Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.
Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.
Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network.
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Sports Car Club of America member and reigning SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires champion Kenton Koch was named the winner of the 2015 FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy in the Americas division this week in Mexico as the lone U.S. representative to the competition. The 20-year-old Koch battled drivers from 11 countries in North and South America, coming out on top and earning a trip to the world finals with 10 other top young drivers.
After a record-setting 25th anniversary 2014 season, WC Vision today announced the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge Championships schedule featuring 10 weekends, including five standalone events. Next year's schedule includes events across North America at some of the world's most challenging and legendary permanent road courses and temporary street circuits. All standalone races will also feature TC/TCA/TCB rounds, with one further event still to-be-announced.
The 2015 European Le Mans Series provisional calendar was unveiled today, with a return to each of the circuits that featured in the highly successful 2014 season and each race will also be 4 hours in duration.
The season will begin with the Official two day test at the Circuit Paul Ricard at the end of March before the first round of the year, the 4 Hours of Silverstone on Saturday 11 April. Once again the UK round of the ELMS will run alongside the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, giving fans a full weekend of top level endurance racing.
Round 2 will once again be held at the Italian circuit of Imola in May, the leading LMP2 and LMGTE competitors having their final opportunity to race before the ultimate test at the 24 Hours of Le Mans the following month.
Round 3 will see a return to the Red Bull Ring in July, the technically demanding circuit set in the dramatic Styrian Alps is a firm favourite of the teams and drivers. The Circuit Paul Ricard will be the venue in September and the season finale will be at the circuit of Estoril in Portugal for the second year running in October.
Gerard Neveu, CEO of the European Le Mans Series, said: “The 2015 provisional calendar represents stability for our teams and partners and returning to the same five venues at the same time of year allows us to build awareness of the events. The 4 hours races have also proved to be popular with our partners and stakeholders and therefore the race weekends in 2015 will continue with the same format over 2 days. However we are not standing still. We will continue to work hard to promote and improve each of the five events, underlining the ELMS as the premier sportscar series in Europe.”
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, said: “This provisional 2015 calendar underlines the current healthy state of the European Le Mans Series. Since the start of 2013 the ELMS has seen grid sizes grow and exciting new events on Europe's leading circuits that have attracted the teams and drivers to compete. Next year we will see the addition of the new LMP3 class to the ELMS grid and we are also seeing a lot of interest from many teams from across Europe and further afield as well. We are confident that the 2015 calendar will be very attractive to our current teams and to new teams looking for the challenge of competing against Europe's best endurance racers.”
Provisional 2015 European Le Mans Series Calendar
23/24 March Official Test - Circuit Paul Ricard FRA
10/11 April 4 Hours of Silverstone GBR
16/17 May 4 Hours of Imola ITA
11/12 July 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring** AUT
5/6 September 4 Hours of Paul Ricard FRA
17/18 October 4 Hours of Estoril PRT
** subject to confirmation
As the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship moves into the second part of its Far Eastern tour with the 6 Hours of Shanghai on Sunday, 2nd November, attention is starting to turn more and more towards the points’ race and Championship titles. The racing action promises to be hotter and more intense than ever at Shanghai International Circuit in the People’s Republic of China.
With the addition of two LMP2 entries from Extreme Speed Motorsports, the grid for the sixth round of the season will be 29 cars and there is all to play for in each of the LMP and LMGTE categories.
Following Toyota Racing’s dominant performance in Japan which saw it regain control at the head of the points’ tables, expect both Audi and Porsche to be pushing hard for victory in China. While the Porsche Team’s 919 Hybrid is edging ever closer to its debut win in the FIA WEC, as witnessed by its strong podium finishing performance at Fuji, Audi will be using all its experience from past years to seek out its third win of 2014 for the R18 e-tron quattro and second since the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
As well as the six LMP1-H entries from Audi, Porsche and Toyota, there are also three LMP1-L cars on the entry list. Having already wrapped up the FIA Endurance Trophy for Privateer LMP1 Teams certainly doesn’t mean a drop-off in effort or concentration as far Rebellion Racing is concerned. Its No.13 line up will be hoping to replicate its success in the last round, and the Swiss team will be looking for a smoother race technically for the No.12 Rebellion R-One-Toyota. The Lotus team will be arriving in China early to start re-building the No.9 CLM P1/01 AER following its serious fuel fire in Japan, and fully intends to participate in the 6 Hours of Shanghai. James Rossiter and Pierre Kaffer will be joined for this round by young Austrian driver Lucas Auer.
As announced in Austin last month, the Tequila Patrón-backed Extreme Speed Motorsports team from the USA will be supplementing the LMP2 class with two HPD ARX 03B-Honda entries taking the total to seven. Expect the team’s highly experienced line up, which includes former Le Mans winner and WEC driver David Brabham, Patrón founder Ed Brown, and North American standouts Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek and Ryan Dalziel to challenge the normal order. The third driver in the No. 30 entry, with American Sharp and Florida-domiciled Briton Dalziel will be Ricardo Gonzalez of Mexico who is making a welcome return to the FIA WEC.
G-Drive Racing’s Russian-French line up of Rusinov-Pla-Canal closed the gap on SMP Racing’s Sergey Zlobin in the points in Japan, and will be planning to consolidate their position in the classifications with a fourth victory of the year. Winner in Austin, Texas – KCMG – will be hoping that the home advantage will play into its hands and that its ever-improving line up of Howson-Bradley-Imperatori will turn the tables on their rivals at G-Drive and take the flag at the head of LMP2. Also playing the home card is OAK Racing, with David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung lining up in the No.35 Morgan-Judd alongside early-season GTE entrant, Mark Patterson. The class battle will be one of the fiercest on track!
While AF Corse and its Ferrari pairing of Bruni-Vilander extended their lead in the LMGTE Pro championship standings, the gap between Porsche Team Manthey and Aston Martin Racing is just three points and there is much at stake for both teams. All three manufacturers have stood on the top of the podium this year and the six entries include some of the world’s leading GTE drivers. Porsche’s GTE drivers all hold different places in the standings since the German company revised its pairings in the USA, with Aston Martin Racing’s LMGTE Am and Pro drivers chasing hard. This too will be a contest worth watching from start to finish.
The seven entries in LMGTE Am are season regulars, and Aston Martin Racing’s No.95 ‘Dane Train’ of Heinemeier Hansson-Poulsen-Thiim will be keen to consolidate their position at the head of the class standings. They have been chased hard in recent rounds by their team mates in the No.98 (Dalla Lana-Lamy-Nygaard), but AF Corse Ferrari’s Perez-Companc-Cioci-Venturi will be keen to follow up on their Spa victory. The Porsches of ProSpeed Competition and Proton Competition have been performing better and better in the last two rounds, and the latter’s Khaled Al Qubaisi will be especially keen to get a good result as he heads into the Middle Eastern round of the championship. The USA’s Jeff Segal remains with the No.90 8Star Motorsport Ferrari alongside Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti, so the line up in the category is unchanged since Japan.
Practice and qualifying for the 6 Hours of Shanghai takes place on Friday, 31st October and Saturday, 1st November while the race itself will start at 11h00 local (05h00 CET) on Sunday 2nd November.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Davi Millsaps won the Monster Energy Cup and $100,000 tonight. KTM’s Mitchell Falk swept both Main Events in the Super-Mini Class to win the championship. With a pair of wins in the Amateur All-Star Class, Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger captured the title.
In the opening lap of the first Cup Class Main Event, Team Honda’s Trey Canard won the Toyota Holeshot Award with JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha’s Justin Barcia and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson in tow. Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill quickly moved into second place and set chase to Canard.
On the first Lap, Anderson, who set the fastest lap time in practice, crashed. Canard held off the hard charge from Hill and won the race. Hill finished second and Millsaps finished third.
“I feel pretty good, the key tonight were the starts,” said Canard. “We got a good run off the gate and I was pumped on that finish, it was fun out of there. I almost lost it the first lap on the AMSOIL Arch, there’s a lot of technical elements out there.”
“It would be great to take the $1 million home and to make a difference to the less fortunate,” added Canard after the race.
Carson Mumford piloted his Kawasaki through the Toyota Holeshot in front of Falk in Main Event 1 in the Super-Mini Class. Falk moved into the lead on the opening lap, and on the following lap, Kawasaki’s Garrett Marchbanks passed Mumford for second. Falk held onto the lead for the win. Marchbanks finished second and Mumford finished third.
“The race was really awesome; you had to get a good start,” said Falk. “This track is different from an amateur race, so I played it safe and it worked. Everyone is riding great tonight.”
In Main Event 1 in the Amateur All-Star Class, Kawasaki’s Darian Sanayei led the field through the Toyota Holeshot. Jon Ames held down the number-two position until Plessinger made a pass on him. On Lap 4, Plessinger made the pass for the lead and eventual win. Sanayei finished second and Yamaha’s Benny Bloss finished third.
Once again, Canard earned the Toyota Holeshot Award in the Cup Class’ second Main Event. Hill and Millsaps followed in second and third respectively. On Lap 8, Millsaps moved into the lead while Canard opted to run the Joker Lane, a slower section of the track that every rider must take at least once after the first lap. Millsaps entered the Joker Lane on the last lap of the race as Canard regained the lead. As Millsaps was exiting the Joker Lane he slid out and dropped back to fourth place. Hill finished second and GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac finished third.
“We’ll see how the next Main Event goes and go from there,” said Canard. “I need to keep charging hard and continue getting good starts. I’m excited; I need to put it in the back of my mind and not let it get to me and definitely not forget the Joker Lane.”
Falk captured the Toyota Holeshot Award and rode six perfect laps in the second Main Event in the Super-Mini Class. Yamaha’s Chase Sexton started in second and followed Falk for the duration of the race to finish second. Marchbanks finished third. Marchbanks finished second overall and Sexton finished third overall.
“I’m really excited and super grateful to take the overall win,” said Falk. “In the last Main Event, I got the holeshot and put in a lot of solid laps. I got all of my nerves out the first race and tried to maintain consistency throughout the entire race.”
Sanayei scored his second Toyota Holeshot in the second Amateur All-Star Class with Plessinger and GEICO Honda’s Jordan Smith following in second and third respectively. Plessinger passed Sanayei for the lead on Lap 2. On the last lap, Smith passed Sanayei for second place, where he would finish. Sanayei finished second overall and Bloss finished third overall.
“It makes me feel great to win,” said Plessinger. “I got off to a good start, and I did the same thing I did in the first Main Event. It was a great track tonight; I got the triple, triple down and rode my own race.”
After winning the first two Main Events, Canard put himself in position to win $1 million. All he needed to do was win the third and final Main Event. Anderson captured the Toyota Holeshot Award in the third and final Cup Class Main Event with Millsaps on his rear wheel. Millsaps moved around Anderson on the opening lap to take over the lead. Canard took over second place on the opening lap and set chase on Millsaps. While setting up a pass for the lead, Canard crashed on Lap 4, and on Lap 7, he crashed again. Tomac finished second and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey finished third. Millsaps’ win came on his debut ride for his new team. Tomac finished second overall and Canard finished third overall.
“This feels amazing, I didn’t even realize I won overall following the last race,” said Millsaps. “It’s great to be back on a new bike with a new team and to get here and get the overall win, it’s so worth it. The bike is awesome and I haven’t been on it that long, but so far so good and no complaints. I thought it was going to be a long day, but it turned around really quickly. I’m excited to build my garage with this money.”
“The final race was chaos,” said Tomac. “Seeing Trey go down was tough for me. There was a lot of banging going on through some of the corners.”
“It was in the back of the mind (the money), but I wanted to go in there like any other race,” said Canard. “It’s so good to see Davi (Millsaps) back and race against him. I’m just thankful to be healthy and this gets me excited for Anaheim.”
Jarryd McNeil captured the Dirt Shark Biggest Whip Contest with a 91.7. Beau Bamberg turned in a 89.3 for second place and Edgar Torronteras finished third with a 84.7.
“After doing this event for the last three years, I finally won,” said McNeil. “It takes a lot of practice to nail down the biggest whip, and I was glad that I was able to do it in front of all of these loyal fans tonight.”
FOX broadcast network offers a 90-minute Monster Energy Cup encore special on Sunday, Oct. 26 following NFL football in most markets, while preceding football in others (check local listings).
The fifth national Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit opens today in Washington, DC, headlined by Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation, Anthony Foxx and 18-year-old MAZDA factory professional autoracing driver Tristan Nunez. The conference convenes leading transportation officials, safety advocates, law enforcement officials, and industry constituents.
"It's a huge honor for me to be selected to represent NOYS in our nation's capital on behalf of my foundation, The Dnt txt n drV Foundation, as a headlining speaker," said Nunez. "This is another step in the right direction as we work to build on the benchmark for my Dnt txt n drV program. I've very thankful for this opportunity and take the responsibility as a teen to continue to share in putting an end to distracted driving very seriously."
Nunez, of Boca Raton, Florida, competes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Series as a MAZDA factory driver for SpeedSource. While not in his racecar, Nunez speaks to thousands of students on the dangers of distracted driving and is part of the National Organizations for Youth Safety® (NOYS) as a peer mentor and key advisor. NOYS focuses on building partnerships that will save lives, prevent injuries, and promote safe and healthy lifestyles among all youth and encourage youth empowerment and leadership. The NOYS coalition maintains a strong focus on traffic safety.
As part of the Summit, Nunez is speaking on the Youth Voice Panel, where he will share his voice and showcase how youth can make a difference and distribute some of the strategies and items he utilizes during his numerous appearances throughout the country. Those items include, wristbands, car air fresheners, stop signs, car magnets, and M&M's.
The topic of distracted driving is not new to Nunez. He has spent many years advocating against distracted driving and working to raise awareness to prevent texting and driving after an incident as a 15-year-old riding with his mother. After having a personal and life-altering experience with distracted driving, he decided he had to do something to change people's actions. He launched his Dnt txt n drV campaign and in 2014 launched his own foundation, the Dnt txt n drV Foundation, a registered 501c3 non-profit organization. In September, Nunez held the first event for his foundation, a celebrity karting enduro at K1 Speed in Miami, which raised money to grant scholarships to others working to spread the distracted driving message. His second foundation event is a Halloween Costume Ball on October 31, 2014.
During the Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit, Nunez will announce that his foundation would fund two scholarships for a deserving student who is organizing a local distracted driving summit in their community.
With motor vehicle crashes being the leading cause of death for teens, Nunez is passionate to continue to raise awareness and create exposure around the issue of distracted driving. With the efforts from the National Organizations for Youth Safety®, Nunez is hopeful he can get to people before it happens.
If there was ever a more perfect setting for a racetrack, the team hadn't seen it. Brands Hatch, nestled in the hills of Kent, is a stunning setting to finish off the British Superbike Series and our 2014 season. After Silverstone, the team needed a little time to regroup and seek answers to the questions that had been presented. Losing Gagne was a blow to the team's morale but there was no time to focus on that. It was to be all hands on deck to support Tomas and to answer the set-up questions that he has struggled with since arriving in the UK.
The one thing that the team has learned from it's time in England, is that the weather can be.. it IS unpredictable. Better rephrase that to, "Rainy at times with the threat of a dry line during the second half of the race." After a successful outing during a track day on Tuesday, the team was pretty confident that if it rained on race day, Tomas would be able to run competitively. As it was becoming standard, the weather forecast for the weekend was all over the place. Rain for sure, Sun at times, a wet track was definitely in store and tire choice was a roll of the dice.
The team arrived on Thursday under grey and often misting skies. Having used their time to the fullest between rounds, there wasn't too much to be done to Tomas' machine. Instead, it was a day to familiarize the team with the track and the pit procedures. The focus would be on the weather, as it would determine the set-up and for Friday's free practice sessions. It was supposed to be 50% chance of rain. Another thing the team learned quickly about Brands Hatch, is that even a light mist would cause the entire track surface to be soaked.
This was the case on Friday. An overnight shower and constant early morning mist, created a situation where a full wet set-up would be required in the first session and a wet rear with an intermediate front would be used in the afternoon. In both sessions Tomas was clicking pretty respectable times. However he preferred the complete rain set-up in the morning as opposed to the varying conditions of the afternoon session. He would end the day just a hair inside the top 20. Saturday's qualifying sessions would be critical to getting a proper grid position ahead of the uncertain weather.
As it was, Saturday would bring about another mixed day of weather. In the morning the track was still wet from another overnight rain shower. The open qualifying session was held on a damp track and the set-up was favorable for Tomas. He was able to initially qualify in P21for the afternoon Sprint Race. Just three short hours after the open qualifying session, the zero percent chance of rain the team was being shown via their respective smart devices, was clearly incorrect as the rain began to fall. Technology be damned, the team threw on a full wet set-up and sent Tomas out. As the riders lined up for the sprint race, the sun poked its head out and provided an excellent contrast to the wet conditions on the track's surface. This would be a 10-lap event and Tomas was in the best starting position he had achieved since arriving in the series.
The sprint race is an all out, take no prisoners, every racer for themselves qualifying event. It pays points but most importantly for us, the rider's fastest lap sets their grid position. Fortunately, the set-up was right on for Tomas and he got off the line with a good start and found himself up around 15th position. He was looking strong and making some bold passes under tricky conditions. He would cross the line in 17th place and would set himself up on the starting grid for the main race in 16th position.
Warm-up sessions in the BSB are truly warm-ups. They seem to be a means to ensure that whatever the team did to the bike overnight hasn't caused it to not run and that there is still fluid in the parts that require fluid. The session was eight minutes in length and each rider clocked roughly six laps. Upon returning to the pits Tomas was in good spirits and feeling strong about his chances for a top 15 finish. The stage was being set for a great race. The sun was out, the sky was blue, no rain in the forecast and the track would be dry in time for the race. The energy from the massive swarm of fans that had descended upon the track was tangible and the feeling on track as the riders gridded up was electric.
The lights go green and the screaming pack of bikes races towards Paddock Hill Bend, a massive right handed drop. Tomas made the best of his starting position and was locked in a good solid battle with about 10 other riders for the first several laps. He had managed to make some good passes and get up close to the top 10. The group he was in however would eventually and slowly work their way past him as the race progressed. Tomas found himself circulating the track on his own after a few mistakes and would cross the final stripes in P18.
"P18, not really what I wanted but it's the best we've done at this track and it's the best position we've started from," added Puerta. "The guys in this class are fast and there are a lot of them, all riding really hard. I struggled with a dry set-up because the conditions changed so much and I didn't get a lot of dry track time before the race. It was a good race, I felt really confident on the bike and I made few little mistakes and rode through the grass. I lost touch with the group I was in and just put my head down and went as fast as I could. I want to thank everyone for this experience, it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot."
A job well done by all and although it wasn't the exact way the team had planned to end their season with only one rider, it was an amazing culmination of the collective effort put forth by the entire crew of the RoadRace Factory.
"I'm happy for my guys with the result today. You know given the circumstances of how we've had to operate; completely out of our comfort zone, I think they did an outstanding job. Sure we struggled a bit with trying to play the guessing game with the set-ups for the changing weather and track conditions. It was a big mess at times with sunny skies and a track that was technically a full wet situation. Tomas did great this weekend. He was riding more aggressively and really took some chances with some passes early on. That's the kind of thing I expected to see and he delivered," added Danny Walker.
O"verall, I have to say that this was a very positive experience for us as a team. It was great to get our riders some international exposure and put them in front of the large crowds that this series has. I want to thank everyone who helped us achieve our goals while we were here. Especially a huge thank you to the Factory Yamaha Bike It Motocross team for their support of facilities and equipment."
The FIA Formula E Championship – the world’s first fully-electric racing series – has today revealed the circuit location and layout for the Miami ePrix, taking place on March 14, 2015.
“I’m pleased to be welcoming Formula E to Miami, the location of the first electric single-seater race in America," Mayor of Miami, Tomas Regalado, said. "We are proud to be among the elite group of international cities hosting the FIA Formula E Championship.”
The eight turn, 2.17km circuit is located in Downtown Miami, Florida, along Biscayne Bay around the streets of the American Airlines Arena, home to the Miami Heat NBA basketball team. Produced by leading track design company Ayesa, it is the setting for the fifth race in the inaugural Formula E season and the first of two events in the US.
“The FIA Miami ePrix is precisely the type of international event that will showcase Miami-Dade as a world-class destination,” Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez said.
All Formula E events take place in one-day in order to minimize disruption to the city. Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag, speaking at a press conference held at the Pérez Art Museum of Miami, said: “We’re delighted to be officially unveiling the circuit for the Miami ePrix, the host for round five of the FIA Formula E Championship. Having two races in the US is very important to us with America’s rich motorsport heritage and the States being such an influential and burgeoning market for electric vehicles.”
The race will be organized in collaboration with experienced event company Andretti Sports Marketing. Chief Executive Officer Michael Andretti said: "I'm excited that we are serving as the event organiser for the 2015 Miami Formula E race. We at Andretti Sports Marketing are committed to making this event a world class experience and we anticipate a long and great relationship with Formula E.”
For more information on Formula E, or to view an interactive track map, visit www.fiaformulae.com
One of North America’s finest and longest running auto racing series, the Pirelli World Challenge, will crown their 2015 champions at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Sept. 11-13 at the Series’ season finale.
The popular Series boasts a paddock of more than 70 race cars and consists of six classes of vehicles: grand touring (GT); touring car (TC); grand touring sport (GTS); touring car B-spec (TCB), touring car A (TCA) and Porsche GT-Cup (GT-Cup). Well known brands including Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Cadillac, Mazda, McLaren and Porsche make up the classes of competition.
“With a competitive slot for nearly every sports car and sedan on the market the Pirelli World Challenge provides racing that everyone can relate to,” says Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “Fans love seeing their make of car on the race track battling for the win.”
Pirelli World Challenge races are 50-minutes from start to finish ensuring each driver is giving 100 percent from beginning to end because there are no scheduled pit stops or driver changes. There is the intensity of the final lap, every lap.
Tickets for the Pirelli World Challenge race weekend will be on sale in December by visiting www.MazdaRaceway.com or calling the ticket office at 800-327-7322.
The final round of the 2014 European Le Mans Series, the 4 Hours of Estoril, has been won by the No.24 ORECA 03R of Sébastien Loeb Racing, Vincent Capillaire and endurance debutant Jimmy Eriksson giving the team its first win in the Championship and the series its fifth different winner from five races.
Christian Klien, Gary Hirsch and Pierre Ragues of NewBlood by Morand Racing will be on the second step of the podium, while local star Filipe Albuquerque and his teammates Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell complete the podium.
The LMP2 championship title wasn't to be decided until the very end of the race and it went to Signatech Alpine, but it wasn't all plain sailing… Following the retirement of Thiriet by TDS Racing, it looked as though the battle would be played out between Signatech Alpine and JOTA Sport, but they didn't count on Sébastien Loeb Racing spoiling their game; never mind the Stop & Go penalty awarded to Signatech Alpine for a pit lane rules infringement. Simon Dolan's brief off track excursion at the wheel of the No.38 Zytek played a part in the outcome, as did a great performance by the No.34 Race Performance ORECA and a second penalty for Signatech Alpine of three, long minutes for spinning the wheels while leaving the pit lane.
In short, the last two hours of the 4 Hours of Estoril offered various and numerous opportunities to each team to move up the order.
The 2014 European Le Mans Series finished in dramatic style with the LMGTE class titles being decided in the final hour of the race when Andrea Bertolini overtook the no85 Gulf Racing UK Aston Martin of Roald Goethe to lead in the no72 SMP Racing Ferrari. The 25 points for the victory were enough to overhaul the 21 points advantage that the no55 AF Corse Ferrari had at the start of the race.
The Italian team's race went from bad to worse after Duncan Cameron was hit by one of the GTC McLarens early in the race, which caused rear suspension failure and meant a lengthy stop to repair. However Michele Rugolo had to pit with another technical issue and after another lengthy stop the team managed to take the chequered flag 23 laps adrift and in 11th place.
Their only hope was that the SMP Ferrari couldn't finish on the top step of the podium but this was a forlorn hope as Bertolini cruised to the chequered flag to give himself, Viktor Shaitar and Sergey Zlobin the European crown. The second step of the podium was filled by the nr54 AF Corse Ferrari 458 of Marco Cioci, Michael Lyons and Pierguiseppe Perazzini one lap behind, with the no66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Daniel McKenzie, George Richardson and Daniel Zampieri taking the final podium position.
The GTC class was also won in dramatic style with the no73 SMP Racing Ferrari of Olivier Beretta, David Markosov and Anton Ladygin, finished on the third step of the podium to claim the second GTC title for SMP Racing in two years and the second title of the day for the Russian team. The only championship rivals for the Russians was the all Danish team of Johnny Laursen, Mickel Mac and Jan Magnussen who finished one place ahead in second place despite an early spin for Laursen that cost the Dane a lot of time as the car was recovered from the gravel.
The GTC win went to the BMW Sport Trophy Marc VDS team of Markus Paltalla, Henry Hassid and Bas Leinders on the Belgian team's ELMS debut. The battle for the lead was very intense in the mid part of the race with Paltalla getting the upper hand against the nr71 SMP Ferrari of Luca Persiani despite the Finn spinning off the track and rejoining. At the chequered flag Leinders took the victory 1 lap ahead of the no60 Formula Racing Ferrari.
The 2014 season is now finished and all of the titles have been decided. The 2015 season will begin in March with the Official Collective Test at the Circuit Paul Ricard on 22/23 March and round 1 will be at Silverstone in the UK on Saturday 11 April 2015.