Le Mans – A Tale of Three Minutes and Two F’s

Or “How I learned to love Le Mans and hate the ACO.” I have a ritual for watching the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Of course, I watch as much pre-race as I can (usually through a bootleg internet stream) and through the start. My favorite times are the “golden hours” at sunset and sunrise. Watching sunset isn’t much of a challenge, but I usually fail to see the sunrise, as I invariably fall asleep about an hour before sunrise. None of our readers care about my sleep habits.  You…

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Pirelli World Challenge 2014 TV debut

Last Sunday, SCCA Pro Racing’s Pirelli World Challenge kicked off its 2014 racing season with a ‘brawl between the walls’ of Saint Petersburg’s 1.8-mile race track. The race will be shown on Sunday afternoon on NBC Sports Network. Tune in! Here’s a view from the race winner’s car, provided by Racer.com: Tomas Enge, in a Lamboghini Gallardo, raced from first, backward to eleventh-place, forward to win the season’s first race. The season-opener that had been scheduled for Saturday was cancelled due to a thunderstorm in Saint Petersburg.

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Sports Car Wars return to Florida

(Saint Petersburg, Florida) This is the 25th anniversary season of SCCA Pro Racing’s Pirelli World Challenge Championships. And it begins this weekend in the Cadillac Grand Prix of Saint Petersburg Presented by StopTech. The Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) is the playground of many auto makers as Acura, Aston-Martin, Audi, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Lamborghini, Nissan, McLaren, and Porsche use the 22-race series as a technology proving ground — and a marketing tool. Blackdog Speed Shop returns to the sports car wars to defend its…

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GrandAm – Southern Swing

Grand-Am Road Racing continues its march through the southern U.S. Following the season-opening 24 Hours At Daytona, and races in Elroy, Texas and Birmingham, Alabama, Grand-Am rolls into scenic Braselton, Georgia. As Open Paddock’s “southern photographer” I have foregone a cross-country trek to see the American Le Mans and IndyCar races in Long Beach, California in favor an easy drive to Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton. I’ll share photographs of practice, qualifying, and racing of Grand-Am Road Racing’s Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge. This is…

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Sports Car Wars Resume

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. SCCA Pro Racing’s Pirelli World Challenge returns to the streets of downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida for two races, on Saturday and Sunday. Friday practices were followed by a late-afternoon race-qualifying session. . Alex Figge, driving one of K-PAX Racing’s Volvo S60s, set a qualifying-time record of 1 minute, 13.9 seconds, averaging 87.6 mph on downtown Saint Pete’s 14-turn, 1.8-mile course. Figge edged his teammate Randy Pobst, who will start race one alongside him on the front row. . Figge remarked, “On a street course, it’s nice to have the…

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Le Mans Notes 06/08/11; Sarrazin Peugeot Set Pace

Just as it appeared Audi had lay claim to the top three positions during provisional qualifying Peugeot Sport Total‘s Stephane Sarrazin peeled off a blistering lap that undercut the German squad by nine-tenths of a second during an incident packed session. The Audi Sport Team Joest R18 TDI’s and Team Peugeot Sport Total 908’s were fastest throughout the session. The 908 of Sebring winners Team Oreca Matmut were seventh in LMP1. The Pescarlo Judd was the fastest of the petrol powered LMP cars, in eighth position, nearly two seconds ahead of…

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Preview; Le Mans 24 Hours

And so it begins this Saturday. The 79th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, without question the  world’s greatest sports car race and arguably the world greatest racing event, 56 cars, in four classes, lapping the famed Circuit de la Sarthe at nearly 75% full throttle per lap. 28 LMP cars (Le Mans Prototype) will start.  New LMP1 cars from Audi, Peugeot and Aston Martin will battle for the overall win. Even with new regulations to bridge the gap between diesel and petrol powered cars, the factory teams hold…

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FIA, ACO Announce World Endurance Championship

The FIA and the ACO, organizers of the 24 Hours at Le Mans and the Intercontinental Le Mans Championship (ILMC) have announced a World Endurance Championship starting in 2012. There will be a manufacturer’s championship and driver championship. The FIA press release stated “In establishing this new category of motorsport championship, both the FIA and ACO are keenly aware it needs to be a laboratory for innovation and the development of new technologies, allowing motor manufacturers to express, through the rigours of competition, their ability to be inventive and, as…

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Where Do We Go Now, O’Sweet Child of Mine

The original working title of Part II of this series on the ALMS was “Out Manuvered and Out in the Cold.”    Following a couple of press releases, one on the 2013 Oklahoma City race (exactly what we need, another processional street race, but that’s another story)  and  the return of “a” P1 team at Lime Rock, I kept wondering where are they going. What better theme for the ALMS today than Axel Rose and Slash “Sweet Child of Mine.” We all know the chorus, “Where do we go, Where do…

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