Week 16: 15-21 April 2019
A very quiet weekend in the racing world. The only active series were those I don’t follow closely, but that’s probably my fault for not following British GT as closely I should.
In the UK it was Easter Bank Holiday weekend with Good Friday and Easter Monday off work. The sun was out so I didn’t spend a lot of time indoors watching racing and I opted out of going to Oulton Park’s British GT due to other goings on.
It was a good opportunity to continue my endurance racing catch up which I did on Sunday evening. There’s little point blogging it for an audience because frankly none of you care about a race that happened 18 months ago but I did it anyway because I like the practice of writing weekly.
2017 FIA WEC – R6 – 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas
Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA
Took place 16th September 2017
Watched 21st April 2019
LMP1: Porsche, Porsche, Toyota, Toyota;
LMP2: Signatech, Rebellion, Jackie Chan DC, Rebellion;
GTE Pro: AF Corse, Ford Ganassi, Aston Martin, AF Corse;
GTE Am: Aston Martin, Spirit of Race, Clearwater, Dempsey-Proton;
Just four cars in LMP1 for the last few races of the 2017 season and Porsche’s 919 was clearly faster than Toyota’s TS050, just as it was in Mexico. Yet the Toyotas had better low speed boost, the traction off the corner visibly better and they got past the no.2 Porsche in the early laps. Toyota then ran 1-2 by not taking tyres at the first pitstops when the Porsches did. That made a race of it for the next hour! They’d play strategy all race.
LMP2 teams were single-stinting drivers due to the high heat. Really close racing in the class. Signatech Alpine were the class of the field, though in the middle Alex Brundle’s Jackie Chan DC Racing car pulled a big lead for a while. This class was the one most affected by tyre regulations (just 4 sets for a 6 hour race) on a high degradation track, so the order changed a lot based on who was single-stinting and double-stinting tyres.
GTE Pro again had really good close, clean racing this time between the Aston of Nicki Thiim and the two AF Corse Ferraris in the first hour. Thiim had got the lead through the melee of turn one lap one when all the cars spread out wide. In the 2nd hour the Ferraris got clear. Despite qualifying last, the Porsche GTs had great race pace and caught the Ferraris.
GTE Am’s pole-sitting Aston Martin had Paul Dalla Lana driving first so we found him fall behind the Pro drivers early and the two Ferraris pull away. It turned around later when Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy raced through the pack.
A Safety Car just after halfway after the Gulf Porsche spun twice. That allowed the GT Porsche to catch and overtake the Ferraris for the Pro lead. But with 12 minutes to go the leading no. 51 Ferrari had a slow puncture, the pit stop put Ferrari and Porsche side by side for the lead! The Ferrari would just about come out on top.
And within 10 minutes to go the lead Porsche 919s swapped places, team orders, the No. 1 slowing to allow No. 2 to win. That gives the No.2 car its 4th consecutive win including Le Mans and a handy points lead, while No.1 failed to score back at the double-points Le Mans and so is the sacrificial lamb.
As ever in WEC the field spread out in the last couple of hours but there were stories all the way through. I was expecting to be able to F.Fwd through chunks and get the race done in 5 hours or less, I ended up not skipping any of it.
- No. 2 Porsche 919 – Hartley, Bernhard, Bamber [4th win of the year];
- No. 1 Porsche 919 – Lotterer, Tandy, Jani;
- No. 8 Toyota TS050 – Buemi, Nakajima, Sarrazin;
- No. 36 Signatech Alpine – Lapierre, Menezes, Negrao [1st win of the year];
- No. 13 Rebellion – Piquet Jr, Beche, Heinemeier Hansson;
- No. 31 Rebellion – Senna, Prost, Canal [5th podium of the year];
- No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari – Calado, Pier Guidi [2nd win of the year];
- No. 92 Porsche – Christensen, Estre;
- No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari – Rigon, Bird;
- No. 98 Aston Martin – Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda [2nd win of the year];
- No. 61 Clearwater Ferrari – Sun Mok, Sawa, Griffin;
- No. 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari – Castellacci, Flohr, Molina;
The next WEC race was the 6 Hours of Fuji, though the ELMS 4 Hours of Spa is next on my list by calendar date.
The weekend of 26th to 28th April, a fairly busy one depending on your interests. My pick of the week is Baku because that race is crazy fun.
- F1 Azerbaijan GP at Baku (with F2 support);
- Formula E in Paris;
- VLN 3 at the Nordschleife;
- GT Open at Paul Ricard;
- Blancpain America at VIR;
- WTCR at Hungaroring;
- BTCC at Donington Park;
- WRC in Argentina;
- NASCAR at Talledega;
I will watch F1 and Formula E. If the weather is terrible Saturday I may stay home and watch VLN. I plan to catch up on BTCC and WTCR at the end of the year as, guess what, I’m two years behind!
Oh and it’s the London Marathon on Sunday morning and that’s often a good watch if you like endurance racing of any type.