Saturday, Jul 02
Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 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. 

Contact Adam: Email  

  

 

Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's gifted young pilot, Cameron Beaubier, entered the GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round hoping to rediscover his mojo following three consecutive demoralizing races. The 21-year-old appeared to be back on top of his game on Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, picking up the pace late to claim the provisional pole for Sunday's 23-lap AMA Pro SuperBike contest.

 

Beaubier ripped off a 1:24.433 near the end of Friday's qualifying to displace his three-time champion teammate, Josh Hayes, from the top of the charts. As an added bonus, Beaubier demonstrated his immense potential with the World Superbike paddock watching on in this unique combined AMA Pro Road Racing/FIM Superbike World Championship event.

 

The SuperBike rookie's Friday time was even quicker than the lap that put Hayes on pole for last July's AMA Pro SuperBike race in Monterey.

 

Beaubier said, "I'm glad to start the weekend fresh and strong. I just hope to continue my pace and be ready for Sunday. (My confidence) was pretty low after Saturday at Barber and I just went on Sunday with the mindset of finishing the race and I still made a couple of mistakes that were stupid. I definitely have my confidence back and I just want to continue like this."

 

"I was struggling a little bit there in the beginning, just getting down to a time," Beaubier admitted of today's session. "We threw a new soft in there at the end and I got a couple good laps in. I made a couple mistakes but then got in a good last lap. So yeah, I'm looking forward to tomorrow to try to better my time and get ready for the race."

 

Despite losing his spot in first, Hayes wasn't too far removed from the Californian today. The 39-year-old Mississippian stopped the clocks at 1:24.628 on his last lap to come up just 0.195 seconds short of reclaiming the day's fastest time in qualifying.

 

"Everything is going okay," Hayes said. "Another weekend at Laguna Seca -- it's not quite like the last World Superbike race we did here where he had already raced here once during the year. It's been a while since we've been here, so it took a little while to get up to speed... We didn't get the outright fastest lap, but I've definitely been able to string together some good laps. I feel pretty good."

 

No other rider was within a second of Beaubier's class-leading time. Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas came closest, holding down the final spot on the provisional front row at 1:25.521. He was separated from his teammate, Roger Hayden, by the exact same margin dividing Beaubier and Hayes, with Hayden fourth at 1:25.717, 0.195 back of the Colombian.

 

Cardenas said, "It was okay. We tried a few things different from this morning and I think the bike is working good. I'm enjoying the track a lot and we'll try to close the gap a little bit tomorrow to the two Yamahas and hopefully we can be there for the race."

 

KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore -- who came within a few hundred meters and a few ounces of fuel of claiming a breakthrough podium finish here in last season's finale -- was fifth quick on the day. Perhaps more impressively than his placement was the fact that he showcased speed similar to that of the Yoshimura duo, circulating at 1:25.903.

 

ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony, who currently sits second in the championship order behind Hayes, rounded out the provisional second row at 1:26.400.

 

Proto-Tech Spain Yamaha's Bernat Martinez, TPL Squadra Corse Ducati's Jake Holden, and Team AMSOIL Hero EBR's Cory West underlined the variety to be found in a field represented by seven different marques this weekend.

 

Third works Suzuki pilot (and Barber Motorsports Park podium finisher) Chris Clark completed the day's top ten.

 

On Saturday afternoon the top twelve riders following the first two qualifying sessions will advance to Qualifying 3 to determine the front four rows for Sunday's AMA Pro SuperBike race.

 

AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike

 

Jake Lewis was quickest in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike qualifying on Friday. Lewis earned provisional pole on his Motosport.com/Meen Yamaha with a time of 1:27.452 at the 2.238-mile circuit. Lewis battled with Jason DiSavlo (Castrol/Triumph/Sportbike Track Time) for the top spot in the California sun and the two traded the lead before the young rider emerged as the fastest man on the day.

 

"In the first practice, I struggled a little bit, and then we made some changes to the bike which seemed to be better for qualifying," said the Kentucky teen. "I came into the weekend with a lot of confidence after finishing second at Barber and I was also a little bit mad about it. So I came in here with a little different attitude and changed some things with myself over the past couple of weeks and I'm ready to go for the race."

 

Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha's Garrett Gerloff joined them on the third row. Gerloff was fast despite the fallout from breaking his arm in an Alabama crash.

 

Earning spots on the second row were DAYTONA 200 winner Danny Eslick, of Riders Discount Racing Triumph, Elkhart Lake winner Jake Gagne (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) and Gerloff's teammate J.D. Beach.

 

They held off Alabama double winner Dane Westby (Yamalube/Westby Racing) who earned seventh on the day.

 

AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series

 

Reigning AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series champ Steve Rapp reconfirmed the fact that he's back in the fight with a dominant showing during Friday's provisional qualifying session.

 

The Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson superstar led the way by nearly a second, throwing down a 1:35.279 on his final circulation to claim provisional pole by a wide 0.880-second margin.

 

He was followed by Ruthless Racing's Danny Eslick, who is well positioned to take the points lead with another strong weekend. Young Gage McAllister (Folsom Harley-Davidson), who is looking to return to the podium for a second-time this season, completed the provisional front row in third.

 

Rapp, who checked out from the field in both the season's most recent race at Barber Motorsports Park and the series' most recent visit to Monterey, will attempt to lock down the pole tomorrow morning and then kick off a new win streak in tomorrow afternoon's 11-lap final.

 

About AMA Pro Road Racing

 

AMA Pro Road Racing is the premier motorcycle road racing series in North America and is universally regarded as one of the most competitive road racing organizations in the world. The series is comprised of four production-based classes: AMA Pro SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about AMA Pro Road Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.

AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines.  Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.  

(AMA Pro Racing PR)

 After a messy qualifying session,Performance Tech Motorsports captured the pole position for Round 7 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lights Powered by Mazda on Friday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, as Hayden Duerson took the top spot.

 

"It feels like a long time coming this season," Duerson said. "We've been so competitive so many times and have had such bad luck. From last race having the suspension go to the race before that having caught fire. It's just great for the Performance Tech team; I've been wanting this all season. Hopefully we can turn it into a win tomorrow."  

Drivers were forced to turn their hot laps quickly as nearly 10 minutes of the 20-minute session was wiped away by an early red flag. Situation aside, Performance Tech's rising stars found themselves on the top of the time charts in qualifying. Rookie Duerson landed the first pole position of his career in the series, followed by Robert Alon, who had his best qualifying efforts of the season landing in fourth.

 

"Turned out better than I expected," Alon said. "As usual, Performance Tech obviously knows what they are doing. The No. 10 car kind of popped on me on my hot lap. But regardless I think we did all right in the end."

 

Craig Duerson was hot on Alon's heels in fifth place, winning the pole position in Masters.

  

"A great team effort once again," Duerson said. "We're really feeding off one another with car setup, and we're just working well as a team. I'm really happy for Robert and Hayden. I didn't throw down a lap when I needed to. I'm very comfortable with the track and my race conditions. I've been up front in all my practices. Now it's just a little racecraft, and hopefully the old man will be there."

 

Joel Janco qualified 10th in the L1 category and third in Masters.

 

 

"It was really greasy compared to this morning," Janco said. "So it was like driving a completely different track. We wound up about where we were in practice and we were third in Masters, which was good for us, and we're pretty happy. I'm looking forward to tomorrow." 

This is the second time this season Team Principal Brent O'Neill has seen one of his drivers take home the pole position. With everyone performing well, he is at ease for the upcoming races on the difficult 10-turn, 2.459-mile CTMP track. 

"Good qualifying effort by Hayden and the whole team," O'Neill said. "We're P1, four and five. I think we're going to have a good race car for tomorrow. Hayden did an awesome job; he's getting better and better. Robert now qualifying in the top in P4, it shows that are two younger guys are moving toward the front of the field. It was a good effort by everybody. Now we just get ready for the race tomorrow." 

Masters competitor Jon Brownson will not participate in this event with the team after a mishap in a test day earlier this week. 

"Jon had a big one in Turn 2 during testing and jammed his shoulder pretty hard, and we decided it was better off just parking it," O'Neill said. "He's going to rest up and get ready for Road America."  

The 30-minute Race 1 takes place at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, July 12, and the 45-minute Race 2 is scheduled for 9:50 a.m. Sunday, July 13. Follow live timing and scoring atscoring.imsa.com/prototype-lites/ and also follow the action live at @IMSALive on Twitter.

 

First-time Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America drivers Aaron Povoledo and Corey Lewis will be on the pole for Round 7 of the series Saturday, July 12 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park after leading qualifying Friday, July 11 with a time of 1 minute, 21.180 seconds. 

"First and foremost, hats have to go off to Lamborghini for building such an amazing rocket ship of a car," Povoledo said. "This is both of our first times driving these things. They're bloody gorgeous and fast, and they challenge you as a human being to be a better person to drive the thing." 

The drivers of the No. 76 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 fielded by Musante Motorsport and representing Lamborghini Boston are getting their first experience in the series at CTMP. The Musante team spent the night before qualifying making setup changes and getting the car ready to race for the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America rookies.  

"It's been a big learning curve for the both us from yesterday to today," Lewis said. "The team has worked really well with us and given us everything we need, and it shows with the huge time gain." 

 Starting behind the No. 76 Lamborghini on the grid will be the second overall and top Amateur class qualifier, Dillon Machavern, who turned a top lap of 1:21.338 in the No. 07 Gallardo fielded by Mitchum Motorsport.

 "We ended up switching tires halfway through because we knew we had a good car," Machavern said. "We just wanted that edge again, so we put new tires on. The car felt really good out of the box, so I just put two fast laps down and ended up in a good position. I'm just looking forward to being able to run my pace and not be in a lot of traffic. That's key in these cars and especially at this track."

 Thursday practice leader Victor Gonzalez qualified third at 1:21.398 while Change Racingteammate and championship leader Kevin Conway qualified in eighth position at 1:23.131.

Saturday's race will be the first of two 50-minute races in the incredible Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo cars, powered by a 570-horsepower V10 engine.

 Race One is scheduled for 8:55 a.m. (ET) Saturday, with Race Two following at 10:55 a.m. Sunday. Both races will be streamed live at http://squadracorse.lamborghini.com/en/live-usa

 The two rounds at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park continue a busy stretch of action worldwide for the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo championship, which continues to reach new levels of success at every round in Europe, North America and Asia.

 The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America and Europe competed during the final weekend of June at Watkins Glen International and Circuit Paul Ricard, respectively. The next round of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe is July 25-26 at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. The Asian Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo championship resumes Aug. 30-31 atFuji Speedway in Oyama, Japan.

 The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo car is the ultimate single-make race car and the only four-wheel drive GT racer in the world. The 570-horsepower, V10 Gallardo LP 570-4 features impressive technology such as paddle shift E-gear transmission, Öhlins race shocks, Brembo brakes, a carbon fiber aerodynamic package that includes a rear wing with 10 adjustable positions, MTA data acquisition, air jacks, center wheel locks and more.

 Lamborghini and Blancpain will provide world-class hospitality this weekend for clients and guests of Lamborghini dealers in Montreal and Toronto. Guests also can participate in the IMSA Hot Lap Experience, high-speed rides around the Canadian Tire Motorsport circuit in a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4.  The Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 will be displayed at Lamborghini Village at the circuit throughout the weekend.

The newly intensified chase for the 2014 AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series crown comes to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend for the GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round. Tyler O'Hara on the No. 29 Josh Chisum Racing/Bartels Harley-Davidson XR1200 retains the points lead but the title hopeful has fallen into something of an early season lull, missing out on the podium at the most recent two rounds after being awarded victory in the Daytona International Speedway season opener.

O'Hara will be motivated to get his championship charge reignited this weekend at his home race, and he'll need to with his advantage reduced to just a single point. The Californian put in a strong effort last season when the muscular XR1200s made their debut at the undulating circuit, reeling in a runner-up result to lock down second in the 2013 championship. He's out to do one better in both categories this time around. 

Nipping at O'Hara's heels is the inaugural AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series king, Danny Eslick aboard the No. 69 Ruthless Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200. The 2010 champ is hoping to reclaim his throne while pulling double duty (Eslick is also ranked second in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike). The thrill-a-minute Oklahoman has strung together a pair of second-place finishes but is yet to climb atop the podium in Harley-Davidson action this season.

 Another man yet to strike is Ben Carlson, pilot of the No. 45 Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200. In fact, despite his near-constant presence near the front of the pack throughout his three-season tenure in the class, Carlson is still seeking his first-ever AMA Pro Road Racing victory. The Wisconsinite has racked up six podiums, two runner-ups, and even finished second in the 2012 championship order, but the two-time AMA Supermoto national champion is yet to register that breakthrough win. He's knocked O'Hara off the podium in each of his last two rides and appears to have increased both his confidence and his willingness to mix it up with the established frontrunners, so perhaps his shining moment is just around the corner.

 A duo representing the new breed of AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series riders currently sits in positions four through six. Gage McAllister on the No. 51 Folsom Harley-Davidson XR1200 leads that group, followed by Nick Hansen and his No. 97 Aerostar Global Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200.

Reigning champ Steve Rapp on the No. 1 Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200 finally got his season back on the rails with a dominating effort last time out at Barber Motorsports Park. Last season, Rapp clinched his first-ever AMA Pro Road Racing title at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca by claiming his sixth win of the season. Another effort like that this weekend could signify the realistic possibility of an epic come-from-behind title defense. 

Kyle Wyman on the No. 11 KWR/Millennium Technologies Harley-Davidson XR1200 has endured a rollercoaster season, with results and emotions alternating from one extreme to the other. He looked to have taken a dramatic victory in the Daytona opener, only to be later disqualified. Wyman rebounded from that disappointment by winning at Road America, only to crash out of podium contention in Alabama. As a result, he's currently 36 points down on O'Hara and two back of Rapp and similarly in need of an extended streak of terrific rides if he's to have any hope of getting back in the title hunt. 

Hayden Schultz aboard the No. 59 Chili Pepper Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200 and Josh Chisum on the No. 10 Josh Chisum Racing/Bartels Harley-Davidson XR1200 round of the championship top ten as the 2014 AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series approaches its midpoint. 

The Harley pilots got the combined AMA Pro Road Racing/FIM Superbike World Championship round off and running on Friday morning with their opening practice, which took place at 8:30 a.m. local time (11:30 a.m. ET).

 

Series rookie Hayden Duerson earned his first career pole in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda on Friday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Duerson, from Gulfport, Mississippi, turned a top lap of 1 minute, 14.484 seconds in the No. 39 Performance Tech Motorsports entry in his final trip around the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit, the only Canadian stop this season in the series. The pole matched the feat set by Duerson's father, Craig Duerson, who won the pole last month at Kansas Speedway. 

"It feels like a long time coming this season," Duerson said. "We've been so competitive so many times and have had such bad luck. From last race having the suspension go, to the race before that having caught fire. It's just great for the Performance Tech team. I've been wanting this all season. Hopefully we can turn it into a win tomorrow."  

Round 7 of the season, a 30-minute race, starts at 6:45 p.m. (ET) Saturday. Round 8, a 45-minute race, begins at 9:50 a.m. Sunday. 

Qualifications were interrupted early for off-course excursions by the No. 68 Quorum Racing entry of Montreal's Guy Laporte and the ONE Motorsports No. 12 of Tony Bullock. The recess of nearly 10 minutes chipped away at precious time in the 20-minute session, as only a handful of competitors had yet posted a lap. A scant five minutes were left for drivers to lay down their fastest time when the round resumed. 

North Vancouver resident Mikhail Goikhberg immediately set the mark after the red flag lifted in his the No. 10 JDC Motorsports Lites 1 Élan DP02 powered by a Mazda engine. Goikhberg stayed at the top of the charts until time ran out in the session, but a handful of contenders were still on track looking for the checkered flag, including Hayden Duerson. 

Fellow series rookie Matt McMurry also clipped Goikhberg at the end with a fast lap of 1:14.631 in his No. 20 JDC Motorsports entry, good for second on the grid. Goikhberg's fastest lap of 1:14.651 leaves him starting third. 

Brian Alder claimed the Lites 2 class pole in his No. 22 BAR 1 Motorsports entry, setting a qualifying lap record of 1:18.235 for the class. Jerome Mee will line up alongside Alder in the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing entry with a top lap of 1:18.732 during the session. Todd Slusher will start third in his first race in the class with a lap of 1:18.803 in his No. 62 ONE Motorsports entry. 

For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter. 

Kenton Koch, of Glendora, California, will start from the No.1 position for Saturday’s Round Seven race of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, part of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Koch wasted little time in setting a high bar to beat by turning his pole-winning time on only his second circuit of the 10-turn, 2.459-mile permanent road course. Driving the No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, he stopped the clock at 1:34.850 (93.330 mph). The time will go down as a new qualifying lap record for the class at CTMP.
 
“I planned on trying to go out there to set my fastest lap on the first or second time around,” Koch said. “We set our pressures a little higher knowing it was going to be warm. Yesterday, the track really fell off after the Sports Car Challenge group got off the track. We had planned for the same thing to happen in this session.
 
“Since the beginning of the season, I’ve been working on trying to put down early fast laps during qualifying. We got it right and the ALARA guys made sure everything was rock solid.”
 
Nathanial Sparks, of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio, completed the top three starting positions. Sparks also took an early flying lap. On his third time by the line, he recorded a time of 1:37.460 (92.734 mph) while driving the No. 8 OOTSK Performance/Bimmerworld MX-5. Sparks was able to get out of the pits ahead of Koch, which allowed him to hold the top position until being one-upped by Koch.
 
“This all started when I was able to set a good lap time during the last practice,” Sparks said. “I just put my head down and focused. The tires came in, and I was able to make a good early lap. After that, the tires began to fall off a bit and I just couldn’t match my early speed.
 
“We haven’t changed our approach to doing things. I showed up with a good setup idea from John Dean, and it just feels good. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get his car to come alive, but mine feels like I’m driving a limousine out there.”
 
Driving the No. 28 MedBuild/Henry Schein/ModSpace MX-5, Gallagher was able to stop the lap timer at 1:35.810 (92.395 mph). With track conditions that featured deteriorating grip, Gallagher was able to put in a flying lap mid-way through his run.
 
“I don’t know how much faster we can go without the draft,” Gallagher said. “I think Sparks did a great job by putting his car second.
 
“I think it’s going to take a lot of working together on the straights. But, I think our mid-corner speed is the best of the field. I would put it up against anyone else. We’ll be able to hang in the draft, but passing for the win is something different.”
 
Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, put his No. 11 ALARA Racing MX-5 into the fourth-place grid position, with a fast lap of 1:35.847 (92.359 mph).
 
Sebastian Landy, of Great Falls, Virginia, finished the 30-mintue qualifying session in the fifth. He was able to pilot the No. 49 Excitations.com/Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5 to a fast lap of 1:35.875 (92.332 mph).
 
In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, Robby Foley, of Randolph, New Jersey, put in a pole-winning drive. His lap of 1:37.565 (90.733 mph) was not only good enough for the top position in class, but also eclipsed the previous qualifying-lap record.
 
“Turning early fast laps was part of the plan,” Foley said. “We didn’t know what the track was going to be like, especially with the tire rubber put down just before we went out. The pole lap was really early, about lap four, so that went to plan. I felt like the track got greasy as the session wore on.
 
“As far as the race goes, you have to set the car up for the long run. We proved the point in qualifying that you can set the car up to do a couple quick laps right out of the box, but by lap 10 you’re really fighting the car. We have to set the car up to come in during the middle, while making sure you do not push too hard early on.”
 
Completing the top three positions in class were Lucas Bize, of New York, with a time of 1:37.652 (90.652 mph), and Ben Albano, of Greenwich, Connecticut, with a best time of 1:37.658 (90.647 mph), at the controls of the No. 61 Project Yellow Light SBMX-5.
 
The SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires is set to start Round Seven, on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. (EDT). That race will be followed by Round Eight, later in the day, at 4:20 p.m. (EDT).
 
 
As the European Le Mans Series approaches the mid point of the 2014 season, Gérard Neveu- LMEM CEO, sat down to answer a few questions from the international press.
 
We are now heading to Austria for the third of five races on the 2014 calendar.  What are your thoughts on this season compared to 2013?

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!

Nathanial Sparks, of Spanish Fort, Alabama, finished at the top of the time charts of practice two in preparation for Round Seven of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, part of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance. Joey Bickers, of Moorpark, California, and Kenton Koch, of Glendora, California, completed the top three.
 
Driving his No. 8 OOTSK Performance/Bimmerworld MX-5, Sparks was able to clock a best time of 1:35.328 (92.862 mph) around the 10-turn, 2.459-mile permanent road course. That time was good enough to land him the top spot by a razor-thin margin of 0.052-second, and is quicker than the existing lap record. However, the current record will stand as the lap was not turned during a qualifying or race session.
 
“I was pretty shocked to have finished P1 with all these fast drivers out here,” Sparks said. “We’ve been working on setup, and the car is really dialed in. John Dean and the Sick Sideways guys really did a great job setting this car up and it’s really on rails. I’m just driving as hard as I can to help the team out in the best way I know how.
 
“I have a strong feeling that we’ll all do well in the qualifying session. We’re on older tires and this is typically what happens. During practice our team is usually a little slower, but once we get to qualifying our cars are set up well for the new tires.”
 
Bickers put down a fast lap early in the session. His fastest lap of 1:35.380 (92.812 mph) was notched after completing his fourth lap around the course in his No. 29 Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5. The lap landed Bickers in the second position once the checkered flag flew.
 
“It’s my first time here at the track,” Bickers said. “I really like all the fast corners. We’ve been making steady improvements to the car, both yesterday and today. I feel like we’re at a point where we can leave the car alone and contend for a top-three spot in qualifying. Hopefully, that will put us in a good position to stay in the top pack during the race.
 
“Before we go out to qualify we’re going to put some fresh tires on the car. There are a lot of corners where you have the car loaded up for a long time, and I think new rubber will help with that. We’ve been running on old tires, up until now. It’s been good to learn the track on those tires, but it’s time to put on the new rubber and see what happens.”
 
In the No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, Koch stopped the clock with a fast lap of 1:35.396 (92.796 mph). That was good enough to place him in third. Koch said he will make some small adjustments to optimize his car during qualifying.
 
“We’re going to make some changes, for sure,” Koch said. “This is obviously going to be different than the qualifying session. We made some changes for the practice session, and it was a little off. It was drivable, but I would have liked it to have been better. We still left a couple tenths of-a-second out on track.
 
“I think we’re looking good for qualifying, it’s just going to come down to putting the laps together. I think the pole time will come later in the session, depending on how greasy and slick the track gets.”
 
John Dean, of Sebring, Florida, finished the second practice session of the weekend in fourth. At the controls of his No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5, Dean’s fastest lap tripped the timers at 1:35.487 (92.708 mph).
 
Completing the top five was the third Sick Sideways Racing car driven by James Vance, of Stouffville, Ont., Canada. Behind the wheel of the No. 40 Exposystems Displays & Exhibits MX-5, Vance’s best time was a lap of 1:35.590 (92.608 mph).
 
In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge class, Drake Kemper, of Toluca Lake, California, led the way. Piloting his No. 99 Royal Rugby SBMX-5, Kemper’s fastest lap was registered at 1:36.670 (91.573 mph). Like the time in the Cup class, this is quicker than the current track record, but will not count as the time was set during a practice session.
 
Lucas Bize, of New York, New York, finished the 30-minute practice session in second with a fast lap of 1:36.935 (91.323 mph). Ben Albano, of Greenwich, Connecticut, slotted into third with his lap of 1:37.702 (90.606 mph), in his No. 61 Project Yellow Light SBMX-5.
 
The SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires is slated to take to the track for qualifying later today at 1:55 p.m. (EDT). Round Seven is set to start on Saturday, at 8:00 a.m. (EDT), followed by Round Eight, later in the day, at 4:20 p.m. (EDT).
 

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.

Malkhassian set his fastest lap of 1:35.575 (92.622 mph) at the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit as the checkered flag came out on the 30-minute session. Driving his No. 11 ALARA Racing MX-5, Malkhassian credited his fast lap to the draft he got from Koch.
 
“It’s nice to be back at a big, high-speed track,” Malkhassian said. “I really like these type of tracks and have pretty good luck with them. The car, with the BFGoodrich g-Force R1 S tires, is really hooked up. It feels like we’re going faster than we’ve ever gone at this circuit. The setup is great and Kenton [Koch] has done a great job for our team.
 
“By getting a draft from Kenton [Koch], I was able to set the quickest time. He’s a little quicker than me, but was able to help me out a little. We’re not going to pretend that no one else is here. At this track you can’t get away from the competition, and it ends up being a drafting race the whole way through. We expect the usual suspects to be up front, but we’re looking forward to race day.”
 
Driving his No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, Koch stopped the clock with a best lap of 1:35.626 (92.573 mph). That time was good enough to place him in the second position during the session. Koch said he is feeling confident with his car, but is not underestimating his competition as the event progresses.
 
“We’re looking good for the rest of the weekend, but I think John [Dean] is holding back,” Koch said. “I think he’s got more than what he’s showing us. We were running together out there and he was hanging in there, just chilling.
 
“I think we’re going to have a dogfight for the pole, tomorrow. With this session we were able to set a fast lap right out of the box. As we ran more, the grip started to go away. It certainly wasn’t getting better, the more we ran.”
 
Dean, at the controls of his No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5, set a best time of 1:35.891 (92.317 mph). The time landed Dean in third during practice one. Dean said he is glad to be back at a track he likes.
 
“Coming off Houston, I’m really glad to be back at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park,” Dean said. “I like the high speed corners, since it rewards a driver for being both smooth and fast. The car feels good, but as we work through the weekend we will make small tweaks to the car to get as fast as possible.”
 
Sebastian Landy, of Great Falls, Virginia, finished the session fourth. In his No. 49 Excitations.com/Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5, Landy’s best time was a lap of 1:35.978 (92.233 mph).
 
In the No. 8 OOTSK Performance/Bimmerworld MX-5, Nathanial Sparks, of Spanish Fort, Alabama, completed the top five with a lap of 1:36.055 (92.159 mph).
 
In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, Ben Albano, of Greenwich, Connecticut, captured the top spot. At the controls of the No. 61 Project Yellow Light SBMX-5, Albano recorded a best time of 1:37.378 (90.907 mph). That time is quicker than the current official lap record, however as the lap was set in practice it does not count as a new record.
 
“This track is awesome,” Albano said. “This is the first time I have been here, and once I got out there I felt at home. Going into this session, we were just trying to get ready for qualifying, since it will be very important.
 
“I like the flow of this track and the elevation changes. It allows the driver to set the corner up well. You really have to be brave here, and I like challenging courses like that.”
 
Newcomer Mac Korince, of Ridgeway, Ont., Canada, was the second quickest in class, with a time of 1:37.555 (90.742 mph). Drake Kemper, of Toluca Lake, California, finished third, with a time of 1:37.616 (90.686 mph), behind the wheel of the No. 99 Royal Rugby SBMX-5.
 
The SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires is on track for their second practice session, preceding Round Seven, Friday at 9:00 a.m. (EDT). Qualifying for the doubleheader weekend is scheduled to follow later on Friday, at 1:55 p.m. (EDT). Round Seven is set to start on Saturday, at 8:00 a.m. (EDT), followed by Round Eight later in the day, at 4:20 p.m. (EDT).
 
 

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.

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