshear in "Bullet Bob," Troy Martin in "Missing Pieces" and Ron Hope in "Rat Trap."
In addition to incredible, side-by-side competition that this class is known for, for the third time this season Ron Hope will bring back the legendary fire burnout during Saturday night's Nitro Jam final round. Hope will light up the sky with a spectacular fire show prior to his run.
Finally in Jet Dragster, Larsen Motorsports' lead driver Elaine Larsen enters the final race of the season having already clinched the championship in the Miller Welding jet-powered dragster. She will be joined by popular racers Marisha Falk, Allison West and Kat Moller.
The IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals will take place October 10-11 at Memphis International Raceway. For more information on the IHRA season finale, visit www.nitrojam.com or call Memphis International Raceway at (901) 969-7223.
Rain was the name of the game Friday morning during the final Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered By Mazda race of the 2014 season. But wet conditions did not stop Jerome Mee of Alta Velocita Racing from picking up a third-place finish.
"The off-and-on rain and conditions were horrible," Mee said. "The car felt better today, and I was just happy with keeping the car intact and coming home clean."
Round 13 of Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda competition was cut short for Mee on Thursday, Oct. 2 after the No. 95 AVR machine encountered electrical problems on the opening lap.
After two sprint races through Road Atlanta's famed 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit, Mee secured third place in the Lites 2 season championship.
"It's been a great experience for me to participate in five of the seven Prototype Lites races this year," Mee said. "Some races were tougher than others. The win at Watkins Glen was great, and Brian (Alder) and I had a great race in Canada. It was a good learning experience, and it's a great platform to advance as a driver. There's a lot of great people in this series, and it's been fun."
Alta Velocita Racing's Mee will switch gears Saturday, as he prepares to race in his first career TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event, the famed Petit Le Mans.
Mee will co-drive the No. 38 Dash Neighborhood/Phillips 66 Prototype Challenge (PC) car for Performance Tech Motorsports. He experienced valued seat time through three TUDOR United SportsCar Championship practices Thursday.
"Practicing with Performance Tech has gone very well," Mee said. "I'm being coached well, and they are having me go out on bad tires so it replicates what race conditions will be like. It's busy out there, but at the same time you have to be appropriately assertive to get around traffic as efficiently as possible.
"I'm spending time finding the right places to pass, knowing where to draft, how to brake in certain turns and get around. Overall I feel very comfortable and confident in the car."
The 10-hour endurance event is scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m. (ET). The race will be broadcast live on IMSA.com and at 3 p.m. on FOX Sports 2. FOX Sports will broadcast a highlight show Sunday, Oct. 5. Check local listings.
A rainy day was an appropriate metaphor for a tough end of the 2014 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season for Performance Tech Motorsports.
Robert Alon finished seventh while Joel Janco finished 13th overall and sixth in the Masters' class for the 14th and final round of the season. The tough finishes in heavy rain during Race 2 came after Alon and Janco both suffered mechanical issues in Race 1 Thursday.
Both drivers spent time fighting with the wet track. As a rookie, Alon previously only raced in rain once and spent the race today learning how to handle his No. 9 Prototype Lites car in the rain. Janco, who finished third in the L1 Masters Championship, felt safe in his position and saw no need to push the car in treacherous conditions.
"It was a fun race," Alon said. "The conditions kept changing on us. They started out wet, then it dried, and then it was just soaked. It was just about feeling the track. It was hard, but I just focused on keeping it on track.
"I messed up on the last restart. It went green, nobody went, and four guys from the back went to the front. I don't know how that happened. But it was fun, and I'm ready for 2015."
Team Principal Brent O'Neill was pleased with his team's mechanical work for the day and also proud of his drivers' accomplishments in the race Friday and in the 2014 season.
"We were good today," O'Neill said. "Robert still has to learn how to drive in the rain. He's never really done this before. He never threw the car off track, and he did a really god job. Joel is just a little timid in the rain. They both said they could have gone faster, but it was just the conditions. The cars were good - no reason to risk them on the last race."
The team will celebrate the third-place Masters Championship finish of Janco at a banquet reception Oct. 3 at Road Atlanta.
"I'm thrilled to have won third in the championship," Janco said. "Performance Tech did a great job this year. We had some rough patches, but overall it was a great year."
Matt McMurry added another honor to a season to remember, earning his first career Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda victory Thursday, Oct. 2 at Road Atlanta.
McMurry, from Phoenix, beat runner-up Jon Brownson to the finish by 1.276 seconds after a restart with less than three minutes remaining in the 30-minute race. McMurry, 16, led the entire race after starting from the pole in the No. 20 JDC Motorsports entry.
"I led the whole race and got a bunch of really good restarts," McMurry said. "I've been here a bunch of times, so that helps because I have a lot of experience here, and the car was perfect; it's been great the whole weekend. So that made it a lot easier to do well."
|Lites 1 podium finishers (from left): Christian Potolicchio, Matt McMurry, Jon Brownson|
Masters competitor Brownson, from Breckenridge, Colorado, earned his first overall podium finish and first Masters victory of the season in the No. 34 Eurosport Racing Élan DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine. Christian Potolicchio, from Hallandale Beach, Florida, finished third overall after starting 13th in the No. 2 8Star Motorsports entry.
John Falb, from Las Vegas, clinched the Lites 1 Masters championship in the No. 77 ONE Motorsports car with his second-place finish in the class.
ONE Motorsports also earned a top step on the podium as Todd Slusher, from Las Vegas, won the Lites 2 category in the team's No. 62 car.
McMurry became the second-youngest winner in series history behind Tristan Nunez in 2012. The victory added another important entry to McMurry's growing resumé of success in his mid-teens. He made history in June by becoming the youngest driver ever to compete in the world's most prestigious endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Restarts played a big role in McMurry's victory. He powered away from the field after two full-course cautions.
The final restart came with two minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the 30-minute race. McMurry eased away from Brownson for the final two-lap sprint to the checkered flag, leading after the first lap by .714 of a second and adding another half-second to the gap on his final trip around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit.
|Lites 1 Masters podium finishers (from left): John Falb, Jon Brownson, Joel Janco|
Brownson started fifth overall and first in Masters and held that spot with power throughout the race. He held steady while three drivers ahead of him were involved in incidents or had mechanical problems to earn his first overall podium finish of the season.
"I'm happy to come away with a second overall and first place in the Masters," the colorful Brownson said with a smile. "I'd say that's half-fast for an old guy, but you have to be careful with your diction or it comes out sounding like half-ass."
Falb also avoided the off-track excursions of others early in the race and pulled into second in Masters early in the race, holding that spot until the finish to clinch the championship in his first season in the class.
The runner-up finish was Falb's eighth podium finish in 13 starts this season, as consistency delivered him the final title still available this season in the series.
"It feels unbelievable to get the championship," Falb said. "I'm ecstatic. I started the season hoping to learn and do well. We had a few bad races there in the beginning, but we just kept showing up, suiting up and pounding out laps. To take home the Masters Championship in the first year is just a huge, huge success."
Joel Janco, from Key Largo, Florida, finished third in the class in the No. 25 Performance Tech Motorsports entry. It was his second podium finish of the season.
|Lites 2 podium finishers (from left): Max DeAngelis, Todd Slusher, John Salmon|
Slusher started from pole and earned his second victory and seventh consecutive podium finish of the season since joining the class in mid-July at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Series rookie Slusher lost the lead briefly to two-time and reigning Lites 2 series champion Brian Alder. But he wasted little time passing Alder for the lead and driving away for the victory.
"I'm ecstatic and really happy," Slusher said. "I had a great race. I have a great coach this year, Sean Rayhall, the winner of Lites last year. He's really done a great job with me. I'm pretty new to this sport, so it's really been gratifying for me this year."
Max DeAngelis, from Belle River, Canada, finished second in the No. 7 Eurosport Racing car in his first start in the series in two years. John Salmon, from Lynchburg, Virginia, finished third to earn his third podium finish in three starts this season in the No. 46 V.I.P.E.R. entry.
The season-ending Round 14, a 45-minute race, is scheduled to start at 9:10 a.m. (ET) Friday. For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter.
Three drivers. Seven points. One race.
That's the championship equation with 45 minutes of competition remaining this season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama after Angel Benitez Jr. won Round 15 on Thursday, Oct. 2 at Road Atlanta.
Benitez, from Valencia, Venezuela, kept his title hopes alive with his series-leading fifth victory of the season in the No. 05 Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport Porsche. He made a breathtaking late-race pass of new championship leader Michael Lewis and pulled away from Lewis' No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian 911 GT3 Cup car to win by .961 of a second.
The other remaining title challenger, Colin Thompson, finished third in the No. 14 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County entry.
|Platinum Cup podium finishers (from left): Michael Lewis, Angel Benitez Jr., Colin Thompson|
Lewis leads Thompson by one point, 235-234, in the Platinum Cup championship. Benitez is third, seven points back with 228.
"I took a chance, made a pass before Turn 11, and we have the victory," Benitez said. "We really work hard for this. I know everyone is working hard to be here, but we really wanted to be here to continue winning and making people proud. I would like to dedicate this to my grandfather, who passed away two weeks ago, and thanks to my father, my uncle and all my family who have been here.
The season-ending Round 16 will start at 11:25 a.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 3. Live streaming video and live timing will be provided at gt3cupchallenge.com. Live text commentary will be provided on Twitter at @IMSALive.
While the Platinum Cup championship will come down to the final laps Friday, Patrick-Otto Madsen clinched the Gold Cup title with a second-place finish in the class Thursday in the No. 99 ANSA Motorsports Porsche.
In Platinum Cup, Lewis passed pole sitter Thompson with an aggressive, clean power move climbing the hill into Turn 2 on the first lap.
Lewis, from Laguna Beach, California, then raced in lockstep with Benitez for the next 40 minutes as the two quickest drivers on the track. Lewis turned a race-record lap of 1 minute, 25.082 seconds in the early minutes, with Benitez right behind with a top lap of 1:25.120.
The duo rarely was separated by more than a second as they raced around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit, with Benitez pulling as close as two car lengths on some laps. Both drivers navigated lapped traffic with precision, and Benitez used one of those maneuvers for his winning pass.
Lewis and Benitez approached the No. 35 TPC Racing Porsche of Gold Cup and Gold Masters standout Michael Levitas in Turn 11 with approximately three minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the race. Benitez dove under Lewis as they drove around Levitas, making the decisive pass for the lead and the victory just before the bridge and the hair-raising plunge into the fast, fearsome Turn 12.
"It's a bummer not to win, but we got points, so that's the most positive thing," Lewis said. "I'm just going to work hard for tomorrow. It might be raining, but whatever I have to do to take the win, that's what I'm going to do."
|Yokohama Hard Charger Award winner Angel Benitez Jr.|
Benitez then drove away over the next two laps for the victory. He earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for climbing from the fourth starting spot to the top of the podium.
Thompson, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, was able to close within 1.739 seconds of winner Benitez to finish third.
"It's tough to say that a podium is frustrating, but this weekend it is," Thompson said. "The guys worked really hard on the car. We just never totally had a neutral scenario. Nobody could really predict how hot it did get out there. It got really hot, so it was just preservation about halfway through with third place. (To win championship), I have to win."
Thompson will start from the pole again in the decisive Round 16. Lewis will start second and Benitez fourth.
|Platinum Masters podium finishers (from left): Kasey Kuhlman, David Calvert-Jones, Jay Patel|
David Calvert-Jones was the top Platinum Masters qualifier and kept that spot throughout the race in the No. 12 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian Porsche to earn his second class victory of the season.
Calvert-Jones, from Los Angeles, held off 2014 Platinum Masters champion Kasey Kuhlman over the closing laps. Kuhlman, from Cincinnati, finished .288 of a second behind Calvert-Jones in the No. 15 Wright Motorsports Porsche.
Kuhlman has finished on the Platinum Masters podium in 13 of his 15 starts this season, with 12 victories. Kuhlman's incredible streak of no second- or third-place finishes this season - just victories among his podium results - finally ended after a flawless drive by Calvert-Jones.
"It was the first race I have won against Kasey when we were really battling toe-to-toe," Calvert-Jones said. "Earlier in the season I won after he had a spin, so it was kind of by default. So it was really great to have a nice battle with him and stay out front."
|Gold Cup podium finishers (from left): Patrick-Otto Madsen, David Ducote|
Mosing, from Austin, Texas, beat Madsen to the finish by 2.009 seconds after a tense duel between both drivers. Mosing built the gap to larger than a second only over the closing laps, as Madsen applied relentless pressure and closed to within a length of Mosing on some laps.
"I had one little bobble in Turn 7 that let Madsen get up to me," Mosing said. "Hats off to him, he kept good pressure on me the whole time. Just a lot of fun."
Madsen, from Boca Raton, Florida, earned his 10th podium finish in 15 starts. But more importantly, he sealed his first series championship.
"Today it was all about first finishing, but when I saw I had a little bit of pace, I went after Mosing a little bit and tried to get him, but he made very few mistakes," Madsen said. "It was getting hot out there, and the tires were getting very squirrely, so we brought it home in second. That did it for the championship, so we're really happy about that."
David Ducote, from Houston, finished third in the class in the No. 6 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County entry.
|Gold Masters podium finishers (from left): David Ducote, Michael Levitas|
The race in Gold Masters is even tighter than in Platinum Cup, as just five points separate the top three drivers.
Mosing leads with 220 points after his fourth Gold Masters victory of the season. Levitas and Fred Poordad are tied for second with 215.
"The car was working great," Mosing said. "Todd Opperman again did a great job with the car. Thanks to Yokohama, Porsche and IMSA for putting on such a great series."
Ducote finished second in Gold Masters for his fourth podium in five starts since joining the class in mid-August at Road America. Levitas, from Baltimore, placed third after starting 10th in class. It was Levitas' 11th podium finish this season in Gold Masters.
Poordad, from San Antonio, Texas, led the standings entering this event but finished sixth in the No. 02 Competition Motorsports Porsche.
Venturi Automobiles presented with certification of a new world land speed record for electric vehicles
Today at the Paris Motor Show, FIA President Jean Todt presented Venturi Automobiles with official certification of a new world land speed record for electric vehicles achieved by the company.
On August 22nd, at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA, Venturi’s Buckeye Bullet 3 (VBB-3) vehicle, piloted by Roger Schroer, recorded an average two-way speed of 212.615 miles per hour (342.170kph) over a flying mile. The new record is in the FIA’s Category A Group VIII Class 8 for electric vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.
The Venturi team and its partner, the Center for Automotive Research (the Ohio State University) had travelled to Bonneville in pursuit of the highest FIA world land speed record for an electric vehicle of 307.58mph (495kph), set by its own VBB-2.5 in 2010, but their efforts were hampered by violent storms that hit the region in the weeks leading up to the attempt.
Despite the weather leading to the cancellation of this attempt, the team remained in Utah to make other attempts over a scaled-down four-day timeframe. It was during this period of running that the new record was set.
Presenting Venturi Automobiles with official certification of the new record, FIA President Jean Todt said: “I would like to congratulate Venturi Automobiles and its partners on setting this new record for an electric vehicle. Given the unprecedented conditions under which the team had to operate securing this new benchmark is a fantastic achievement and I’m sure that in the future they will return to make another attempt on the outright record they are seeking.”
Gildo Pallanca Pastor, Venturi's president, accepted the award: "I would like to thank the FIA and its President, Jean Todt, as this Trophy is a great honor. This summer the Venturi VBB-3 gave us a glimpse of its enormous potential. We will therefore be back in Bonneville in 2015, with the highly ambitious objective of surpassing 600km/h as our priority. With its 3000 HP, the Venturi VBB-3 is the most powerful electric car in the world today. It must demonstrate that it can even be the fastest."
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) jointly announced today at the Mondial de l'Automobile (Paris Motor Show) that the two organizations will form a partnership to make the world’s roads safer through the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign.
As part of the multi-year agreement, the Japanese automaker will become an Official Supporter of the FIA’s innovative awareness-raising campaign, which was launched in 2011 in support of the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety.
The campaign has involved:
• Advocacy at the highest levels to push leaders to commit to road safety both nationally and globally.
• Supporting action by the 236 FIA Member Clubs in 141 countries worldwide to educate and advocate for safer roads, vehicles and behaviour on the ground. So far, 90 road safety projects in over 50 countries have been funded by the FIA Road Safety Grant Programme.
• The FIA has also launched worldwide road safety campaigns and programs, either alone or with partners, both institutional and private. This has included promotion of the Golden Rules for Safer Motoring, a set of reminders intended to help motorists improve their driving behavior on the road.
The new partnership will see Nissan support and promote awareness campaigns worldwide - in particular Action for Road Safety’s Golden Rules for Safer Motoring - with the aim of combatting a global scourge that results in the deaths of 1.3 million people annually, with 50 million more being injured each year.
With its corporate vision of Enriching People's Lives, Nissan seeks opportunities through its global activities to nurture sustainability within society. This holistic approach is known as Blue Citizenship, of which enhancing safety is an integral part.
Nissan has been pursuing safety through the “Triple-Layered Approach” of developing safer vehicles, individuals and society. Nissan vehicles are equipped with industry-leading safety technologies today, and these innovations will extend to the realization of autonomous driving in the years to come. At the same time, various initiatives aimed at encouraging safe driving habits are being undertaken by Nissan across the globe.
FIA president Jean Todt said, “The FIA is extremely pleased to announce this key partnership. Nissan has a long tradition of developing life-saving automotive technologies and this new agreement reaffirms its strong commitment to road safety. By combining our efforts we can ensure that our message for safer driving and safer roads reaches an even wider audience.”
“We are pleased to work with the FIA and its global network to promote safer driving on roads around the world,” said Roel de Vries, Nissan corporate vice president responsible for Marketing and Brand Strategy. “Safety involves drivers, pedestrians and the community, and our working with the FIA will go a long way toward raising awareness and provide safer roads for everyone."
On Sunday, 19th October the Estoril circuit in Portugal will host the fifth and final round of the 2014 European Le Mans Series. Emotions will be running high as the 2014 titles and trophies have yet to be awarded in each of the three classes.
Four teams are still in contention to win the LMP2 category: Signatech Alpine, JOTA Sport, NewBlood by Morand Racing and Race Performance. In LMGTE, two teams are in the title race, SMP Racing and AF Corse while, in the GTC class, three cars could still claim the European title: two from SMP Racing and one from Formula Racing.
For those who cannot be in Portugal on 18th and 19th October, it will of course be possible to follow the proceedings around the world via television screens or computers.
In Europe, viewers can tune in to Motors TV to see the race live and direct for three hours and 25 minutes (a 35-minute break in the middle of the race). In Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Latvia and Estonia, fans can follow the entire race on Sports TV and, in Portugal, for those who cannot be in situ, the RTP2 channel will cover the whole weekend's activities live and with highlights.
ORF, Sport 5 and Sport Klub will broadcast highlights for Austria, the Czech Republic / Slovakia, as well as all Eastern Europe. This is also the case for Malta, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece and Italy with Fox Sports and Fox Sports 2, while in Finland and the UK Nelonen and BT Sport respectively will offer a highlights show to their subscribers. Turkey also has access to live coverage of the event via the Sports TV satellite channel and Italians will also be able to find the best moments of the race on the internet site, Sportube. In the Pan-Middle East, you can follow all the events on Orbit Showtime Networks.
As with all ELMS events, you can also follow qualifying and the 4 Hours of Estoril race itself on the series' official website, www.europeanlemansseries.com.
North Americans can find out about the ELMS through Torque TV and RaceFans TV while, in South Africa, the 52-minute programme will be broadcast on Setanta Sport Africa and Supersport.
Fans of European endurance racing in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan and the Maldives will be able to see the best moments of the race on Ten Sports Taj TV, while Fox International Channels network will host the programme for the Asia Pacific region. Devotees from the Philippines and Thailand will be able to see the ELMS on Solar Sports and True Visions Channel.
Subscribers to Speed Channel and Sky Network in Australia and New Zealand can follow the 4 Hours of Estoril through a highlights programme.
Radio Le Mans will be once again be the official endurance racing radio broadcaster in Portugal, available via the radio channel's website.
Check out HERE the full list of broadcast channels for the race itself or for highlights packages of the 2014 ELMS finale – the 4 Hours of Estoril.
Landy notched his second career win, and first weekend sweep, in Mazda MX-5 Cup competition in the final round of the 2014 season. In the No. 49 Excitations.com/Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5, Landy controlled most of the race that averaged 77.867 mph around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit by leading 17 of 23 laps. The race was slowed by wet conditions and an aborted start as the leaders picked up the throttle too early.