No. 889
March 22, 2017

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The Line


MARCH 22, 2017

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor and Alex Lynn (No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing/Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi V.R) won Saturday’s 65th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the second IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race of the season, meaning Wayne Taylor Racing has swept the two biggest endurance races of the year in North America (the team also won the Daytona 24 Hours). The lead driving trio finished 13.614-seconds ahead of Joao Barbosa/Christian Fittipaldi/Felipe Albuquerque (No. 5 Action Express Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi V.R), with Dane Cameron/Eric Curran/Mike Conway (No. 31 Action Express Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi V.R) finishing third, making it a sweep of the podium for the "Cadillac" branded, GM Racing prototypes. “I really wanted this race win to be conventional,” said Ricky Taylor. “This was a dominant win, so nobody can question it.” “They ran a flawless race, they did an excellent job,” said Fittipaldi of the No. 10 team. “They were very strong when it counted. We pretty much got beat fair and square.” The pole-sitting entry of Sebastien Buemi, Nick Heidfeld and Neel Jani (No. 13 Rebellion Racing ORECA LM P2) ended up ninth after battling a variety of mechanical problems all day.
Check out John Thawley's sensational images from Sebring here in the Autoextremist Image Gallery.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
The Corvette Racing effort suffered a blow early in Saturday's
65th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, when the No. 4 Corvette Racing Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R had overheating issues that forced it out of the race in the first hour. But despite that setback, superb race strategy, speedy and efficient pit work and brilliant driving helped propel the No. 3 Corvette Racing team car to the win in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship’s GTLM class. Battling the three-car Ford GT effort from Chip Ganassi Racing, and the factory Porsche 911 RSRs, the No. 3 Corvette Racing Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R driven by Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and guest driver Mike Rockenfeller surged to the win, capped by a brilliant performance by Garcia in the last stint of the race. In fact Magnussen and Rockenfeller both pointed to Garcia’s performance as a key to the win. “Antonio drove a Superman stint at the end,” Magnussen said. “After the sun went down and the track cooled, we picked up the pace, and Antonio made the most of it.” The No. 3 Corvette’s margin of victory was 4.43 seconds over the No. 66 Ford GT of Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and guest driver Sebastien Bourdais, fresh from an IndyCar win last weekend at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The victory for the Corvette was especially sweet since the No. 66, with those three drivers, was the car that won at Le Mans and Daytona. Third was Toni Vilander, Giancarlo Fisichella and James Calado in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE. Ryan Briscoe/Richard Westbrook/Scott Dixon (No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT) finished fourth; Stefan Mücke/Billy Johnson/Olivier Pla (No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT) came in fifth; Bill Auberlen/Alexander Sims/Kuno WIttmer (No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM) were sixth and Patrick Pilet/Dirk Warner/Frederic Makowieck ( No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR) finished seventh. All seven cars were on the lead lap. Read more about the hotly-contested GTLM class - and Corvette Racing's huge win - in this week's Fumes.

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Driver and team principal Ben Keating, who shared the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Mario Farnbacher, delivered the GT Daytona (GTD) win for Mercedes, its first at Sebring in 60 years. It was also the first win at Sebring for Keating and his team. “We won the 11 Hours and 56 Minutes of Sebring in 2015,” Keating said, “But our engine didn’t make it to the end.” Even worse was 2014, when Keating was driving his Viper early in the race and it caught fire, and practically burned to the ground. “We were third at Daytona, and first here, so we’re batting a thousand on podium finishes so far,” he said. Christina Nielsen/Alessandro Balzan/Matteo Cressoni (No. 63 Scuderia Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) finished second and Kenny Habul/Boris Said/Tristan Vautier (No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes AMG GT3) came in third. Corey Lewis/Jeroen Mul/Brett Sandberg (No. 16 Change Racing Monster Energy/XBOX/Forza/Pertamina Lamborghini Huracán GT3) had third place wrapped up but they ran out of gas on the very last lap and ended up 11th in class. Next up for the GTLM and GTD classes? The 1.97-mile street course at the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.
(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
James French/Kyle Masson/Patricio O’Ward (No. 38 Performance Tech ORECA FLM09) won the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, finishing two laps ahead of Garrett Grist/Max Hanratty/Sean Rayhall (No. 8 Starworks ORECA FLM09). "It’s awesome to win again in Florida,” said Masson, who lives in the Orlando suburb of Windermere. The team also won the Daytona 24 Hours. This is the final year for the PC class and there were only four entries. In 2018, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will feature three classes: Prototype, GTLM and GTD.

(Ford Performance)
Scott Maxwell/Jade Buford (No. 60
KohR Motorsports NANO ProMT Ford Mustang GT4) won the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series race in the Grand Sport (GS) class on Friday at Sebring, delivering the 50th Continental Tire Challenge victory for Ford and the first for the new Mustang GT4. The lead duo finished 2.548 seconds ahead of Chris Green/Jesse Lazare (No. 69 MIA/Pfaff McLaren/GARAGA McLaren GT4). It was the seventeenth Continental Tire Challenge victory for Maxwell, who is the defending series champion in GS, and his first of the 2017 season. It was the second Continental Tire Challenge win for Buford, who started the race before handing it over the Mustang to Maxwell. Spencer Pumpelly/Nick Galante (No. 17 Legistics/ Porsche Cayman) won the Street Tuner (ST) class by 0.588 seconds over Sarah Cattaneo/Owen Trinklerthe (No. 44 CRG-I Do Borrow Nissan Altima). Galante/Pumpelly are the defending Continental Tire Challenge ST class champions.
(Getty Images/NASCAR)
Ryan Newman (No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Grainger Chevrolet) was the unexpected winner of Sunday's Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway, the fourth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season, after a late caution gave his team the chance to break a drought dating to 2013. Newman's 18th career victory was his second at Phoenix but his first since he won the Brickyard 400 on July 28, 2013, driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. The win was RCR's first since Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag on Nov. 10, 2013 at Phoenix before departing for Stewart-Haas the following year. Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Credit One Bank Chevrolet) finished second and Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Skittles Toyota) was third. See video highlights here. 

(Audi images)
Mattias Ekström will again be competing in two major league racing series in 2017. In the past 16 years, Ekström contested a total of 177 DTM races for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, tallying 22 victories and two titles (2004, 2007). This year, the 38-year-old Swede will compete in the DTM with the new, 500HP Audi RS 5. And, as the reigning World Rallycross Champion, he is determined to defend his title in the up-and-coming racing series in 2017 with the 560HP turbocharged Audi S1 EKS RX quattro. The World Rallycross season will open at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, on April 1-2. Starting this year, Ekström will get direct support from Audi’s motorsport department whereas before he was running his own independent team in the series.

(Photo by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)
Twenty-two IndyCar machines turned a total of 1,147 laps on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park natural-terrain road course today (3/21), in a sanctioned Verizon IndyCar Series test. Will Power (No. 12 Team Penske Verizon Chevrolet) was quickest with a lap of 1 minute, 7.7518 seconds (122.211 mph) right before the checkered flag ended the test day, but the competition was close and fierce. The Aussie edged second-year Verizon IndyCar Series driver Max Chilton (No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Gallagher Honda) by less than a hundredth of a second (1:07.7591,122.198 mph). "It just shows how tight it is between Honda and Chevy now," Power said. "It's tough, man. We just went through a bunch of stuff (during the test day) to see what it does and I think we got some good answers here. I think we've got a good car for here, I feel good about my setup." Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Team Penske Verizon Chevrolet) was third quick with a lap of 1:07.8402 (122.052 mph), and Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet) was next with a 1:07.8406 (122.051 mph) despite it being his first time in an Indy car since the 2016 season finale six months ago. "I feel like I drove the car yesterday," Montoya said. "It's kind of fun. I've been out of the car since September, but I feel fine. I have a new crew, new guys, new engineer. It's working really well." Montoya will drive for Team Penske at the two Indianapolis Motor Speedway races in May. The next race on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach which airs live at 4 p.m. ET, April 9, on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is set for the weekend of April 21-23 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.