Friday, Sep 24
Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

Contact Adam: Email  

  

 
By Godwin Kelly
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
After nearly three years of hard work and development, along with solid race strategy and a bit of luck, Alfa Romeo scored a history-making victory in the rain at iconic Road America.
 
Competing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Road America 120 on Aug. 7, the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Giulietta Veloce scored its initial Touring Car (TCR) class win and secured Alfa Romeo’s first-ever series triumph.
 
“This win means so much to the team,” said Louis Milone, who co-owns the operation with fellow veteran engineer Kevin Wheeler. “Most of the core members have been together for 15 years, some even longer. We have worked on factory programs and won races and championships for decades. It was always a bucket-list item to put a pro racing trophy on the wall with our own names on the entry list, and now we have achieved that.”
 
Roy Block and Tim Lewis Jr. co-drive the No. 5, with Lewis bringing the win home during the final stint in a wet two-hour race.
 
“This was just a phenomenal day for the team,” Lewis said. “This is our 26th race together. Two and a half years of running together and just honing our skills and learning to work together as a team; finding the best guy for each positon on our team, and just execute at every race. It’s a great feeling to finally get to that top step.
“Just grit. I mean, you just don’t give up. The first year, the second year and even the beginning of this season, we got kicked in the teeth a few times. Louis just has a never-give-up attitude. He just kept digging and digging and digging. It paid off.”
 
Milone has seen plenty of success in top-level sports car racing, including serving as team leader of the Audi team that finished first and third overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2005. “Bored” of equipment steeped in racing success, he took on the Alfa Romeo challenge at the beginning of 2019 and his team is the sole brand representative in the Michelin Pilot Challenge.
 
“Up until 2018, we worked with Audi,” he said. “We were the Audi factory team from 2000 to 2008 with Champion Racing. I knew a guy with two Alfas but his funding didn’t work out, so I bought them from him. These cars were built for sprint racing, like 30-40 minutes at a time.
 
“When we started running them two to four hours, we were having a lot of little mechanical problems. We led a lot of laps in 2019 and in 2020. We should have won a lot of races. We’ve been up front at Daytona every single year. We were leading both races at Mid-Ohio and lost our turbocharger in both races.”
 
KMW Motorsports and Alfa Romeo worked together in the offseason to provide the necessary upgrades.
 
“We told them if they could deliver everything we asked for, we’d buy a couple of cars for 2021,” Milone said. “They did it. They built us a special car.
 
“We haven’t had a single mechanical problem this year. Our only poor finish was at Daytona and that was due to an accident, not reliability. … If we had gotten that top-three at Daytona, we’d probably be leading in championship points right now.”
 
As it is, Block and Lewis are tied for second in the TCR standings, 190 points out of the lead with three races remaining. Block said all the hard work is finally paying dividends.
 
“The last two and a half years has been quite the battle for us in getting the car to where it needed to be,” he said. “What we see now are the results of a lot of people working really, really hard over a long period of time in just about every aspect of the program. We’re just thrilled. We’re humbled. This feeling is incredible.”

Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced a 17-race schedule for 2022. The 2022 season marks the tenth anniversary of SVRA's acquisition by Parella Motorsports Holdings, Inc. SVRA’s SpeedTour weekends include vintage racing, contemporary sports cars, and other features to present the most diverse and exciting array of race car design and engine sounds in the world. The concept continues to generate growth in sponsorship and membership.

“It’s hard to believe we are approaching the tenth anniversary of the Parella Motorsports Holdings acquisition of SVRA,” said SVRA CEO Tony Parella. "That first season, we were simply a regional club with a five-race schedule at three venues. Since then, with the help of our team, we have built a national, coast-to-coast platform that has delivered tremendous growth in sponsors, members, and fans. Along the way, we have developed outstanding date equity with many of our venues.”

Among the heralded tracks that have built date equity with SVRA are Watkins Glen International, Road America, Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Virginia International Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sebring Raceway, Auto Club Speedway, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Portland International Raceway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and Sonoma Raceway. Circuit of The Americas, home to Formula One’s United States Grand Prix, has presented SVRA’s U.S Vintage National Championships since 2013. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway returns to the schedule and back to Father’s Day weekend, as usual.

A full schedule of the 2022 season races appears below. Most of the races will be live-streamed on the SVRA app.

The SpeedTour formula is appealing to sponsors. Among the premier brands supporting SVRA are NetJets, Avis, Mazda Motorsports, Pirelli, Big Machine Vodka, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bell Helmets, WeatherTech, Green Wealth Management, TireRack.com, Mission Foods, Lucas Oil, Cometic, Hawk Performance, BraXe Total Performance, Marathon Coach, Hagerty, Hoosier Racing Tire, Buzz Bikes, Ligier, Bell Helmets, Simpson, FAST Cooling, Adobe Road Winery, VBOX Motorsport, HMS Motorsport, Speedcom Communications, Sasco, Vintco, Motul, Skip Barber Racing School, Omologato, MPI, CG Detroit, and Glenora Wine Cellars. SVRA’s national platform combines with the significant participation of legendary professional drivers and the paddock’s high-net-worth demographic to attract sponsors. This strategy provides three pillars for business expansion.

About SVRA: Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) is the premier vintage racing organization in the United States. Founded in 1978, SVRA has grown steadily with hundreds of new active members and its database of thousands of cars. Find additional information on SVRA, a complete annual schedule, and entry lists on the SVRA website. Be sure to check our Facebook page and YouTube channel, which currently boast a library of over 300 action-packed event videos, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

 

2022 SVRA/SpeedTour Schedule

 

1.     Auto Club-February 4-6

2.     Sebring-February 24-27

3.     Charlotte-March 17-20

4.     Road Atlanta-March 24- 27

5.     NOLA-April 8-10

6.     Laguna Seca-April 21-24

7.     Sonoma-April-28-May 1

8.     Road America-May 19-22

9.     Lime Rock-May 27-30

10. Ridge-June 10-12

11. Indianapolis Motor Speedway-June 16-19

12. Mid-Ohio-June 23-26

13. Portland-July 21-24

14. Watkins Glen-September 7-11

15. VIR-October 6-9

16. Utah Motorsport Campus-October 14-16

17. CoTA-November 3-6

Turn 3 Motorsport will head to New Jersey Motorsports Park this week for a triple race contest in both the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The 2.25-mile, 12-turn Thunderbolt Raceway road course will be home to the penultimate event of the season, and with six races taking place across the two series, there will be a significant amount of championship points at stake going into the weekend.
 
Indy Pro 2000 Championship // #3 James Roe // Topcon/Trintech
 
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park, especially after coming off such a strong weekend in St. Louis,” said James Roe. “I had a pole and win at this track in 2018, so it’s a favorite for me, and I’m hungry for more success. Our work will be cut out for us in testing to get the car where it needs to be, but I have no doubt the team will give me the tools to get the job done.”

James Roe in his #3 Topcon/Trintech Indy Pro 2000 car

Christian Weir // #32 R+L Carriers/Autobahn Country Club // USF2000 Championship

“I’m looking forward to great results this weekend,” said Christian Weir. “The team has been working very hard on preparing us drivers for this weekend, and I feel I will be able to build off of our last event at Mid-Ohio and get some good results. I felt fast testing at this track, so I’m hoping for the best in the races!”

Christian Weir in his #32 R+L Carriers/Autobahn Country Club USF2000 car

Josh Green // #33 JHG/Mark Green // USF2000 Championship

“We had a very successful two day test recently at this circuit, and I feel we have a strong package going into this weekend,” said Josh Green. “We all left the test very content with what was achieved, and I feel that – as well as the recent momentum with the first pole and near podium at Gateway for my teammate James Roe – we will carry that success into these final rounds of the championship. It’s been too long of a break, and I’m excited and ready to get back at it again!”

Josh Green in his #33 JHG/Mark Green USF2000 car

Dylan Christie // #34 DCR // USF2000 Championship

“I am excited to see how my preparation during the summer break pays off in this upcoming event at New Jersey Motorsports Park,” said Dylan Christie. “I have done a lot to make sure that I am mentally where I should be. I am approaching the weekend with confidence and am excited to put my abilities to the test.”

Dylan Christie in his #34 DCR USF2000 car

“New Jersey Motorsports Park will be our biggest race weekend so far this season,” said Team Owner Peter Dempsey. “We have a lot of races across the two series, and it’s going to be important that we work together as a team to maximize our potential. We had a good two day test here a few weeks back, so I’m looking forward to getting the event started and seeing where are come Friday. The last two events are always your final push of the season, and it’s important for the drivers that aren’t in the championship hunt to perform at their highest level. I feel the team is as well prepped for this weekend as we have ever been, and we will give our drivers the tools they need to go out and get the job done.”
 
Friday will be a pre-event test day followed by official practice, qualifying, and the first of three races in USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 on Saturday. Sunday will host another qualifying session and two more races for each of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires series. A full weekend schedule is detailed below.

Road to Indy TV
Live streaming for the event can be viewed worldwide on the Road to Indy TV app or on www.indypro2000.com / www.usf2000.com.
To stay up to date on Turn 3 Motorsport, follow the team on social media using the handle @turn3motorsport.
Professional off-road racer and Red Bull athlete Mia Chapman will make her return to short course racing as part of this year’s World Championship Off-Road Races at Crandon International Raceway over Labor Day weekend. Chapman will bring her traditional #37 to the Pro Lite class for the first time, carrying the red and black colors of Yokohama Tire, with additional support from Vision Wheel, Kicker, and Red Bull over the weekend.
 
“I’m so stoked to get back to Crandon and get behind the wheel of a Pro Lite for the first time!” said Chapman. “After running in the UTVs last year, I was determined to get back and take the next step forward this time around. I can’t thank my partners at Yokohama, Vision Wheel, and Kicker enough for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. This is going to be a blast, and I’m ready to make things happen on track!”
 
Before moving primarily to desert racing, the Florence, Arizona native cut her teeth in short course racing through her childhood and teenage years. With seven championships already under her belt in youth divisions by the age of 13, Chapman’s ascent continued with more victories and podiums after a step into Mod Karts. It was there that she became Red Bull’s first female four-wheel racing athlete in the United States, and a move into UTV racing in the desert came shortly thereafter.
 
Crandon is just the latest stop in Chapman’s unique 2021 campaign, which sees her primarily running in the Best in the Desert UTV Production class. Alongside that, Chapman also took part in Red Bull’s inaugural Mountain Scramble in Pennsylvania over Memorial Day weekend. She was also recently profiled in a Red Bulletin feature titled “Daughter of the Desert,” which can be found in the September 2021 edition of the magazine.
 
Leading up to the event, Chapman will be hard at work testing her Pro Lite over the coming weeks in preparation for her first start in the class. Be sure to follow @miaaa.chapman on Instagram for behind the scenes content before and during the race weekend, as well as all of Mia’s endeavors both in and out of the cockpit.
 
Mia Chapman is supported by Red Bull, R-N-R Steel, Yokohama, Kicker Performance Audio, Walker Evans Racing, Vision Wheel, Rigid Industries, Jim Beaver’s Down & Dirty Show Powered By Polaris RZR, Action Sports Canopies, Muzzys, Sparco, DynoJet, AiM Sports, Xtreme Racing Fabrication, and Rugged Radios. For more information on Mia Chapman and her off-road racing career, visit www.miachapman.com or follow Mia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 As we approach the month of September, it means one thing in terms of motor racing and as the NASCAR season approaches its play-off phase of competition, we will soon find out each of the 16 drivers who will advance their hopes of winning this year’s overall championship.

With just one more regular season race remaining, 15 of those 16 drivers that will be permitted a continued tilt at the title are already known and this means the final berth will be awarded at the Coke Zero Sugar 400.

While the race that will take place at the Daytona International Speedway at the end of August, is one that has generated a rather interesting subplot for the play-offs and one that sees just two drivers fighting over one remaining entry to the final 16.

As things stand going into events at Daytona, 16th place in the championship standings is currently in the possession of Matt DiBenedetto and if he can secure a better finish than Chris Buescher, he will be a part of the sweet sixteen.

Then again, it is not necessarily a better finish that is required on Saturday August 28th - if only because DiBenedetto currently possesses a 15-point lead over his nearest rival and therefore, race management may well come into play instead.

If Buescher cannot gain enough of an advantage and is unable to shake the No.21 entry from his rear-view mirrors, then it will not be the No.17 Mustang that does enough to secure the final play-off berth on offer.

Which means, it could be a case of win or as close to a win or bust for the 28-year-old Buescher and when you look at recent form going into the final round of the regular season, it looks as if form itself has evaded him.

That’s because recent improvements from the 30-year-old DiBenedetto have seen him earn two top-six finishes at both the Verizon 200 and the Firekeepers Casino 400 and it is this pair of results which have now put him in relative pole-position. 

Which means if you were someone who likes a NASCAR wager from time to time and were looking to use online sportsbooks on the market today, then a bet on who will finally secure a play-off berth is likely to be on your agenda.

A bet that would likely see you back the man who currently finds himself in 16th and when you consider the buffer of points that he has to rely on, it may need something incredibly impressive from Chris Buescher to get over the line.

With 40 points being on offer for a win, it would mean that if the man who at the time of writing is 17th in the standings picked up a sensational victory, he would then have to wait for his pit-crew to provide good news. News that comes in the shape of DiBenedetto finishing outside the top 12.

However, a win for the No.17 may be something of a rather tall order and when you consider that he is yet to record a top-five finish in 2021, suggesting a win is on the horizon at the Coke Zero Sugar 400, may be something akin to a hail Mary punt.

Of course, it is not just the battle for entry which will be of interest at Daytona, there is also the race win itself and when you consider the names that are currently at the top of the overall standings, the likes of Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin are likely to be in the mix once again for first place.

Going into the Coke Zero Sugar 400, it is Larson who is currently the lead driver in the overall standings and in terms of the current margin, the 29-year-old has 28-point lead that he can call his own.

Of course, that does not matter all that much, as the championship will not be decided in Daytona. However, a win at the famous racetrack would undoubtedly provide a huge momentum boost going into the next phase of the 2021 schedule.

Which means, not only will there be interest in who takes the chequered flag in the final regular season race of this year, the focus will also be placed on who out of Matt DiBenedetto and Chris Buescher does enough to secure entry to the play-offs.  

(Courtesy of FanGoSports)

Steve Torrence has now won at every track on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series circuit, finally solving Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday and picking up a memorable Top Fuel victory at the 39th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
 
Matt Hagan (Funny Car) also won at the 12th race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season
 
Torrence, the Top Fuel points leader and three-time defending world champ drove to his seventh victory in 2021 and 47th in his career, going 3.712-seconds at 323.74 mph in the final round in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster to beat Clay Millican, who went 3.729 at 320.05. Torrence had won at every stop on the NHRA series but Brainerd before the weekend, but impressed throughout eliminations on Sunday, beating Terry Totten and Justin Ashley to reach the final round. 
 
Both drivers had identical .052 reaction times on the starting line, but Torrence had just enough at the finish line to get the narrow victory and finish off the memorable weekend. Among active drivers, Torrence joins John Force and Ron Capps as the only current competitors who have won at every NHRA track. 
 
“I did everything possible to screw it up all the way until the final when I finally got my head out of my butt,” Torrence said. “That was a heck of a race against Clay and those guys are coming on strong right now. This team, they continue to save me when I need it, I help them when they need it, and we’re at the front and staying there. It’s just a blessing to be here and to have this opportunity is truly special. To say I’ve won every race on the circuit, I just remember dreaming of winning one race.”
 
Millican maintained his strong pace by advancing to his second straight final and third this season, beating Doug Kalitta, Mike Salinas and No. 1 qualifier Brittany Force, who remained second in points behind Torrence.
 
In Funny Car, defending world champ Hagan delivered time and time again on Sunday, capping off his day with a run of 3.923 at 327.98 in his 11,000-horsepower Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye in the final round to slip past Cruz Pedregon. It gave Hagan his second win this season and 38th in his standout career, also sending him to the points lead in the class. In the process, he became the fourth different driver to lead the points over the past four races. He knocked off Dale Creasy Jr., Paul Lee and No. 1 qualifier Bob Tasca to reach the final round. 
 
Hagan stayed in the low 3.90s all day in front of a huge crowd at Brainerd International Raceway and led wire-to-wire in the final round against Pedregon.
 
“We’re trying to get where we need to be and should be coming off a championship run last year,” Hagan said. “(Crew chief) Dickie Venables, you give that guy enough shots at the race track and he’s a bad man. I really just want to do my job up there. I really pride myself on leaving the starting line really well, and I think most of my competitors understand that. It’s just going to take everything. You’re going to have to leave well and race well, and right now we’re doing that.”
 
Pedregon, who went 3.935 at 324.83 in the championship round, reached the finals for the 78th time in his career and the second time this season thanks to wins against Gary Densham, Ron Capps and J.R. Todd. 
 
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action Sept. 1-5 for the prestigious 67th annual Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
 
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)
There appears to be no stopping Jose Gonzalez in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, as the points leader drove to his third straight win by knocking off Brandon Snider in the final round at Brainerd International Raceway.
 
The race, which was presented by Stinar, was the sixth of 11 events during the 2021 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service season, and Gonzalez strengthened his points lead and championship hopes by picking up his fourth win this year.
 
Gonzalez put on a show in NHRA Pro Mod’s first trip to Brainerd, finishing off his weekend with a run of 5.790-seconds at 246.03 mph in his ProCharger-powered Q80 Camaro to slip past Snider’s 5.812 at 247.29. Gonzalez was also a stellar .003 on the starting line as he earned his sixth career victory in the class. 
 
“When you have guys like Brandon Snider, Stevie Jackson and (Justin) Bond, and everybody who races in this class, you have to be on your game,” Gonzalez said. “They’re not going to cut you any (breaks), so as much as I can do, I try to do it for the team. But it’s not me — this win goes on the team. (Tuner) Steve Petty has had this car on rails since day one and it’s just been amazing. It’s amazing how I’m feeling right now.”
 
Gonzalez, who was also the No. 1 qualifier, reached the final round with victories against Doug Winters and Jackson, posting a .009 reaction time against Winters. With the class now in the second half of its 2021 season, Gonzalez inched closer to his first career NHRA Pro Mod world title.
 
Snider defeated Chad Green and Justin Bond to reach the final round for the second time this year and the fourth time in his career. He moved to second in points but trails Gonzalez by 93 points with five races remaining.
 
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service returns to action Sept. 1-5 as part of the Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. 
 

 

(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion that concluded August 15 annually recognizes the camaraderie of the gathering, and accomplishments of the drivers and their cars above all else. It is not about winning, but about sharing their authentic cars’ history with others and enjoying them safely at speed.
 
This year’s award recipients epitomize the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion’s
tenet of excellence.
 
The Spirit of Monterey - This award is presented to the driver or entrant who excels in the weekend and embraces the spirit of the event.
 
Recipient: Brian Ferrin for his 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302
 
 
The Rolex Awards – Rolex is a longtime supporter of major international sporting events. The Rolex Awards are presented to a driver who represents Overall Excellence in each afternoon Rolex race.
 
Group 1A: 1951-1961 Sports Racing – Nicholas Colonna in his 1958 Devin SS
 
Group 1B: 1955-1964 GT – Steve Schmidt in his 1958 Porsche 356 Speedster
 
Group 2A: 1963-1966 GT over 2500cc – Gay Bentley in her 1966 Chevrolet Corvette
 
Group 2B: 1961-1966 GT cars under 2500cc – Michael Malone in his 1965 Lotus 26R
 
Group 3A: 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA, GT, GTX AAGT GTU – Carlos de Quesada in his 1979 Porsche 935K3
 
Group 3B: 1920-1951 Racing cars – Luca Maciucesu in his 1928 Bugatti 37A
 
Group 4A: 1947-1955 Sports Racing & GT – Rob Manson in his 1953 Kurtis 500S
 
Group 4B: Ragtime Racers – Brian Blain for recreating a 1920s garage and driving his 1916 Romano-Sturtevant Special
 
Group 5A: 1966-1985 Formula One – Lee Mowle in his 1977 Lotus 78/2
 
Group 5B: FIA Manufacturers Championship – David Hagan in his 1967 Porsche 910
 
Group 6A: 1966-1972 Trans-Am – Forrest Straight in his 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302
 
Group 6B: Masters Endurance Legends – Wally Owens in his 2007 Porsche Crawford DP
 
Group 7A: 1963-1978 Indy Car – Michael McKinney in his 1967 Vollstedt Indy Car
 
Group 8A: 1981-1991 IMSA GTP, GTO, Trans-Am, Group C - Joe Robillard in his 1984 Porsche 962
 
 
Phil Remington Award, Presented by Ford – This is awarded to the mechanic who unselfishly went above and beyond. The trophy bears a “slapper” tool that Phil made from an old Ford leaf spring. It’s illustrative of his innovative skill that is celebrated each year.
 
Recipient: John Schirtzer
 
 
Bonhams Award: The Passion Spirt – Presented by Bonhams in a category up to 1500cc
 
Recipient: Dennis Adair in his 1955 Elva Mk I Sports Racer
 
 
Peter Giddings Memorial Award – Sponsored by the Giddings Team, this is in memory of longtime pre-war class participant and a friend to many drivers. It is presented to an individual with a passion for the sport, supportive of fellow competitors, knowledgeable of the cars and is keen on preserving the future of pre-war racing.
 
Recipient: Paddins Dowling in his 1934 ERA R2A
 
 
Ken Miles Award – Sponsored by HMSA, this award is presented to an individual who has the best representation of a vintage car under 1500cc.
 
Recipient: Ben Wysard in his 1952 Porsche Glockler
 
 
John Lamm Memorial – In recognition of longtime friend of the event since its inception in 1974, this award is presented by Road & Track for the most photographic car. 
 
Recipient: Ned Spieker in his 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB
 
 
Motul Most Significant Car – Presented to the Indy Car with the most significant racing history.
 
Recipient: Bruce McCaw for his 1964 Lotus Type 34
 
 
Henry Ford Trophy – Presented to the most significant Ford-powered entry
 
Recipient: Chris Liebenberg in his 1970 Ford Mustang Boss originally driven by George Follmer
 
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion concluded with announcing the world’s most prestigious endurance race—the 24 Hours of Le Mans—will be the featured marque as the kick-off to the French classic’s 100th anniversary in 2023.
 
For the latest news and updates, visit WeatherTechRaceway.com or follow Facebook.com/WeatherTechRaceway.

 

(Courtesy of WeatherTech Raceway)

By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
It was a year late and short of the goal, but the 24 Hours of Le Mans debut of Corvette’s mid-engine C8.R was deemed successful after its runner-up finish Sunday.
 
Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg piloted the No. 63 Corvette Racing entry to second place in the GTE Pro class in the 89th running of the 24-hour race in France. They were one of several teams and drivers with ties to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to finish on the podium in the famed endurance race.
 
The result wasn’t what Corvette, which has won at Le Mans eight times, was expecting.
 
"I don't know if I prefer to be two seconds, 10 seconds, 40 seconds or three laps back – I think it hurts the same,” said Garcia, whose team battled closely before finishing 41.686 seconds behind the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari co-driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Côme Ledogar in GTE Pro.
 
“I must say it does hurt a little bit," Garcia said. "When you come so close, it's difficult. But when you do your best, you run almost a perfect race and someone else does it a little better than you, you have to congratulate them.”
 
The Le Mans debut of the C8.R originally was planned for 2020 but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its 21st appearance at Circuit de la Sarthe, Corvette Racing still finished on the podium.
 
“To be on the podium at Le Mans with the C8.R is very gratifying,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance and Motorsports. “It's a testament to the hard work and determination of our Corvette production and racing teams.”
 
The Corvette entry wasn’t alone among successful Le Mans competitors with IMSA ties. Kamui Kobayashi, a two-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner, and Mike Conway, an endurance specialist for Action Express Racing, scored their first Le Mans victories in spite of the threat of mechanical issues.
 
"We knew in the last six hours that there could be a problem with the car,” Conway said of the No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 Hybrid he shared with Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez for the Hypercar class and overall win. “Our progress was threatened by a technical problem, but the team found a solution. All the credit goes to the team. The race was not easy and the last hours were really stressful.”
 
Juan Pablo Montoya, Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman teamed to win the Le Mans Prototype 2 ProAm class in the No. 21 Dragonspeed USA ORECA 07 Gibson. Montoya won the 2019 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class championship in the WeatherTech Championship, while Hanley and Hedman were 2020 Rolex 24 LMP2 winners.
 
“The three of us have a really nice chemistry,” Montoya said. “We did a good job, all three of us. Our job is to beat the pros and Henrik’s is to beat the ams, and he did that."
 
Pier Guidi, who won the Rolex 24 in 2015 and Motul Petit Le Mans in 2019, teamed with Calado, a two-time Petit Le Mans winner, in the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO that beat the No. 63 Corvette in GTE Pro.
 
“It wasn’t easy at all,” Pier Guidi said. “We pushed like crazy from the very first moment. The conditions weren't easy at the start: with slow zones and safety cars, it’s important to keep the advantage. Then there was the weather; it rained at the start and during the night. Also, Corvette was super quick, but we expected that.”
 
Ben Keating, who leads the WeatherTech Championship LMP2 standings, and Felipe Fraga, who has three wins in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class this year, teamed with Dylan Pereira to finish second in GTE Am class in the No. 33 TF Sport Aston Martin.
 
The WeatherTech Championship resumes Sept. 10-12 with the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
 Cadillac became the latest manufacturer to join the next generation of prototype racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, announcing Tuesday it is developing a car to compete in the Le Mans Daytona h (LMDh) class that debuts in 2023.
 
Cadillac joins Acura, Audi, BMW and Porsche on the list of manufacturers developing LMDh entries for competition. Through an agreement announced last month among IMSA, the Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO) and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), beginning in 2023, LMDh cars will compete alongside Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) entries in the top-tier class of the WeatherTech Championship, replacing the current Daytona Prototype international (DPi) category.
 
LMDh and LMH cars will also make up the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, allowing manufacturers to race in both series should they choose. Cadillac officials confirmed Tuesday that it will have cars in both the WeatherTech Championship and the FIA WEC.
 
“We are excited to compete at the top level of international motorsport in the LMDh class beginning in 2023,” said Rory Harvey, Cadillac Global Vice President. “Like motorsport, Cadillac is making the transition into a future driven by alternative propulsion. The hybrid nature of the LMDh rules will help us to bridge our technology transfer to our all-electric future.
 
“We are excited to carry forward our success and continue to transfer our learnings and technology from the track to our production vehicles. We have had great success with the championship-winning Cadillac DPi-V.R and look forward to building on that record into the future with the next generation Cadillac LMDh.”
 
Cadillac will partner on development of its LMDh chassis with Dallara, the constructor for the current Cadillac DPi-V.R competing in the WeatherTech Championship. Cadillac swept the driver, team and manufacturer championships in 2017 and ’18, compiled four straight wins in the Rolex 24 At Daytona (2017-2020) and leads the 2021 DPi manufacturer battle on the strength of four race wins thus far.
 
Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing, two of Cadillac’s current DPi teams, will continue in that role in the LMDh era. The Cadillac LMDh will make its competition debut at the Rolex 24 in January 2023, with the objective of participating at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
 
“The IMSA LMDh category is looking to be very competitive with multiple manufacturers,” said Gary Nelson, Action Express Racing team manager. “We’ve had a lot of success running the Cadillac DPi-V.R as one of the original teams since 2017, and we are looking forward to being a part of the next chapter of Cadillac Racing.”
 
“We are looking forward to the new international prototype formula and running the Cadillac LMDh,” team owner Chip Ganassi said. “We have had a great relationship across three different racing disciplines with GM, and we are looking forward to developing the car with Cadillac and Dallara over the next year and a half.”
 
Announced in January 2020 as a shared platform between IMSA and the ACO, LMDh is based on a cost-capped car that will generate more than 670 horsepower (500 kilowatts) from the combined output of an internal combustion engine and a hybrid powertrain.
 
The standardized LMDh chassis will be built by one of the approved constructors (Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and ORECA), with competing automobile manufacturers open to developing their own branded engine and stylized bodywork. Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac will work in concert to provide the spec hybrid powertrain system for all LMDh cars.
 
IMSA President John Doonan lauded the addition of a fifth manufacturer to the forward-thinking LMDh category.
 
“Cadillac’s decision to continue its successful IMSA prototype program further validates the LMDh platform,” Doonan said. “The combination of cost-effectiveness, technical relevance and the ability to compete for overall victories in the world’s most important endurance races has clearly resonated with five manufacturers so far, with even more expected in the future.
 
“Cadillac already owns a tremendous legacy in sports car racing, especially over the past four years in the WeatherTech Championship,” Doonan added. “If the launch of Cadillac’s DPi program in 2017 is any indication, we’d expect that the new Cadillac LMDh prototype will be a top contender right from the first race at Daytona in 2023.”
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