jeudi 30 mars 2017

The successful Dempsey-Proton and Gulf Racing teams, who will race in the LMGTE AM class of WEC, including the Le Mans 24 hour race, chose Dunlop for their global campaigns after comparative testing and experience of working with Dunlop in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), where the tyre company is the sole tyre supplier to the LMGTE class.

Dunlop is the most successful tyre manufacturer in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hour race, with 34 overall wins. For the last six consecutive years, Dunlop have been the choice of the LMP2 Prototype winners in the French marathon. Following this success in prototype racing, Dunlop increased their focus on the LMGTE class in 2016 – resulting in championship success in the first year of a Technical Partnership with Aston Martin Racing. The learnings from this WEC programme, and Dunlop’s experience in ELMS, have been applied to the tyre range that will be used on the Porsche 911 RSR entered by both teams.

Xavier Fraipont, Managing Director, Dunlop Motorsport Europe commented: "We are pleased that two experienced Porsche motorsport teams have chosen Dunlop as a technical partner. Following our successes in winning titles with Aston Martin in LMGTE last year, the selection of Dunlop after comparative testing is a strong endorsement of our performance.”

Christian Ried, Proton Competition Team Principal and driver, added:I´m sure that the constructive and  professional work with Dunlop will bring a huge benefit for both of us.”

The choice of Dunlop by two Porsche teams brings back memories of the successful collaboration between the two companies at the Le Mans 24 hours. Of Dunlop’s 34 victories, 9 were in partnership with Porsche spanning an era of iconic models such as the 935, 936, 956 and 962.

The close development work between Porsche and Dunlop was highlighted earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show. Dunlop’s latest generation Sport Maxx Race 2 has been developed together with Porsche in order to meet the demanding requirements for the new 911 GT3. With the first-generation Sport Maxx Race tyres fitted on the previous model of the GT3, Dunlop continues its offering of specialist tyres for Porsche vehicles.

Dunlop Press Release

Dunlop Motorsport welcomes two customer Porsche teams in FIA WEC

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Aston Martin Racing's GTE-Pro driver line-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been completed. The British squad is welcoming a new face to the team and a regular one.

Richie Stanaway, who competed for Aston Martin Racing last year in the the FIA World Endurance Championship, will be at the wheel of the #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

The New Zealander will be sharing the car with the 2016 FIA WEC GTE-Pro champions, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen.

The sister #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE will feature a new comer, Daniel Serra. The Brazilian competed in selected IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship last year with Scuderia Corsa and performed very well with a privateer Ferrari 488 GTE in the demanding GTLM class.

Daniel Serra will be joining ELMS champion Darren Turner and double British GT champion Jonny Adam at La Sarthe.

Aston Martin Racing GTE-Pro line-up for Le Mans 24 Hours:

#95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE: Nicki Thiim / Marco Sorensen / Richie Stanaway
#97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE: Darren Turner / Jonny Adam / Daniel Serra

Photos: Aston Martin

Daniel Serra and Richie Stanaway join Aston Martin Racing for Le Mans 24 Hours

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mercredi 29 mars 2017

Spirit of Race and Ferrari were the quickest in the GTE class in European Le Mans Series' fifth and final test session at Monza. Just five GTE cars took part in the 180-minute afternoon session.

At the wheel of the #55 Ferrari 488 GTE, Matt Griffin, Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott, set the best time in class, 1:50.041.

The JMW Motorsport-run #66 Ferrari 458 Italia was second fastest. The #51 Ferrari 488 GTE from Spirit of Race completed the top-three.

Proton Competition's #77 Porsche 911 RSR was fourth while the #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE from Beechdean AMR was fifth.

The #90 Aston Martin Vantage GTE from TF Sport and the #88 Porsche 911 RSR from Proton Competition did not take part in the session.

The 2017 European Le Mans Series season will kick off at Silverstone with a four-hour event on April the 15th.

Photo: ELMS

Spirit of Race leads GTE in ELMS final test session at Monza

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Beechdean AMR and Aston Martin have dominated the 180-minute fourth European Le Mans Series test session at Monza.

The 2016 champions Darren Turner and Andrew Howard, along with new comer to the ELMS Ross Gunn, set the best time in the GTE class, 1:49.971 driving the #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

The TF Sport-run #90 Aston Martin Vantage GTE was second fastest ahead of the third placed #55 Ferrari 488 GTE from Spirit of Race.

The JMW Motorsport #66 Ferrari 458 Italia was fourth. The Spirit of Race #51 Ferrari 488 GTE was fifth.

The two Proton Competition Porsches were sixth with #77 911 RSR and seventh with the sister #88 machine.

Monza Fourth Session Results

Photo: ELMS

Beechdean AMR fastest in ELMS fourth test session at Monza

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Davide Rigon will be competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year once again with the Ferrari brand in the highly competitive GTE-Pro class.

The Italian ace will be sharing the AF Corse-run #71 Ferrari 488 GTE with fellow works driver Sam Bird.

In 2016, Davide Rigon and Sam Bird have clinched two class wins, the season opener at Sliverstone and the second round at Spa-Francorchamps and helped Ferrari in clinching the prestigious manufacturers' title.

Davide Rigon is now looking forward to the Prologue at Monza, the official and mandatory FIA WEC two-day pre-season test.

"Ferrari, Michelotto and AF Corse have worked really hard in the off-season winter break improving the 488 GTE" Davide Rigon said.

He added: "Following last year's successes, we hope to reach our targets. We know that our rivals will be strong and we can't underestimate anyone of them."

"I can't wait to be back on track and start the new season"

Photos: Ferrari

Davide Rigon looks forward to WEC Prologue at Monza

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mardi 28 mars 2017

As was the case in the opening session, the TF Sport Aston Martin team was the fastest again in Tuesday's second European Le Mans Series test session.

Nicki Thiim, Rob Bell, Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey were the quickest in the GTE class driving the #90 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, their best time was a 1:49.451.

The Spirit of Race-run #55 Ferrari 488 GTE shared by  Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Aaron Scott was second fastest.

The #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE from Beechdean AMR completed the top-three in GTE with drivers Darren Turner, Ross Gunn and Andrew Howard.

The JMW Motorsport #66 Ferrari 458 Italia was fourth. The Spirit of Race #51 Ferrari 488 GTE was fifth. The Proton Competition #77 Porsche 911 RSR was sixth.

Monza Second Test Session Results

Action will resume at Monza at 19:00 with 180-minute night-time session

Photo: TF Sport

TF Sport fastest again in ELMS second session at Monza

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The Aston Martin brand has dominated the GTE class in the first European Le Mans Series test session at the Autodromo Nazionale Di Monza. The three-hour session was highlighted by multiple red flags

Leading the seven-car GTE field was the #90 Aston Martin Vantage GTE from British squad TF Sport, with a best time of 1:48.720. The car was driven by Nicki Thiim, Rob Bell, Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey.

The Beechdean AMR-run #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE was second fastest in the hands of team-owner Andrew Howard and works drivers Darren Turner and Ross Gunn.

The #51 Ferrari 488 GTE from Spirit of Race completed the top-three in GTE. The #66 Ferrari 458 Italia from JMW Motorsport was fourth ahead of the #55 Ferrari 488 GTE from Spirit of Race.

The best Porsche was only sixth fastest, the Proton Competition-run #77 911 RSR driven by Christian Ried and Matteo Cairoli. The sister #88 Porsche didn't take part in the session.

Monza First Test Session Results

Teams and drivers will be back on track at 14:00 local time for a second 180-minute session.

Photo: TF Sport

TF Sport leads GTE, 1-2 Aston Martin in ELMS opening test session at Monza

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Miguel Molina, the former Audi Sport works driver, will be switching from Touring Car racing in DTM to Sportscar racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year.

The Spaniard has joined the Ferrari Competizione GT family and will be at the wheel of the #54 Ferrari 488 GTE from Spirit of Race.

Miguel Molina will be sharing the car with the already confirmed Thomas Flohr et Francesco Castelacci. All three drivers will be aiming to win the GTE-Am trophy.

Photo: Ferrari

Miguel Molina joins Ferrari and Spirit of Race in FIA WEC

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mardi 21 mars 2017

The FIA WEC GTE stars performed very well in last weekend's 12 Hours of Sebring, home of the second round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Ferrari factory driver James Calado clinched a podium in the ultra competitive GTLM class with the Risi Competizione-run #62 Ferrari 488 GTE along with co-drivers Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella.

The Briton took the third place in the last lap of the race after a titanic battle with Ford's Richard Westbrook.

Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson were fifth in class driving the #68 Ford GT from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing.

The car was crewed by the Ford WEC squad at Sebring and was among the strongest all-race long. All three drivers will be sharing the #66 Ford GT at the 6 Hours of Silverstone.

Porsche GT Team's Frederic Makowiecki was sixth in GTLM driving the #911 Porsche 911 RSR. The French was fast at Sebring, along with co-drivers Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner, but unlucky too. A puncture in the closing stages of the race prevented Makowiecki and his team from fighting for
GTLM supremacy.

Two Porsche WEC GTE aces drove the sister #912 Porsche 911 RSR, Richard Lietz and Kevin Estre, with co-driver Laurens Vanthoor. They were fast in the Florida classic, but same with their team-mates on the #911 machine, they were really unlucky and ended up in seventh place in GTLM.

In the other classes, the WEC GTE drivers had mixed results despite showing some strong performances.

Pipo Derani, who will drive for Ford at Silverstone, Spa and Le Mans in FIA WEC, didn't finish the 12-hour race driving a Nissan DPi from Tequila Patron ESM.

Michael Christensen, a works Porsche driver in FIA WEC, was tenth in the GT Daytona class driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R from customer team Alegra Motorsports.

Photos: Ferrari / Ford / Porsche

FIA WEC GTE drivers performed well at the 12 Hours Sebring

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lundi 20 mars 2017

Ferrari has unveiled the liveries of the AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GTEs for this year's FIA World Endurance Championship.

The Italian factory backed squad will be running two cars in the competitive GTE-Pro class with a very strong driver line-up.

The #51 Ferrari 488 GTE will be in the hands of James Calado and new works driver Alessandro Pier Guidi.

The sister #71 Ferrari 488 GTE will be driven by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird.

The next stop for Ferrari and AF Corse will be at Monza. The famous Temple of Speed will be hosting the Prologue, the official and mandatory pre-season test in FIA WEC.

Photo: Ferrari

AF Corse's Ferrari 488 GTE liveries unveiled

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Gulf Racing’s 2017 WEC campaign plans are now being finalised at the team’s headquarters in Milton Keynes and this of course includes the three drivers who will pilot the Porsche 991 RSR GTE from the season opening race at Silverstone.

Team principle Mike Wainwright will again share duties with Ben Barker, now a Gold rated driver, who takes over the lead driver role from Adam Carroll, who is focussing his 2017 efforts on factory Jaguar Racing Formula E responsibilities.

Joining Wainwright and Barker for the season is Australian Porsche specialist Nick Foster, new to the WEC and the team Nick brings recent Porsche Cup experience in Australia & Europe and endurance racing success in the famous Bathurst 12 hrs.

Matt Beers (Team Manager):- ‘It’s great to have Ben back with us as our Pro driver, he proved himself to be a match for the Porsche factory drivers in the same machinery during 2016, is a real talent and we couldn’t think of a more suitable person for the job. Nick is new to the team and the championship but has also proven his pace in the fiercely competitive German Carrera Cup championship as well as the Australian series, he is a great fit to the team and represents our ethos of bringing forward young talent.’

Nick Foster (Driver):I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to compete in the 2017 WEC and can’t wait for it to kick off! I am very grateful to Gulf Racing and proud that they have chosen me to join their team. To compete in the WEC is a dream come true and in the famous Gulf Racing colours is an absolute honour. I know there are many challenges that lie ahead, but with strong pace and results for the team in 2017 we can look forward to challenging at the front in a very competitive PRO-AM category.’

The drivers will come together for the first time in April for the WEC Prologue, where Nick will get his first taste of the car and the team will start their on track programme with the RSR, in the meantime preparation continues in the Milton Keynes base.

Gulf Racing Press Release

Photo; Porsche

Gulf Racing announces driver line-up for 2017 FIA WEC

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Quotes from Porsche GT Team officials and drivers after the 12 Hours of Sebring, the second round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The two works Porsche 911 RSRs were seventh and eighth in the ultra competitive GTLM class. The Stuttgart-based brand performed very well but faced a lot of bad luck as well.

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “We witnessed a very dramatic race and up until 33 minutes before the end everything was looking good. We had a tough fight for first place with the Corvette but then suffered a slow puncture on the front left tyre. We had to pit and change the tyre and after that we could forget about victory. With our number 912 car, the unplanned pit stop due to a leaking damper cost us three laps and all chances of winning. This car was also running very well.”

Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “Our plan was to have the best car at the end of the race. This meant that it wasn’t so easy driving during the heat of the day. But once it cooled down we were very clearly the fastest on the track. The team did an excellent job. The strategy had been perfect. After the last pit stop we had a good chance to win. The tyre defect was annoying. It wasn’t a pit crew error, it was just bad luck.”

Dirk Werner (911 RSR #911): “The pace of the car was very good and under normal circumstances it would have been enough to win here. Patrick was running in a very good position when he got the puncture. It’s hard to lose the fight for victory like this. Still, we had a great weekend and we put in a good race. The performance of the entire team was outstanding and we were so close to winning our first race.”

Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #911): “It’s really disappointing. The team had done such a great job and we had a very good strategy. We knew that we would get stronger in the second half of the race when the temperatures cooled down, and that worked perfectly, too. Patrick’s flat tyre cost us the victory. That was just simply unfortunate.”

Kévin Estre (911 RSR #912): “It was a tough race. Our car had the pace to run with the leaders. The track worked better for us in the second half of the race when it got cooler. Unfortunately we then had the problem that cost us three laps. We were able to make up one of those laps, but we couldn’t do any more than that.”

Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR # 912): “Our pace was very good. Unfortunately we lost three laps because of a leaky damper. Because there were comparatively few caution phases, we weren’t able to make up much ground in the final hours.”

Richard Lietz (911 RSR # 912): “Sebring is merciless, but we knew this beforehand. We had a good car and I enjoyed driving here with my teammates. We did our very best but unfortunately we had the problem with the rear left damper. Things like this can happen, particularly on a bumpy circuit like this one. We were well prepared, we did a great deal of testing here in Sebring, but sadly it ultimately wasn’t enough for a better result.”

Photos: Porsche

Quotes from Porsche GT Team after the 12 Hours of Sebring

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Christina Nielsen and the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 repeated their podium place result in the demanding IMSA WeatherTech Sebring 12 Hours endurance event on Saturday. In the end, Nielsen and co-drivers Alessandro Balzan and Matteo Cressoni earned a hard fought second place position.

The drivers and team unloaded for the race and worked very hard to find a good setup for the 488 GT3 that would allow the car to endure the unique track. It has not been entirely repaved in it’s time hosting the 65 year old event. This means that it has very bumpy sections all over the track. Christina and the Scuderia Corsa team have come to enjoy the challenge of this element.

Christina said, “For me this track is an example of what makes sports racing in North America special. All of the tracks have their own unique characteristics. With Sebring the surface is that unique element. I really enjoy the challenge of finding the limits while navigating the large bumps.”

The team spent practice on Thursday and Friday morning focused on race set up primarily. With this race setup information, Christina did a very good job to qualify the car in tenth position for the race.

Christina started the Ferrari on Saturday morning and was able to have a very good initial session in the car. She stayed in for two and a half fuel fill ups, and during this time she moved up into the middle of the top ten.

Of note there were two elements to the event that were unusual for US endurance racing. First, the weather was perfect for the entire 12 Hours. This is not the norm, especially at Sebring. In addition, this weather possibly contributed to very few full course cautions during the race.

As the 12 Hours continued, Christina, Alessandro, and Matteo rotated through the driver seat. All of the drivers pushed hard for position on the track to move up in the field. This was done in combination with great pit strategy and pit stops.

In Christina’s second long session in the Ferrari, she was able to again move forward in positions and was now running in second or first in the GTD class

As the race came to the final hour Alessandro Balzan had a good battle with the No. 33 for the victory. At the checkered flag, the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari returned to the Sebring podium in second place. This result is very good for the team in their focus toward another season long IMSA championship.

For Christina this marks her third straight podium result in the challenging Sebring 12 Hours. In addition, Christina has also had two prior Tequilla Patron Endurance round victories at Sebring.

Of the race Christina said, “It was really awesome to be back on the podium for the third year in a row at Sebring! We debuted the 488 here last year and it was a great car immediately. Other new cars have come into IMSA since then and the competition has become even stronger. So Scuderia Corsa did an amazing job this week with the Ferrari in preparing it.

Racing often is about grabbing an opportunity that is in front of you. We did our best to do that in this race. Ultimately from my point of view the Mercedes was the car to have for this weekend. So they were able to have the victory today. My team Scuderia Corsa and my co-drivers Alessandro and Matteo did an outstanding job as always. After the disappointing result at Daytona this result shows we still have some luck in the bag.”

Christina Nielsen Press Release

Third 12 Hours of Sebring podium for Christina Nielsen

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Quotes from Corvette Racing after the 12 Hours of Sebring, the second round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The official Chevrolet squad won the GTLM class with #3 Corvette C7.R driven by Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller.

Antonio Garcia:I knew it was going to be really, really tough. Since yesterday in qualifying it was super close, the first two hours I managed to make my way up to P2. I did two hours first following the No. 66. Then I did that third hour and I was kind of sick of following Fords. So at some point I just needed to go. We made that really good call to come in with the Ferrari. So the Fords stayed out on a poorer set of tires than us. I knew that had to be my stint. That first stint with two or three stints to go, I needed to make the moves and pass the Ferrari. I passed the No. 68; I passed (Scott) Dixon. I passed everybody because I knew it had to be done then because that was probably the only time they would be a little bit weaker than we were. It worked. At the end the Porsche looked very, very strong. That second-to-the-last time they pitted quite a bit later than us, and they were flying. They passed all the way up to us until that last safety car. Again, there was a magnificent stop by the Corvette Racing crew. I think the Porsche made a mistake there. Without knowing, I thought it was Joey (Hand) behind us, but it was again the Porsche. I knew it was going to be tough. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to hold him , but probably. The car kept going faster and faster. When you lead the way, the aero works pretty decent compared to when you follow someone. At the end things went a little bit in our favor. It was a sprint to the end. I can’t believe what Corvette Racing did today. Just awesome. Amazing.

Jan Magnussen:I don’t even know where to start. What a fantastic race. It was a tough race… a hard race. I mean I am so happy about this. The boys did a great job with the pit stops. Antonio’s last stint there was just fantastic. What can you say? It is just fantastic. It was all about running our own race and then at the end when we had to do something, to then be able to do it. The crew – those last couple of pit stops – awesome. As I said Antonio’s last stint… just fantastic!

Mike Rockenfeller:It is still hard to believe right now because I didn’t expect it.  We had a tough race, and Antonio (Garcia) did just a fantastic job – like always. But it is very special what he got out of the car today. That is why I am speechless. I am very happy for the team. Thanks to Corvette Racing and everyone on the teams – all the mechanics and engineers. They always believe. We had a tough start in Daytona and even here. We weren’t the quickest all the time, but at the end when it counted, we were there. This team is just amazing!

Doug Fehan:I think what we saw tonight may have been the most intense mix of tremendous engineering and strategy from our engineering crew and flawless pit stops all day long by our Corvette Racing crew. Then there was the driving exhibition that I’m sure will be a highlight of Antonio’s career – certainly at Corvette Racing. When you put those three elements together, we are hard to beat. It was an amazing demonstration by everyone at Corvette Racing.

Photos: Michelin

Quotes from Corvette Racing after the 12 Hours of Sebring

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