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Thread: 2017 WEC, IMSA&ELMS thread.

  1. #61
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    Toyota warns of WEC exit if LMP1 reduces hybrid tech

    Toyota would be unlikely to continue in the World Endurance Championship if the LMP1 rules were to scale back the scope of hybrid technology.

    Pascal Vasselon, Toyota Motorsport GmbH's technical director, explained that the Japanese manufacturer's desire to develop energy-retrieval systems in a racing environment meant a retrograde step in the regulations could preclude its involvement in the WEC.

    "The main reason for Toyota to participate in the WEC is to develop technology and specifically hybrid technology, so it would be nearly impossible for Toyota to accept a step backwards," Vasselon told Motorsport.com.

    "Developing hybrid technology is the raison d'etre of the programme."

    Vasselon stated that there was "no end point" to Toyota's WEC programme, although it is officially only confirmed up to the end of 2017.

    His comments come in the wake of a rules freeze for hybrid LMP1 cars until the end of 2019 and an imminent start to discussions about a new set of rules for '20.

    Those discussions, led by the FIA and WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, will be wide ranging and will focus on a major cost-reduction aimed at encouraging new manufacturers to join the LMP1 field.

    ACO sporting director Vincent Beaumesnil said: "Nothing is agreed and nothing is decided - we want to discuss all possibilities in order to have a massive cost reduction for 2020."
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  2. #62
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    Very disappointed about Gimmi Bruni's departure, although I'm not sure how it came about.....can you enlighten me, Rob? But at least we have Guidi as a replacement so I wish him and the team well. Shame I'm too fat and too old to wear the team gear that seems to be causing such delight between Rob and fratelliferrari....but I'm still jealous!

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisepie View Post
    Very disappointed about Gimmi Bruni's departure, although I'm not sure how it came about.....can you enlighten me, Rob? But at least we have Guidi as a replacement so I wish him and the team well. Shame I'm too fat and too old to wear the team gear that seems to be causing such delight between Rob and fratelliferrari....but I'm still jealous!
    Ale is really great driver, quick out of the box, and very consistent. He was joined #51 for last years Le-Mans. I will send you PM on Facebook in next couple days on what i know about the situation. I cannt post here.

    The team gear is awesome. The jacket i havent stopped wearing since got it. Hope will try get some more at Silverstone
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  4. #64
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    [QUOTE=Rob;929242]Ale is really great driver, quick out of the box, and very consistent. He was joined #51 for last years Le-Mans. I will send you PM on Facebook in next couple days on what i know about the situation. I cannt post here.

    The team gear is awesome. The jacket i havent stopped wearing since got it. Hope will try get some more at Silverston

  5. #65
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    Cheers Rob, understand your caution so don't worry, and I think you've made fratelliferrari a very happy boy with the AF Corse polo!! It is very chic!!

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    Penske approached Audi to run LMP1 cars at Le Mans

    American racing grandee Roger Penske says he made an enquiry to Audi about running its LMP1 cars on a privateer basis at the Le Mans 24 Hours this year – but the German manufacturer said no.

    Audi made a shock sportscar withdrawal after 18 seasons of competition at the end of 2016, a legacy of the Volkswagen Group’s emissions scandal and an increased focus towards its Formula E programme.

    Following this, Penske said he approached Audi about running its cars at Le Mans this year, but got a negative response.

    “I talked about if we could get a privateer [effort] with some of those cars,” said Penske. “But under the current situation with Audi, all the things they’re going through, they just said they’ve got enough eyeballs on them, they don’t need to be showing up at Le Mans.


    “I’d love to run at Le Mans, but if I did I’d love to run at the front.”

    Audi’s then-motorsport chief Dr Wolfgang Ullrich told Motorsport.com last year: “You will not see any ‘historic’ Audis in the WEC” – and confirmed that the 2017 Audi was never built beyond a 1:8 model.

    Penske was previously linked to running Audis in the American Le Mans Series after its ultra-successful Porsche Spyder RS LMP2 project had concluded after a sequence of title victories.

    Four rings of wonder: The end of the Audi era
    Penske impatient over IMSA return

    Penske also said that his team is approaching decision-day in the coming months over its commitment to return to the US sportscar racing arena.

    Penske has been seeking a manufacturer-backed project in the top DPi class of the IMSA series, with star drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves considered as likely choices to spearhead its driving strength.

    “We’d like to and we’re trying to put all the pieces together now,” Penske said of his sportscar plan. “Hopefully we’ll have something [decided] mid-summer if we’re going to go.

    “If we do it, we’ve got to be ready to go for it next year. I don’t want to wait another year to be honest. We’ve waited a year now, and we have a couple of options – and each one of them are good ones – but we just have to see which one is going to be the best.

    “If we did a sportscar programme, Montoya would be top of the list to drive for us, and I’ve told him that.”
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    IMSA SEBRING THURSDAY NOTEBOOK

    C.J. Wilson, the just-retired Major League Baseball pitcher, was prohibited by his contracts to participate in any serious auto racing, but it didn’t prevent him from investing in car dealerships and owning some race teams. Two of those teams, under the team name CJ Wilson Racing, finished second and third in the Continental Tire SportsCar Championship season opener at Daytona International Speedway, a four-hour endurance race.

    But now that he has hung up his glove, the restrictions are off. The 36-year-old left-hander, a former All-Star who pitched in the 2006 and 2011 World Series, has traded the baseball for a racing helmet and he is going professional auto racing starting – well, right now.

    In a promotional video for Porsche, Wilson once said: “The ultimate goal of any endurance racer is to go to France and win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Why would my goal be any different?”

    Wilson took that first step toward Le Mans late Thursday afternoon, at the wheel of the No. 33 CJ Wilson Racing entry, a 2017 Porsche 991, racing in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. The cars in Wilson’s class, which is the fastest one, are all identically-prepared Porsches, meaning your performance depends on how good your crew is, and how good your driver is.

    Wilson’s crew is excellent, but he admits he has some work to do.

    “I knew the race was going to be a mess. I qualified bad – I’m not on good terms with the car or the track yet,” he said. “My only goal was to get through the race and not crash the car. I really didn’t have any expectations beyond that.”

    He did a little better than that: He finished 20th overall. Of course, some of the cars were in a different class – “Gold,” as opposed to “Platinum,” which Wilson was racing in – and the Gold Porsches are a year or two older, but not necessarily much slower. Bottom line: Wilson, in his first time out, was lapping the 3.74-mile track about five seconds later than the guys at the front, some of which do this for a living.

    So, adrenalin-wise, is there any comparison between taking the green flag here, and stepping onto the mound in a pro baseball game?

    “No,” Wilson said. “It’s totally different. When I have the ball in my hand, I throw whenever I want. But when they throw the green flag – I wasn’t really ready for it.”

    Wilson races again on Friday, same car, same class, at 11:55 a.m. ET. He said he wants to make some changes in the car’s setup, and go easier on the tires, which start to give up on Sebring’s abrasive pavement when they get hot.

    “You have to give the tires a chance to breathe a little,” he said. “If you push too hard and overcook them, you have to slow down, or they just get worse.”

    At least he was able to drive the car back to his garage – a lot of his competitors were towed back after crashes.

    “I guess I’m just a little more budget-conscious than they are,” said the man who signed a $77.5 million deal in 2011 with the Los Angeles Angels.

    Indeed, the aggressive racing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge seemed to come as a bit of a surprise to Wilson, who apparently is a “Seinfeld” fan. He was surprised at how “little regard guys have for your personal space. There are a lot of close talkers on the grid.”

    And if you’re not a “Seinfeld fan: “Google “close talkers.”

    FIFTY YEARS LATER: Heading into this week’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, legendary Mario Andretti spoke to Ford Chip Ganassi Racing about Andretti’s win at Sebring in 1967 in the original Ford GT40, paired with the late Bruce McLaren.

    Said Mario: “We tested only briefly, and it was the first race for the Mk IV. The car was competitive right from the start because we had very good mechanical knowledge and they had used much of the chassis of the Mk II, with some mods, but with a new aerodynamic shape it proved to be quite good. With Bruce McLaren, we just pulled it off. It was a hard-fought race. The Chaparral was the favorite, but we were competitive.

    “That yellow No. 1 Mk IV is now on display at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Sebring was actually very important from the standpoint of Ford’s effort for the Le Mans 24. At Daytona earlier that year, we had some issues and Ford felt they needed to come up with a different model car, a little slicker and quicker in a straight line, especially for Le Mans, and Phil Remington was given the task of designing that car quickly. He did it and that car won Sebring and Le Mans.”

    SPEAKING OF THE FORD GT: The current incarnation of the car won its class at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, then won its class at the 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona. This week, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team has three Ford GTs at Sebring to try for a hat trick by winning the three most important endurance races in the world.

    Dirk Mueller is the co-driver of the No. 66 Ford GT, partnered with Joey Hand for the entire IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, and with Sebastien Bourdais, fresh from his win last weekend in the season-opening IndyCar race at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, spoke about what it would mean to win Sebring:

    “It would mean a hell of a lot, to be honest,” said Mueller. “Just winning Le Mans last year was huge. I mean, it was unbelievable. We had pressure there because of the 50-year anniversary. It was the first time for the team and generally the first year of the whole program, and it ran so well.

    “Chip always says he likes winners, and that’s what we like to achieve. If you see all the trophies at Chip Ganassi’s workshop, you know why they are there. They want to win races; we want to win races and that’s why we are here. That’s why we are looking forward to fighting for the Twelve Hours of Sebring. But we know how tough the competition is. It’s not just like, ‘Hey, we’re going to win it!’ We have to earn it and it starts today. It started when we had the official test here a few weeks ago, and here we are. We really want to have the triple.”

    A FASTER MERCEDES? Cooper MacNeil, co-driver of the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, has spent most of his career in Porsches, but the team switched to the new Mercedes-AMG for 2017. The team is hoping for a better outing at Sebring than the their 21st-place class result at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

    “Our new Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be strong at Sebring and I'm looking forward to taking the green flag on Saturday morning,” MacNeil said. “We had an extremely positive test here a few weeks ago and made strong improvements to the car. We were down a bit on top speed at Daytona and at the Sebring test, which was a bit frustrating, but with the latest BoP [Balance of Performance] change we were given a little larger air inlet. This will help our top speed, which is exactly what we needed.”

    MUSTANG VS. CAYMAN? The Continental Tires SportsCar Challenge race on Friday is shaping up to be a battle between the Porsche Cayman GT4, which took the top four spots at the season opener at Daytona, and the two Ford Mustangs, both fielded by KohR Motorsports. Dean Martin, co-driving the No. 59 car with Jack Roush, Jr., was fastest in the morning test session for the Visit Sebring 120.

    Success, according to Martin, may well have to do with tire management.

    “On old tires, [the car] feels terrible, and that’s where we were in the early session,” Martin said. “We were dead last, we were the slowest car on the track. I came in to the pits towards the end, and on my out-lap, I spun the car. brought it back in and said to the guys that the car was just terrible – let’s put tires on it and figure it out.

    “So, we put a fresh set of Continentals on it, and let the tires come up to temperature pretty gradually. I went for a flier, had a good clean lap, and then the car felt great. New tires do that, they tend to mask the negatives, but they felt fantastic. We’re still working on our long-run strategy because the car seems to fall off. We’re just trying to make our set-up match our Continentals.”

    The Visit Sebring 120 takes the green flag Friday at 3:40 p.m. ET. It will stream live on IMSA platforms. The 65th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida gets underway at 10:40 a.m. ET on Saturday.

    Live coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. on FOX Sports GO, with television coverage on FS1 beginning at 12:30 p.m. Coverage from both platforms will continue uninterrupted through 11 p.m., including post-race interviews. A live international broadcast stream available on IMSA.tv and the IMSA mobile app.

    SIMPSON QUICKEST IN TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING PRACTICE: The fastest lap of the day went to Stephen Simpson in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA Prototype at 1:49.517, while Porsche was fastest in GTLM with Frederic Makowiecki in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR at 1:57.109. The Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Lawson Aschenbach topped GTD with a lap of 2:00.964 and Colin Thompson led PC in BAR1 Motorsports’ No. 26 ORECA FLM09 at 1:54.741.
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    REBELLION RACING 12 HOURS OF SEBRING PREVIEW

    REBELLION Racing is back at Sebring for the fourth time after competing there in 2011, 2012 and 2013 with the Lola Toyota LMP1.
    In the last appearance of the powerful LMP1 cars at Sebring in 2013, REBELLION Racing stood on the podium, with third place overall (behind an Audi 1-2) and first of the ALMS competitors. The #12 Lola Toyota in that race was driven by Neel Jani, Nick Heidfeld and Nicolas Prost.

    This year, the 65th edition of the Twelve Hours of Sebring, on Saturday, March 18, will feature a strong, 46-car entry list for the second round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as well as the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
    The driver line up of the #13 REBELLION Racing Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 will feature Neel Jani, Nick Heidfeld and Sebastien Buemi.

    With a strong driver line-up and more experience of the Oreca 07, the Swiss team is aiming for a top result after a disappointing Daytona 24.

    Neel Jani : “It’s nice to be back at Sebring after four years ! We finished P3 overall last time we were here and the aim is clearly to do better this time… We are a bit on the backfoot compared to other teams as we missed the recent collective test session here, but we will try our best to do well.”

    Nick Heidfeld : “The 12 Hours of Sebring is one of my favourite motorsport events in the world. I hope the atmosphere will be as great as it was the last times when we competed here. The fans are crazy in a positive way, they are huge motorsport enthusiasts. Sebring is another circuit with a character and our target is to be in the mix for a top result.”

    Sebastien Buemi : “This will be my first time in Sebring, I am definitely looking forward to discover this amazing circuit. After Daytona I am eager to jump back in the car and give my best. The target is clear we want to fight at the front with my team mates and the entire REBELLION Racing team.”

    Bart Hayden – REBELLION Racing Team Manager : “ As we always do, we are heading to the race week of the 12 Hours of Sebring focussed to achieve the best results. We are absolutely delighted to be back at Sebring. It's been a very busy but productive break since the last race at Daytona. We had a lot of work to do on both sides of the Atlantic ocean; in Europe to set up for the FIA World Endurance Championship and here at our base in Atlanta to get prepared for this race. We are happy with our preparations and are ready to give our best.”
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    RISI COMPETIZIONE POSITIVE ABOUT CONTINUING ENDURANCE RACE SUCCESS AT SEBRING
    Team Seeks to Add Another Endurance Podium at 12 Hours of Sebring

    Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM No. 62: Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA), Toni Vilander (FIN), James Calado (ENG)

    (Houston, Texas, March 15, 2017)...The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM team is eager to return to Sebring, Florida for the 65th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida race, March 16-18, 2017.

    The popular Houston, Texas-based Risi Competizione team has a vast history at Sebring that includes three victories (in 2007, 2009, 2010) and four additional podiums (2006, 2008, 2013, 2015) in 14 years and 19 entries since 1998.

    The formidable trio of Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy), Toni Vilander (Finland), and James Calado (Great Britain) have proven their endurance success in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, with a victory at the 2016 season finale at Petit Le Mans and a third-place finish at this year's 24 Hours of Daytona.

    During this 70th year of the Prancing Horse, Risi Competizione looks to continue their winning ways around the 3.74-mile, 17-turn central-Florida circuit. Round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series will see the 465-horsepower Ferrari of Fisichella, Vilander and Calado, backed by the powerful Risi crew, who are proud to go up against the GTLM class factory teams of Porsche, Corvette, BMW and Ford any day of the week.

    Former Formula 1 star Giancarlo Fisichella will be making his sixth race appearance at Sebring and fourth entry with Risi Competizione. His best finish was in 2015 for second place in the GTLM class.

    Toni Vilander, the Finnish Ferrari factory driver, will make his fourth appearance at Sebring. He previously drove with Risi Competizione in 2011 and 2016 and has a best finish last year with Risi with a fourth-place class finish.

    Brit James Calado will be making his inaugural run at Sebring. He and Vilander participated in the 2017 official Sebring Test Days in late February.

    Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:
    How did the recent Sebring Test go and how has that been able to prepare the team for the 12 Hour race?
    "The test was useful in getting the drivers re-acclimated to Sebring and to work on a base setup. It will make the event week go much smoother. This was also the first time the team was able to use the new fueling system; that practice was valuable."

    You have said that Sebring is a team and personal favorite track. What is it that you like so much about Sebring and why?
    "It has to be the biggest fan attended sports car race in the USA. The track changes throughout the event and is difficult to predict. The track is one of the most difficult to get a good car setup for. Sebring is rewarding when you can get it right. And a lot of times a favorite track is a track on which you've had a lot of success."

    Obviously this year's GTLM competition is tighter than ever. How do you rise above the competition to be a victor at a difficult circuit like Sebring?
    "A huge portion you can't control; you need good luck. The drivers need to be so careful to not hurt the car. It's such a fine line to go as fast as you can for 12 hours and also not damage the car in traffic. The competition is so fierce, we'll need a perfect race to win."

    The Risi Competizione team is on a roll in the endurance races after a 2nd place finish at Le Mans and victory at Petit Le Mans last year, followed by a third-place finish and leading the race at Daytona this year. What are the goals and expectations for Sebring?
    "The goal for every race to is win. We need to be in the mix at the front for the last three hours. The first nine hours are about survival."

    Risi Competizione has a rich history at Sebring including three victories (in 2007, 2009, 2010) and four additional podiums (2006, 2008, 2013, 2015) in 14 years and 19 entries since 1998. How can you and your team turn that into further success this year?
    "We will just race the best we can and try and stay out of trouble. We are going into Sebring with a competitive BoP (Balance of Performance), but any one of the 10 GTLMs could win this one."

    Toni Vilander, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    You and James were here for the Sebring Test last month. How did it go and what did you learn?
    "I think we have a good base set up. We tried several things and we will fine tune during the practice sessions."

    The Risi Competizione team is on a roll in the endurance races after a 2nd place finish at Le Mans and victory at Petit Le Mans last year, followed by a third-place finish and leading the race at Daytona this year. What are the goals and expectations for Sebring?
    "Of course we want to win the race. We have the same driver line up as Petit and Daytona of Giancarlo, James and myself. I think we have a good chemistry and that's always important for an endurance race."

    Sebring is now somewhat of a new hometown circuit with your American home in nearby Lake Worth. How does Sebring rate in your American circuits playbook?
    "Sebring is a track with a lot of history and it's very challenging. It's very satisfying when you get it right and I really enjoy the circuit."

    You know the Ferrari 488 GTLM very well and are comfortable with the Risi Competizione team and your driver teammates. How does that translate to success for you?
    "I obviously get along with my co-drivers and we have a lot of history. I also have a lot of history with the team and they do a fantastic job on and off the track which is critical for success. I'm very optimistic going into this event."

    Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    You, Toni and James have turned out to be a pretty formidable driving trio. What's your magic?
    "We have worked together. WE all know the car very well. We all get on well and we do many events together for Ferrari."

    You are competing in both the IMSA GTLM and the Blancpain series. How do you juggle two major racing championships and go between two different cars and series?
    "That will be a bit challenging but there's enough time between the events that I should be able to adapt to the different cars."

    Sebring is a very different kind of circuit from the European race tracks you're quite used to. What is the most challenging part of Sebring and what do you like best?
    "It's a very bumpy circuit so it is a challenge to get the set up correct with all the different tarmac changes around the track but we've had good cars here in the past. I'm happy with what was done at the test and am looking forward to the race."

    Risi Competizione has a rich history at Sebring including three victories (in 2007, 2009, 2010) and four additional podiums (2006, 2008, 2013, 2015) in 14 years and 19 entries since 1998, how can you and your team turn that into success?
    "We certainly have had good races here in the past. I think our balance of performance is pretty good now. I think we could have another great result this year and I'm looking forward to the race."

    James Calado, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    You and Toni were here for the Sebring Test last month. How did it go and what did you learn?
    "It went very well. We worked hard with the car and found a good base set up which we have and we can fine tune over the weekend."

    Sebring is a new circuit for you and quite different than the European circuits. What did you think of it? What did you like and what was the most challenging?
    "It's a great track and extremely challenging. It is an old-style track with concrete in places, so varies corner to corner. The last corner is very tricky and there is a fine line between going quick and going off."

    Sebring has a vast history of many great drivers from yesteryear. What do you think about finally being able to compete at such a historic and renown track like Sebring?
    "I am very much looking forward to it. It will be my first race here but I am confident everything will be okay."

    The Risi Competizione team is on a roll in the endurance races after a second place finish at Le Mans and victory at Petit Le Mans last year, followed by a third-place finish and leading the race at Daytona this year. What are the goals and expectations for Sebring?
    "First, of course!"

    You, Giancarlo and Toni have turned out to be a pretty formidable driving trio. What's your magic?
    "I think we are a good combination of drivers and we know the car very well. We all get on and we drive with similar set ups."

    You'll be competing in the WEC Series the rest of the year. Will you miss working with the Risi Competizione team and racing in IMSA?
    "Yes, I find IMSA very challenging and I really enjoy racing in the States. I have a busy year with WEC and Blancpain so lots of seat time before coming back!"

    The first practice session of the week begins Thursday morning, March 16 at 11:10 a.m. EDT with two additional practice sessions on Thursday and one on Friday, March 17. GTLM class qualifying scheduled for Friday from 1:25-1:40 p.m. EDT. The race starts Saturday, March 18 at 10:40 a.m. EDT for 12 hours. Live timing and scoring is available for all on-track sessions at IMSA.com and the IMSA Smartphone app.
    Last edited by Rob; 17th March 2017 at 09:54.
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    Valelunga, Italy and the start of Clearwater Racing's inaugural WEC campaign....these are the first steps....
    And appropriately, it starts with the unveiling of our 2017 Ferrari 488 GTE in our new for 2017 livery.....utterly gorgeous

    This car was last years GTE PRO Ferrari #51 driven by Clearwater stalwarts Gimmi Bruni & James Calado.

    This year, Weng Sun Mok, Matt Griffin & Keita Sawa will use it to hunt down a World Championship for Clearwater Racing & Singapore.
    Our first official WEC engagement is on April 1st & 2nd at Monza....bring it on





    Last edited by Rob; 21st March 2017 at 10:17.
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    Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, Ferrari has revealed the 2017 livery for the two 488 GTEs which will be raced this year by AF Corse in the LMGTE Pro category.

    The red of the cars is a little darker compared to previous years in tribute to the Ferrari 125S from 1947, the first racing sports car produced by the famous Italian marque, which was the same colour.

    Drivers Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado (No.51) and Davide Rigon, Sam Bird (No.71) will also have a special 70th Anniversary logo on their racing suits.


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    Fabulous sight, Rob, grazie! Shame we couldn't get a class win in Sebring, but a podium was just about OK!

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    Quote Originally Posted by wisepie View Post
    Fabulous sight, Rob, grazie! Shame we couldn't get a class win in Sebring, but a podium was just about OK!
    podium was good result, IMSA likes to hand Ferrari nice BoP at the start of seaons. Let Vettes and Ford get good championship points. And once we out of the running for the GTLM titles, then we get good BoP break. Look what happened last years Petit race.
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    Changes set for WEC TV line-up


    FIA World Endurance Championship broadcaster John Hindhaugh will step back from the English language TV airwaves as the series makes changes to its announcing team. Although the new TV roster has yet to be confirmed, triple Le Mans winner Allan McNish is said to be in the frame for a new role with the WEC, and it's unclear whether Hindhaugh's longstanding commentary partner Graham Goodwin will continue in the TV booth.

    "I've thoroughly enjoyed working on the WEC TV project and I've really learned a lot about broadcasting in my years there," said Hindhaugh. "It takes a huge team effort to produce the live race coverage and the highlights shows. I'll miss being part of that team. They are all professionals and passionate about racing and what they produce."
    Hindhaugh will return to a familiar role with WEC radio commentary provided through Radio Show Limited, the company behind Radio Le Mans.

    "Thankfully the busy endurance racing schedule has only a couple of clashes so that means that for most of the WEC events I will be joining the established team providing live commentary for RSL radio," he added.

    "For the WEC events I'm covering for the RSL radio service, we'll be adding live audio coverage of qualifying to the regular full race broadcast."

    The WEC season opens at Silverstone on April 16.
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  16. #76
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    Spoke to Sam yesterday. He said feel s great straight out of the box.
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    The 2017 ELMS Season is Go at Monza
    ELMS

    Forty-one cars will travel to Monza for the European Le Mans Series Official Test, which will kick off the 2017 season in style.
    The 2-day test, which begins on Tuesday 28 March, will give the teams and drivers 14 hours of track time over five sessions, including a 2-hour night session, on the fast 5.8km Monza Grand Prix circuit. The Official Test also provides the opportunity for the teams to put some drivers through their paces before announcing their full driver line ups for the first race at Silverstone on Saturday 15 April.

    All of the three 2016 championship winning teams will be present, with G-Drive Racing in LMP2, United Autosports in LMP3 and Beechdean AMR in LMGTE.

    Thirteen LMP2 cars will thunder around the Monza track and this will be the first opportunity for the fans to see the largest gathering of the new generation of LMP2 cars in Europe.

    The G-Drive Racing Oreca07, which this year will wear the no22, will be driven by Memo Rojas, Ryo Hirakawa and Leo Roussel and run by the Dragonspeed team. The American team will field the same trio of drivers as last year – Nico Lapierre, Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley.

    Fabien Barthez returns to the ELMS for another season of LMP2, the French soccer legend being joined by TimotheBuret and Nathanael Berthon to complete an all French lineup.

    Last year’s LMP3 front runners United Autosports, Graff, CetilarVillorba Corseand Tockwith Motorsports have all moved up to LMP2 in 2017. LMP3 champions United Autosports are running the LMP2 Ligier JSP217 alongside their pair of Ligier JS P3s in preparations for their debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

    Racing Team Nederland return to the ELMS with Jan Lammers and Frits Van Eerd completing a full Dutch team.

    All Danish team High Class Racing will join the ELMS grid this year running a Dallara-Gibson while IDEC Sport Racing and Algarve Pro Racing will be running the Ligier chassis this season and complete the 13 full season ELMS entries.

    A mammoth entry of 21 LMP3 cars for the ELMS Official Test will see all sixteen full season entries being joined by five addition cars.

    Reigning champions United Autosports will be fielding their two full season cars and will bring a further two Ligier Nissans to take advantage of the opportunity to test on one of Europe’s best circuits.Duqueine Engineering will also be bring both of their Ligier-Nissans that are entered for the full season and the French team will field a third entry.

    M.Racing YMR will be bringing both their cars to Monza including the brand new Norma M30. Italian team Oregon Team have also opted to run the Norma chassis in 2017 and are due to test the car at Monza.

    Father and Son duo Alexander Talkanitsa Senior and Junior will have the first opportunity to test their AT Racing LMP3 Ligier as the Belarussians move up from the LMGTE category. 2016 competitors 360 Racing, By Speed Factory, Eurointernational, RLR MSport, Inter Europol Competition, Panis Barthez Competition and Ultimate are all back to test their cars and drivers at Monza ahead of the opening race of the 2017 season at Silverstone in April.

    The seven full season LMGTE entries are all due to test at Monza with 2016 champions Beechdean AMR running their Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Andrew Howard and Darren Turner are joined by former British GT4 champion Ross Gunn. Reigning Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup champions TF Sport are also testing their Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

    The three Ferraris will be running on home soil at Monza with a pair of AF Corse run Spirit of Race F488 GTEs being joined by 2016 LMGTE Vice Champions JMW Motorsport. The final two cars in the Official Test line up are the pair of Porsche 911 RSRs run by Proton Competition.

    The ELMS Official Test will take place on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 March and is open to the public.
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  19. #79
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    new Porsche 919 breaks cover at Paul Ricard before next weeks launch.



    Last edited by Rob; 26th March 2017 at 21:55.
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    my tickets came month or so ago for Silverstone. Im going on the Friday for the first time this year aswell. My daughter Keira coming and my father inlaw and mother inlaw. On race day its me and brother inlaw Tom again, our 3rd year now. eira looking forward to seeing the #51 #71 and meeting James and Ale Sam and Davide. Spoke to Luca and said she maybe able to sit in both cars too.
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    2017 ELMS is Go at Monza
    ELMS -

    Today is the day as track action is going to get underway this morning at 09h00. However there was two photo calls arranged for Monday evening to announce the class of 2017 for the European Le Mans Series.

    The traditional group photo with each team taking part in 2017 providing one car for the picture, with 31 cars being wheeled out to the famous Parabolica corner in the Italian sunshine.

    The second image was a little more compact as the three cars from the 2016 championship winning teams, G-Drive Racing, United Autosports and Beechdean AMR, took part in a side by side picture on the famous Monza banked circuit.

    The first day of the ELMS Official Test will feature three test sessions, including a 2 hour session after the sun has set.
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    Ferrari and Monza – A combination made in Heaven
    ELMS -

    Monza, the centre of Italian motor sport and the home ground for the most iconic sportscar brand in the world: Ferrari. On Tuesday 28 March there will be three Ferraris taking part in the 2-day Official Test. They will return to Monza later in the year for the second round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series on the Sunday 14 May.
    The 2017 European Le Mans Series will see the Prancing Horse try regain the teams title after the JMW Motorsport Ferrari lost out to the Aston Martin Racing Vantage at the final round of the 2016 series in Portugal.

    Three Ferraris will line up on the ELMS grid this season. The JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia that will return to try to bring back the 2017 title and make up for the disappointing end to a great 2016 season. They will be joined on the grid by a pair of Spirit of Race F488 GTEs which promises a great battle!

    The no51 car will have an all Italian crew headed by former 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner and FIA GT1 World Champion Andrea Bertolini, who will race alongside father and son duo Gianluca and Giorgio Roda. The no55 F488 will feature the unchanged from 2016 Anglo-Irish crew of Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Aaron Scott.

    A total of 13 Italian drivers will grace the ELMS grid for the two-day Official Test at Monza, with four drivers in LMP2 and five in LMP3 joining the four who will compete in LMGTE.

    The Official Test will take place at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 of March in five free practice session, including a night session on Tuesday evening.

    The test is open to the public, giving fans the opportunity to see the cars that will race at Monza in May.
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    TOYOTA GAZOO RACING COMPLETES DRIVER LINE-UP
    Tuesday 28 March 2017

    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing can confirm its full driver line-up for the 2017 season, with Yuji Kunimoto and Nicolas Lapierre joining the team for races at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans.

    Yuji and Nicolas will line-up in the #9 TS050 HYBRID alongside lead driver Stéphane Sarrazin in the second and third races of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season.

    Yuji, 26, has a wealth of endurance experience from his eight seasons in Super GT and he wrote headlines last year by beating several world-renowned drivers to win the Super Formula championship. A former Japanese Formula Three champion, Yuji will continue to compete in single-seaters as he defends his Super Formula crown in 2017 alongside another Super GT campaign.

    Frenchman Nicolas, 32, is returning to a familiar environment, having raced for the team from 2012 to 2014, earning TOYOTA’s first hybrid WEC victories. Since then, he has established himself as a leading LMP2 driver, having twice won the class at Le Mans whilst winning the WEC drivers’ title in 2016.

    Today’s announcement completes the full TOYOTA GAZOO Racing line-up for 2017, following January’s confirmation that the #7 car will be driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, while Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima will compete in the #8.

    Toshio Sato, Team President: “I am very pleased to welcome Nicolas and Yuji into our driver line-up for the races at Spa and Le Mans. I am confident that, together with a driver of Stéphane’s abilities, we have a strong line-up in the #9. We know Nicolas well and we have maintained a positive relationship. He is a very quick driver who understands what it takes to succeed at Le Mans so I am sure he will fit into the team quickly and easily. Yuji is a promising driver who has shown his speed and determination in Japanese racing. In testing he has been consistently fast, as well as a team player, so I am confident he will adapt to the demands of WEC.”

    Yuji Kunimoto: “This is really a dream for me. I never imagined that one day I could race for a team like TOYOTA at Le Mans so I am determined to make the most of this opportunity. I enjoyed my first tests with the TS050 HYBRID, which is a really impressive car. LMP1 and endurance racing in Europe are new to me so I am working hard to learn as much as I can from the team; I am sure I will learn a lot from Stéphane and Nicolas, who are both very experienced and quick.”

    Nicolas Lapierre: “It’s great to be back with TOYOTA and I would like to thank the team for this opportunity. I’m really looking forward to racing an LMP1 car again because the cars have developed a lot since I drove the TS040 HYBRID in 2014. The Spa race is coming around very quickly so I am fully focused on preparing myself for the new season. I have stood on the podium before at Le Mans with TOYOTA so my target is clearly to do that again this year.
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    “What the drivers said…”
    ELMS -.
    Memo Rojas no22 G Drive Racing Oreca 07-Gibson

    "Today has been a good day for us. We've been consistently in the top three on both days. Obviously this a new team for me and a new car, and Oreca 07.

    "I am very happy with the new car and the past two days have been to learn about the car. We've been investigating different set up configurations so we have information for the rest of the year. I think it has been successful. So I am happy with the job the team has done here at Monza and we will see in Silverstone."

    Olivier Pla - No28 IDEC Sport Ligier JSP217-Gibson

    "This is the big evolution of the JS P2. It is a brand new car and we've been testing during the winter, which went really well. Everytime we went on the track we made a step forward. The pace is now really good and overall it was a good two days of testing with IDEC here at Monza and I think it is looking good for the season."

    Dennis Anderson - no49 High Class Racing Dallara P217-Gibson

    "Testing has gone pretty well, on the driving side we still have some things to sort out, but we are good. This new car is really something. My biggest challenge is to get used to the speed, the cornering speed and the acceleration. There is also the issue of traffic, whether the other driver has seen you and if there is an opening. I am looking forward to racing back here in Monza in May.

    Nico Lapierre - no21 Dragonspeed Oreca 07-Gibson

    "It's gone really well, very nice. I arrived yesterday evening. The team is doing well, it has expanded to two cars and so far it is going really well. Both cars have really good pace yesterday and today as well and now we can't wait for the first race."

    Christian England - no3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3-Nissan

    "It's gone really well, we've had good weather on a fantastic circuit here in Monza. It's the first time I've been here, obviously we raced at Imola last year, and it's gone really well. We tried a lot of things, we've run through the plan and we're confident. I can't wait to come back to Monza in May"

    Richard Bradley - no40 Graff Oreca 07-Gibson

    "It's gone surprisingly well. To end up fastest personally in two of the sessions and consistently at the front was good. We grabbed a lot of good data as a result. It's looking very good for the season and I'm loving it."

    Andrea Bertolini - no51 Spirit of Race Ferrari F488 GTE

    "The last two days have been good. We are in a good place and the weather was perfect to do a good test. For Giorgio (Roda) and Gianluca (Roda) it was the first time in the 488. It was good because learned a lot and they worked on the set up. It was the first time with Dunlop for the F488 and we are quite happy with the tyres, we found a good balance. We did a full programme here at Monza and we will see where we are at Silverstone."
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    36 Cars for ELMS Season Opener at Silverstone
    ELMS -

    A huge grid of thirty six cars will line up for the first race of the 2017 European Le Mans Series, the 4 Hours of Silverstone, on Saturday 15 April. The UK round is once again being held at the home of UK motor sport alongside the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship to provide the fans of endurance racing a bounty of sportscar action.

    Six of the cars and nineteen of the drivers will be racing with the Union Flag flying above their garages, including one of the 2016 championship winning teams and three of the reigning drivers champions.

    Reigning LMGTE Champions Beechdean AMR, with drivers Andrew Howard and Darren Turner, will begin the defence of their titles at home in the UK. The 2016 LMP3 championship winning team, United Autosports, races under the Stars and Stripes of the USA but is based in the UK, so can claim Silverstone is their home race, while 2016 LMP3 Drivers Champion Christian England returns to defend his title racing with fellow Brit Wayne Boyd and American Mark Patterson.

    First ELMS race for the new LMP2 cars

    In LMP2 12 cars will be on the grid with the new for 2017 technical regulations seeing a marked increase in performance compared to the 2016 cars. There are three different chassis manufacturers – Oreca, Ligier and Dallara - all powered by the same UK built and prepared Gibson engines. Tockwith Motorsports are flying the flag for Britain with Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson driving the team’s Ligier for the first time in race action.

    Reigning 2016 champions G-Drive Racing will run the Oreca07 chassis with an all new driver line up of Memo Rojas (Mex), Ryo Hirakawa (Jpn) and Leo Roussel (Fra) for the Russian team.

    Race winner Ben Hanley will once again race for US team Dragonspeed, the Briton joining an unchanged driver line up of Nicolas Lapierre (Fra) and Henrik Hedman (Swe).

    Richard Bradley is the fourth British driver on the LMP2 grid, the former 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 winner driving for French team Graff alongside James Allen (AUS) and Franck Matelli (Fra).

    17 cars in LMP3

    A mammoth grid of 17 cars will make up the LMP3 class at the opening race of the 2017 season. With Christian England and Wayne Boyd there a further four British drivers in LMP3, making six in total. 360 Racing will once again run their Nissan powered Ligier JS P3 for all British line up of drivers – Terrence Woodward, Ross Kaiser and Anthony Wells.

    The second British team on the LMP3 grid is RLR MSport with Alex Kapadia flying the flag for the home crowd and is joined by Canadian John Farano and Dane Morten Dons in the Ligier-Nissan.

    LMGTE: Three team to fight for a victory at home

    Three of the seven cars on the LMGTE grid count Silverstone as their home race, including reigning champions Beechdean AMR. Andrew Howard and Darren Turner are joined by former British GT4 Champion Ross Gunn to complete an all British line up.

    Their 2016 rivals for the title, JMW Motorsport, also return to continue the fight. Englishman Rob Smith and Rory Butcher are joined by fellow Briton Jody Fannin for this year.

    2016 Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup Champions TF Sport are competing in the LMGTE class in 2017 with Euan Hankey flying the flag alongside Turkey’s Salih Yoluc and Danish reigning FIA WEC LMGTE Champion Nicki Thiim.

    The final two British drivers on the grid are Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott, who will once again be joined by Ireland’s Matt Griffin in an unchanged driver line up from last season in the Spirit of Race run Ferrari F488 GTE.

    The 4 Hours of Silverstone will take place on Saturday 15 April and is the opening round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series.
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    few more pictures from Monza for the prologue.



    Last edited by Rob; 31st March 2017 at 22:40.
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