No. 789,
March 25, 2015

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The Line


march 25, 2015


(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Editor-in-Chief's Note: The 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida was yet another excellent race filled with enough surprises at the end to reaffirm the storied legacy of the track as one of the iconic events in the racing world. Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais (No. 5 Action Express Racing Mustang Sampling Corvette DP) awakened history by delivering the first overall win in 50 years for Chevrolet, as Chevrolet-powered machines swept the top three places. Action Express Racing has also completed every possible lap in TUDOR Championship competition, totaling 3,257 laps for 10,415 miles. It was the fifth Prototype victory for defending champions Fittipaldi and Barbosa. (See more coverage in "Fumes" - WG) Check out John Thawley's scintillating images from the race here.- PMD

(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Jan Magnussen (above) and Ryan Briscoe along with Antonio Garcia (in the background, below) persevered in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R  to take the GTLM class victory when the Porsche team encountered issues.

(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)

(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
The Porsche North America team of 911 RSRs had the GTLM class covered, until it all turned to shit in the eleventh hour.

(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)

(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
The No. 54 CORE autosport Flex-Box ORECA FLM09 trio of Colin Braun, Jon Bennett and James Gue was looking to repeat as winners at Sebring. Braun closed to within a second of Tom Kimber-Smith (No. 52 Cuttwood/Spyder ORECA FLM09) during the final hour, but the British driver was able to regain momentum and win by 11.614 seconds. Kimber-Smith, Mike Guasch and Andrew Palmer delivered their second straight victory of the season, leading 237 of 334 laps.

(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Ian James, Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas (No. 23 Team Seattle Porsche 911) gave Alex Job Racing its 10th class win at Sebring in the GT Daytona (GTD), but not before a wild - and chaotic - fifteen final minutes. Leading with just twelve minutes to go, Farnbacher drove off course in Turn 10 handing the lead to the No. 33 TI Automotive/Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R of Jeroen Bleekemolen. Thinking he would end up with runner-up finish, Farnbacher found himself back in the lead when Bleekemolen pitted with five minutes remaining with an engine temperature issue. The No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage of Christina Nielsen, James Davison and Brandon Davis finished second, 8.837 seconds back, followed by the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia of Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Anthony Lazzaro.

(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)
Forever Sebring.

(Photo by Jennifer Coleman/NKP ©2015)
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Wurth Ford Fusion) only led one lap on Sunday - the last one - to steal a victory out from under Kurt Busch (No. 41 Stewart Haas Racing Haas Automation Chevrolet SS) and Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart Haas Racing Jimmy John's/Budweiser Chevrolet SS) in the Auto Club 400 at California Speedway. Harvick ended-up second and Busch third. Watch a NASCAR video here.

(Images courtesy of Audi Motorsport)
Audi is turning the wick up for the 2015 racing season with a heavily revised R18 e-tron quattro. Audi is going to compete with its hybrid sports car in the 4-megajoule class in both
the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and of course in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Lightweight design and a lot of detailed work characterize the fifth generation of the Audi R18, which features a twofold quantity of hybrid energy and fundamentally revised aerodynamics. “The possibilities of the revolutionary regulations that have been in effect for LMP sports cars since 2014 are far from having been fully used. The rules harbor so much potential that there is room for future developments,” says Jörg Zander, Audi Sport’s new Head of Engineering. “We expect that the technological progress resulting from the fierce competitive pressure exerted by four automobile manufacturers that are now involved will significantly improve lap times this season – while concurrently reducing fuel consumption.”
Large air inlets in the front wheel arches reduce aerodynamic drag of the body and have led to an all-new design of the headlights. The lighting units feature Matrix LED technology combined with Audi Laserlight; two innovations that improve active safety in road traffic and that Audi customers can now order for their production models as well. Audi will field two body versions for the various tracks on the FIA WEC calendar. In combination with an optimized chassis and in close cooperation with tire partner Michelin, Audi has further exploited the performance potential of the R18. 
The new R18 e-tron quattro differs visually from its predecessor even though its basic structure is closely akin to the previous model. Aero tweaks are employed to improve airflow around and through the front end and at the rear of the LMP1 prototype. Modified airflow through the sidepods with new radiator configurations for cooling the engine and the hybrid system further reduce aerodynamic drag. The engine cover fits more snugly - notably tapering off behind the cockpit - contributing to the optimized airflow as well.  While Audi has adopted the monocoque central safety cell of the race car from the previous model, the hood with the front wing and wheel arches have been redesigned. Audi also performed a new crash test for the 2015 season.