No. 857
July 27, 2016

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The Line


JULY 27, 2016

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin (No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R) gave Corvette Racing its 100th sports car racing victory and led the team’s 60th 1-2 sweep in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. It was the third victory of the season for the duo and the first since back-to-back GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victories at Daytona and Sebring. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen (No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R) finished second, while Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook (No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT) came in third, their fourth consecutive GTLM podium result. The two-hour, 40-minute race at Lime Rock was the expected hotly contested battle in the GTLM class, with all five competing manufacturers running inside the top three at one point or another during the race. The race came down to a tense duel between Ferrari, Chevrolet and Ford as Giancarlo Fisichella (No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE) led the way with an hour remaining ahead of Gavin and Briscoe. With just over 30 minutes left in the race, Fisichella lost traction and ran off course exiting Lime Rock’s famed “Big Bend” Turn 1-2 complex, opening the door for Gavin to move into the lead. Four laps later, Fisichella again ran wide exiting Turn 2 allowing Briscoe and Garcia to move into second and third. Garcia then took second place away from Briscoe with 20 minutes left, and he would finish 0.975 seconds behind his teammate to solidify the team’s sweep of the top-two positions. “Brilliant job by the Corvette Racing team giving me a great car today and Tommy for driving a great first stint,” Gavin said. “Brilliant day all around. We extended our lead in the championship, so it’s all good. It’s amazing to get the 100th win today. I’ve been a part of the Corvette Racing team for a long time, and this team has done an amazing job throughout my career. I just have to thank them and my great teammates." "Racing here at Lime Rock is always tough with all the traffic,” Milner added. “Fortunately, it seemed like there was just enough separation between the three classes in certain spots to really allow some passing to happen. For sure, I was frustrated at some points, and others were frustrated as well, but we all seemed to manage to make it through. There were a couple of guys racing super hard. I knew the race was going to get that way.” Milner and Gavin have now extended their lead in the GTLM standings to 10 points, 228-218, over Briscoe and Westbrook. Garcia and Magnussen are third in the GTLM standings. Peter will have more to say about Corvette's momentous win in this week's "Fumes" -WG, and you can see all of John Thawley's scintillating images from Lime Rock here.

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Gary Pratt (Pratt & Miller Engineering), Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Doug Fehan (Program Manager, Corvette Racing) celebrate after Corvette Racing's 100th sports car racing victory.

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande (No. 8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09) teamed up for their third IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory of the season in the PC class in Saturday's IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix. “I’m very happy with the win, it’s another advantage for the championship,” said van der Zande, who joined Popow in winning for the third time in four races. “Lime Rock is a crazy place, because it’s a small track and you’re always wrestling your way through the traffic. It’s a fair fight here, because you can easily lose position coming through traffic. I love coming to Lime Rock, and I’m very happy with my team.” Tom Kimber-Smith (No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Professional Security Consultants/Westfield Motorsports ORECA FLM09) finished just 0.815 seconds behind in second. Robert Alon led twice for extended periods during his double stint, losing the lead on a pair of pit stops. Kimber-Smith took over with one hour, four minutes remaining, and ran second behind van der Zande the rest of the way. James French and Kyle Marcelli finished third in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA.

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Andy Lally (No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi Tire Center/Auric Solar Audi R8 LMS GT3, started by John Potter) passed Jeroen Bleekemolen (No. 33 Riley Motorsports with the Monkey Dodge Viper GT3-R, started by Ben Keating) with 22 minutes remaining and went on to his second GT Daytona (GTD) victory of the season. Seventh with one hour remaining, Lally worked his way to the front in a tight battle that saw the top seven cars separated by only two seconds. “That was one of the most fun but frustrating drives of my life,” said Lally, who led the final 20 laps. “You have to make picks and pass on the outside to make that work. Really, it’s so special because these guys worked so hard after the wreck at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. We talked about putting a special setup for Lime Rock to make this thing turn right. We planned for the end of the stint to be loose. We dialed like 80 degrees of wing into this thing and stuck a billboard on the back and it stuck, and that’s what let us come through with the win there.” Robin Liddell (No. 6 Stevenson Auto Group Audi LMS GT3, started by Andrew Davis) finished second, followed by the Bleekemolen/Keating Viper.

Editor-In-Chief's Note: Lewis Hamilton (No. 44 AMG Petronas Mercedes) won the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday. Nico Rosberg (No. 6 AMG Petronas Mercedes) was second and Daniel Ricciardo (No. 3 Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer) finished third. As I said on Twitter immediately following the race, it was another glorified test day masquerading as an F1 race. Sanitized, predictable, boring and devoid of any passion, F1 - like it was on Sunday from Hungary - is damn-near unwatchable. And I have grown tired of the incessant cheerleading by the announcers in the TV booth too. They all seem likable and competent enough - especially David Hobbs - but trying to manufacture excitement on the broadcasts when basically nothing is happening, really sucks. -PMD

(Photo by Logan Whitton/LAT Photo USA ©2016, courtesy of Toyota Racing)

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Skittles Toyota Camry) celebrates with his wife, Samantha and son, Brexton, after winning the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at The Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Busch became the first driver to sweep all the poles and races during a NASCAR race weekend. Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Dollar General Toyota Camry) was second and Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Lowe's Red Vest Chevrolet SS) finished third. Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry) also won the Lily Diabetes 250 Xfinity race on Saturday (below), his 83rd win in 322 of those races. The reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion - who is just 31-years-old - now has 38 wins at NASCAR's premier level and is demonstrating his prodigious talent by flat-dominating races at will in a way that is leaving even NASCAR regulars with their mouths open. You can read more h4ere.

(Photo by Logan Whitton/LAT Photo USA ©2016, courtesy of Toyota Racing)

NASCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Editor-In-Chief's Note:
Let's face it - because clearly neither the IMS or NASCAR will - the Brickyard 400 is dead in the water and has been for at least a decade. The attendance - or lack thereof - in the cavernous Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday was embarrassing and looked shockingly so on TV. It was even worse in person. The Speedway attempted to say that there were 50,000 people there on Sunday, but who's kidding whom here? Even allowing for the sheer size of the place I would be surprised if there were more than 35,000 people there. They can blame the heat, sunspots, or whatever excuse they can come up with, but the fact of the matter is that NASCAR is toast in Indianapolis. There are smart people in Daytona Beach and Charlotte, but they seem to be paralyzed by Brian France's "brilliance" and are incapable of doing the right thing and deleting the race from the schedule. Mark Miles, the head of The Speedway, puffed himself all up and declared that they would make the event work, but he was like a dog barking at a passing car. And the car is too far down the road to make a damn bit of difference. -PMD

(McLaren Automotive)

One of the three McLaren 650S GT3s being run by customer team Garage 59 at the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa on July 30th will wear a unique livery based on the original logo that adorned the early racing cars of the Bruce McLaren Motor Racing team. The logo appeared on McLaren cars between 1962 and 1966. The distinctive red, white and green design celebrates the 50th anniversary of the last competitive outing for the original Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Team emblem, with team founder Bruce McLaren at the wheel. The "Speedy Kiwi" logo was originally designed by British illustrator Michael Turner. The modern interpretation of the logo will run on the No. 60 McLaren 650S GT3, which makes a one-off appearance at the twice-around-the-clock race with driving responsibilities shared by Bruno Senna, Luis Felipe ‘Pipo’ Derani and Brit Duncan Tappy. The distinctive "Speedy Kiwi" logo appeared on the 1965 McLaren M2A single seater prototype and a number of Group 7 sports cars. The most famous of the cars wearing the "Speedy Kiwi" was the McLaren M1A ­– the first true McLaren racing machine – which scored the first podium for the team on its debut at Mosport in September 1964.

(© Gabi Tomescu -

Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley (No. 1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid) delivered their first victory of the season for Porsche at the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring. Oliver Jarvis, Lucas di Grassi and Loic Duval (No. 8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 Hybrid) finished second, and Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler (No. 7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 Hybrid) came in third. Porsche took charge of the race at about half distance and out ran the Audi machines. Nicolas Lapierre, Stephane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes (Signatech Alpine-badged ORECA-Nissan 05) won in LMP2; Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado (No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE) and Sam Bird and Davide Rigon (No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE) made it a 1-2 for Ferrari in GTE Pro; and Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana (No. 98 Aston Martin Vanatge V8) won in GTE Am.


America's National Park of Speed.

I was getting caught up on the Pirelli World Challenge Races at Road America, and thought I saw the sign at Turn 5. Could you please show a picture of it, and the story behind it? I am a huge fan of both Road America and your website!

Scottsdale, Arizona

Editor-In-Chief's Note: I first went to Elkhart Lake's Road America in 1967, when my brother Tony was racing a "A" Production Corvette in the SCCA June Sprints National races. I've been going ever since. If you have traveled around to race tracks as much as I have - including the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany - you will come to appreciate Road America, simply the most stunning natural-terrain road racing circuit in North America. With a track layout that has been unaltered since it was first opened in 1955 - which, believe me, is a rarity - and a park-like setting that is simply unrivaled, Road America is the race track for road racing enthusiasts in this country. To me, Road America looks and feels like a national park, and the track's theme line - America's National Park of Speed - is something I came up with to best describe the feeling you get when you're there. We first used it on that Autoextremist billboard in Turn 5 and I'm proud to say that it has become a fixture there. I gave the theme line to the track to use several years ago and I encouraged track president George Bruggenthies and his talented staff to use the theme consistently in all of their communications, and it's really starting to pay dividends. It's gratifying to hear the theme on TV broadcasts and to see it in-person when you're at the track. -PMD