dimanche 25 septembre 2016

JMW Motorsport and Ferrari have won the GTE class in the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The fifth round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series was highlighted by multiple incidents including contacts between Prototypes and GTE machines.

Robert Smith, Rory Butcher and Andrea Bertolini drove the winning #66 Ferrari 458 Italia. They started from position four on the grid but quickly improved and took full control of the event.

Today's victory in the Belgian Ardennes is their third straight one of the season extending their championship lead with just one round to go.

Proton Competition's Matteo Cairoli, Christian Ried and Gianluca Roda were second in class driving the #88 Porsche 911 RSR.

The GTE podium was completed by AF Corse's Matt Griffin, Aaron Scott and Duncan Cameron at the wheel of the #55 Ferrari 458 Italia.

Wolf Henzler, Marco Seefried and Mike Hedlund were fourth with the Proton Competition run #77 Porsche 911 RSR.

The Beechdean AMR #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE was fifth. The AF Corse #51 Ferrari 458 Italia was sixth. The Formula Racing #60 Ferrari 458 Italia was seventh. The AT Racing #56 Ferrari 458 Italia did not finish the event.

The next round and season finale of the European Le Mans Series will be held at Estoril, October 23rd.

Photos: ELMS / Adrenal Media

JMW Motorsport dominates GTE at the 4 Hours of Spa

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GT Le Mans at Petit Le Mans, the season finale of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship features a two entries apiece from Corvette, Ford, BMW, Porsche and Ferrari.

Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner – four-time winners this season – enter the finale with an 11-point lead in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that will be co-driven by Marcel Fassler.

Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen will co-drive with Mike Rockenfeller in the team’s No. 3 Corvette.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has added a pair of IndyCar stars to its two-car lineup. Four-time champion Scott Dixon joins three-time winners Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, who are second in the standings in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT.

Le Mans 24-Hour GTE-Pro class winners Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller will co-drive with four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 66 Ford GT.

Porsche North America’s Earl Bamber and Frederic Makowiecki won in the recent race at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR. They will be joined by the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR for Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, who will co-drive with Richard Lietz.

BMW Team RLL returns with a two-car lineup, with Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner teaming with Augusto Farfus in the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, while the No. 100 BMW has Kuno Wittmer joining John Edwards and Lucas Luhr.

Leading Ferrari is the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE for Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and James Calado, while Scuderia Corsa returns to the class with the No. 68 Ferrari 488 GTE for Daniel Serra, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Andrea Bertolini.

IMSA Press Release

Photos: Ferrari / Porsche

10 GTLM entries for IMSA finale at Petit Le Mans

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samedi 24 septembre 2016

Alessandro Pier Guidi has taken the GTE pole position for tomorrow's 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, round five of the 2016 European Le Mans Series. At the wheel of the #56 Ferrari 458 Italia he set the quickest time in class, 2:17.038.

Alessandro Pier Guidi:

Finally we got a pole position this year. I am very happy for me, for Ferrari and for AF Corse to be on pole. I love this track and I hope we will perform well tomorrow

Matteo Cairoli was second fastest with the Proton Competition run #88 Porsche 911 RSR, his bet time was 2:17.376.

Matt Griffin completed the top-three in GTE driving the #55 Ferrari 458 Italia from AF Corse.

The JMW Motorsport #66 Ferrari 458 Italia was fourth. The Beechdean AMR #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE was fifth. The Proton Competition #77 Porsche 911 RSR was sixth. The AF Corse #51 Ferrari 458 Italia was seventh. The Formula Racing #60 Ferrari 458 Italia was eighth.

Photo: ELMS / AdrenalMedia

Alessandro Pier Guidi gives Ferrari GTE pole position at Spa-Francorchamps

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Matteo Cairlo was the fastest in the second European Le Mans Series practice session at Spa-Francorchamps. At the wheel of the #88 Porsche 911 RSR, the Italian set the best time in the GTE class with 2:18.814. The Porsche Junior driver shared the car with Gianluca Roda and team-owner Christian Ried.

The AF Corse run #51 Ferrari 458 Italia was second fastest with drivers Rui Aguas, Marco Cioci and Piergiuseppe Perazzini.

Aston Martin Racing's Darren Turner, Alex McDowell and Andrew Howard completed the top-three in GTE sharing the #99 Aston Martin Vantage from Beechdean AMR.

The JMW Motorsport #66 Ferrari 458 Italia was fourth. The Formula Racing #60 Ferrari 458 Italia was fifth. The AT Racing #56 Ferrari 458 Italia was sixth. The AF Corse #55 Ferrari 458 Italia was seventh. The Proton Competition #88 Porsche 911 RSR was eighth.

Spa-Francorchamps Second Practice Results

The GTE qualifying session, a twelve-minute one, will start at 13:25 local time.

Photo: Proton Competition / ELMS

Matteo Cairoli and Porsche fastest in GTE in Spa-Francorchamps second practice

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vendredi 23 septembre 2016

The 2017 calendar of the European Le Mans Series has been released, a six-round one. There are two major changes compared to this year's calendar, as the series will return to both Monza and Portimao.

Monza will play host to the official test days right after the FIA WEC's Prologue.

The opening round will be held at Silverstone supporting the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The ELMS will then return to Monza for the second round of the season. The "Temple of Speed" replaces Imola as home of the Italian round and it will be the last event before the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The Red Bull Ring in Austria will be round three followed by the Paul Ricard in France and Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

The season finale will be held once in again in Portugal but on a different location. The Portimao circuit will replace Estoril.

2017 European Le Mans Series Calendar:

Test Days at Monza, March 28th-29th

4 Hours of Silverstone, April 15th

4 Hours of Monza, May 14th

4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring, July 23rd

4 Hours of Paul Ricard, August 27th

4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, Septembre 24th

4 Hours of Portimao, October 22nd

Photo: Ferrari Media

The 2017 European Le Mans Series calendar is out

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Ferrari has dominated the GTE class in the opening European Le Mans Series practice session at Spa-Francorchamps. A 1-2 for the Maranello brand with their all-conquering Ferrari 458 Italias.

Alessandro Pier Guidi set the quickest time in the 90-minute session with 2:19.130. The Italian shared the all-black #56 Ferrari 458 Italia with father and son Alexander Talkanitsa and  Alexander Talkanitsa Jr.

ELMS GTE points leaders from JMW Motorsport were second fastest with the #66 Ferrari 458 Italia. The British entry was driven by Robert Smith, Rory Butcher and Andrea Bertolini.

Michael Hedlund, Wolf Henzler and Marco Seefried completed the top-three in GTE sharing the #77 Porsche 911 RSR from Proton Competition.

Their team-mates Gianluca Roda, Christian Ried and Matteo Cairoli were fourth fastest with the sister #88 Porsche 911 RSR.

The Beechdean AMR #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE was fifth. The AF Corse #55 Ferrari 458 Italia was sixth. The Formula Racing #60 Ferrari 458 Italia was seventh. The AF Corse #51 Ferrari 458 Italia was eighth.

Teams and drivers will be back on track tomorrow for a second practice session followed by the qualifying one.

Photo: Ferrari Media

Ferrari topped GTE in ELMS opening practice at Spa

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jeudi 22 septembre 2016

The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar, presented today to the FIA Endurance Commission, presided over by Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, and which will be submitted in the coming days to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for validation, once again offers the WEC’s manufacturers, teams and partners the stability, visibility and geographic spread of prestigious worldwide venues that have been a mark of the championship to date.

While the nine rounds closely echo the 2016 calendar in terms of venues and dates, a significant addition to the calendar is the debut of the WEC at the temple of Italian motorsport, Monza, for the official pre-season test – The Prologue.  The addition of the high-speed circuit to the calendar will be a welcome addition for teams as part of their preparations for the cornerstone event of the world championship, the Le Mans 24 Hours.

All events will be of a duration of six hours, other than Le Mans.  The season starts, as is now tradition, with European rounds at Silverstone, Spa, Le Mans and Nürburgring, before the trans-continental journey begins to Mexico, USA, Japan, China and Bahrain.

“We are very pleased to have maintained this level of stability in the five years of the WEC to date, and our 2017 calendar allows us to continue to build on the tradition of endurance racing around the world,” said Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO.  “Our increasing number of fans year on year is proof that returning to a venue at a similar time of year encourages people to make their plans to attend well in advance…and to bring friends with them to enjoy all the entertainment and access that the WEC offers.  The Le Mans 24 Hours needs no introduction, but we know that audiences in countries such as Mexico can only increase as their knowledge and interest in the WEC grows.  We look forward to an exciting 2017 starting with our first visit to Italy.”

“The opportunity to start our season at Monza is one we are sure will please competitors, fans and media alike,” said Gérard Neveu, CEO of the WEC. “We hope that our calendar not only meets the expectations and requirements of all our partners and competitors, and makes economic and logistical sense, but also that it fits in with the increasing number of events that each venue hosts.  The WEC continues to offer fans access to the most technologically relevant, competitive, and open championship possible, as well as offering our manufacturers Aston Martin, Audi, Ferrari, Ford, Porsche and Toyota the perfect showcase for their products on and off track.”

2017 FIA World Endurance Championship Provisional Calendar**

24/25 March                 The WEC Prologue, Monza                            (Italy)

16 April                        6 Hours of Silverstone                                 (UK)

06 May                         WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps            (Belgium)

17/18 June                   Le Mans 24 Hours                                        (France)

16 July                         6 Hours of Nürburgring                               (Germany)

03 September              6 Hours of Mexico                                        (Mexico)

16 September              6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas               (USA)

15 October                   6 Hours of Fuji                                            (Japan)

05 November               6 Hours of Shanghai                                    (China)

18 November               6 Hours of Bahrain                                       (Bahrain)

** Subject to approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council

FIA WEC Press Release

The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar is out

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Spa Francorchamps will host the 5th round of the European Le Mans Series where along with teammates Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott the experienced GT driver will pilot the number 55 Ferrari 458 GTE.

While this years European Le Mans Series has not gone totally to plan, Griffin is confident ahead of the weekend.

Matt Griffin:

We have been very unlucky so far this year in the ELMS.  In Rd 4 at Paul Ricard, France we were very fast all weekend and probably the fastest GT car, but a few issues robbed us of a podium.  The main thing is that we try to bring that speed to Spa this weekend and hopefully convert it into a good result.

The weekend kicks off on Friday 23rd September 2016 with free practice. Qualifying takes place on Saturday 13.25 CET with the 4hr endurance race due to start 14.00 CET on Sunday.

Matt Griffin Press Release

Photo: Ferrari Media

Matt Griffin ready for ELMS' 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

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Nicki Thiim has clinched a dominant GTE-Pro victory at the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas. A maiden win for the Danish ace in the premier Grand Touring class of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

At the wheel of the Young Driver AMR run #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, Nicki Thiim took the class pole position on Friday and dominated the 6-hour event on Saturday along with fellow Danish driver Marco Sørensen.

Strong performances and results in Texas, enough to give the two Aston Martin Racing stars the championship lead in the GT drivers' standing with just three rounds to go.

Nick Thiim was delighted with Austin victory and gave full credits to the Aston Martin Racing team.

It is fantastic. I had to get my aggression out because of the mistake I made in Mexico.

We did a really good job. The whole team has been amazing all week. We had people collapsing – everyone was on the limit.

We managed to have the perfect race. You can see the progress that we have made the whole season. In Silverstone we were nowhere and now we are competing at the same level  as everyone.

It is quite impressive. We keep doing a good job and its about time we got the win so I am really happy.

Photo: Aston Martin

Nicki Thiim delighted with maiden GTE-Pro victory at COTA

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mercredi 21 septembre 2016

Davide Rigon and his team-mate Sam Bird took a strong third place in Austin. The two AF Corse were at the wheel of the #71 Ferrari 488 GTE and collected big points in the battle for FIA WEC GTE-Pro title.

Davide Rigon gave his thoughts about last weekend's 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas and now is looking forward to the upcoming event at the Fuji Speedway.

A real tought fight here in Texas. We had a pretty good start considering how much the Aston Martin was fast, I tried to catch up them, but they were way too fast, anyway I was doing pretty good staying in the second position. We didn’t have any issue on the car, but during the second hour we were too slow, so we lost positions founding the fourth place.

I was back in the car on the third hour, we changed the tires waiting for the night part with 50 degrees on the track and 37 degrees outside, very hot weather. I was going well catching the third position. During the next session, we were still too slow even if we didn’t move from the third position, the Ford was very close so in the last hours of the race I started to fight so hard, pushing as much as I could to keep going and finishing on the podium.

And we did it, we got the podium and very important points for the Championship. Now we have to stay focused on the next one, the 6 Hours of Fuji is going to be the race where we have to get a victory and I’ll do my best to make it happen. The Championship is still open!

Photo: Ferrari Media

Davide Rigon: "The Championship is still open"

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Richard Lietz, along with team-mate Michael Christensen, had a frustrating 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas race at Austin. The two Porsche factory drivers ended the Texan event in sixth place within the GTE-Pro class, two laps down to the winning Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

At the wheel of the semi-works #77 Porsche 911 RSR, Richard Lietz was fast all weekend long with consistant lap times, yet it wasn't enough to challenge for the top spots. The Porsche is clearly suffring from the current Balance of Performance in the GTE-Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The 2015 GTE-Pro champion gave full credits to his team Dempsey Proton Racing after the COTA race.

Our team supported us with excellent pit stops. We had no technical problems and with the cooler temperatures towards the end our tyres worked better. Still, in terms of pace unfortunately we couldn’t achieve a better result today.

Photo: Porsche Media

Richard Lietz gives credits to his team after 6 Hours of COTA

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mardi 20 septembre 2016

A selection of great photos from last weekend's 6 Hours of the Circuit of The Americas in Austin by Michelin Motorsport. The Texan circuit played host to the sixth round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Michelin Motorsport's full photo gallery from 6 Hours of COTA is here.

PHOTOS: Best of 6 Hours of COTA by Michelin Motorsport

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lundi 19 septembre 2016

If the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM Team didn't have bad luck, it wouldn't have any. The popular Houston, Texas-based team suffered another heartbreak today. After clearly having a strong car and fine driving to make a convincing run towards their first victory since August 2014, an electrical connection issue sent the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari from first to last in class in the final 20 minutes of the Lone Star Grand Prix race.

The penultimate 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at the Circuit of the America (COTA) is the hometown race for Risi Competizione and the team came to the Texas track ready to produce strong results and recover from the disappointment of bad luck from the past two races. At both Road America and Virginia International Raceway, a podium finish was snatched from the grasp of the privateer Risi Ferrari team in the final minutes of the race.

Finn Toni Vilander qualified and started the Risi Ferrari from the outside front row after he and co-driver Italian Giancarlo Fisichella ran strong in the three practice sessions on Thursday and Friday. Vilander was determined to take the lead from the polesitting factory Ford GT on the first lap and skilfully did so in Turn one.

Vilander drove the first 19 laps, all from the GTLM class lead, before pitting under caution on Lap 19, about 45 minutes in to the two hour and 40-minute sprint race. Fisichella was able to continue the class lead briefly after another perfect pit stop performed by the renown Risi team, although he lost it a few laps later. He hunted down the class leader and eventually passed him 10 laps later to again take the GTLM class lead. At the next fuel window, Fisichella returned the cockpit duties to Vilander on Lap 45, again in the lead.

Toni continued to run strong and the Risi team appeared destined to finally break their spell of bad luck with a local victory, only to have an electrical connection problem on Lap 60, just 20 minutes from the end. Power was lost while Toni was on track between Turns 11 and 12. He got the Prancing Horse restarted and shuffled into the pits. Although the Risi Competizione team was able to rather quickly reconnect the electrical connection and send the car back out, they lost a lap and their chances for victory. The Risi Comp team finished the Lone Star Grand Prix race in eighth position in class and 19th overall in the 39-car field.

Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:

Unfortunately, it was looking good, then at the end it didn't work out for us. We had an electrical connection in the car that was critical, that came loose. We're looking into why, we're not sure of the situation. It forced us to pit because we lost all power in the car. Otherwise, I think we had a good car. I actually think we had the best car on the track most of the time and we led a good portion of the race. That is something we can be proud of. Both the drivers did a great job. Tony qualified second and was able to grab the lead on the start and then just maintained the gap. Once things settled in he was able to pull enough of a gap to make a comfortable stop for us on a yellow and we changed [drivers] to Giancarlo. He was able to pass for the lead and then maintain the lead until we stopped for Toni. We had a good race in that regard until we had issue with the electrical connector. The crew did an awesome job. Every stop was perfect."

Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:

We did our best. Everything was perfect. We were quickest and pulling away with over ten seconds to the Porsches. And then we had an issue. It's really frustrating. It was really important for us, for the guys, and for the fans, for us to win and get a first victory of the season. We are here in our home circuit. It's a shame. Very frustrating. We did our best anyway. We have a good package to do well for the next race and looking forward to going to Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta."

Toni Vilander, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:

"We had a good performance during the whole weekend. We had our doubts because in the past this track hasn't always been the best for Ferrari overall. We made good choices and did really good work. Even in a short time we got a good direction where to go and from there we were building our speed. Qualifying was really good in P2. It wasn't probably the best lap but qualifying seems to be always be difficult. Then going into the race I wanted to come out of turn one in P1 and I managed to do it. We had great pit stops and great calls on the tires and overall everything worked well until we had an electrical issue between [Turn] 11 and [Turn] 12. The car just shut down. I lost the radio, I lost the power steering, I lost the power to the engine. I don't know how I got it restarted because I still didn't have any power steering when I drove the car in. Then the guys found the issue, but unfortunately that was it. Now it's one race to go and we'll try to do a good result there."

Giuseppe Risi, Risi Competizione Team Principal:

The drivers did a great job. The team performed superb pit stops and chose the right tires. It's truly a disappointment today.

The next race for the Risi Competizione Ferrari team is the final round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia on October 1.

Risi Competizione Press Release

Risi Competizione suffers another heartbreak at COTA

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dimanche 18 septembre 2016

Porsche North America clinched a fine 1-2 victory at the Circuit of the Americas. The near Houston racetrack played host to the penultimate round of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Earl Bamber and Frederic Makowiecki shared the winning #912 Porsche 911 RSR ahead of their team-mates Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet with the sister #911 Porsche 911 RSR.

Post-race quotes:

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: 

That was an incredibly exciting race: A heated battle in which the tyres played a major role. We profited somewhat from Ferrari’s bad luck, but we then drove a clean race to the flag. All in all it was a great performance from the drivers and teams under difficult conditions. I’m very pleased.”

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): 

A fantastic success for Porsche. I got away well off the line and passed the Ford. After that the race ran problem-free. Our car has proven hugely consistent over the entire season. We were able to successfully utilise the strength of the 911 RSR under these extreme conditions.

Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911):

This race was perfect for Porsche. With the exception of the Ferrari we could control the whole field. I’m also delighted for our teammates in the 912. They really deserve this win. For us it was great to be back on the podium.

Earl Bamber (911 RSR #912):

This victory belongs to the entire team. We saw today that the 911 RSR was the most consistent car over the distance under such extreme conditions. First and second place – a great success for Porsche.

Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #912): 

We didn’t necessarily have the fastest car today, but we could maintain a decent pace over the entire race distance. We’ve been working towards this win over the whole season. Finally everything came together. This is precisely the motivation we need heading to the season finale at Road Atlanta.

Photos: Porsche Media

Porsche North America post-race quotes after COTA 1-2 GTLM victory

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