IndyCars - The off-season: Series news and comment until the March 2014 kick-off


#125

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Sunday at Road America - the Porsche guys hold race 2 of their weekend…

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For the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA guys the podium for Race 2 looks exactly like the podium for Race 1 on the top and 3rd spot, but the middle position was different. The WINNER was once again Canada’s Zacharie Robichon, from pole for Moorespeed as he filled in again for Will Hardeman. P2 was German David Kolkmann for Park Place Motorsports and P3 was once again IndyCar guy Trenton Estep for JDX Racing.

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Left to right, David Kolkmann in P2, Zacharie Robichin in P1 and Trenton Estep in P3

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Robichon, who is new to Moorespeed this weekend, says he benefited greatly from the car set-up that he inherited from the team, as they WON both races at Road America last year, too, with Corey Fergus driving. Zacharie led from pole to checkers and was never chalenged. The real battling was behind him. Kolkmann, who started from P6, carved his way past everyone in front of him until he battled mid-race for P2 with Anthony Imperato for Wright Motorsports. After taking him, Imperato began to drop and ended the race P5.

Late in the race Trenton Estep mounted a charge on Kolkmann and was closing, but ran out of time. He did finish once again in front of Roman de Angelis in P4 and that increased his points lead over the Kelly-Moss Road & Race driver by a few more points.

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Notable:

  • It looks like Robichon will be in the car to the end of the season, as Hardemann has indicated he will not be able to return for Moorespeed. Zacharie is currently leading the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series and will also complete that championship. He is too far out of the points battle to be a factor in Cup USA.

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With this result, here are the TOP FIVE in points leaving Road America:

1 - Trenton Estep 316
2 - Roman de Angelis 299
3 - David Kolkmann 284
4 - Maxwell Root 260
5 - Anthony Imperato 258

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The next outings for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA will be at VIRginia International Raceway, to support the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR weekend, Aug 17-19

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#126

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Sunday at Road America - The WeatherTech gang race!..

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…and it ended up with a lot of carbon fiber left on the track with several hard knocks dealt out by participants and a few self-inflicted wounds, to boot.

In the end the WINNERS in the P class and overall were Colin Braun and Jon Bennett in the # 54 CORE Autosport ORECA 07 LMP2 - their 2nd WIN in a row, following their victory at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in early July. P2 were Stephen Simpson and Mischa Goikhberg in the # 99 ORECA for JDC-Miller Motorsports, while P3 went to Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran in the # 31 Cadillac DPi V.R.for Action Express.

The CORE car was able to last to the end as the # 10 Cadillac for Wayne Taylor Racing, leading at the time, had to dive in for fuel late in the race. Colin Braun was NOT able to complete his cool-down lap after taking the checkers, as he ran out of fuel.

CORE Autosport WINS a fuel-mileage battle

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In the GTLM class it was another fuel situation as the # 25 BMW M8 GTE for Team BMW RLL, driven by Pro Mazda alum Connor de Phillippe, led the last part of the race and looked to be poised for their first WIN of the season when he too ran out of fuel. Inheriting the lead and the WIN in class was Richard Westbeook in the # 67 Ford GT that he and IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe drive for Ford Chip Ganassi. P2 was the # 4 Corvette C.7R with Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin while P3 went to the other 'Vette, the # 3 with Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen.

The WINNING Ford GT had Richard Westbrook take it home for Ford Chip Ganassi

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In the GTD class it was less the fuel race and more a real battle with a lot of rubbing and a lot of damage. No one seemed to come away unscarred. On the final lap the battling intensified, sending Andy Lally in the # 44 Audi R8 LMS GT3 he and John Potter drive for Magnus Racing hard into the wall in Turn 13. Andy was okay. The WINNERS - their first WIN of the year - were Patrick Long and Christina Nielsen in the # 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Wright Motorsports. P2 was the points-leading # 48 Lamboghini Huracan for Paul Miller Racing driven by Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow. P3 was the # 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 with Cooper MacNeil and Alessandro Pier Guidi, who was in the car at the end, driving for Scuderia Corsa.

The battle-scarred WINNERS in GTD class, the # 58 Porsche for Wright Motorsports

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The next outings for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be at VIRginia International Raceway for the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, Aug 17-19, which will be only for the GTLM class and the GTD class.

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#127

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Katie Harghitt gets you “Up to Speed” with Alexander Rossi’s WIN at Mid-Ohio,

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#128

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It’s OUT! Mazda Road to Indy TV does Mid-Ohio…

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Hosts Tony Laporta and Rob Howden cover the big MRTI weekend at Mid-Ohio, with its two races for each of Pro Mazda abd Indy Lights and three races for USF2000. It was epic.

Tony starts the episode with a “Driver vs. Tony” segment with the pride of Guyana, Calvin Ming, who had a podium weekend in USF2000. Tony and Rob then recount generally the racing in all three series.

Following that Tony does “False Grid, True Talk” about high school days with 3 of the 4 “Speed Boys” from Pabst Racing - Lucas Kohl, Rasmus Lindh and Calvin Ming - Sting Ray Robb from Team Pelfrey, Keith Donegan from BN Racing, Parker Thompson from Exclusive Autosport and David Malukas from BN Racing. Tony then asks Lights driver Victor Franzoni to sing acapella - he won’t. Then Lights drivers Pato O’Ward and Ryan Norman to sing - they will.

Rob closes out the episode with some nice insider stuff, including a scoop about a mysterious karter on their way to USF2000 for Portland.

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#129

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Mystery karter revealed - it’s Braden Eves!

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In Episode 10 of Mazda Road to Indy TV (post above) Rob Howden mentions a mystery karter who will contest the two USF2000 races at Portland - the series finales. It turns out to be Braden Eves, who is one of the ten Team USA Scholarship selectees. (see post # 87).
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Braden Eves

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The 19-year-old is currently an F4 United States competitor and drove to 2 WINS and a P2 at the big Pittsburgh International Racing Complex weekend, just completed, driving in F1600. Braden will drive a Tatuus USF-17 in both finales at Portland for Newman Wachs Racing.

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Welcome to the fray, Braden!

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#130

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Last weekend, our Champion acted like a Champion, again…

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Kyle Kirkwood, who took the 2018 USF2000 title in Mid-Ohio the weekend before, spent last weekend at Pittsburgh International Racing Complex running the inaugural 3 races of the new F3 Americas cars for the Honda-engine-based series that will be the step up from FIA F4 United States in 2019. The car is comparable to Pro Mazda in power and performance.The debut was part of the big Keystone Speedfest that also featured F4 US, Formula Atlantic, F1600 and F2000.

Kirkwood, who was also the FIA F4 US Champion in 2017, went out and promptly WON all three races. In these first three events there were only 4 cars running. The other three were driven by Baltazar Leguizamon, Peter Portante and JP Southern. Baltazar was P2 in all 3 races while Peter took one of the P3s and John Paul took the other two.

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Kyle Kirwood in his new F3 Americas car for Abel Motorsports - 3 WINS.

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The Race 2 podium, left to right: Baltazar Leguizamon in P2, Kyle Kirkwood in P1 and Peter Portante in P3:

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F3 Americas should run again this coming weekend for the Mid-Ohio Challenge with the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Aug. 9-11, followed by New Jersey Motorsports Park for a formula-packed weekend with F4 US and FRP, Sept. 13-14.

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#131

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Katie Hargitt gets you “Up to Speed” with Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay…

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#132

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Kyle Kirkwood can do no wrong at Mid-Ohio, it seems…

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Following a beat-down at Pittsburgh International Race Complex a weekend ago, where Kyle Kirkwood took the three debut races of the new SCCA F3 Americas series, (see post # 107) he has done it again in an even more dominant fashion, as Kirkwood took all three races this weekend at Mid-Ohio in F3 Americas, as well as Fastest Lap, most laps led and pole for all three races - maximum possible points.

Driving for Abel Motorsports, Kirkwood’s victories were both in the dry and in the rain. P2 in Race 1 and Race 2 this weekend was Benjamin Pedersen for Global Racing Group. P3 in those races was Pedersen’s teammate, Baltazar Leguizamon. In Race 3 Leguizamon was P2 and Pedersen was P3.

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Kirkwood leads the small field at Mid-Ohio - all weekend long.

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The field in the 2nd weekend of the series was as small as it was at Pittsburgh, with only 4 cars racing, the 4th being John Paul Southern. While Pedersen was the new guy this weekend, dropping off the field was Peter Portante, who drove at Pitt.

With these wins, Kirkwood, the 2017 F4 United States Champion and already the 2018 USF2000 Champion, has 15 WINS in a row with 6 from F3 Americas and 9 with USF2000. Add in one more early season WIN for Kirkwood in USF2000 and that is 16 race WINS so far for the young American in 2018. He wants to hold the F4 United States Championship, the USF2000 Championship and the F3 Americas Championship, all within 1 year, and he is on track to do it.

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The podium for Race 1 (Race 2 looks the same) - that’s Denmark’s Benjamin Pedersen in P2 on the left, Floridian Kyle Kirkwood in P1 in the middle and Brazil’s Baltazar Leguizamon on the right in P3:

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The next 3 races for the F3 Americas series will be at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Sept. 14-16, in support of the F4 US Championship event. This will be AFTER the 2018 USF2000 series concludes at Portland on Sept 1-2, so there is no conflict, and Kyle has a chance to take 12 race WINS in USF2000, matching the all-time record.

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#133

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It looks like Tony Stewart is heading back to Indy…

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…if he is to be believed. It could happen as soon as 2019 and it could be in a ride with Team Penske.

On Thursday the veteran multi-discipline driver made it known he wants to return to the Speedway for the 500 for the first time since his last effort in 2001. He also wants to run at least one tune-up race in the IndyCar series before a 500 effort.

Tony Stewart

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The Penske connection comes in because in 2012 Roger Penske told Tony that he would be happy to enter him at the 500 anytime. Stewart has made if clear he isn’t interested in a sideshow. He wants to WIN and that means he wants to drive a great car.

In 2019 Penske is already going to run Will Power (the 2018 WINNER) Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves at Indianapolis. It would be difficult - but not impossible - for him to run a 5th car, but he is still game for it, if Tony comes through. The real question is can Tony FIT into an IndyCar, these days and what is he willing to do to make that happen?

Roger Penske

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To add to the fun, it is also true that Stewart has his eyes on a new prize for him, too - Le Mans. Stay tuned!

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#134

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It’s a done deal!..Scott Dixon to re-up with Chip Ganassi for 2019…

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The Silly Season started early this year with the rumor that Scott Dixon, whose contract with Ganassi is up at the end of this season, was being wooed for a seat on the potential new McLaren-Andretti IndyCar team. Roger Penske apparently ALSO made an offer to the Kiwi great to snag him, too - possibly replacing Simon Pagenaud, who is in a bit of a struggle with the new car.
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Scott Dixon

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It now looks instead like Scott will re-up with Chip Ganassi Racing, for which he has driven almost exclusively during his stellar IndyCar career. The deal is apparently going to be for 1 year only and is rumored to be in the 8 million dollar range for that year.

So, why just one year? Because the McLaren effort, which looks on hold for 2019, MAY still come to fruition in 2020 and Scott will be able to get even MORE from them at that time. He may also be teamed with Fernando Alonso - aka “Fred” to his IndyCar friends - and with a Honda engine. An Alonso / Dixon team - even a new team - would be a potential Championship contender immediately.

Fernando Alonso

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Dixon should be making his announcement on Monday morning. The New Zealander is the current points leader with a 46-point edge on Andretti’s Alexander Rossi, and 4 races left in the season. Dixon is shooting for his 5th Championship, while Rossi is going for his 1st.

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#135

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Scott Dixon deal revealed…but the details are NOT…

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Scott Dixon has indeed inked a new deal with Chip Ganassi Racing but the details of the deal have not been made public - with the exception that it is a MULTI-YEAR deal and that means that Dixon will NOT be moving to a possible McLaren IndyCar team in 2020. He’s staying with Chip. This takes Dixon totally out of any Silly Season rumors, however.

Scott Dixon (left) and Chip Ganassi

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While Dixon fades from the spotlight the shine now adjusts once again on Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, who sent out a cryptic tweet today, featuring a date and a movie reel countdown:

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This is a pretty good indication that Alonso will be making his own plans known on August 14th - Tuesday. If he announces a move to IndyCar then a McLaren IndyCar team will likely be his entry point. The only question then becomes will he enter in 2019?

Fernando Alonso

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Stay tuned!

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#136

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It looks like ZCD gets to do the ovals for Harding Racing…

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We thought that Canadian Zachary Claman DeMelo was done for the season, having filled in for injured Pietro Fittipaldi at Dale Coyne Racing at both the Indianapolis Grand Prix and Texas, and thus giving Pietro his scheduled rides at Pocono and Gateway, in exchange.

But word has come out that the 19-year-old Indy Lights veteran will do Pocono and Gateway for Harding Racing, instead, switching from a Honda to a Chevy-powered car. Harding took season-regular Gabby Chaves out of the car for Toronto and Mid-Ohio, using Conor Daly instead. Harding also announced that they would be trying out some Indy Lights drivers this season as well, in anticipation of fielding a 2nd car in 2019, and ZCD is apparently one of them.

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Zachary Claman DeMelo - still driving

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Of the 9 races he has driven for Coyne this season, Zachary’s best finish has been a P12 at the Indianapolis Grand Prix. He has shown consistency and care for the machinery, bringing the Coyne car back as pristine as possible. The two outings for Harding would make at least 11 starts this season for the Montreal native, in preparation for a full season in 2019 which he and his sponsors are shooting for. The only question is with which team?

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With his races at both Texas and the Indy 500 under him, DeMelo should be prepared for the last two ovals of the season. Good luck, Zachary!

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#137

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Scratch that post above…or at least let’s amend it…

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It appears that Harding Racing has decided that the “Tricky Triangle” we know as Pocono may be TOO tricky for a rookie, like Zachary Claman DeMelo, and have today opted to return veteran Conor Daly to the car for the next round this weekend at Long Pond, Pennsylvania. This will be Conor’s 3rd outing in a row in the # 88 Chevrolet.

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Conor Daly

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Claman DeMelo will likely still get two rides in the car but they will probably be at Gateway and Portland, rather than Gateway and Pocono. No word yet on who will do the season finale at Sonoma.

Zachary Claman DeMelo

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Following his duties at the Tricky Triangle, Daly will jump into the # 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing on the following weekend, as he debuts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Road America, where he could be a sleeper - a road-course specialist who well knows Elkhart Lake. It should be fun for him.
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#138

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It’s OVER. Fernando Alonso will be leaving Formula One…

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…at the end of the 2018 season. Today the 37-year-old two-time Formula One Champion, currently driving for McLaren, announced that he will be retiring from F1 competition, with a record of 32 WINS, 97 podiums and 22 poles, BUT he did not say if he will be retiring from racing - Probably NOT.

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Fernando Alonso

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Alonso has many times expressed a desire to do the racing “Triple Crown” with success - winning at Monoco, at Le Mans and at the Indy 500. He has bagged Monaco in the past and this year bagged Le Mans, but wants that WIN at Indy he nearly got in 2017. He has enjoyed his recent racing efforts in IMSA (Daytona, 2018) and in the WEC (Le Mans) and may want more.

Whether he retires completely, or joins in on IndyCar, IMSA or the WEC - or any combination of the three - is as yet unannounced. IndyCar CEO Mark Miles would certainly welcome him in IndyCar - either for just another shot at the Indy 500 OR for a full season. Along those lines Miles has let it be known that McLaren boss Zak Brown’s efforts to start up a full-season IndyCar squad in 2019 are far from dead and STILL in the works and that should they do it, Alonso would be a natural fit for it.

Mark Miles (left) and Zak Brown

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Brown is already a partner with Michael Andretti in Supercars with the team Walkinshaw Andretti United, and the two partnered for the 2017 shot at the Indy 500 for Alonso, so an Andretti / McLaren satellite team is the most logical, but Andretti has said McLaren needs to make up their minds THIS WEEK if a 2019 effort is to happen with him. Stay tuned!

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#139

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This weekend, IMSA heads to VIR to do the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR…

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VIRginia International Raceway will host a weekend of racing that will include the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM class and GTD class, the Continental Tire Sportstcar Challenge - all classes - the IMSA Prototype Challenge series, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Lamborghini Super Trofeo, and that means a lot of IndyCar folks will be involved.

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Let’s see who they are, starting with the WeatherTech GTLM class:

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Pro Mazda alum Connor de Phillippe will be driving the # 25 BMW M8 GTE for BMW RLL with co-driver Alexander Sims .

Connor de Phillippe

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IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe will co-drive the # 67 Ford GT with Richard Westbrook for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. Ryan and Richard are the current points leaders in GTLM, by 4 points over Corvette boys Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia.

Ryan Briscoe

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In the GTD class, IndyCar driver Jack Hawksworth will share the # 15 Lexus RCF GT3 with David Heinemeier Hansson for Paul Gentilozzi’s 3GT Racing.

Jack Hawksworth

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Also in GTD, IndyCar driver Katherine Legge and co-driver fill-in Mario Farnbacher will campaign the # 86 Acura NSX GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing. Katherine is 2nd in the points in the GTD class.

Katherine Legge

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In the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge we will have 2 guys:

In the Grand Sport class USF2000 alum and Porsche Cup Champion Jesse Lazare will be in the # 69 McLaren GT4 with Corey Fergus for Motorsports in Action.

Jesse Lazare

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In the Touring Car class Pro Mazda alum and paraplegic Michael Johnson will drive the # 54 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for JDC-Miller Motorsports, utilizing hand controls. MJ’s co-driver is Stephen Simpson. Mike and Stephen have collected 4 podiums in a row, including a WIN. They’ll be shooting for another WIN at VIR.

Michael Johnson

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There are a lot of Mazda Road to Indy alums and even current drivers in IMSA Prototype Challenge. Starting with LMP3 class they will be:

Pro Mazda alum Max Hanratty will co-driver the # 3 Ligier JS P3 with Benjamin Waddell and for Extreme Speed Motorsports.

Max Hanratty

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Current Pro Mazda driver Kris Wright will co-drive the # 30 Ligier JS P3 for Extreme Speed Motorsports with Stephen Simpson - yup, the same guy who drives with Michael Johnson in CTSC. This will be the first time this season that Kris will have a co-driver. Wright is the series points leader.

Kris Wright

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USF2000 alum Austin McCusker and Pro Mazda alum TJ Fischer are the squad in the # 47 Norma M30 for Forty 7 Motorsports.

Austin McCusker (left) and TJ Fischer

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In the MPC class USF2000 alum Tazio Ottis will share the # 28 Elan DP02 with Brad Wolf for Wolf Motorsports

Tazio Ottis

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Also in MPC, Indy Lights alum James French will co-drive the # 77 Elan with Howard Jacobs for Performance Tech Motorsports. James in coming off a WIN in the series at the last outing at CTMP in Canada.

James French

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Finally, in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA the points leader is Mazda Road to Indy Shootout finalist Trenton Estep, driving the # 3 Porsche for JDX Racing.

Trenton Estep

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Friday will be a day of practice for all…

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#140

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Friday at VIR - The weatehrTech gang hold practice…

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…Two of 'em, in fact and we have the results for the TOP THREE of each class. In BOTH classes the fastest laps of the top three were turned in during the P-2 session in the afternoon.

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In GTLM class the HOT SHOE was Jan Magnussen in the # 3 Corvette C7.R for Corvette Racing with a time of 01:41.743s for a speed of 115.702mph. Jan beat out IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe in the # 67 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi by a healthy 0.519 seconds. P3 was the other "Vette, the # 4 driven by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, with Oli in it during P-2. Antonio Garcia is Jan’s co-driver and Richard Westbrook shares the Ford with Ryan.

Corvette TOPS for the day

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In the GTD class the TOP TIME for the day was turned in by Jeroen Bleekemolen the # 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 by a MERE 0.001 seconds over Turner Motorsport driver Bill Auberlen, driving the # 96 BMW M6 GT3. Jeoren turned in a time of 01:44.865s for a speed of 112.258mph. P3 was Patrick Long in the # 58 Poesche 911 GT3 R he shares with Chrsitina Nielsen. Jeroen’s co-driver is Ben Keating while Bill is sharing the Bimmer with Robby Foley.

GTD rabbit Jeoren Bleekemolen

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The WeatherTech gang will hold another practice in the morning and then qualify for Sunday’s race in the afternoon.

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#141

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Friday at VIR - The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge guys practice and qualify…

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The CTSC held all three practice sessions for all three classes today and then qualified for Saturday’s race. Here are the TOP THREE on the grids of each class:

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In the top Grand Sport class the fastest in practice all day long was Kyle Marcelli in the # 60 Roush Performance / KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4, but when it came time to qualify on the pole was Paul Holton in the # 76 McLaren GT4 he shares with Matt Plumb for Compass Racing. Paul’s time was 01:54.175s for a speed of 103.104mph. Paul bested Tyler McQuarrie in the # 39 Audi R8 for Carbahn Motorsports by 0.017 seconds. P3 on the grid will be the # 8 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 thanks to Patrick Gallagher. Co-driver in the # 39 is Jeff Westphal while ci-driver in the # 8 is Chad McCumbee.

On pole in GS class, Paul Holton

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In the Touring Car Class the rabbit in practice all day was Kuno Wittmer in the # 74 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for Compass Racing but pole was taken once again by Tom O’Gorman in the # 12 eEuropartsDotcom Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR with a time of 01:57.283s for a speed of 100.372mph. He got the better of Britt Casey Jr. in the # 77 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for Compass Racing by a TEENSY 0.007 seconds. P3 on the grid will be the # 74 Audi, thanks to Kuno’s co-driver Rodrigo Sales. Britt’s co-driver is Tom Long and Tom’s co-driver is Kenton Koch.

On pole in TCR class is Tom O’Gorman - 3rd consecutive

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In the Street Tuner class the HOT SHOE in practice all day was Mat Pombo in the # 73 Mini JCW for Mini JCW Team but the guy on pole is Nick Galante, taking his 6th consecutive ST-class pole in the # 81 BMW 328i for BimmerWorld Racing with a time of 02:04.987s for a speed of 94.185mph. Nick shares the car with Devin Jones. P2 on the grid will be 16-year-old Colin Mullan - one of the 10 2018 Team USA Scholarship finalists - in the # 52 Mini JCW for Mini JCW Team that he shares with Mark Pombo. P3 will be Jason Rabe in the car he shares with Max Faulkner, the # 21 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman.

Nick Galante - yet ANOTHER ST class pole

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The CTSC race will be on Saturday, in the early afternoon.

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#142

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Friday at VIR - The IMSA Prototype Challenge series and the Porsche boys practice…

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Both classes of the IPC series held two practice sessions today and we have the TOP THREE of each class for the day.

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In the top LMP3 class the best of the day was Scott Andrews in the # 51 Ligier JS P3 that he shares with Rob Hodes. They drive for K2R Motorsports. Scott’s best time was in the P-2 session, a 01:42.734s for a speed of 114.586mph. he bested Stephen Simpson in the # 30 Ligier JS P3 for Extreme Speed Motorsports by 0.493 seconds. Stephen shares the car with Pro Mazda driver Kris Wright, the current points leader in LMP3. P3 on the day was Zacharie Robichon in the # 4 Ligier JS P3 for ANSA Motorsports. Zacharie, who is killing it in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, is trying out prototypes, this weekend. His fast time was in the P-1 session and he is sharing the car with Dean Baker.

Tops in LMP3, the K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3.

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In the MPC class the TOP DAWG on the day was Kyle Masson in the # 1 Elan DP02 for Performance Tech Motorsports. His time was 01:47.032s for a speed of 109.985mph. Kyle shares the car with his dad, Dr. Robert Masson. He did his thing in the P-1 session and bested Michal Clumechy in the # 31 Elan for Eurosport Racing by 1.795 seconds. Michal drives alone in the car. P3 was also a P-1 session time, posted by USF2000 alum Tazio Ottis in the # 28 Elan for Wolf Motorsport that he shares with Brad Wolf.

The Massons are HOT in the PerfTech Elan DP02.

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Finally, we’ll take a look at the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA practice sessions - also two sessions on the day. Here are the TOP THREE:

Topping the day with a time from the P-1 session was Ottawa’s Zacharie Robichon in the # 19 Porsche for Moorespeed. Zacharie is the current points leader in Porsche Cup Canada but he has been enlisted to finish the season that Will Hardeman started in Porsche Cup USA at Moorespeed, as Will is out with family problems. Zacharie bested the current Porsche Cup USA points-leader, Trenton Estep, by 0.495 seconds. Trenton, the IndyCar guy in the field, drives the # 3 for JDX Racing. P3 was Anthony Imperato in the # 91 for Wright Motorsports.

Zacharie Robichon is hot in BOTH Porsche GT3 Cups and IMSA Prototype Challenge.

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Both IMSA Prototype Challenge and Porsche Cup will qualify on Saturday, then IPC will hold their one race of the weekend and Porsche Cup will hold Race 1 of two races they will do, this weekend.

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#143

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Saturday morning at VIR - The Porsche GT3 Cup guys qualify…

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…and taking the pole for the first of two races on the weekend will be Zacharie Robichon driving the # 19 Porsche 991 for Moorespeed, with a time of 01:48.191s for a speed of 108.807mph. P2 will be Maxwell Root in the # 7 for Wright Motorsports - off of Zacharie by 0.527 seconds. P3 will be Anthony Imperato for Wright Motorsports in the # 91, while P4 will be Trenton Estep in the # 3 for JDX Racing. P5 is going to be Roman de Angelis for Kelly-Moss Road & Race in the # 1 while David Kolkmann will start P6 in the # 71 for Park Place Motorsports.

The Race 1 starting line-up, in order:

Zacharie Robichon

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Maxwell Root

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Anthony Imperato

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Trenton Estep

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Roman de Angelis

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David Kolkmann

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Notable:

  • All six of these Platinum-class drivers are talented and any is capable of a WIN on any weekend, but Robichon is in a zone, right now, and will be hard to beat.

  • Robichon cannot take the title in Cup Challenge USA, as he started the season too late, just a few races ago, filling in for Will Hardeman. That battle is currently between points-leader Trenton Estep and Roman de Angelis.

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Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA will hold Race 1 a little later in the morning.

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#144

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Saturday morning at VIR - The WeatherTech gang hold final practice and then qualify…

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Both GT classes of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship held a final practice in the morning and then qualified in the mid-day for Sunday’s race. Here are the TOP THREE results for each class:

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For the GTLM class the rabbit in practice was Tommy Milner in the # 4 Corvette C7.R for Corvette Racing, but when it came time to qualify it was Richard Westbrook on pole in the # 67 Ford GT that he shares with IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe for Ford Chip Ganassi. Westbrook laid down a time of 01:55.580s for a speed of 101.851mph, besting Patrick Pilet in the # 911 Porsche 911 RSR for Porsche GT Team by 0.590 seconds. Patrick shares the car with Nick Tandy. P3 on the starting grid will be the # 24 BMW M8 GTE for BMW Team RLL, thanks to John Edwards. Co-driver is Alexander Sims.

"Westy" on the pole in GTLM class

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In the GTD class the HOT SHOE in the P-3 session was Kyle Marcelli in the # 14 Lexus RCF GT3 for 3GT Racing but when qualifying was over it was the OTHER Lexus - the # 15 - that was on pole, thanks to IndyCar driver Jack Hawksworth, who co-drives the car with David Heinemeier Hansson. Jack posted a time of 01:44.107s for a speed of 113.075mph, besting Jeroen Bleekemolen in the # 33 Mercedes AMG GT3 for Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports by 0.216 seconds. Ben Keating is the co-driver in that car. P3 on the grid will be the Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3, thanks to Bimmer legend Bill Auberlan, who shares the car with Rob Foley

"the Hawk" Jack Hawksworth on pole for Paul Genilozzi’s 3GT Racing

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The Weather Tech gang will race on Sunday.

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