Kenny Humpe of Charlotte, N.C. capped an impressive season of sim racing by claiming the 2015 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing.com™ championship, his first ever title in the premier NASCAR-sanctioned online racing series. The 24-year-old driver captured five wins and seven more top-10 finishes to best two-time champion Ray Alfalla for the title. … Read the Rest »
Mini driver Vaclav Pech found himself in the Rally Zlin lead after all the usual European Rally Championship frontrunners had near-simultaneous disasters on day one in the Czech Republic.Works Peugeot man Kevin Abbring led from factory Skoda driver Esapekka Lappi and the second 208 T16 of Craig Breen at the end of the opening loop, but all three then hit trouble on the Trojak stage that followed lunchtime service.Abbring’s car ground to a halt with a mechanical problem, while Lappi and Breen both crashed. Although Breen made it to the finish, his impact with a tree had caused terminal damage.That put Roman Kresta into a brief lead, only for an exhaust manifold problem to stop his Skoda one stage later.Even after Pech assumed first place, the attrition continued. His main rival Jaromir Tarabus was closing in until sliding off the road on SS7, losing nearly two minutes as spectators helped him rejoin.Sepp Wiegand picked up second in the remaining factory Skoda, but sustained a puncture on the day’s final stage.That would have cost him second to Tomas Kostka, had the Czech driver not lost his power steering on the same stage, meaning they remained second and third, only now a minute off leader Pech, and just ahead of Kajetan Kajetanowicz.That puts Wiegand on course to inherit the ERC championship lead, despite not winning a rally all year.WRC2 championship contender Ott Tanak, who won the previous ERC round in Estonia, is running only ninth
Honda’s preparations for the 2015 MotoGP season gained momentum on Wednesday as Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa sampled a prototype of next year’s bike at Brno.The Japanese manufacturer is currently staging a three-day private test at the Czech circuit and has brought an early example of its 2015 RC213V machine for the championship-leading duo to try out.Marquez was the first to complete laps on the test bike shortly after 11:30am local time, which came after he experienced his second crash in two days on his current factory Honda machine.The runaway points leader had taken a tumble at Turn 5, which was also the scene of his first fall on Tuesday, but he came away unharmed and went on to post 20 laps on the new iteration of the RC213V, which sported a black carbon livery.”The first impressions of the new bike are fairly good,” said Marquez.”Obviously there are positive things and not-so-positive things, but the first impression is satisfactory.”We put in similar times with the new bike to what we did with the current model, so we are happy.”Track conditions were slippery at Brno and Pedrosa managed just 16 laps on the 2015 bike, but the Spaniard was able to report positive aspects of the new machine as well as highlight areas in need of improvement.”The track didn’t have too much grip,” he said, “but we were able to put more kilometres under our belts and get a first impression of the new bike.”The new machine is still in its infancy, but we have some good ideas for when we next get a chance to test it at the end of the year.”
Reigning GTE class champion Johnny Mowlem will return to the European Le Mans Series in the prototype ranks with Greaves Motorsport at Paul Ricard later this month.Mowlem, who has been out of a ride since the closure of the Ram Ferrari team with which he and Matt Griffin claimed the title in 2013, will race one of the the Greaves Zytek-Nissan Z11SN LMP2s together with Matt McMurry and a yet-to-be-determined team-mate.The drive is a result of Mowlem’s links with the Dyson Racing team, which has signed 16-year-old McMurry to its new driver development programme and funds the #41 Greaves entry.Mowlem told AUTOSPORT: “Chris [Dyson, team boss] asked me if I was available because he is so busy with their Bentley programme in the Pirelli World Challenge.”I’m excited to be getting back in a Zytek for the first time in a few years.”Mowlem contested three American Le Mans Series events at the wheel of a Dyson Lola-Mazda B12/60 in 2012-13, finishing second at Virginia International Raceway in each year.Tom Kimber-Smith, who contested the first three ELMS races with Greaves, is not expected to race the car at Ricard.Mowlem has also been confirmed with the BAR1 Motorsports Prototype Challenge squad for the final two United SportsCar Championship rounds at Austin and Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans.BAR1 team owner Brian Alder, whose team has raced sporadically in PC this season, said: “We are delighted that a driver of Johnny’s quality and experience became available at this stage in the season.”We look forward to working with him over the final races and in particular at the final round at Petit Le Mans with a view to hopefully doing a full season together in 2015″.Team-mates for Mowlem at BAR1 are expected to be announced at the end of the week.
Audi led the Spa 24 Hours at three-quarters distance with the WRT R8 LMS ultra shared by Rene Rast, Markus Winkelhock and Laurens Vanthoor. Winkelhock held a 49-second advantage over the Marc VDS BMW Z4 in the hands of Lucas Luhr when the double-points round of the Blancpain Endurance Series hit the 18-hour mark
Nick Tandy claimed a dramatic victory on his return to the British GT Championship after Trackspeed Porsche team-mate Phil Keen suffered a late puncture at Brands Hatch.Porsche factory driver Tandy charged up to the tail of Keen, who had led for the entire second half of the race, but there was no time for team politics before tyre failure dropped Keen and team-mate Jon Minshaw out of the title fight.Motorbase Aston Martin Vantages completed the podium behind Tandy and his co-driver David Ashburn, with Michael Caine just holding off Rory Butcher at the flag.Caine’s team-mate Ahmad Al Harthy made the early running, making the most of rear brake issues for poleman Andrew Howard and a brief hesitation from Minshaw to take the lead on the opening lap.Al Harthy led the first hour with relative ease, fending off the early advances of Minshaw before handing over to Caine after a pair of safety cars in quick succession.They dropped behind the Porsche thanks to a success penalty for their podium at Spa-Francorchamps, with Caine rejoining five seconds behind Keen as the meat in a Trackspeed sandwich.Tandy, having taken over from Trackspeed boss Ashburn in the #31 car, had already made short work of Rory Butcher, who had taken over from Jeff Smith in third, and began to take chunks out of the gap to Caine, moving into second at Druids with about half an hour remaining.The gap to Keen was then eradicated swiftly, and with 10 minutes to go the team-mates were nose-to-tail heading onto the Grand Prix loop.When they emerged again at Clearways, Tandy had a clear lead – a left-rear puncture, believed to be the result of a failure on the inside sidewall, forcing Keen into the pits.As Tandy roared clear to win comfortably, Caine fought off a late charge from Butcher to hold second and give him and Al Harthy an outside shot of the title heading into the finale at Donington Park.The Motorbase duo will still require a nightmare for Marco Attard, who has assumed a commanding position with one race remaining.A solid first stint put Attard seventh, which Ecurie Ecosse team-mate Alexander Sims turned into fourth by the flag as he dragged the Barwell-run BMW Z4 past Alex MacDowall, Tom Onslow-Cole and Matt Griffin before the race’s end.Griffin held on to fifth ahead of MacDowall, while Keen grabbed ninth from British GT3 debutant Ryan Ratcliffe on the last lap.Last year’s champion Howard followed up his difficult start with contact with the Triple Eight BMW of Derek Johnston later on. Jonny Adam eventually finished 16th, putting them out of the title fight.In GT4, the Beechdean junior duo of Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings took a dominant victory, while Devon Modell and Andrew Jarman made it an Aston one-two ahead of Jamie Stanley and Paul McNeilly.Results – 77 laps: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1.
Formula Renault 3.5 driver Jazeman Jaafar is on course to contest the Spa 24 Hours in one of 2013 winner HTP Motorsport’s Mercedes.The Malaysian driver tested a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG for the team at the official test day for the Blancpain Endurance Series blue-riband on Wednesday and ended up third fastest in the times on his first acquaintance with the GT car.Jaafar would race the third Mercedes HTP is planning to field at Spa on July 26/27, most likely sharing with two of last year’s winning drivers, Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Gotz.Team boss Norbert Bruckner told AUTOSPORT: “We were really surprised at what he did: we expected him to be good, but not that good.”He only got new tyres at the end, so he had to learn about where he had the extra grip, so there’s no doubt that he could have gone quicker.”Bruckner stressed that plans to run the additional car alongside its regular pair of BES entries had yet to be set in stone.”We are still working on it and if we do it, it will be with a quality line-up,” he explained.”It’s all been a bit last minute, but if it happens, it is looking like it will be the two Maxes and Jazeman.”Sebastian Asch, who races in ADAC GT Masters with the Farnbacher Porsche, also drove the third HTP Mercedes at the test day and is in the frame for a drive.DTM legend Bernd Schneider, who won the 24 Hours last year with Buhk and Gotz, will drive alongside Harold Primat and Nico Verdonck in the #84 HTP entry.The Black Falcon Mercedes team, which won last year’s Nurburgring 24 Hours, has also entered an additional car in the Pro class for Spa alongside its regular BES entry for Hubert Haupt, Andreas Simonsen and Abdulaziz Al Faisal.Potential drivers include Briton Adam Christodoulou, who has contested 24-hour races at the Nurburgring, Spa and Dubai with the team over the past two years.The VonRyan Racing McLaren team is working on putting together an all-pro line-up for the race, which could be confirmed in the next few days.The British team ran ART BES regular Gregoire Demoustier, who raced for VonRyan in the British GT Championship last year, at Wednesday’s official Spa test to help prepare the Frenchman for the race.
Porsche has taken the lead in the Le Mans 24 Hours after the leading #1 Audi was forced to pit for a turbo change.The #1 Audi had moved into first place earlier on Sunday morning when its sister car had suffered a similar problem.But after briefly stopping on track and performing a reset of an electrical system in the hope of curing the problem, Kristensen completed one more lap before heading to the pits.He rejoined still in the lead but the car was slow, forcing him to return to the garage for the turbo to be changed, costing over 17 minutes.This handed the lead to the #20 Porsche of Timo Bernhard, sharing with Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber.But while the Porsche is in a strong position, the #2 Audi of Andre Lotterer has moved up to second and is closing in, ending the hour just over a minute behind.The #8 Toyota, which was knocked out of contention by an early accident in the rain, runs a distant fourth and is the Japanese manufacturer’s sole representative after the #7 car that led for much of the first half of the race retired with an electrical problem.The #35 G-Drive-branded OAK Ligier of Alex Brundle has retaken the lead in LMP2 after a puncture cost the #46 TDS ligier time at the end of the previous hour.As well as the puncture, the #46 Ligier had to have some damaged suspension replaced, costing it almost six minutes in total and relegating it to third in LMP2 behind the #38 Jota Zytek of Harry Tincknell.The #51 AF Corse Ferrari continues to lead GTE Pro comfortably in the hands of Toni Vilander, two laps clear of the #92 Manthey Porsche of Richard Lietz.In GTE Am, Nicki Thiim leads in the #95 Aston Martin.POSITIONS AFTER 21 HOURS Pos Cl Car Drivers Laps Gap 1. LMP1 #20 Porsche Bernhard/Webber/Hartley 329 2
Alex Wurz battled to prevent Audi’s Marcel Fassler making up ground on the leading Toyota in the ninth hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours.The Toyota enjoyed a cushion of around 1m30-40s, but Wurz had to keep responding to some quick laps from Fassler, who was able to challenge the leading car’s laptimes despite being on much older tyres.Behind the lead battle, Marc Gene held onto third place for the #1 Audi, while the Porsches of Mark Webber and Neel Jani completed the top five.Jani was the fastest car on track for much of his most recent stint, although he did run straight on at Arnage corner – something Webber and Brendon Hartley had done earlier in the sister 919 Hybrid.The #12 Rebellion lost touch with the factory cars when Nick Heidfeld lost a wheel after a pitstop – requiring a slow lap back to the pits and a nine-minute stop in the garage for repairs and a radio change.In LMP2, the #35 G-Drive-backed OAK Ligier has consolidated its lead thanks to a series of good stints from Jann Mardenborough.The #36 Signatech Alpine ORECA driven by Nelson Panciatici runs second, and is out of synch with the Ligier and stopping three laps later, meaning it will drop back despite being around 30 seconds behind on the hour-mark.The top four cars in class are covered by a relatively small margin, with the #34 Race Performance ORECA and the #46 TDS Ligier showing well.The #26 OAK-run G-Drive Morgan, a winner last year, was running fifth when Pla stopped out on track.Stefan Mucke caught and passed Oliver Gavin’s Corvette to ensure Aston Martin remained on top of both GTE classes.Gavin moved into the Pro lead when he, Mucke and Giancarlo Fisichella pitted at the end of the previous hour, but the Vantage driver made full use of new rubber to slash the C7.R’s advantage.Pulling clear of Gianmaria Bruni, in for Fisichella in the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, Mucke caught Gavin when the Briton had a slow lap and moved into the lead two laps leader before edging clear.Bruni was the first to make his scheduled stop, relieving Gavin of any imminent pressure as he and Mucke stayed out.Bruni remains third with Frederic Makowiecki fourth for the Manthey Porsche team, but the #91 car has dropped down the order after being pushed into the garage for what the team later confirmed was a fuel-pressure problem.Pedro Lamy and Nicki Thiim remain atop the GTE Am division. Lamy leads his Danish rival but more than half a minute as the V8 Vantages’ stranglehold continues over the SMP Ferrari 458.POSITIONS AFTER 9 HOURS Pos Cl Car Drivers Laps Gap 1.
Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson scored his first career victory on the two-mile Michigan superspeedway, taking a dominant win after picking a perfect strategy in the late stages.Johnson took the lead with nine laps to go, having got his final pitstop out of the way with 36 laps left while taking four fresh tyres.He used the new rubber to great effect, and eased his way to the front as those ahead made their final stops under green.It was Johnson’s third win in four weeks, and the fifth Hendrick Motorsports victory on the trot, while six of the top 10 cars had Hendrick engines.Penske Ford driver Brad Keselowski, who finished third, admitted: “I needed a little more to run with these big-motor cars.”Poleman Kevin Harvick was Johnson’s main opposition, but a tardy final stop hampered his bid for the Stewart-Haas Chevy squad, and he had to pass Paul Menard and Keselowski in the closing laps.Kasey Kahne, who finished fifth, bounced back from an early spin to finish ahead of Hendrick team-mate Jeff Gordon.