Several local stars have dominated the Rolex 24 at Daytona ahead of this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, with Supercars ace Chaz Mostert claiming a maiden Daytona crown.
The 2014 Bathurst 1000 winner played an integral role in helping the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE towards GTLM honours, with countryman Ryan Briscoe winning outright for Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi.
IndyCar veteran Scott Dixon, who will suit up alongside Rick Kelly at Mount Panorama for the first time this weekend, joined Briscoe, Kamui Kobayashi and Renger van der Zande to take top honours in the around-the-clock marathon.
A whopping 23 drivers will travel from Daytona to Bathurst to tackle the Aussie enduro, with five drivers either winning outright or their class.
Dixon will steer an R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 at the mountain, while teammate van der Zande will help the Bathurst debut of the NSX GT3 for join JAS Honda Racing.
The result marked Dixon’s third overall win at the Rolex 24, with the 2020 race setting a new distance record.
The race also marked a significant result in the young career of Mostert, whose maiden Daytona win will vault him into a confident Bathurst 12 Hour campaign alongside Augusto Farfus, who he shared the Rolex 24 win with.
Mostert and Farfus, along with John Edwards and Jesse Krohn, sealed their win in the final hour of the 24-hour epic.
Behind the BMW entry in the GTLM class were a pair of Porsches, both of which fielded drivers who will take on Mount Panorama this weekend.
Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor – who will race this weekend with Craig Lowndes – combined to second with Mathieu Jaminet.
Frenchman Jaminet will drive this weekend with countryman Patrick Pilet and Aussie young gun Matt Campbell, the latter duo finishing third at Daytona.
2016 Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen – who will steer a Mercedes AMG-GT3 at Bathurst alongside Jamie Whincup and Maximilian Gotz – steered an AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus to 12th in class, 31st overall, and a total of 37 laps down on the class winners.
The French GP on June 28 is now pencilled in as the season-opener.
“We have been working closely with our friends at the Canadian Grand Prix over the past few weeks and support them in taking this necessary decision to ensure the safety of fans and the F1 community,” said F1 chairman Chase Carey.
“We always look forward to travelling to the incredible city of Montreal and while we will all have to wait a bit longer, we will put on a great show when we arrive later this year.”
Of the nine races scrapped so far, only two – in Australia and Monaco – have been cancelled altogether, with F1 hopeful of fitting the other seven into their schedule later in the year.
Although what that calendar might look like, and when it will start, is still unknown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What F1 races have been called off?
March 15: Australian GP – Cancelled
March 22: Bahrain GP – Postponed
April 5: Vietnam GP – Postponed
April 19: Chinese GP – Postponed
May 3: Dutch GP – Postponed
May 17: Spanish GP – Postponed
May 31: Monaco GP – Cancelled
June 7: Azerbaijan GP – Postponed
June 14: Canadian GP – Postponed
This article was originally published by Sky Sports and reproduced with permission.
Taking victory in an IndyCar iRacing Challenge race only enhanced Scott McLaughlin’s standing among his peers, but the race itself required the Supercars champion to take an unconventional route to victory.
That meant setting an alarm barely a snooze after midnight in the wee hours of Sunday morning, before logging on at 4:00am ahead of the day’s action.
While his North American rivals cozied up in the mid afternoon Stateside, Brisbane-based McLaughlin was perhaps the only person awake in his suburb.
“A strong coffee, some toast, and juice followed. A few stretches to wake up and I was set to jet.
“Qualifying was OK but I was a touch disappointed with eighth fastest. It would make the early going tough from the fourth row.
“The gap before the race was a challenge. I was trying my best not to fall asleep… can you imagine if I missed the start of the race because I nodded off?”
McLaughlin’s IndyCar win
While an online race, where real-life consequences are far from what the real thing presents, IndyCar has taken the virtual championship – which McLaughlin now leads after two races – very seriously.
NBC put on a proper broadcast, commentators and all – and that has set a blueprint for Supercars to follow when its BP Supercars All Stars Eseries commences on Wednesday.
For McLaughlin, who had already impressed the IndyCar fraternity at a Circuit of the Americas test, backing up his performance in the virtual race
“We recorded a Balls and Bumpers podcast on Friday and I told my mates Jack Riewoldt and Tim Hodges how confident I was… in fact, I boldly told them I would win,” he explained.
“We had put the hard work in, we had a good strategy, and I have been working so hard on my simulator to be my best.
“As most of you who know me would know, I’m a perfectionist and want to be the best at everything I do. And with a heap of time on my hands of late (don’t we all?) I had spent so much time being as sharp as I could be when we went racing at Barber.”
Racing against the likes of seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, IndyCar champions Power, Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden was “surreal” for McLaughlin. Particularly exciting for the Kiwi was being followed by Johnson on Twitter.
Drivers are being engineered in the virtual product as they would be in the real thing, and McLaughlin was skippered by Penske’s lead engineer Jonathan Diuguid.
The win was one thing, but it perhaps should have come as little surprise considering McLaughlin managed to drag himself to fourth in the Watkins Glen opener despite competing without an engineer.
Still, beating IndyCar’s best – although initially crowned by a trip back to bed – has set McLaughlin up for a crack at the virtual Michigan oval next time out.
“Last week at Watkins Glen I tried to organise the whole race myself – it was too much to remember fuel numbers while I was out there racing. This allowed me just to focus on steering the thing as fast as I could.
“On the last corner I locked a brake which gave me a scare, but it was OK… and just before 6am Brisbane time, I took the chequered flag for the win.
“I was that pumped sitting in my simulator in Brisbane, winning a race in Alabama on the other side of the earth. I celebrated with another glass of juice, did a couple of media commitments, and then went back to bed, still buzzing.
“For those wondering, the rest of my day included a movie on the couch, a walk with Karly and the dog, and a gripping final episode of MAFS.”
Williams and Racing Point became the latest Formula 1 teams to furlough staff due to the coronavirus as their drivers also agreed to take pay cuts on Monday.
Formula 1’s 2020 season has been delayed because of the pandemic and Williams and Racing Point announced their cost-cutting moves a week after McLaren opted to take the same financial measures.
Canadian Nicholas Latifi and Briton George Russell, along with senior Williams executives, have taken a 20 percent pay cut from April 1, with the other staff put on an enforced leave until the end of May.
“Due to the ongoing situation involving COVID-19, ROKiT Williams Racing is temporarily furloughing a number of employees as part of a wider range of cost-cutting measures,” a Williams statement said.
“The furlough period will last until the end of May whilst senior management, and our drivers, have taken a pay cut of 20% effective from 1st April.
“These decisions have not been taken lightly, however our aim is to protect the jobs of our staff at Grove and ensuring they can return to full-time work when the situation allows.”
As well as furloughing some staff, Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, the son of the team’s billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll, will accept a cut in their wages, although the percentage was not specified.
“I can now confirm that some of the team’s staff have been placed on temporary furlough,” a Racing Point spokesperson told AFP.
“Our drivers will also take a voluntary pay cut.”
Whincup wants simulation help
Last month, the UK government said it would pay 80 percent of salaries for staff who are put on furlough by their employer, covering wages up to 2,500 pounds ($3,077, 2,846 euros) per month in a bid to help companies retain their workforce and prevent redundancies during the health crisis.
But the furlough of non-playing staff by wealthy Premier League football clubs has caused huge controversy.
Liverpool and Tottenham are among the top-flight teams to have been criticised for using the government’s money to pay staff when they have owners worth millions and players on huge contracts.
F1 team bosses and the sport’s management were set to meet on Monday to discuss ways to protect the sport as it suffers a loss of income.
Teams are reportedly discussing a reduction of the budget cap, which was already due to come in force in 2021 at $175 million.