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SRO, iRacing.com Announce Blancpain GT Sim Racing Series

March 16, 2015

SRO Motorsports Group and iRacing.com today announced the creation of two online racing series for virtual sports cars that are based on the Blancpain Sprint Series and Blancpain Endurance Series.   The two series will feature iRacing’s digital GT3 cars, including the BMW Z4, Ford GT and McLaren MP4-12C (with Aston Martin and another major manufacturer … Read the Rest »

Enge puts Lamborghini on Algarve pole

March 5, 2015

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Tomas Enge gave the G-Drive-branded Reiter Lamborghini its first pole position in the Blancpain Sprint Series, ahead of the fifth round of the championship at Algarve.In the final 10-minute qualifying session, Enge set his laptime and came into the pits with four minutes left on the clock.It was a nervy wait for he and new team-mate Roman Rusinov, but despite Jeroen Bleekemolen pounding round the circuit in his Grasser Lamborghini, Enge’s time remained fastest by 0.159 seconds.With a Lamborghini front row lockout, the best of the rest was Rene Rast in the WRT Audi, 0.3s adrift of the poleman.On his return to the series after being forced to miss Slovakia, Max Buhk managed fourth in his HTP Mercedes, ahead of two more WRT R8s in the hands of Laurens Vanthoor and Stephane Ortelli.Team Brazil was comfortably the fastest BMW outfit, with Sergio Jimenez qualifying seventh, ahead of the second HTP Mercedes of Stef Dusseldorp.The top Pro-Am car was Marc Basseng’s Phoenix Audi, which will start the qualifying race in ninth place, with the Bhaitech McLaren of Chris van der Drift completing the top 10.LEADING QUALIFYING POSITIONS:PosDriverTeamCarTimeTime/Gap1R.Rusinov/T.EngeG-Drive RacingLamborghini1m 42.589s1m 42.589s2H.Proczyk/J.BleekemolenGRT Grasser Racing TeamLamborghini1m 42.748s0.159s3E.Ide/R.RastBelgian Audi Club Team WRTAudi1m 42.910s0.321s4M.Buhk/M.GotzHTP MotorsportMercedes1m 42.954s0.365s5F.Hamprecht/S.OrtelliBelgian Audi Club Team WRTAudi1m 43.129s0.540s6C.Ramos/L.VanthoorBelgian Audi Club Team WRTAudi1m 43.250s0.661s7C.Bueno/S.JimenezBMW Sports Trophy Team BrasilBMW1m 43.358s0.769s8S.Afanasiev/S.DusseldorpHTP MotorsportMercedes1m 43.576s0.987s9A.Latif/M.BassengPhoenix RacingAudi1m 43.823s1.234s10S.Pentus/C.van der DriftBhaitechMcLaren1m 43.853s1.264s

Marquez dominates second practice

March 5, 2015

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Marc Marquez remained a class apart in the second MotoGP practice session at Silverstone ahead of the British Grand Prix.After his commanding morning performance, Marquez quickly brushed aside early practice two pacesetter Andrea Dovizioso and then gave himself a one-second margin over the pack with a 2m02.126s halfway through the session.The Honda rider might have improved on that with his very last lap, but traffic at Woodcote spoilt it. Stefan Bradl ended up as Marquez’s closest rival on the LCR Honda, half a second down.Dovizioso was third for Ducati, claiming the place from top Briton Bradley Smith with his last lap.There was plenty of encouragement for the home crowd, with Smith keeping his Tech 3 Yamaha in the top three for a long spell, and countryman Scott Redding putting Gresini’s production Honda sixth.Yonny Hernandez also starred with fifth place on Pramac’s older-spec Ducati, two places ahead of team-mate Andrea Iannone’s upgraded bike.As the underdogs and home riders forced their way into the top 10, Marquez’s regular challengers continued to struggle as they did in the first session.Dani Pedrosa was only ninth on the second works Honda, this time 1.284s slower than Marquez, while neither factory Yamaha made the top 10 – with Jorge Lorenzo 11th and Valentino Rossi 13th.MotoGP’s Friday running passed relatively incident-free.

Gordon takes another win at Michigan

March 5, 2015

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Jeff Gordon took his third NASCAR Sprint Cup win of the season at Michigan, in a race bookended by yellow flags and a dogged fight with Joey Logano.It was a scrappy start to the race as first Kyle Busch, and then a multi­-car shunt caused by contact between Danica Patrick and Jeff Burton (pictured below), prompted yellow flags, but when racing was resumed under green, it was Logano and Gordon who were the class of the field.Trading the lead for most of the race, Logano led more than 80 laps, while Gordon spent over a quarter of the race in first position.After a relatively quiet middle segment, the yellow flags were once again out in full force as smoke billowed from Brad Keselowski’s car after a brush with the wall 35 laps from the end, followed by a trip into the barriers for Kurt Busch as he made a bid for the lead at a late restart.When the last restart finally came, only a handful of laps remained, and Gordon took advantage of Logano’s slow getaway to take the race lead.The pair were soon scrapping with Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard, but Gordon was able to escape and Logano dropped behind Harvick to end his day in a disappointing third, just 0.032s ahead of a fast­charging Menard.Dale Earnhardt Jr had a quiet race, finishing in fifth ahead of Clint Bowyer in sixth and Denny Hamlin in seventh, while Keselowski had a great recovery from his trouble to take eighth.Jimmie Johnson looked to have leading pace early on, but his race was hampered by a gearshift problem that forced him to pit several times. With his pitcrew having handed Johnson a pair of pliers to locate the problem, the champion fell off the lead lap, and only regained it towards the end, ultimately finishing ninth. Greg Biffle rounded out the top 10.Elsewhere, Kyle Larson had a day to forget, colliding with Earnhardt in the pitlane and then hitting the wall in an incident that left his Ganassi Chevrolet on fire.Only three races now remain before the Chase begins in September at Chicagoland.Results – 200 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1.

Dovizioso ends Motegi Friday on top

March 5, 2015

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Andrea Dovizioso put Ducati on top at the end of MotoGP Friday practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.Dovizioso used the extra-soft tyre available to Ducati to put in a 1m45.140s lap late in the afternoon session.That upstaged morning pacesetter and previous practice two leader Jorge Lorenzo by 0.440 seconds.The same margin almost covered the next eight bikes, with Lorenzo’s Yamaha 0.057s ahead of Stefan Bradl’s third-placed LCR Honda.Championship leader Marc Marquez had another tough session after his morning crash, coping with several unsteady moments on his way to sixth, behind Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa and the second Yamaha of Valentino Rossi.Tech 3 duo Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith took seventh and eighth, while Andrea Iannone and Cal Crutchlow completed the top 10.Crutchlow is yet to secure his place in Q2 despite that result, as Yonny Hernandez’s rapid practice one time is currently sufficient to take him straight through to final qualifying.Aragon podium finisher Aleix Espargaro is another rider who will have to improve on Saturday morning to avoid having to go through Q1. The Forward rider was only 13th on Friday afternoon.Local rider Hiroshi Aoyama had the only crash of practice two, falling at the first corner late on.PosRiderTeamBikeTimeGap1Andrea DoviziosoDucati TeamDucati1m 45.140s-2Jorge LorenzoMovistar Yamaha MotoGPYamaha1m 45.580s0.440s3Stefan BradlLCR Honda MotoGPHonda1m 45.637s0.497s4Daniel PedrosaRepsol Honda TeamHonda1m 45.727s0.587s5Valentino RossiMovistar Yamaha MotoGPYamaha1m 45.890s0.750s6Marc MarquezRepsol Honda TeamHonda1m 45.939s0.799s7Pol EspargaroMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha1m 46.041s0.901s8Bradley SmithMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha1m 46.105s0.965s9Andrea IannonePramac RacingDucati1m 46.107s0.967s10Cal CrutchlowDucati TeamDucati1m 46.221s1.081s11Alvaro BautistaGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda1m 46.227s1.087s12Yonny HernandezEnergy T.I. Pramac RacingDucati1m 46.297s1.157s13Aleix EspargaroNGM Forward RacingForward Yamaha1m 46.315s1.175s14Hector BarberaAvintia RacingDucati1m 46.571s1.431s15Hiroshi AoyamaDrive M7 AsparHonda1m 47.133s1.993s16Katsuyuki NakasugaYamalube Racing Team with YSPYamaha1m 47.180s2.040s17Karel AbrahamCardion AB MotoracingHonda1m 47.406s2.266s18Alex de AngelisNGM Forward RacingForward Yamaha1m 47.513s2.373s19Scott ReddingGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda1m 47.586s2.446s20Nicky HaydenDrive M7 AsparHonda1m 47.975s2.835s21Danilo PetrucciIodaRacing ProjectART/Aprilia1m 48.264s3.124s22Mike Di MeglioAvintia RacingAvintia/Kawasaki1m 49.105s3.965s23Broc ParkesPaul Bird MotorsportPBM/Aprilia1m 49.159s4.019s24Michael LavertyPaul Bird MotorsportPBM/Aprilia1m 49.321s4.181s

Dovizioso keeps Ducati on top in FP2

March 5, 2015

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Andrea Dovizioso made it a clean sweep for Ducati’s revised MotoGP bike as he led second Friday practice at Aragon.Andrea Iannone had put his Pramac-entered Ducati GP14.2 on top in opening practice, and works rider Dovizioso followed that performance up by pipping Marc Marquez at the end of the afternoon session, albeit using the softer tyre.Marquez had dominated until Dovizioso edged ahead. The world champion held a six tenths of a second advantage over his rivals for the majority of the session thanks to an early 1m48.3s lap, which he shaved 0.018s off at a later attempt.The Spaniard kept his Honda second, ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa and Iannone.Yamaha had five bikes in the top 10, but none in the top four.Forward rider Aleix Espargaro’s Open example lead Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro and works man Jorge Lorenzo in fifth through seventh, with Valentino Rossi back in 10th behind Stefan Bradl and Bradley Smith.After its new Ducati dramatically caught fire in the morning, Avintia managed to repair the bike in time for Hector Barbera to join the second half of the session and take 17th.PosRiderTeamBikeTimeGapLaps1Andrea DoviziosoDucati TeamDucati1m 48.285s-162Marc MarquezHondaHonda1m 48.328s0.043s183Daniel PedrosaHondaHonda1m 48.734s0.449s184Andrea IannonePramac RacingDucati1m 48.747s0.462s185Aleix EspargaroForward RacingForward Yamaha1m 48.938s0.653s176Pol EspargaroTech 3Yamaha1m 48.966s0.681s187Jorge LorenzoYamahaYamaha1m 48.969s0.684s178Stefan BradlLCRHonda1m 49.002s0.717s189Bradley SmithTech 3Yamaha1m 49.011s0.726s1910Valentino RossiYamahaYamaha1m 49.312s1.027s1811Cal CrutchlowDucati TeamDucati1m 49.373s1.088s1812Yonny HernandezPramac RacingDucati1m 49.650s1.365s1713Alvaro BautistaGresiniHonda1m 49.711s1.426s1814Hiroshi AoyamaAsparHonda1m 50.283s1.998s1815Alex de AngelisForward RacingForward Yamaha1m 50.408s2.123s1616Karel AbrahamCardionHonda1m 50.472s2.187s1617Hector BarberaAvintia RacingDucati1m 50.487s2.202s518Nicky HaydenAsparHonda1m 50.890s2.605s1719Scott ReddingGresiniHonda1m 51.110s2.825s1520Danilo PetrucciIodaART/Aprilia1m 51.510s3.225s1821Broc ParkesPaul Bird MotorsportPBM/Aprilia1m 52.415s4.130s1422Michael LavertyPaul Bird MotorsportPBM/Aprilia1m 52.600s4.315s1623Mike Di MeglioAvintiaAvintia/Kawasaki1m 52.684s4.399s15

Toyota moves ahead in Fuji practice

March 5, 2015

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Toyota ended up on top in third free practice for the Fuji round of the World Endurance Championship with the fastest time of the weekend so far.Anthony Davidson went fastest aboard the #8 Toyota TS040 HYBRID in the closing minutes of the 60-minute session with a 1m27.033s.That leapfrogged the car back to the top of the timesheets ahead of Mark Webber’s Porsche 919 Hybrid, which had just set a 1m27.300s.Neel Jani was third in the second Porsche on a time of 1m27.564s, which put him just ahead of the #7 Toyota in the hands of Stephane Sarrazin.The two Audis, which had blocked out the top positions in both sessions on Friday, were fifth and sixth in the times.Tom Kristensen set a 1m28.059s in the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro, while Benoit Treluyer was four tenths behind on a 1m28.474s.The OAK/G-Drive Ligier-Nissan JSP2 led the way in LMP2 with a 1m35.548s with Olivier Pla at the wheel.Fernando Rees was fastest for Aston Martin Racing in the GTE Pro class on a 1m40.212s, which put him two hundredths up on team-mate Pedro Lamy in the best of the GTE Am runners.PRACTICE THREE TIMES:PosClassDriverTeamCarTime1LMP1A.Davidson, S.BuemiToyota RacingToyota1m 27.033s2LMP1T.Bernhard, M.Webber/B.HartleyPorsche TeamPorsche1m 27.300s3LMP1R.Dumas, N.Jani/M.LiebPorsche TeamPorsche1m 27.764s4LMP1A.Wurz, S.Sarrazin/K.NakajimaToyota RacingToyota1m 27.980s5LMP1L.di Grassi, L.Duval/T.KristensenAudi Sport Team JoestAudi1m 28.059s6LMP1M.Fassler, A.Lotterer/B.TreluyerAudi Sport Team JoestAudi1m 28.474s7LMP1D.Kraihamer, A.Belicchi/F.LeimerRebellion RacingRebellion/Toyota1m 31.746s8LMP1N.Prost, N.Heidfeld/M.BecheRebellion RacingRebellion/Toyota1m 32.005s9LMP2R.Rusinov, O.Pla/J.CanalG-Drive RacingLigier/Nissan1m 33.548s10LMP2S.Zlobin, N.Minassian/M.MedianiSMP RacingOreca/Nissan1m 33.806s11LMP2M.Howson, R.Bradley/A.ImperatoriKCMGOreca/Nissan1m 34.137s12LMP2K.Ihara, G.Yacaman/A.BrundleOak RacingMorgan/Judd1m 34.241s13LMP2K.Ladygin, V.Shaitar/A.LadyginSMP RacingOreca/Nissan1m 34.681s14LMP1C.Bouchut, J.Rossiter/P.KafferLotus/AER1m 36.610s15GTE ProA.MacDowall, D.O’Young/F.ReesAston Martin RacingAston Martin1m 40.212s16GTE AmP.D.Lana, P.Lamy/C.NygaardAston Martin RacingAston Martin1m 40.235s17GTE ProJ.Bergmeister, R.LietzPorsche Team MantheyPorsche1m 40.584s18GTE AmG.Roda, P.Ruberti/J.Segal8 Star MotorsportsFerrari1m 40.793s19GTE AmC.Ried, K.Bachler/K.Al QubaisiProton CompetitionPorsche1m 40.803s20GTE AmB.Curtis, J.Bleekemolen/M.SkeenAF CorseFerrari1m 40.887s21GTE AmK.Poulsen, D.Hansson/N.ThiimAston Martin RacingAston Martin1m 40.920s22GTE ProD.Rigon, J.CaladoAF CorseFerrari1m 41.092s23GTE AmF.Perrodo, E.Collard/M.VaxiviereProspeed CompetitionPorsche1m 41.093s24GTE AmS.Wyatt, M.Rugolo/A.BertoliniAF CorseFerrari1m 41.109s25GTE ProG.Bruni, T.VilanderAF CorseFerrari1m 41.138s26GTE ProD.Turner, S.MuckeAston Martin RacingAston Martin1m 41.175s27GTE ProF.Makowiecki, P.PiletPorsche Team MantheyPorsche1m 41.255s

Wittmann tops practice at Hockenheim

March 5, 2015

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Recently-crowned 2014 DTM champion Marco Wittmann set the pace in practice for the final race of the season at Hockenheim.The BMW driver was third quickest in the first hour-long session, before rocketing to the top just minutes from the end of second session with an unbeatable 1m33.585s effort.Joey Hand made it a BMW one-two with his own late improvement, setting a 1m33.690s inside the last five minutes of the second session, having been just 21st quickest in practice one.Miguel Molina was another driver to find pace between the two sessions, the Audi driver going from seventh fastest in FP1 to third fastest in FP2 with a 1m33.771s.Mike Rockenfeller and Antonio Felix da Costa were fourth and fifth fastest respectively in FP2, while Adrien Tambay, Timo Glock and Nico Muller rounded out the top eight.Bruno Spengler was ninth, ahead of Mattias Ekstrom, who was just 10th fastest after setting the pace in FP1.Mercedes was caught out by a flurry of late times in second practice, Gary Paffett winding up best of the Mercs back in 11th position, just over half a second slower than Wittmann.Pascal Wehrlein and Paul di Resta, who were second and third fastest when the session was restarted six minutes from the end after a red flag, were 12th and 13th.The second session was broken up by three red flag periods, two of which were caused by Vitaly Petrov.The first came just 10 minutes in, the Russian’s Mercedes coming to a halt thanks a loose left-rear wheel.

Battersea FE race moves a step closer

March 5, 2015

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The Battersea Park round of the Formula E Championship set for next summer moved another step closer when the local council voted to proceed with the plans.A meeting of Wandsworth Borough Council’s Community and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee gave its agreement in principle to the Formula E series finale taking place in the Thameside park on June 27 next year.A final decision will be made an extraordinary meeting of the committee, scheduled for late October or early November, after further public consultation and discussions with the Heritage Lottery Fund, which awarded the council a grant of £7.5 million between 1998 and 2003 for restoration of Battersea Park.Formula E will, in the meantime, be able to make a preliminary planning application for building the safety infrastructure around the park’s perimeter roads, which will create a circuit of just under two miles.Should the final approval be given by the community services committee and the council’s executive, a formal planning application could be made sometime in November.This would require 12 weeks, meaning that final confirmation of the event is unlikely before February.The agenda for Thursday’s meeting confirms that London is one of the European events, along with Monte Carlo and Berlin, in the frame to hold a two-day double-header meeting.It also reveals that contact with the council was first made by Formula E in May 2013, when London was listed as the opening round of the inaugural 2014/15 series.Formula E’s desire to make its debut in London at the Battersea venue this month was impossible because of long-standing bookings for events in the park.

Suzuki launches 2015 MotoGP return

March 5, 2015

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Suzuki has given an official green light to its 2015 MotoGP return and confirmed Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales as its riders.It will also go ahead with a wildcard appearance in the 2014 season finale at Valencia in October, with test rider Randy de Puniet set to give the new GSX-RR its racing debut at the Spanish event.Suzuki withdrew its factory team from MotoGP at the end of 2011, but immediately began work on developing the new bike for an eventual return.Although it made no secret of either its intention to rejoin the grid in 2015or its rider choices, it held off on an official announcement until a press conference with team boss and long-time Yamaha MotoGP chief Davide Brivio at Cologne’s Intermot show on Tuesday.The Suzuki deal is Espargaro’s first factory MotoGP ride. The 25-year-old Spaniard has started 71 top-class grands prix since first appearing as a stand-in rider for Pramac Ducati in mid-2009, and he has dominated the CRT and Open classes with first Aspar, then Forward Racing in recent seasons.Espargaro claimed his maiden MotoGP podium finish on Forward’s Yamaha in last weekend’s Aragon Grand Prix.His team-mate and compatriot Vinales steps into MotoGP after just one season in Moto2.The 19-year-old won the 2013 Moto3 title, and is currently third in Moto2 this year.Former factory Kawasaki MotoGP rider de Puniet and long-time Suzuki tester Nobuatsu Aoki have carried out the bulk of development work on the new MotoGP bike.