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.
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This year is definitely a step in the right direction. Last season LMEM, on behalf of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, took over the organisation of the European Le Mans Series and set in place a series of changes that resulted in teams and drivers deciding that they wanted to race in the ELMS. The increase in the size of the grids showed we were going in the right direction.
Towards the end of the year we talked to the teams about the 2013 season, what worked and what didn't, and a number of changes were made before the start of the 2014 season, including longer races and more track time. This has resulted in a further boost to the size of the grid, with over 40 full season entries.
We have some of the best teams in Europe racing in the ELMS and the presentation of the paddock is very professional. We still have some way to go but we are definitely on the right track to make the ELMS the best continental race series in the world.
Are you pleased that the ELMS teams finished well at the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
The 24 Heures du Mans is the pinnacle of endurance racing and for ELMS teams to go up against the best in the world and win is a tremendous achievement and is something that will make other teams and drivers look at the ELMS in the future.
You have to remember that the overall winners in the ELMS receive an automatic entry for the next 24 Hours of Le Mans and while it is not part of the ELMS calendar, Le Mans is something that every driver and team dream about winning.
Our congratulations go to JOTA Sport for the LMP2 victory and also to TDS by Thiriet Racing and Signatech Alpine for making it a 1-2-3 finish for ELMS teams in LMP2, something we are very proud of.
We are heading the Austria next. There have been some changes to the facilities at the Red Bull Ring because of the visit by Formula One a few weeks ago. What difference do you think this will make to the ELMS event?
The Red Bull Ring is an impressive facility set in a beautiful location in Austria. The track remains as challenging as it was in 2013 and the new facilities will certainly add something to our event next weekend. Many of our drivers choose to race in the European Le Mans Series because of the tracks we visit. ELMS now boasts two current Formula One circuits on its calendar and all five tracks each present a unique challenge which will test both drivers and cars.
After Austria the ELMS will race at Paul Ricard and then at Estoril. What are your thoughts on those events?
The teams all know the Circuit Paul Ricard after the official test in April. The circuit is ideally suited to endurance racing and I am confident that the race in September will be as exciting as the race was in 2013.
Last year Paul Ricard hosted the season finale, while this year we still have the event in Portugal a few weeks later.
The 4 Hours of Estoril will provide the perfect backdrop for the end of season party, with the local promoter working hard to attract a good crowd with plenty of entertainment. Estoril is a very special circuit and like the other four tracks on the calendar will have its own unique challenges to test the competitors to the maximum. The second half of the 2014 season is certainly not going to be boring!
Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, set the fastest time during practice one preceding Round Seven of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, part of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance. Kenton Koch, of Glendora, California, and John Dean, of Sebring, Florida, completed the top three, respectively.
On Thursday, July 10, E.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi set the fastest time of pre-season testing at Donington Park with a lap of 1:31.083s to finish two-tenths clear at the top of the timesheets for the second day in succession. The 25-year-old Swiss, who has now topped three of the four pre-season tests, beat the previous best time set by Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas di Grassi.
“Today has been a very good day,” said Buemi. “This morning we concentrated on race pace working on putting in lots of laps and finding the best balance with the temperatures of the tyres and battery. We continued to focus on race pace in the afternoon, as well as qualifying runs. Credit again has to go to the team for giving me such a good car and the confidence to push and we’ll now see how we can improve for the next one.”
With few reliability problems, all 10 teams racked up the mileage with a combined total of 840 laps for the day.
Di Grassi initially lowered the benchmark clocking a 1:31:282s in the morning session.
The Brazilian, who went quickest on day two, has looked strong throughout testing saying: “We are making good progress every test and every time I get in the car. We understand the car a little better but it’s difficult to do a lot of representative work in Donington compared to some of the circuits we will race on throughout the season. The most important thing is to learn about the battery, the motor and tyre pressures but not necessarily fine tuning set-up at this track.”
Ex-Formula 1 and GP2 driver Jerome d’Ambrosio ended the day third for China Racing while Scott Speed, testing for Andretti Autosport, was a place further back in fourth. Briton’s Sam Bird who headed-up testing duties for Virgin Racing in the afternoon session finished fifth with team-mate Jaime Alguersuari seven places back in 12th.
Audi Sport ABT driver Daniel Abt put in a strong performance in sixth position, ahead of Nicolas Prost in the e.dams-Renault. Despite a brief visit to the gravel trap in the morning, Jarno Trulli produced his quickest time of the test so far to finish ninth overall.
Nick Heidfeld taking over from his Venturi team-mate Stephane Sarrazin managed 78 laps on his way to eighth in the standings.
Andretti Autosport’s Franck Montagny started the day with blistering pace, clocking his fastest time of the test so far with a 1:32.958s. He eventually improved by a further four-tenths to complete the day just outside the top 10.
Argentina's Juan Manuel Lopez spent the day behind the wheel of the China Racing car and finished in a respectable 15th position.
FIA Formula E Championship – Day 4, Donington Park – Test results (Combined times):
1. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 1:31.083s
2. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, 1:31.282s
3. Jerome d’Ambrosio, China Racing, 1:31.651s
4. Scott Speed, Andretti Autosport, 1:31.810s
5. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, 1:31.895s
6. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, 1:32.080s
7. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, 1:32.124s
8. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, 1:32.126s
9. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, 1:32.479s
10. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, 1:32.506s
11. Franck Montagny, Andretti Autosport, 1:32.512s
12. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, 1:32.583s
13. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, 1:33.019s
14. Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing, 1:33.083s
15. Juan Manuel Lopez, China Racing, 1:33.425s
16. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, 1:33.544s
17. Mike Conway, Dragon Racing, 1:33.692s
18. Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri, 1:33.778s
19. Fabio Leimer, Amlin Aguri, 1:38.988s
The fifth and final test takes place on August 19 with free access to fans via the Donington Park website.
For more information on Formula E visit www.fiaformulae.com.
The 2014 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike season has been a barn burner and the series looks to continue that trend at this weekend's race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at the combined AMA Pro Road Racing/FIM Superbike World Championship event. The GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round, held on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile track, will feature a number of different riders and machines from around the globe, but the fierce middleweight battle might be the toughest fight on the card.
Each of the three AMA Pro Road Racing previous events this year has seen a different standout rider claim the spoils. At Daytona, Danny Eslick on the No. 69 Riders Discount Racing Triumph Daytona 675R earned pole and a DAYTONA 200 victory. At the Road America races, Jake Gagne, pilot of the No. 32 RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6, took the double win by outrunning the pack. At the last race, Dane Westby earned his share of glory in a runaway victory and a come-from-behind triumph on his No. 00 Yamalube/Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.
Gagne leads the points heading into Laguna Seca. The Californian has been solid all season and the only blight on his record so far was getting caught up in a Saturday crash in Alabama. Gagne leads the points, 121 to 109, over Eslick. Gagne, known for his consistency, wasn't able to extend the lead he assumed at Road America and will no doubt be looking to build on his margin in California.
Gagne led much of Sunday's race in Alabama and, in a class with many contenders, has shown championship form in 2014. The former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup champion looked great on the way to second place in points last year and has taken another step forward in his third season in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike.
Eslick, a two-time series champion, has also excelled in his return from AMA Pro SuperBike. The Oklahoman is known for his flashy style but is remarkably consistent in his results. Eslick rarely tosses away points in the races. After winning the championship on Buell and Suzuki machinery, the fan favorite could extend his reputation by taking a third title on his Triumph this year. The British bike could suit the twisty confines of Laguna Seca well.
Fast teen Jake Lewis on the No. 85 MotoSport.com/Meen Yamaha YZF-R6 is third in points, just five behind Eslick. The Kentuckian has also revealed his speed this year and his first class win seems inevitable. Lewis has had plenty of highlights so far, and while he is yet to win, Lewis has forced others to outpace him to earn their victories. Lewis is aggressive and talented, and it's only a matter of time before he claims that maiden victory.
Fourth place rider JD Beach aboard the No. 6 Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6 is also a frequent visitor to the podium. Along with teammate Garrett Gerloff, pilot of the No. 8 Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R6, Beach has usually been one of the protagonists at the front for the factory Yamaha entry. However, the duo is still searching for the team's first victories of the season. Beach quickly transitioned to the factory squad this year and has two seconds and a third so far.
Westby is fifth in points, rocketing back into the title hunt with an awesome Alabama weekend. Westby's double win brought him to within 22 points of the lead and with five races to go, he is still very much alive in his title quest. While those wins were impressive, it was the way in which they came that was shocking. Westby passed five of the toughest AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike riders in the second half of Sunday's race to take the checkered flag. "The Wolverine" had some bad luck the first two races of the year, but three podiums in a row show he and his squad are as fast as anyone in the class.
Kyle Wyman on the No. 33 Kyle Wyman Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 has been "Mr. Consistent" in 2014. The New Yorker has a great string of finishes that have elevated him up the charts.
Veteran Jake Zemke, riding the No. 98 GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing Honda CBR600RR has done the same, scoring each time out as his squad develops the Honda.
Youngsters Benny Solis on the No. 35 Team H35 Yamaha YZF-R6 and Tomas Puerta on his No. 12 RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6 are separated by just one point in ninth and 10th, respectively. Solis showed what he could do at Laguna Seca in 2008 during the Red Bull AMA Rookies Cup. Puerta has been the class' top rookie in 2014.
Just behind them is a group of veteran riders. Jason DiSalvo on the No. 40 Castrol/Triumph/Sportbike Track Time Triumph Racing Daytona 675, Blake Young riding the No. 79 GN Gonzalez Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, Bobby Fong aboard the No. 50 Latus Motors/Castrol/Triumph Racing Daytona 675, and No. 15 D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph Racing's Steve Rapp have all won in AMA Pro before, so the talent in the class extends well outside the top ten.
Fong's Alabama performances were noteworthy. The Californian came back from last on a restart to earn a podium on Saturday and crashed out of the race on the last lap while fighting for the podium in Sunday's contest.
With no AMA Pro SuperSport action at Laguna Seca, some of the top talent from that class will get a shot at AMA Pro Daytona SportBike. Kaleb De Keyrel on the No. 51 De Keyrel Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 is one of those racers, and is riding high after his double-podium in Alabama.
A total of 33 riders are entered for the race to be held on Sunday at 1:25 local time (4:25 p.m. ET).
Red Bull Global Rallycross has announced an adjustment to its 2014 event calendar, effective immediately. Red Bull Global Rallycross Los Angeles, previously scheduled for September 19-20 on the Port of Los Angeles, will be extended to a three-day event, replacing the series’ round in Detroit scheduled for August 2-3.
Red Bull Global Rallycross Los Angeles will now serve as a doubleheader event, ensuring the preservation of the series’ 10-race championship. The race weekend will now kick off on Friday, September 19, while dual finals will be run on Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21. Both events will be televised live on NBC.
In addition to the scheduled broadcasts, the series will run a 90-minute midseason recap broadcast on Sunday, August 3 at 4:30PM ET, which will include new and exclusive content to help showcase Red Bull Global Rallycross to its ever-growing fan base.
“Los Angeles has been the home of Red Bull Global Rallycross since the series was founded, and is home to some of our most passionate fans as well,” said Red Bull Global Rallycross CEO Colin Dyne. “By converting our round in Los Angeles into a three-day event and points-paying doubleheader, we offer additional value to our fans in one of our core markets, as well as creating additional championship intrigue for our fans watching at home on NBC. We remain committed to our fan base in Detroit, and we look forward to racing in the Motor City in 2015.”
The revised 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross schedule is as follows:
· May 17-18: Top Gear Festival Barbados
· June 7: X Games Austin
· June 21-22: Volkswagen Rallycross DC
· July 19-20: Volkswagen Rallycross NY
· July 25-26: Red Bull Global Rallycross Charlotte
· August 22-23: Red Bull Global Rallycross Daytona
· September 19-20: Red Bull Global Rallycross Los Angeles I
· September 21: Red Bull Global Rallycross Los Angeles II
· September 26-27: Red Bull Global Rallycross Seattle
· November 5: Red Bull Global Rallycross Las Vegas
This change undoubtedly reflects the continued economic issues facing the city of Detroit, and sends a bad message about the health of motor racing in Motown. One wonders if the IndyCar race at Belle Isle will be the next to go. We shall see.
Scuderia Corsa's TUDOR Championship team will compete at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park while Ferrari Challenge team visits Road America
As they say, two heads are better than one. That must be the reason why Scuderia Corsa, founded in 2011 by Giacomo Mattioli and Art Zafiropoulo, is headed to two entirely different racetracks in two different countries this coming weekend.
Near Toronto, the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal will compete in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship round at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. It will be both drivers' first visit to the circuit, noted for being one of the most challenging in North America with a collection of high-speed corners and large elevation changes.
"Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is a fairly fast track having an average speed of over 115 mph," said team engineer Joe La Joie. "Turns 1, 2, and 4 are all long sweepers between 100-to-130 mph and produce 2 lateral G's. Therefore, the car has to be well balanced in high speed with enough support to handle these turns. Considerations must be made with the gearing so that the downshifts and throttle applications do not unsettle the car here either. Turn 5 is the slowest turn on the track and leads to the longest straight. The lead in to turn 5 is challenging because of the decreasing radius of Turn 4, a heavy brake zone, and a tricky double apex. The car must accelerate well out of turn 5 with good throttle application and proper gearing in order to drag down the back straight which leads to turns 8, 9 and 10."
Balzan and Westphal finished in fifth position at the previous round at Watkins Glen International, putting in a strong performance after the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia suffered contact in the early stages. That finish, along with their victory at the previous round at the Raceway at Belle Isle, has pushed them to sixth in the TUDOR Championship's GT-Daytona championship standings.
While Balzan and Westphal compete at CTMP, the Scuderia Corsa drivers who compete in the North America Ferrari Challenge will be in action at another great North American circuit - Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Driver Chris Ruud, who lives near the circuit in Milwaukee, currently leads the Coppa Shell championship ahead of teammate Jon Becker. The two drivers have taken nine out of a possible ten victories in the Coppa Shell class this season. They will be joined by John Horejsi, who competes in the Trofeo Pirelli class.
"We anticipate that we will have a big challenge on our hands at CTMP with the high level of competition in the GT-Daytona class as well as the big differences in speed with the Prototype cars", said Giacomo Mattioli, team owner of Scuderia Corsa. "Alessandro and Jeff have been doing a fantastic job, as has the crew. In Ferrari Challenge, Chris and Jon have been very impressive and are first and second in the Coppa Shell championship. They are pushing each other very hard and have almost swept the season, while John has been making huge strides after being away from racing for several years. Hopefully after the end of the weekend, we are celebrating several wins for Scuderia Corsa!"
Scuderia Corsa will remain busy after the weekend, as team Sporting Director Stefan Johansson will then take part in a Ferrari Driving Experience event at Mont Tremblant that is exclusively dedicated to clients of Ferrari Beverly Hills and Ferrari Silicon Valley.
The Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix will be shown live on Sunday, July 13 at 2:00 PM ETon FOX Sports 1.
Nielsen Returns To Familiar Canadian Ground for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Competition
Christina Nielsen's 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama campaign is flying by, as she heads to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (CTMP) for Rounds 9 and 10 of competition July 11-12 in Bowmanville, Ontario. Nielsen, 22, from Aarhus, Denmark, raced in May at CTMP - commonly known as Mosport - with the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin series, collecting a pair of top-10 finishes. Nielsen is in the midst of her first season of North American racing, and her return to CTMP this weekend will mark the first time this year she is coming to a track where she has previously raced.
"I find Mosport challenging, and therefore consider it important that we were here earlier this year," Nielsen said.
Nielsen most recently raced at Watkins Glen International, where she pulled double duty in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen endurance race. Nielsen found a distinct difference in the driving approach taken in a 45-minute timed GT3 Cup sprint race compared to an endurance race.
"For the TUDOR endurance race, you have different priorities," she said. "We push every lap, but it is not a sprint race. It is important to have good pit stops, consistent lap times and to keep the car on track. In contrast, with the 45-minute GT3 Cup USA races, you push in a different way and take more chances, especially at the beginning of the race."
Competition is extremely tight in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, and Nielsen knows anything could happen within the field of 29 racers at the 10-turn, 2.459-mile rollercoaster of a circuit at CTMP.
"Track time in practice before qualifications and the races will be important, but then again the other drivers have also had track time over the last few weeks," Nielsen said. "You can never predict anything in racing, but as usual, we aim high."
Driving for NGT Motorsport in the No. 25 Porsche 911 GT3 Platinum Cup car, Nielsen is sixth in championship standings with 69 points.
Practice at CTMP starts at 10 a.m. (ET) and 3:25 p.m. Thursday, July 10, with qualifying at 10:35 a.m. Friday, July 11. Two 45-minute races are scheduled, for 5:40 p.m. Friday, and 10:10 a.m. on Saturday. Visit FansChoice.TV to watch the races streamed live and get live race details on Twitter@IMSALive.
Kelly Moss Motorsports will be back on track looking to increase its championship lead in Rounds 9 and 10 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama July 10-12 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Since the beginning of the season, Kelly Moss Vice President Jeff Stone has focused on a mission for his team - winning a championship.
"We feel we are on track for both team and drivers' championships," said Assistant Competition Director Alex Stone. "We still have to remain focused and continue to push with the momentum we gained at Watkins Glen."
Kelly Moss leads the Platinum Cup Team Championship with 118 points, just one ahead of rival Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport. The team will need two clean races from Thompson to keep control of the championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, or Mosport, as it is commonly known.
"We have to be consistent, we have to score points, and we have to be very clean on the racetrack so we can go into Road America with a better points lead," Stone said. "We bring the same game with us no matter who or how many cars we are bringing."
Thompson, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, leads the Drivers Championship, 116-112, over rival Angel Benitez Jr. in the Platinum Cup class.
Joining Kelly Moss and Thompson at the 2.459-mile, 11-turn circuit will be William "Wild Bill" Peluchiwski in the Gold Masters Championship.
Peluchiwski is fourth in the Gold Masters Championship, only one point behind third-place Jeff Mosing.
"We have an incredible crew of motivated and dedicated people. We have also been working very hard with our engineer and our drivers to develop a consistently quick car. We have come a long way since our first test with the 991, and every outing we continue to make progress with the team, the drivers and the car."
Qualifying for the GT3 Cup Challenge USA will begin at 10:35 a.m. (ET) Friday, July 11, with Round 9 following at 5:40 p.m. that afternoon. The second 45-minute race will begin at 10:10 a.m. Saturday, July 12.
The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered By Mazda field will start its engines July 12-13 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) for Rounds 7 and 8 in the series championship. The only Canadian race on the 2014 schedule for the International Motor Sports Association(IMSA) Development Series will mark Alta Velocita Racing (AVR) driver/team owner Jerome Mee's first time on the historic 10-turn, 2.459-mile permanent road course.
"This will be my first time here, but the track looks like it's similar to Watkins Glen as far as being smooth, fast and very high speed," Mee said. "I've looked at the track, have my drivers' notes, and it looks like a lot of fun."
Mee is fresh off his first 2014 Lites 2 victory June 28 at Watkins Glen. He is focused on continuing to make improvements in the No. 95 AVR machine at CTMP, commonly known as Mosport.
"I tend to take things one step at a time," Mee said. "It was great to win, but frankly it's a new track, new day, new conditions and new everything. We're going to take the same exact approach, and that is to go into practice and diagnose the track, look at data and get the car set up the right way."
The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites field will hit the pavement Wednesday, July 9 for a Promoter Test Day, which will give Mee more time to learn the circuit.
"It's signifigant that we have extra time," Mee said. "We have three 40-minute sessions, which is more than double the amount of time we had before qualifying at Watkins Glen. There are challenges with not having a lot of time, but when you have a lot of time it makes your expectations higher, and you want to be quicker when it gets to qualifying time."
Qualifications for Rounds 7 and 8 begin at 3:40 p.m. (ET) Friday, July 11. The green flag will drop for Race One's 30-minute sprint at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, July 12. Race Two's 45-minute event starts at 9:50 a.m. Sunday, July 13.