03/2019 What the drivers said post-race at Sebring
Below is what the drivers had to say at the post-event press conference following yesterday’s 1000 Miles of Sebring.
Kazuki Nakajima – No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing, Toyota TS 050 HYBRID - 1st
“I think from the outside it is easy to say it looked quite stable but actually it was very tricky in the car. In my first stint I had a lot of traffic so it was tough but then I jumped in the car at the end and I knew what I had to do. I was quite happy in the dry conditions but I was not happy at all in the end with the rainy conditions. It was amazingly low grip and it was like sliding on ice, and I couldn’t even go flat on the start/finish straight and to be honest I am just thankful we could finish, so victory is a bonus.”
Jose-Maria Lopez – No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing, Toyota TS 050 HYBRID - 2nd
“From my side I wasn’t really there with traffic today and I was struggling a bit. I was trying to catch Seb [Buemi] and I mis-judged a little bit the manoeuvre and I was a little bit unlucky with the car [No.90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage] which also crossed the line but these things happen sometimes, so we learn from it and look forward. Fortunately we could continue and finish the race.”
Gianmaria Bruni – No.91 Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR - 1st LMGTE Pro
“It was a very hard race from the start but we had a good car and the preparation we had for this race was unbelievable from the team. We worked very hard with the tyre life on the test days. The race went our way from mid-race on. We were consistent, we were not the fastest but we did a good overtake on Ford and BMW and this was the key moment for us. Richard pulled away from the No.67 Ford at one point and we knew that the BMW had to do a splash at the end and it all worked well for us. I am very happy to get my first win for Porsche.”
Will Stevens – No.37 Jackie Chan DC Racing, ORECA-Gibson - 1st LMP2
“It is great for us as it is our first weekend together. It wasn’t a plain sailing week for us but to come away with a win is great for us and the team also. We couldn’t have wished for a better start and as we were strong in the race it is very satisfying. We knew that if we could get the lead at the start we could pull away and control the race. The end of the race was pretty tricky, especially on inters which was very difficult but we managed it, so it was a great race for us.”
Matt Campbell – No.77 Dempsey Proton Racing, Porsche 911 RSR - 1st LMGTE Am
“Especially around Sebring where the track is so difficult and bumpy, when it rains it makes it a little more nerve-racking. We weren’t sure how the last stint would go because we only had ten seconds to the Ferrari but we were able to creep away and obviously then the Safety Car came out. It is a fantastic result in what was a very tough race. The competition in the class was really tough and tight so to get the win like we have today is great.”
03/2019 Alonso, Nakajima and Buemi victorious at Sebring
The No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 TS050 HYBRID took victory in the 1000 Miles of Sebring, the sixth round of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season, in a race which ended in tricky wet conditions just before midnight on Friday 15 March.
Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima claimed a third victory of the season to extend their points lead in the World Championship title chase.
The pole-sitting car led for the entire event and only a small off-track excursion for Buemi, when he attempted to overtake the ailing DragonSpeed LMP1 car, threatened to unsettle their drive to victory.
The pivotal moment of the race came in the fourth hour when José Maria Lopez made contact with the TF Sport Aston Martin driven by Jonny Adam. The resulting damage lost the No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing car over a lap and ensured that its stablemate rivals had a clear run to the chequered flag.
Along with Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway took second position but now have a deficit of 15-points in the standings.
There was drama in the final 25-minutes when a rain shower hit the circuit, sending teams running for wet tyres for the final nail-biting laps.
When Loïc Duval crashed his TDS Racing LMP2 car in the final 10-minutes of the 8-hour race and triggered a Safety Car which was withdrawn just before the chequered flag was shown.
Taking third position at Sebring was the No.11 SMP Racing crew of returning WEC former Champion Brendon Hartley, Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov.
They took advantage of last hour difficulties for the No.3 Rebellion Racing car, crewed by Gustavo Menezes, Nathanaël Berthon and Thomas Laurent, to take a second consecutive podium for the Russian-entered SMP team.
New-look No.37 Jackie Chan DC Racing squad triumph
In LMP2, the newly formed trio of David Heinemeier-Hansson, Jordan King and Will Stevens dominated the category with a conclusive win in the No.37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA Gibson.
The trio were embarking on their first race together and led from the second lap onwards. The win marked David Heinemeier-Hansson’s first ever LMP2 victory and success for Jordan King in his very first endurance race.
The win meant that the Jackie Chan DC Racing squad have now taken five out of six wins in the WEC Super Season.
Signatech Alpine Matmut’s Nicolas Lapierre, Pierre Thiriet and André Negrão placed second and, as a result, took over the points lead in the LMP2 title race.
They vault previous leaders, the No.38 Jackie Chan DC Racing line-up of Ho-Pin Tung, Stéphane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry, who saw their race compromised by an early race electrical issue.
The US-entered DragonSpeed team claimed the final rung of the podium as Anthony Davidson, Pastor Maldonado and Roberto Gonzalez fought back from a third hour incident which saw the team having to replace the rear wing and bodywork section.
02/2019 Maximum Entry For 2019 European Le Mans Series
The provisional entry list for the 2019 season has been revealed with a full grid of 41 cars across the three classes for the upcoming six round series. For the first time the ELMS received more entries than available places and a selection process was made to fill the available slots on the 2019 grid.
There will be a mammoth 32 Le Mans Prototype (LMP) entries – 18 LMP2 and 14 LMP3 – with 9 LMGTE entries, the largest full season GTE grid since 2014.
Following the decision made at the end of last season, the grid size has been limited to 41 cars for the 2019 season due to the amount of space that is available in some of the pitlane at the circuits visited by the ELMS and will allow all teams to fuel and service their cars in front of their allocated pit boxes.
LMP2: Stronger Than Ever
The 18 strong LMP2 entry (11 Orecas, 6 Ligiers, 1 Dallara) will feature 14 teams including the 2018 ELMS champions G-Drive Racing, the Russian team returning to defend their title with reigning drivers champion Roman Rusinov. Eight other teams - High Class Racing, DragonSpeed, United Autosports, Panis Barthez Competition, Algarve Pro Racing, IDEC Sport, Duqueine Engineering, Graff – all return to take up the challenge for another season.
They are joined by four teams moving up from LMP3, including 2018 class champions RLR MSport and reigning champion John Farano. Inter Europol Competition, Cool Racing and BHK Motorport have also made the move to the top flight on the ELMS grid. Top British single seater team Carlin are joining the ELMS for the first time, with the only entry for a Dallara-Gibson.
LMP3: Large Entry for First Step on the Le Mans Prototype Ladder
Once again the ELMS will feature a good grid of the entry level Le Mans Prototypes with 10 teams entering 14 cars, ten Ligier JS P3 and four Norma M30. 2018 LMP3 Champions RLR MSport will be defending their title, running their Ligier-Nissan P3 car alongside their new LMP2 Oreca-Gibson.
Eight other teams will also be returning to the LMP3 grid in 2019 – United Autosports, 360 Racing, Nielsen Racing, Oregon Team, Eurointernational, Inter Europol Competition, Ultimate and M Racing. Graff will be back in LMP3, this year racing under the banner of Realteam Racing.
LMGTE: Ferrari and Porsche Go Head to Head
A strong nine car full season entry in the LMGTE category will see five Ferrari F488 GTEs go head to head with four Porsche 911 RSRs.
Reigning 2018 champions Proton Competition will run two Porsche 911s this season, with the no88 car featuring young Italian Matteo Cairoli. The no77 car will run under the Dempsey-Proton Racing banner with former FIA WEC LMGTE champion Richard Lietz.
JMW Motorsport, Ebimotors and Spirit of Race all return to the ELMS in 2019 and will be joined by a two car entry by Kessel Racing, including the all female crew in the no83 Ferrari. FIA WEC team Project 1 will enter a single Porsche 911 in addition to their efforts on the world stage. The ninth and final entry will be Luzich Racing and will be run by Spirit of Race.
The 1st and 2nd placed teams at the end of the 2019 season will receive an automatic invitation to the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “It is with great satisfaction that the ACO continues to see how attractive the European Le Mans Series has become, fulfilling perfectly its role in the endurance ladder to which we are committed. The quality of the grid reflects perfectly the importance of this championship.”
Gérard Neveu, CEO European Le Mans Series: “Once again the European Le Mans Series continues to attract the leading European race teams, underlining its position as the world’s leading continental endurance racing series.
“With a large, high quality, entry in the LMP2 category this season, we will invite not only the LMP2 ELMS Championship winning team to the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans, but also the vice champions from this year’s series. So combined with the invitation to the LMP3 champions and the top two teams in the LMGTE class, the European Le Mans Series will have five guaranteed entries in next year’s race on the full La Sarthe circuit in June 2020.
02/2019 Présentation du LMP3 de 2020 !
La 2e génération du LMP3, créé en 2015 par l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest, apparaîtra en compétition en 2020. Quatre constructeurs sélectionnés après un appel d’offres ont participé avec l’ACO à mener cette évolution. Présentation de ce LMP3 version 2020, avec des chiffres clés et une interview de Vincent Beaumesnil, Directeur Sport.
Première étape de la pyramide de l’endurance, conçue par l’ACO pour promouvoir la quête du graal, les 24 Heures du Mans, le LMP3, créé en 2015, évoluera en 2020.
La période 2020-2024 correspond en effet à la 2e génération de châssis de cette catégorie, destinée aux pilotes comme aux équipes débutantes en endurance. Le succès de cette classe a été plus que significatif puisque, à ce jour, 170 LMP3 sont engagés en compétition. Des pilotes se sont également révélés grâce au LMP3 : Thomas Laurent, vainqueur de Road to Le Mans en LMP3 en 2016, puis vainqueur LMP2 des 24 Heures du Mans 2017, 2e et 3e au général des 24 Heures du Mans en 2017 et 2018, mais aussi de nombreux gentlemen drivers qui ont opté pour le LMP3, illustrent cette combinaison gagnante pour évoluer en endurance.
Pour cette 2e phase du LMP3, les principes élémentaires ont été conservés, à savoir : des voitures compétitives, un programme sportif de haut niveau, garantis dans le même temps par un budget raisonnable, une facilité d’utilisation de la machine, une technologie accessible à tous. L’objectif du LMP3 est de former à l’endurance. Former les pilotes, les membres d’équipe, ingénieurs comme mécaniciens, pour viser et se préparer à un engagement aux 24 Heures du Mans et au Championnat du Monde d’Endurance de la FIA.
Les éléments essentiels de ce LMP3 2020-2024 :
- 4 constructeurs sélectionnés : Ligier, Duqueine Engineering, Ginetta et Adess
- Oreca reste le fournisseur exclusif du Groupe Motopropulseur (moteur, boite de vitesses, électronique)
- La voiture sera une évolution des voitures actuelles pour chaque constructeur, il ne s’agit pas d’une voiture entièrement nouvelle. Un kit d’évolution a été défini (portant sur la sécurité, la performance et le design)
- Les tarifs fixés par le règlement sont: 4900€ pour l’évolution du moteur actuel, 50000€ pour le kit d’évolution châssis (passeport technique inclus), soit un total de 54900€ pour mettre à jour une voiture actuelle en version 2020. Une nouvelle voiture 2020 coûtera 239000€ maximum (passeport technique inclus).
- Un effort particulier est porté sur la qualité client, via un support technique sur les circuits, une distribution des pièces détachées et un passeport technique
Les informations techniques principales de ce LMP3 2020-2024 :
- La puissance moteur est augmentée de 35 CH, soit 455 CH au total
- Le nouveau moteur Nissan VK56 sera introduit. Les moteurs actuels ( V8 Nissan VK50) seront adaptés pour développer la même puissance et la même performance que le VK56. Les concurrents pourront donc conserver leurs moteurs actuels jusqu’à la fin de leur cycle de vie avant d’acquérir un nouveau moteur.
-Introduction d’un anti-patinage.
- Concernant le châssis, des évolutions liées à la sécurité sont retenues pour la structure appuie-tête pilote, le siège pilote et l’introduction de panneaux latéraux en Zylon.
- Un kit d’évolution carrosserie et de modifications mécaniques est également autorisé, dans la limite du prix de kit fixé par le règlement.
Calendrier d’introduction de ce LMP3 2020-2024
- Saison 2020 : ELMS, MLMC, Road to Le Mans, Ultimate Cup, V de V
- Saison 2020-2021 : Asian LMS
- Saison 2021 : Toute autre compétition
02/2019 Toyota confirms participation in 2019-2020 WEC
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s parent company, Toyota Motor Corporation, has confirmed today that it will compete in the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship.
In 2018, Toyota achieved the long-desired goal of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the second round of the 2018-2019 Super Season, and the Japanese team is currently leading the World Endurance Championship points tables with three rounds to go.
Toyota has never been a manufacturer to rest on its laurels, however, and has announced a range of motorsport activities for the coming year including confirmation of entry by Toyota Gazoo Racing in the 2019-2020 WEC season. The driver line-up and more details will be announced at a later date.
01/2019 Avelon Formula overcomes fire to win the 2019 Hankook 6H DUBAI
DUBAI (26 January 2019) – The Avelon Formula Wolf GB08 Tornado (#45, Ivan Bellarosa / Guglielmo Belotti / Angelo Negro) has taken victory in the inaugural Hankook 6H DUBAI in the United Arab Emirates. Angelo Negro took the PX-class prototype across the line to complete 184 laps of the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome Grand Prix Circuit and to crown the first-ever winners in the 24H MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP.
Having dominated the opening few hours of the race, Avelon Formula lost almost 20 minutes in the pits when an oil leak caused a small fire to break out at the rear of the car, briefly handing the lead to the Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR DSG (#101, Luc Breukers / Yusif Bassil). Strong pace thereafter was enough for the Wolf GB08 Tornado, which runs in a black and gold livery in deference to its Walter Wolf Racing Formula 1 lineage, to overhaul the CUPRA TCR on lap 140.
"It’s amazing!” a euphoric Guglielmo Belotti told CREVENTIC. “We had some problems during the race – I was in the car at the time and could smell the oil burning – but we fixed the problem and recovered quite quickly. Apart from that the car was great, the track was perfect, and the organisation was fantastic.
Red Camel-Jordans.nl meanwhile looked set to win the TCR-class only for the CUPRA to suffer brake problems with under an hour of runtime left. The reigning TCR-class 24H TCE SERIES European Champions managed to repair the damage and recover to finish 2nd in-class, just ahead of the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic FK7 TCR (#77, René Münnich / Luc Breukers).
While outright victory had seemed a possibility at one stage, TCR newcomer Luc Breukers was nevertheless relieved to get some solid running in the CUPRA under his belt at the Dubai Autodrome.
“We were having a really fun fight with Zengő [Motorsport] because, even though were faster on the track, they could drive much longer on one tank,” Luc Breukers explained. “The team did a great job repairing the ABS but unfortunately today didn’t end the way we wanted it to.
“I’ve learnt that anything can happen while the race is going on. Even if you are driving well, you can still have mechanical problems. I need to keep that in mind for Abu Dhabi and not push the car too hard.”
The TCR-class win thus went to the Zengő Motorsport CUPRA TCR DSG (#8, Zoltán Zengő / Csaba Tóth), a fitting end to the weekend for the Hungarian outfit which started with a double podium finish in the 2019 TCR Middle East season opener on Friday.
“I am very happy,” team founder Zoltán Zengő told CREVENTIC. “We’ve worked very hard for this success, the team did a great job, and Csaba Tóth drove really well. We hope to have two CUPRA cars running in Abu Dhabi next weekend, but before that, we’ll be having a good dinner as a team tonight!”
“We’re really sorry Red Camel-Jordans.nl hit problems. They’re a good team and Luc [Breukers] had driven well all day. But our focus was on solid rather than really quick lap times and to make sure our pit stops ran smoothly. This strategy worked out really well for is.”
01/2019 René Münnich has collected his second win of the weekend at the Dubai Autodrome to close out the opening round of the 2019 TCR Middle East Series.
Münnich, who started at the back of the reverse grid for the 30-minute race, was on a charge around the 5.39km Autodrome in the early stages in the #77 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic FK7 TCR. The race one winner set an even quicker pace than he’d managed earlier in the afternoon as he dispatched the CUPRA TCRs of Luc Breukers and Zoltán Zengő.
The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team founder, who last year completed a full season in the FIA European Rallycross Championship, set a fastest lap of 1m 46.919s, almost a full second quicker than the 1m 47.791s he achieved in race one. The German now leads the overall TCR Middle East Series driver standings heading into the second round of the season in Abu Dhabi, but admits it’s a little early to be thinking about the championship.
"We made a few changes after race one,”
“René began, “
but I think the track changed quite a bit between races too. The sun is down, we have better air for the power, and that probably helped the lap times. So yeah, another good race."
“I’m here to have fun, and it’s a nice series especially because you can’t race in Europe during the winter. Obviously if we have more wins that makes the racing even more fun, but I’m not focusing on the championship just yet. So much could change in Abu Dhabi.”
Luc Breukers meanwhile completed the first TCR and international race weekend of his career in strong form with his second consecutive 2nd place finish in the #101 Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR. The young Dutchman is also set to continue his TCR Middle East Series campaign at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi next weekend.
Zoltán Zengő finished on the podium for the second time this weekend at the Dubai Autodrome. The Hungarian team owner of Zengő Motorsport, which has regularly competed in the World Touring Car Cup (formerly the World Touring Car Championship) since 2010, is confident he can retain this podium-finishing pace heading into the next round in Abu Dhabi.
“I am really enjoying these races, and that was my priority,”
explained Zoltán, who started race two from pole position in the #8 CUPRA TCR.
“I’d like to thank my team for preparing a good car this weekend, and congratulations to both René and Luc, they drove great races. But I am very happy with my results this weekend.”
“We will be back for the next races in Abu Dhabi and also Dubai, and I think we will continue competing in TCR Europe. It will always be my job to manage the team, but I’m really enjoying my racing.”