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July 2014

felipe massa

this month Two Motorsport Legends dale Earnhardt jnr

PLUS

Formula One | IndyCar | BTCC | WRC | NASCAR | GP2 | Interviews | Previews | Statistics | Historic Racing | dtm


EDITORS NOTES

W

elcome to our 5th Issue. This month we have some fantastic interviews in the magazine, which I think is the best issue yet. We spoke to Formula One legend, Felipe Massa, one of my personal favourite drivers. We also interviewed Mat Jackson, a BTCC star, were we had a candid and open chat, which I am confident you will enjoy. There is an interview with DTM driver, Gary Paffett and former F1 and now GP2 star, Charles Pic. It has been an exciting month again in motor sport, especially with the British Grand prix. I know that I am supposed to remain impartial, but I am British, so I can be proud of my home race. As usual we have a good look at IndyCar; don’t miss Eric’s Montoya Report this month, the racing hero has managed to secure a win in the Pocono 500. It’s fantastic to see him back to his best. Travis has focused on one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR, Dale Jr, He’s so popular that even my four year old son knows who he is from the Pixar Cars films. Annika has been working extra hard this

month to bring you right up to date with DTM. She was lucky enough to be at the last event and managed to grab a few great interviews, including our main interview with Massa. Brynmor has provided us with another insight into historic racing, especially the Le Mans Classic event, something that looked an utterly brilliant event. Katy has once again covered GP2 and GP3, she also got to interview Charles Pic, don’t miss that interview in this issue, it’s fantastic. Adam has once again covered BTCC for us along with some more Blancpain GT coverage, doing a great job as usual. Then there is our WRC correspondent, Bruno, who is so in demand at the moment, but still manages to find time to write for us. I am sure you’ll all agree, that we have an excellent team here and they have contributed to the best issue yet. Thanks for your continued support, and thanks to over 60,000 of you who downloaded Issue 4 - A huge number that makes us very proud. See you next month as we hit the half way stage in most series’ around the world. Phil Woods

No part of this magazine may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form – electronic, mechanical or physical – without express prior permission and written consent of the publisher. Contributions are invited and when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and addressed envelope. Manuscripts should be typewritten. No responsibility can be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during transmission or in the editor’s hands. In the absence of an agreement the copyright of all contributions, literary, photographic or artistic, belongs to The Pitlane Reporter. The Publisher accepts no responsibility in respect of advertisements appearing in the magazine and the opinions expressed in editorial material or otherwise do not necessarily represent the views of the Publisher. The Publisher cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the late appearance or non publication of any advertisement. Information about products and services featured within the editorial content does not imply an endorsement by The Pitlane Reporter. © 2014. The Pitlane Reporter.

Published by MFO Publishing (UK) ltd. www.pitlanereporter.com 4


contents 4 9 11 15 23 28 32 34 36 41 44 45 46 48 50 53 58 60 63 68 75 80 87 90 93 95 97 99

Editors Notes Letters Page British GP Review Austrian GP Review Felipe Masse Interview Dale Earnhardt Jnr Feature NASCAR Season Update NASCAR Latest News Indycar Rewind Montoya Report Looking Ahead in Indycar Upcoming Events in IndyCar GP2 Austrian Review GP3 Austrian Review Arthur Pic Interview DTM - Gary Paffett Interview DTM - Become a DTM Driver Unsung Heroes of Motorsport - Thomas Dill DTM WRC Rally Poland Review Mat Jackson Interview BTCC Roundup Blancpain Roundup Historic Racing - Le Mans 24 Hour Historic Racing - 7th Cholmondeley Pageant of Power Motorsport - A Lifelong Passion Aerodynamics Part 3 Everyday Driving Column LImited Edition Gary Drew Prints

Felipe Masse INterview Page 23

Dale Jnr FEature Page 28

mat jackson interview page 68 www.pitlanereporter.com 5


MEET THE TEAM ERIC HALL - INDYCAR JOURNALIST Eric, based in Indianapolis, has been an IndyCar fan for his entire life and has been independantly covering the series since 2011. His blog, anotherindycarblog, has been at the core of his coverage for the past four years along with contributing to a number of online outlets as well. His love for motorsport and IndyCar history and unconventional way of writing his “from the fan’ perspectives has garnered a small, but strong following. Eric can be found at the track during most of the summer and looks to bring the readers behind the IndyCar catch fence in 2014 Eric can be contacted at eric@pitlanereporter.com

BRUNO KEISER - RALLY JOURNALIST Hello rally fans all over the world! Matchbox cars are my very first childhood memories. Since then I´m hooked on speed, cars and powerful engines. Later I became a car mechanic and in my last “normal” job, I worked for the Swiss air force as a jet engine engineer. My passion for rally (and motorsport in general) has grown together with the burning desire to capture speed and passion with my camera. In autumn 2010, I made a meaningful decision: All or nothing! I quit my job, sold everything I had (incl. my beloved Lotus Elise) and bought an old motorhome. I added everything needed to live in it permanently. Fully packed, with a budget for only one year and my beloved cat “Megi”, I left my family and friends on April 4, 2011, heading for my new life as a motorsport photographer in Finland.Since then I´m living my dream in my 14m² on wheels… Bruno can be contacted at bruno@pitlanereporter.com

KIRIL VARBANOV - TECHNICAL JOURNALIST IT engineer (at Experian - yes, we sponsor Williams), Formula 1 TV commentator, BBC TopGear Bulgaria columnist, F1Technical.net site editor. Blogger and avid petrol head. Independent consultant and crossfit-er. Excyber cop and sound engineer.On the F1 side (which I assume it’s the most interesting part), I’m a co-host of the national F1 TV show, so I’m a media person. I’m fascinated by the technical details, but most of all in aerodynamics, which has been my passion for 14 years. I have a column in the Bulgaria Top Gear’s print issue (the largest auto magazine here), as well as online articles for AutoBild Bulgaria.

Kiril can be contacted at kiril@pitlanereporter.com

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TRAVIS BAREND - NASCAR JOURNALIST

Travis is a Public Relations student with a strong passion for NASCAR racing. Whether it is through the PR field or as a journalist, Travis dreams of having a career in NASCAR one day. Through his own blog, TracksideChatter. com, Travis showcases some of his writing while also giving other aspiring journalists an opportunity to contribute. Additionally, he is a writer for Speedwaymedia.com as well asNASCARTheGame.com. You can follow Travis on Twitter @TracksideTravis to keep up with his writing and his take on everything NASCAR. Travis can be contacted at travis@pitlanereporter.com

KATY McKONNACCHIE - GP2, GP3 & DTM Katy, currently a media student, has been a Motorsport fan for as long as she can remember. When she isn’t studying, she can be found watching anything from Formula 1 to World Series by Renault or over on her blog sharing her passion for Motorsport with other fans. Over the course of year Katy will be bringing you updates and features on GP2, GP3 and DTM. Katy can be contacted at katy@pitlanereporter.com

ADAM JOHNSON - BTCC JOURNALIST

Chief BTCC corrospondent for Pit Lane Reporter, and unashamed fan of the series since 1998. I cover touring car racing on these shores and around the world, with a penchant for noise, spectacle and a good underdog story. With the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series growing, it’s exciting times for stock car racing in Europe, and I cover the European stock car scene in detail. Away from motorsport I’m a Media Writing student at University of Greenwich, uni radio presenter, and I love rock music and the sport of roller derby. Adam can be contacted at adam@pitlanereporter.com

BRYNMOR PIERCE - HISTORIC RACING JOURNALIST From the age of three I was taken along to various race and rally meetings with my late dad, the passion (some may call it an obsession) stems from him!! I’ve been fortunate over the last nearly 20 years to compete at most levels of rallying within the UK as both a driver and co-driver , currently you’ll regularly find me on British National events occupying the co-driver’s seat. That said throughout my life I have always had a passion for Historic’s, indeed the passion extends to Historic racing too and upholding a family tradition we’ve not missed an Oulton Park Gold Cup since it’s inception. I look forward to bringing you news and views from across Historic Motorsport in the UK. Should anyone have anything they wish me to cover please do get in touch!! Brynmor can be contacted at brynmor@pitlanereporter.com

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ANNIKA GOCKE - DTM JOURNALIST Annika, based in Germany, has been an accreditated F1 and DTM journalist in the past. She has been writing for almost two years and gained experience at speedmagazin.de as well as motorsport-magazin.de. Annika is an educated specialist in media and information services. She is passionate for racing and will be concentrating on DTM Annika can be contacted at annika@pitlanereporter.com

JAKE HUMPHREYs SPECIAL FEATURE JOURNALIST Jake is the latest member to the team here at Pit Lane Reporter. He has been brought up around motor sports, with a family lineage of devote fans of the sport beginning with his grandfather who’s been enjoying the sport since the beginning of the last century. After finishing his first year in university studying literature and creative writing, Jake is keen to join the team and start putting into practice his joint knowledge in the sport and ability in the writing field. Jake can be contacted at jake@pitlanereporter.com

missed an issue? check out the back library

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letters page Dear Editor just announced Caterham have sold out to a that they have dual investors group of indivi east. They have from the middle season since struggled every be interested to they started. I’d ts on whether know your though ing of the end this is the beginn for Caterham? Thanks UK) Daniel (Banbury, Hi Daniel very difficult for First of all, it is g into Formula any team comin budgets at the One now. The are massively front of the grid to those at the disproportionate that the likes back. It means Marussia and of Caterham, the back-foot Sauber are on u can even look straight away. Yo who are doing at Force India, ll this year, even exceptionally we et is nowhere though their budg

Ferrari or Red near the likes of Bull. the beginning of I don’t think it’s rham; quite the the end for Cate is could be the opposite really. Th omising future beginning of a pr may well head for the team. They ction now and in a different dire sign idea that could hit on a de into a position catapults them ild on. The new that they can bu already installed consortium has n the team on Colin Kolles to ru sis. Taking on a day to day ba s experience, is someone with hi , not a signal of a signal of intent out to fold. a team that is ab s explained my I hope that ha ll enough for view point we u are a fan of you Daniel. If yo look ahead with Caterham, then optimism. Kind Regards Phil Woods

Dear Mr Woo ds It was cool to see sparks coming from the bac k of the Form ula One cars in Austri a. It’s somet hing I haven’t seen fo r ages. It loo ks amazing and wou ld probably lo ok even better in Sin gapore for th e night race. I also hear that M ercedes are trying ou t a new gad get to increase the n oise of the n ew quite engines. As much as I lo ve sparks and noise, is n’t it a bit w eird trying to recrea te these old fashioned sights and so unds? Mortein Tonsberg (N orway) Hello Mortein I feel all imp ortant now, not many people refer to me as M r Woods, thank you. I am so glad that you emailed me as this is so mething that I have wanted to ta lk about and we had run out of sp ace for a feature o n it. Let m e tackle

the sparks fi rst. What yo u saw in Austria were titanium skid blocks under the ca rs. Whilst it is clear that the spar ks aren’t cau sed by a necessary p iece of equip ment on the car, I cou ld argue that they are not a false g adget trying to recreate the spar ks. If you lo ok back in F1 history , it was tita nium skid blocks that ca used the spar ks originally. Moving on to the ‘gramop hone’ on the back of the Mercedes at a recent test. In short, it looke d awful, it sounded n o different an d is unnecessary. I know that a lot of people miss the sound of last engine but w year’s e have to m ove with the times. That means that engines will so und differen t, but, we will all get u sed to it. I am used to it already. Take Care Phil Woods

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Dear Phil Can I just say how brilliant you r magazine is. The content is fantastic and you have a gre at team of writers there. There is, however, one problem. I find it difficult to read, it seems that there is a lot of wording all crammed together. Could you perhaps add more photos, or even consider a printed ver sion of the magazine, something to make it easier on the eye? Regards David Watts Humberside (UK) Hi David First of all, thank you for you r comments; it’s always good to have positive feedback, I agr ee

with your comments about the team too. I also take on boa rd your comments about the readability of the magaz ine, and you are not the first per son to say this. I hope that Iss ue Four was a lot better, as we tried to make it a lot easier on the eye. It is difficult to edit the work put in by our writers as we like to tell the whole sto ry, sometimes meaning that an article or feature is wordier tha n you would expect, and tha t is what makes us different. We are adding more photos, to try and break the articles up in this issu e even more so than in issue 4. I hope you approve and continu e to read the magazine. Thank you Phil

We received this email from David shortly after Issue 4 was released, and thought we would share this with you too.

Dear Phil

Hello again David

In response to my previous email, I think your graphic department have done a much better job on issue 4. It was so much easier to read, therefore making your magazine the best in its field by a country mile. Well done.

Thanks for the follow up and the lovely comments. Really glad that you rate us so highly against our competitors, who also put out magnificent publications. It’s truly an honour to be in an industry such as motor sport with such quality reading material available.

Regards David Watts Humberside (UK)

www.pitlanereporter.com 10

Thanks again Phil Woods


British GP Review

BY PHIL WOODS

A Weekend to Remember for Lewis Hamilton

T

his weekend could well be the turning point of the season as far as Lewis Hamilton is concerned. A 29 point deficit turned into a 4 point gap was just what the doctor ordered to get him back on track. The weekend didn’t start off as Lewis Hamilton had hoped, losing time on track during free practice, something he is getting used to at the moment. As you will read, he didn’t manage to turn that around in qualifying, with an uncharacteristic mistake, but in the race, he was sublime.

Qualifying Q1 gave us the biggest shock of the season. Imagine the odds on having both Ferrari’s and both Williams out in the session. That is what happened, with Marussia benefiting from the horrendous judgement on the weather from those two big teams. In fact Marussia played a blinder, ensuring that both cars got into Q2 with loads of time to spare. The weather played a big part throughout the entire qualifying session, but it is Britain after all, so there is little room for excuses. What this result meant though, was that the fans of Formula One would be guaranteed a superb race the following day. Q2 was also affected by the weather and yet again Marussia had a good session. They managed to put their cars just outside the top 10 in 12th and 13th, a huge result for them. Unfortunately, Max Chilton would have a 5 place grid penalty for the race, which dampened the supporter’s cheers just a little. With a fair wind and a bit more luck, both Marussia’s could have made it into the top ten shoot-out, which would have been rather special to see. The Lotus of Romain Grosjean nearly

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scraped into Q3 but missed out in 11th place. Toro Rosso had another good qualifying, managing to get both their cars into the final session. As did Red Bull, a team who have had at least one car suffer recently, managing to get a chance at the race for pole position. Q3 had the cars of Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull, Force India and Toro Rosso battling it out two by two for pole. This was a session like no other, starting with drivers getting in a banker lap, but finishing in the most bizarre of circumstances. Lewis Hamilton looked to have the edge on title rival Nico Rosberg, but no one expected what was to happen on the final runs. The rain had started to dry up, leaving sector 3 in a great condition to make up some time, in fact some cars managed to turn a huge loss of time in sectors one and two into a best time overall due to sector 3 proving to be so fast. Lewis Hamilton was behind at the start of the lap, so he decided to abandon it, and that left Nico Rosberg able to put in a good enough time for pole. Vettel would join him on the front row with Lewis languishing in 6th on the grid. Obviously, Lewis was disappointed in his own decision, but in fairness, I don’t think anyone expected there to be so much time to be had in the final sector. So to the race which, with these grid positions, had all the potential to be fantastic......

The Race …..and so it proved to be everything that we had hoped for. The best starters were Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, jumping a few places each, Sebastian Vettel had a horrible start, losing several places from what was a very promising grid position. Then before the drivers had settled into the race, Kimi Raikkonen went onto the astro-turf, which lead to a spin across the track and took Felipe Massa’s Williams out with him. This led to a safety car, followed quickly by a red flag. Due to the impact, which turned out to be measured at 47g, the restart would happen from the grid a full hour after the crash, as an essential barrier needed repair. When the race got underway again, it wasn’t long before Lewis Hamilton had worked his way up to second place in the ultra-fast Mercedes. He was around 5 seconds behind Nico Rosberg and the gap remained steady. Meanwhile Bottas was picking off cars at a rate of knots. During my live reporting of the race, it did seem that every few minutes I would be focusing on the brilliant young Fin.


After the first set of pit stops, Lewis Hamilton started to close the gap on Nico Rosberg, as he had seemingly chosen the better tyre option at this stage. However, it wasn’t long into the second stint when Rosberg’s car hit trouble. He couldn’t get it into gear properly, eventually causing him to stop on track. The Mercedes may be the fastest of the cars, but recently it has been showing signs of vulnerability with reliability. In the past few races, it had been Lewis who had drawn the short straw, putting him so far behind in the championship. This time it was Rosberg, and if Hamilton could ensure he finished the race, he would close the gap up at the front. Whilst Lewis was way out ahead, we were treated to a battle between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, each one driving at the top level possible. Close wheel to wheel action meant that hearts were in mouths at times in the Ferrari and Red Bull garages. For the fans watching, it was a dream, despite the ongoing moaning over team radio of course. This proved the talent that these two drivers have, to be able to go so close at such high speeds and not crash, was nothing short of incredible. Valterri Bottas was still making headway and eventually passed Ricciardo to take 2nd place. He managed to stay there to collect his second consecutive podium. He, of course, was our driver of the day. To come from so far down the grid to a podium was nothing short of outstanding. At the end of the race, another Brit was chasing a podium place, Jenson Button of McLaren had driven a superb race to get to 4th and keep it. He closed in on Ricciardo in 3rd, so much so that he was in DRS range on the final lap. Another lap and we may well have seen two British drivers on the podium. It wasn’t to be though. Still, it was a massive improvement by the McLaren team at their home race. Lewis managed to hold on to take a well-deserved win in front of the adoring British crowd. This victory moved him to within 4 points of team mate Rosberg. The fight for the championship is now well and truly on.

Driver of the Day Valterri Bottas

Team of the Day

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british GRAND PRIX results Position

Name

Team

Nationality

Points

Laps

1

Lewis Hamilton

2

Valteri Bottas

18

3

Daniel Ricciardo

15

4

Jenson Button

12

5

Sebastian Vettel

10

6

Fernando Alonso

8

7

Kevin Magnussen

6

8

Niko Hulkenberg

4

9

Danil Kvyat

2

10

Jean-Eric Vergne

1

11

Sergio Perez

0

12

Romain Grosjean

0

13

Adrian Sutil

0

14

Jules Bianchi

0

15

Kamui Kobayashi

0

16

Max Chiltern

0

17

Pastor Maldonado

0

18

Nico Rosberg

0

ret’d

28

19

Marcus Ericsson

0

ret’d

11

20

Esteban Gutierrez

0

ret’d

9

21

Felippe Massa

12

ret’d

0

22

Kimi Raikkonen

1

ret’d

0

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25


BY PHIL WOODS

austrian GP Review Williams Return to 1990’s Form

Qualifying

A

fter more than 10 years, F1 returned to Austria for a Grand Prix. The newly named ‘Red Bull Ring’ was the venue for this round of the World Championship. Nestled in the hills of Austria, near to Spielberg, the track has a beautiful setting. Red Bull have done a wonderful job renovating the ‘A1-Ring’, making it ideal for fans and teams alike; a fast flowing track, with some changes in elevation which adds to the spectacle. Most people were expecting a return to form for Mercedes, following the disappointing result in Canada, when Lewis Hamilton failed to finish the race and Nico Rosberg limped home in 2nd place in a very poorly car. Williams had different ideas and Formula One fans were in for a treat. In Q1, the biggest talking point was the stewards keeping to their word of penalising people for running wide at turn 8. A lot of drivers had their laps wiped from the records for doing this, which meant that, potentially, this first session could have turned into a banana skin for some of the top drivers. As it happened, the top drivers and teams made it through, although Red Bull were looking a bit concerned at their apparent lack of speed at their home circuit. Sebastian Vettel, in particular was cutting it fine to qualify out of Q1. At the top end of the timing charts, Mercedes managed 1st and 3rd, but were split by the unexpected speed of Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat, placing himself in a Mercedes sandwich, finishing the session in 2nd, albeit on a set of super-soft tyres. Out in this session were Marcus Ericsson in the Caterham finishing 22nd, Max Chilton in the Marussia in 21st, the other Caterham of Kamui Kobayashi in 20th with Jules Bianchi heading the 4 www.pitlanereporter.com 15


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back markers in the other Marussia. The Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez was one of the other cars which failed to make it through, finishing the session in 18th. The final driver out in Q1 was Adrian Sutil in the other Sauber who suffered by having a lap wiped out for leaving the track boundaries at turn 8. Whether he’d have made it through, we don’t know. The biggest news of Q2 was seeing Sebastian Vettel fail to make it in to the top 10 shoot-out. He would end qualifying in 13th place, a very disappointing session for the home team. Vettel ran wide at turn 3 during his final lap of the session, which meant that he stood no chance of getting through. The Ferrari of Fernando Alonso almost said hello to the wall at the final corner. He hit the astro turf and spun, narrowly missing the wall. By the end of the session, both he and his team mate, Kimi Raikkonen managed to make it through to Q3. Both Lotus’ had showed better pace during Q1, so the team hoped to get at least one car through to the top 10, this wasn’t to be as Pastor Maldonado went off the track at turn 5 and Romain Grosjean just couldn’t get up to speed. The Lotus cars finished the session in 14th for Maldonado and 16th for Grosjean. The speed of the Toro Rosso’s was evident again, but only for Kvyat as Vergne didn’t get into the final session. He would finish in 15th.The McLaren of Jenson Button finished in 12th and the Force India of Sergio Perez in 11th. Perez would start the grand prix five places further back due to his grid penalty from the Massa crash in Canada (the decision was upheld after a Force India appeal was heard before this grand prix). The final session, Q3 began with everyone expecting a pole position for one of the two Mercedes cars. Very few were expecting what actually happened. It was that dreaded turn 8 that was the catalyst for Lewis Hamilton’s failure to register a lap time. On his first fast run he had a slight wobble that meant the car left the track at the corner, meaning his lap was wiped from the timing sheets. Up until that point he was on a very good lap, one that could well have been enough for pole. Not to worry, thought Lewis fans, he still had another shot at a pole lap, unfortunately, that one was even worse as he locked his brakes and spun off. The bad news for Mercedes didn’t stop there though, Nico Rosberg wasn’t far behind Lewis, and due to the yellow flag, Rosberg


had to slow down compromising his own lap. He could only put in a lap good enough for third. Who would take pole? The Williams pair were flying. Valtteri Bottas was leading the way with an impressive time of 1:08.846, but then Felipe Massa put in a lap in 1:08.759. It was a somewhat scruffy lap, but good enough for his first pole position since Brazil in 2008. Further down the top 10, Fernando Alonso, impressed yet again in the inferior Ferrari. He would start the race in 4th on the grid which is a great place for one of the best starters in Formula One. The Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo would begin on row three, taking 5th spot. Kevin Magnussen was the leading McLaren in sixth place. The very impressive Daniil Kvyat would start the race in 7th position, followed by Kimi Raikkonen in 8th, surprisingly over 1.5 seconds behind his team mate Alonso. Lewis Hamilton would start 9th despite not setting a lap time, as Nico Hulkenberg had the same issue, meaning he would finish off the top 10. All was set for an exciting race. For once, the front row was locked out by a team other than Mercedes. This was a great performance by Williams, one that they would try to turn into a positive race result the following day. Claire Williams, team principal, told the media that the aim for the team was to get a ‘hat full of points’ from the race.

The Race The start of this race was set up to be very interesting indeed. We had Williams locking out the front row, a super-fast Rosberg in 3rd place. The best starter in the sport, Alonso, was next to Rosberg on the 2nd row. We also had Lewis Hamilton starting in 9th position, in a car that is clearly faster than those directly in front of him. It was set up to either be an exciting start or a disastrous one. Fortunately we had the exciting start. The best of the starters was Hamilton, managing to gain 2 places off the start line, and then on the incline up to turn 2 he went past Kevin Magnussen. This put him in 6th place. Next up was Fernando Alonso, Hamilton tried to go past him at the second turn, but Alonso held on well, but after an uncharacteristic mistake by the Ferrari driver at turn 6, Hamilton pounced to move up into 5th place. By the end of the first lap, Lewis www.pitlanereporter.com 17


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Hamilton had managed to get up close and personal with his team mate Nico Rosberg, running in 4th place by now. Both Massa and Bottas in the Williams started well, retaining their positions out in front. The huge speed of the Williams on the straight meant that Nico Rosberg had to try his hardest just to keep up with the Martini Racing pair. Before long, the four front runners had built up a huge gap between themselves and 5th place. There was a mix of strategies on the grid, with Button in the McLaren and Perez in the Force India, both opting for the soft tyre, rather than the super-soft. This meant that both drivers could potentially battle at the sharp end of this race, if they played the game well enough. During the second lap, Red Bull’s weekend went from bad to worse. Sebastian Vettel’s car developed an engine fault and he had an immediate loss of power. Vettel told the team over radio, in a surprisingly calm manner, I half expected him to rant and rave about the issue, especially as it seems to keep happening to him. Last season it was Mark Webber who had a faulty Red Bull, this year it seems to be Sebastian. Following Vettel’s championship domination since 2010, I never thought I would say this, but....I am starting to feel sorry for him now. Surely his luck will change soon. Just like most F1 fans, I like to see all drivers get the opportunity to complete races, to be able to show their skills, regardless of the speed of the car they are driving. The team told Sebastian to switch the engine off, he even came to a stop near turn 3 but all of a sudden the Renault engine fired back into life and off he went again. The problem for Vettel at turn three poured more misery on Red Bull, as Ricciardo went off the track to avoid Vettel, allowing Daniil Kvyat past. The first round of pit stops came on lap 10, with Rosberg. Hamilton followed a lap later as he couldn’t put in a good enough lap to take a place from his team mate. The Williams pair didn’t respond to the Mercedes pit stops, instead electing to stay out longer. This would be the decision that led to Rosberg gaining the lead. When Williams did start to make their pit stops, Massa came out behind Rosberg but ahead of Hamilton. Lewis managed to send his Mercedes down the inside on turn 2 from a position nobody expected would be close enough to do the job. Hamilton didn’t manage to get the jump on Bottas though, probably down to the fact that his pit stop was so much slower than Rosberg’s (Almost


three quarters of a second - a huge amount of time in a sport where a hundredth of a second matters).

that Mercedes will be followed by Williams. At others, Red Bull will be the second best car. A huge mention has to go to our driver of the day, Fernando Alonso After the first round of pit stops, Sergio Perez was in for a well-deserved 5th place. Yet another race where the lead, although yet to stop, he was still putting in the Spaniard beat drivers in cars obviously faster good lap times. The rear of the Force India was all than his. Rosberg could see and therefore he couldn’t do the usual Mercedes trick of racing away into the distance. A great return to Austria, long may it continue. A There was now a queue of 4 cars behind Perez, all good track with some good overtaking opportunities, biding their time; Rosberg, Bottas, Hamilton and despite many people believing that it wouldn’t see finally Massa. Hamilton started to get warnings from much overtaking. Next up, it’s Silverstone for the the team about his brakes, which was worrying, British Grand Prix. especially considering the trouble that they’d had in Canada. It didn’t amount to anything and it wasn’t long before all 4 cars dispatched Perez and were able to run in clear(ish) air. They had each other to worry Fernando Alonso about of course.

Driver of the Day Team of the Day

Fernando Alonso was quietly having a good race Williams behind this battle for the podium. Yet again, he was proving what a great driver he is. If only Ferrari had given him a car he could challenge with, surely he would have won a 3rd, 4th and possibly 5th championship by now. Towards the end of the race, he was challenging Massa for 4th place, another few laps and perhaps he could have dragged his Ferrari even further up the field. Bottas was putting some light pressure on Rosberg and on lap 30, Rosberg made a mistake, running wide at turn one and allowing Bottas to close right up to him. Bottas was at least 3kph faster in a straight line but Rosberg was quicker out of the corners. We were denied a real battle, as Rosberg slowly built his lead back up to 1.7 seconds by lap 37. At the second set of pit stops, Hamilton yet again had a slower stop than Rosberg which ruined his ultimate chances of winning the race. He did pit earlier than Bottas though, and this was enough to put him up to 2nd in the race. This is how it stayed until the end of the race, Rosberg winning to extend his lead in the championship. Hamilton had started to eat into Rosberg’s lead, perhaps leaving it a bit late as he only had the opportunity to use his DRS on the final lap. Rosberg held off, despite locking up and running a bit wide too. Williams secured a place on the podium with a magnificent 3rd place, finally showing the true pace of the car. At certain circuits it will be almost a given

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austrian GRAND PRIX results Position

Name

Team

Nationality

Points

Laps

1

Nico Rosberg

2

Lewis Hamilton

18

3

Valtteri Bottas

15

4

Felipe Massa

12

5

Fernando Alonso

10

6

Sergio Perez

8

7

Kevin Magnussen

6

8

Daniel Ricciardo

4

9

Nico Hulkenberg

2

10

Kimi Raikkonen

1

11

Jenson Button

0

12

Pastor Maldonado

0

13

Adrian Sutil

0

14

Romain Grosjean

0

15

Jules Bianchi

0

16

Kamui Konayashi

0

17

Max Chilton

0

18

Marcus Ericsson

0

19

Esteban Gutierrez

0

20

Jean-Eric Gergne

0

ret’d

14

21

Sebastian Vettel

0

ret’d

12

22

Daniil Kvyat

0

ret’d

0

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25


www.pitlanereporter.com 21


INTERVIEW

Annika Gocke Talks to W Driver Felipe Massa

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Williams F1

‘Formula 1 in Austria‘, ‘Goodwood Festival of Speed in England‘ and ‘DTM in Germany‘.................... Felipe Massa’s last weekend in June was crowded and action packed.

O

n Saturday evening He arrived at the street circuit Norisring in Nuremberg as a guest of the Mercedes-Benz DTM team. Furthermore Massa was in a particularly good mood when Mercedes invited the media to a group interview on Sunday morning. PLR - Have you ever been at Norisring? “No, this is the first time.” PLR - How do you like it? “It’s nice. Honestly, I am really happy to be here. It’s such a great atmosphere. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the track yet, but I am sure it will be fun to watch the race.” PLR - Would you consider racing in DTM one day? “Yeah, why not. I was already considering it last year, if I wasn’t going to stay in Formula 1. But I believe I still have some good Formula 1 years ahead of me .” PLR - So DTM is something you would definitely like to do? “Yes, I think DTM is a great championship. I really like it and am following the races. It is very competitive and always very close so in my opinion it really is a great championship. It’s also really important one to me as I’ve been following DTM since I was a kid. So why not, maybe I can be here in the future.” PLR - What do you think about BMW driver Augusto Farfus (Team RBM)? “We were racing together as team-mates in Formula Renault so I know him very well. He is an excellent driver, for sure, although he is not having an easy season, compared to last year when he almost won the championship, but he is a great driver and I think he can definitely be very strong.” PLR – What did you think of the atmosphere here at DTM and especially at Mercedes? “It is fantastic! Very nice people, great atmosphere. It was nice to see how they enjoyed the dinner and stayed late. It’s a great feeling and I can see people are really enjoying it. We www.pitlanereporter.com 23


miss that a little bit in Formula 1.” PLR - Talking about Formula 1: Williams are looking strong. You reached Pole Position in Austria. Do you feel like a win is going to come? “Yes, I think so. All we need to do is make use of the opportunities. For example, we had a good opportunity in the last race but lost the position against Mercedes because of our strategy. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that our car is as competitive and it looks strong. In the last two races and especially in Canada we were going really well, but unfortunately we couldn’t finish in the right position. Despite everything, we are getting better step by step. So I really believe we can do it.” PLR - If you are really honest, would you have thought that you would sitting here talking about winning races? “I wouldn’t say so if you look at last year and the past. But I think when you have a big rule change, it’s like a restart for everybody. Honestly, when I visited Williams for the first time and I saw the company, how they are and the infrastructure they have. Everything about them is competitive and they have all that is needed to be on top. And when I saw this, I was really happy to move to Williams. In addition when I heard about the new engines at the end of last year, most people were saying that Mercedes was the best and they were in front. Moving to Mercedes was a great move by Williams (editor’s note: Williams changed from Renault engines in 2013 to Mercedes engines in 2014.) I have to admit that I am really happy to work with a Mercedes engine. The way thier engineers work is impressing me. In my opinion this also shows that we have an advantage on track, so that’s really positive.” PLR - You look refreshed. How do you feel in the new Williams environment? “Anyone would be happy and more motivated in such an environment. Moving from a very big team like Ferrari was a change for me, but I think this is like a restart. I am restarting from zero and working very hard in a team that really needs me. They also trust me 100 percent and I think that is really positive.” PLR - Talking about your race strategies: You have had problems with this and alsosome bad luck like in Austria... www.pitlanereporter.com 24


“I don’t think everything was related to the strategy. In the first race another car pushed me out of the race. I was very strong in Bahrain, I was third, fighting hard the whole race. I only finished seventh because of the Safety Car. In Monaco, I had this problem during Qualifying when the car just pushed me to the wall. So in the end there were so many things which took me out and cost me points. Even in Canada - last lap, big crash. But I am sure things will be ok. In my opinion we lost a bit on the first pit stop in the last race and I also lost the position to Valtteri as well. But I feel comfortable and happy, and in addition we are very competitive. Again I believe that is what counts.” PLR - We are now sitting at Mercedes, so please tell me a bit about the title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. You faced Hamilton in the title battle 2008, so you know what to do to beat him. Do you have any advice for Rosberg how to deal with Hamilton and a situation like that? “I think he is doing right. He already has an advantage by being in front on points. I think he is very intelligent, so he knows what to do, but I also think that he shouldn’t forget that Lewis is an incredible talent as well. The championship hasn’t been decided yet and the driver who is making more use of his brain will make the difference. It’s not only about the lap time, as if you are losing two or three tenths then you are second. It more important to relax as if you are using your head and thinking and can relax more and you maybe have an advantage. If someone makes a mistake, you can score more points. This happened with Lewis in Canada where he had a problem and also in the first race grand prix as well. Even though he is is very strong, he had already lost a lot of points from these two races. This is also an important factor of championship fights. We all know that in the end, one point can be enough.” PLR - Could you please share your experience from Goodwood, driving the FW18? (Editor’s note: Damon Hill took the driver’s title with the FW18 in 1996. 12 of 16 Grand Prixs were won in that season.) “It was very nice. The FW18 was very nice to drive. What an incredible car for a demo. It was raining, so I didn’t really feel how much the car can give. It was also very slippery, but it was a wonderful feeling.” PLR - On 28th June Brazil won the penalty shootout against Chile in the FIFA World Cup. What are your


thoughts on this? “It was tough, very tough. But we passed and that is what is important. Normally in Brazil when you finish second you are considered to be loser. It wouldn’t be great for Brazil to stop now, so it’s good that we got through. And maybe struggling helps mental strength and I hope the team will be stronger in the next game as a result.”

Finally, we watched as Felipe had a bit of fun!

Demonstration of driver’s football skills: Goal Wall shooting Afterwards Massa was involved in a goal-shooting contest. Mercedes organised an “unofficial football playoff game” between Brazil and Germany. Massa had to compete against F1 Safety Car driver Bernd Mayländer. The German TV commentator, Heiko Wasser, (often the cause of controversy in Germany from time to time, as some doubt his abilities) talked the spectators through. In his opinion Mayländer was the less talented, and he did, in fact, bet on a Massa victory. However, Mayländer surprised by winning 1:0 against Massa. Wasser lost his bet and has to clean Massa’s car at the next Formula 1 race at Silverstone as a consequence. Another prominent spectator at this special goal-shooting contest was former F1 and current Audi WEC (World Endurance Championship) driver Lucas di Grassi. The three drivers also watched a shootout between an 11-year-old and 18-year-old boy who scored the most goals of the weekend so far. They were fighting for exclusive Mercedes DTM tickets for the final in Hockenheim. The 11-year-old boy won 2:0 and they were both congratulated by Massa, Mayländer and di Grassi.

After a few more TV interviews, Massa was finally released and able to enjoy the DTM race atmosphere. www.pitlanereporter.com 27


feature

travis barend

Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Return to Success

“This is better than the first one,” exclaimed a jubilant Dale Earnhardt Jr. as he won February’s Daytona 500 for the second time.

E

arnhardt celebrated his Daytona victory earlier this season, just over 10 years since capturing his first Daytona 500 trophy. In only his fifth year of competition in the Sprint Cup Series, Earnhardt reached the ultimate triumph with the race team his father had built. A decade later in 2014, almost everything has changed.

everything he does and says. When Earnhardt left a struggling Dale Earnhardt Inc. for the powerful team that is Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, pressure was at an all time high. Many had expected stellar results. However, these results did not come.

Winning only one race in 2008, Earnhardt faded into a massive slump. Splitting with crew chief and cousin Tony Eury Jr. a year later, Earnhardt was given a new Leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc., joining Hendrick team leader in Lance McGrew. In 2009 and 2010, Motorsports, racing with a different number and Earnhardt finished a demoralizing 25th and 21st in representing new sponsors were monumental the standings, respectively. Missing the Chase both changes at the time. Looking back on the decade years, he did not win a race. since his first Daytona win, Earnhardt has gone through an incredible journey both personally and For Earnhardt, it was the ultimate rock bottom. professionally. Critics had questioned his desire, passion, work ethic Pressure is something Earnhardt has been forced and even talent. There appeared to be no answers. to deal with. Being the son of a NASCAR legend, Hope was low. Earnhardt is judged and criticized for virtually

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“We couldn’t find the reason why me and Lance didn’t work,’’ said Earnhardt. “We had been able to speculate and point fingers at reasons why myself and Tony didn’t work out. “Me and Lance, we got along. We had good guys with us. There just wasn’t a reason or area you could say ‘this is why this team isn’t working.’’ Earnhardt felt the pressure. “I felt responsible with how we ran when I was driving for Lance. I couldn’t account for the performance because there was no other smoking gun.’’ After 2010, when the team made a change that placed Earnhardt with crew chief Steve Letarte and the crew that formerly worked with teammate Jeff Gordon, it was felt by many that this would be the superstar’s last opportunity. An ageing driver with lackluster results could only last so long, even with millions of sponsor dollars. Earnhardt felt the same way. “If I don’t run well with [Letarte], how am I going to justify the equipment I’m in, the people I’m working with?,” Earnhardt said, looking back at his struggles. “How am I going to justify being worthy of that?” Slowly, results improved with the group. Going winless in 2011, the revamped team still made the Chase, contending for wins at various points in the year. In 2012, Earnhardt finally broke through, snapping a 143-race winless streak at Michigan, but ended the year suffering from concussion, which forced him to sit out two races. Making the Chase that season, Earnhardt went winless the following year in 2013. He still made the Chase. Although falling short of victory lane, they proved to be a competitive race team as 2013 closed out. The No. 88 driver did what he had not done in years: he contended for victories consistently, especially during the final 10 races. The team kept knocking at the door, so it was only a matter of time before it opened. This year, it finally did, as the team has already won two races and is consistently running in the top-5 as the season is halfway complete. Earnhardt attributes his success in 2014 to the team’s strong run at the end of 2013. “We’ve been fast every week,” Earnhardt said after winning at Pocono, his second victory of the year. “We kind of started that around the middle to the www.pitlanereporter.com 29


end of last year. I think we haven’t peaked as a team performance-wise, but we’re certainly at our highest ceiling. We’re certainly doing some of our best work right now.”

lot less stress on the team, and I think that could be a good thing going into the Chase,” said Earnhardt. “I mean, not only are we able to relax right now, but what does that do: -- that’s got to be positive for our composure and psyche going into the Chase, not Looking at his team’s trends, Earnhardt knew it was having to stress all the way through into Richmond.” only a matter of time. At 39 years old, Earnhardt has already experienced “If you look at the graph going back to 2011 success, a great team and a chance at a championship. when Steve and I got together, and if you look at This time, however, it is much more meaningful. our performance, it’s been a linear trajectory in improvement. It just seemed to make sense that this “You just kind of go along and do your job and enjoy year would be that much better.” what you’re doing, and I’ve got to really maximize what’s left of my career and have as much fun with it For the driver, it is more than just success. Take as I can, and try to enjoy it as much as I can. I took away the good performance and there is still a it for granted, and don’t take anything for granted great relationship between the driver and team. To anymore when it comes to being at the racetrack and Earnhardt, that makes a big difference. working with my team. How hard it is to get good and get competitive and to get the right people in the “We do a lot of normal things together, and there’s right place.” a real appreciation for each other individually as people. We’re real fortunate because there’s not a After this season, Letarte will move from the crew guy in that group that’s hard to be around. We’re all chief role to an analyst role for NBC Sports, which easy going, and everybody really gets along. We set will begin covering NASCAR races in 2015. Since aside our flaws and really enjoy the relationship and no crew chief has been selected for next year yet, the working together, and we’ve done that for a couple future is unknown for Earnhardt. However, this is years now. But now that we’re having success, it not a concern for him right now. makes it a lot more fun.” “I still have [Letarte] as a big part of my life, and Six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson I think that’ll continue to positively affect me in has noticed a change in his Hendrick Motorsports whoever I work with in the future. I mean, you want team-mate as well. to be around people that do that, so I’ll work hard to continue to maintain a great relationship with him “I see a guy that knows his racecar better than ever; because he has such a positive effect on me. I still and a guy that’s focused on all the details,” said think even though we aren’t working together next Johnson. “He’s thoroughly involved, is much more year, he can still have that effect on me and still do open and communicating on a far deeper level than things for me that help me on Sunday even when he’s I’ve seen him, especially when he started at Hendrick not there.” Motorsports. As years go on, teams slow down if the communication stops. And his team has gotten faster Despite the unknown, Earnhardt is still grateful for and faster and he is more talkative and involved and what he has at this stage of his life. engaged and sits in meetings with notes and set-up sheets. He’s really in the game.” “I feel like I’m such a lucky guy to have this second opportunity almost to be competitive again.” Earnhardt now finds himself in a great spot. With two wins on the season, the No. 88 team is a virtual So, it is no wonder that Earnhardt felt like his second certainty to make the Chase and one of the favorites Daytona 500 win was better than the first. He has to win the championship. The early success has gone through major struggles, but has still come out allowed the No. 88 team to better prepare for a on top. It has almost been a perfect story, but one championship run. detail is still missing, something that Earnhardt is best prepared to contend for. “It definitely made a difference in Daytona. Now having two wins is going to make it even easier, a

A championship.

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Dale Earnhardt last decade Season

Wins

Top 5’s

Top 10’s

2014 * 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004

2 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 6

9 10 10 4 3 2 10 7 10 7 16

12 22 20 12 8 5 16 12 17 13 21

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nascar season update

travis barend

Time is Running Out

T

he clock is running low. The Chase for the Sprint Cup is approaching. Some teams are ready. Some are not.

always, were the ones to beat. The streak would not continue the following week for the team however, as it was Carl Edwards earning his second victory of the season at Sonoma, the first of two road course races on the Sprint Cup schedule. Edwards held off Jeff Gordon in the final laps. The No. 24 car of Gordon had fresher tires and closed to the back bumper of the No. 99 car in the final corner. It was too little too late for Gordon, as Edwards held onto top spot as the checkered flag waved.

As the NASCAR summer stretch continues, there are several big name drivers without a victory and a guaranteed position in the Chase Grid, including Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart. There are only eight races remaining in the regular season, meaning there are only eight more chances to make the Chase. It is go time for these winless teams. The problem, however, is that a select number of drivers keep grabbing the checkered flag. From Sonoma, the Sprint Cup tour moved back to the familiar oval tracks. Next up was Kentucky Speedway, The driver with the most wins this season is Jimmie where Team Penske dominated the night race. Brad Johnson, who took his No. 48 Chevrolet to victory Keselowski was untouchable, except for the occasionlane a week after his Hendrick Motorsports team- al challenge by teammate Joey Logano. When Logamate Dale Earnhardt Jr. claimed Pocono. Making it no’s engine lost power late in the event, it was Kesethe fourth consecutive victory for HMS, the organi- lowski’s race to lose. The No. 2 team earned its second zation made a statement early in the summer. They, as win of the year.

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After Kentucky wrapped up, the series returned to Daytona International Speedway for the annual July night race. The event was postponed until the following day due to rain. When the restrictor plate race finally started, it featured tight, three-wide pack racing, but also featured massive crashes. A 16-car crash occurred early in the race while a 26-car wreck occurred later in the event. After completing 112 of the 160 laps, rain once again soaked Daytona, forcing a red flag. With more rain on the way, NASCAR called the race. Aric Almirola, who was leading at the time, was declared the winner. He becomes the 11th different winner of the year. In the Nationwide Series, Chevrolet teams have been a dominant force recently. At Michigan, Paul Menard scored the victory when race leader Joey Logano cut a tire in the closing laps. A week later at the road course of Road America, Menard’s Richard Childress Racing teammate, Brendan Gaughan, earned his first career series victory. The winning then shifted to JR Motorsports, which took home trophies in the next two races. Kevin Harvick took the lead in his No. 5 Chevrolet during a late race restart at Kentucky Speedway to capture the victory. Kasey Kahne, driving the No. 5 car the following week at Daytona, passed JRM teammate Regan Smith coming across the finish line to score the win by .02 seconds. In June, the Camping World Truck Series returned to Gateway Motorsports Park after a four year hiatus from racing at the venue. A series of late restarts created dramatic moments as German Quiroga made contact with Erik Jones, sending Jones into the inside wall. The two were battling for the lead, but neither one went to the victory line. The two teams feuded on pit road while Darrell Wallace Jr. celebrated in victory lane. At Kentucky Speedway, Kyle Busch scored another win in the series. Kyle Busch continues his streak of winning every truck event that he has raced in this season. Meanwhile, Toyota is undefeated so far in 2014.

www.pitlanereporter.com 33


nascar latest news

NASCAR’s Top Owners Form Association

I

travis barend

n early July, a surprising press release was sent out Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman has on behalf of all major NASCAR Sprint Cup Series been elected as the first chair of the RTA. team owners. “With the encouragement of NASCAR and the The nine major team owners in NASCAR’s top division manufacturers, the teams have met in various have formed what they say is a “collaborative business forms and forums over the years to explore areas association,” named the “Race Team Alliance.” of common interest,” Kauffman said. “This simply formalizes what was an informal group. The key Joining the RTA are the teams of Chip Ganassi Racing word is ‘collaboration’. We all have vested interests with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs in the success and popularity of stock car racing. By Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress working together and speaking with a single voice, Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway it should be a simpler and smoother process to work Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske. with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel “The purpose of the organization is to create an open partners or collaborating on technical issues - the idea forum for the teams to explore areas of common is to work together to increase revenue, spend more interest and to work collaboratively on initiatives to efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners.” help preserve, promote, and grow the sport of stock car racing,” stated the RTA in the press release. According to the press release, the RTA will focus on cost-cutting measures to help race teams financially. In

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an interview with Fox Sports and other media outlets, Kauffman cited hotel costs as an example of a problem that can be better solved if unified. Many in the industry wonder if the RTA’s goals go beyond just lowering costs of travel. The timing of the association’s establishment is interesting. With a new $8.2 billion television contract beginning next year, this would be the perfect time to urge NASCAR for a larger piece of the pie. Currently, teams earn 25% of the current $4.5 billion television deal set to end this season. Tracks and promoters earn 65% and NASCAR gets 10%. NASCAR is also looking at making changes to engines. A few months ago, the sanctioning body hinted at a horsepower reduction and potentially a complete restructuring of the current engines. New pit road technology will also come into effect over the next few seasons. These changes will likely cost teams money in the short team, although NASCAR has repeatedly stated that the goal of these changes is to reduce longterm costs. Kauffman has stated that the RTA is not looking to fight NASCAR, but time will tell. While many were quick to wonder if this was a unionization of team owners, Kauffman denied the claims, saying unions are for employees, which the team owners are not. There are currently no unions in NASCAR. Through its history, the France family has held complete control as a private owner of the league. “We are aware of the alliance concept the team owners have announced, but have very few specifics on its structure or purpose,” NASCAR’s Brett Jewkes said in a statement. “It is apparently still in development and we’re still learning about the details so it would be inappropriate to comment right now. NASCAR’s mission, as it has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we’ll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will.” There are many unknowns surrounding the RTA. The establishment of the RTA could prove to be insignificant or it could prove to be a momentous point in NASCAR’s timeline.

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INDYCAR REW

If race one was a timed race strategy battle, race two was a straight up fight to see who had the fastest equipment and the best skill of the day www.pitlanereporter.com 36


WIND

Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race One

T

he Verizon IndyCar Series was back in action at the Reliant Park Street Course in Houston, Texas for the second double header weekend of the season. Will Power entered the weekend with a commanding 60 point lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay and looked to strengthen his grip on the series with a pair of good results on this course. Race one would not turn out exactly as the Australian envisioned it. The usually unflappable Will Power was not able to muster much success and Helio Castroneves looked like the driver to beat along with race one pole-sitter Simon Pagenaud. On Saturday morning, the paddock awoke to rain and race one was deemed a wet race. Firestone Racing had just the solution; a brand new wet weather tire compound with a new high-tech tread pattern. The tires would not only prove to be a huge improvement over the previous generation rain tire, but it was also very consistent and allowed the drivers to really push the limits of grip and inspired confidence for close racing. Due to the weather, race one was to be a timed race. Because of this, drivers were pushing very hard from the start to get ahead of the field and put themselves in position to strike once time expired on the race. However, the over exuberance of the drivers led to an uneven and caution-filled event. Early in the race while on wet tires, the driver behaved themselves behind leader Takuma Sato. But once the dry line started forming and drivers took to the dry tires, the crashing started in earnest and did not stop until the checkers fell.

ERIC HALL

There would eventually be six caution periods during the 80 lap event accounting for 24 laps. Nine of the 23 entrants were involved in the incidents leading to the caution periods with most of the remaining runners receiving some sort of damage from the rough and tumble style of street racing seen in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The running order would be jumbled all afternoon long, but the eventual race winner would begin to make himself known by completing his final stop an www.pitlanereporter.com 37


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unbelievable 39 laps from the end. Colombian Carlos Huertas rejoined the field in P18 and would outlast the challengers as each driver ahead would dive to pit lane for fuel and tires. Huertas was helped with an additional 11 laps of caution after making his final stop. Standing on the top step, the Colombian was joined by countrymen Juan Pablo Montoya in P2, the best result of the season for him, and Carlos Munoz in P3. The three men would comprise the first Colombian 1-2-3 finish in Verizon IndyCar Series history. Unfortunately, Carlos Huertas would not be able to bask in glory for very long as race two was scheduled to go green in less than 24 hours. Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race Two Since their inception in 2013, double header weekends in IndyCar are usually described as ‘a tale of two races’. Race two would define this metaphor as teams and drivers were met with the clear skies and high temperatures expected in Houston at this time of year. A modified qualifying procedure set the field for race two with Helio Castroneves starting on pole alongside Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin. Whereas race one was a standing start, race two would be a standard Indy-style rolling start. As the pilots directed their weapons into Turn 1 after the green flag, Helio Castroneves would come out ahead and set the pace for the first half of the race. Castroneves would not relinquish the lead, save a single lap during a pit stop exchange, until he unceremoniously took himself and Sebastien Bourdais out of the race while defending his position. While Bourdais would continue and finish in P5, Castroneves would cap off a mildly frustrating weekend in tears; a weekend that started with so much hope. Once Castroneves unceremoniously removed himself from the fight, Simon Pagenaud was in position to pounce. The French driver would lead the field through three more caution periods and clinch his second victory of the year while closing the gap to the championship leading drivers. The remaining cautions were due to simple mistakes from Josef Newgarden who spun by himself on lap 64, Justin Wilson who met the wall on lap 68 but was able to continue and Takuma Sato who took himself out on lap 76. Although the race saw more yellow flag periods than


expected during the second half of the event, the racing itself was relatively untouched. The fight at the front was fast and close all afternoon while drivers further back were suffering from fatigue and the mistakes that come with it. If race one was a timed race strategy battle, race two was a straight up fight to see who had the fastest equipment and the best skill of the day. The cautions allowed teams to keep the tanks full and drivers to run flat out until the end. Pagenaud was joined on the podium by teammate Mikhail Aleshin giving Schmidt Peterson Motorsport its first 1-2 finish. The duo was joined by Jack Hawksworth to complete the podium. Hawksworth’s P3 gives all four full season rookies a podium and intensifies the fight for Rookie of the Year honors. Will Power would keep his lead in the championship by only a slim margin after a forgettable weekend.

Pocono INDYCAR 500 Pocono Raceway hosted the second leg of the Triple Crown; the collection of three five hundred mile races where double points are awarded and driver attempt to etch their name into IndyCar lore. Ryan Hunter-Reay captured victory at the Indianapolis 500 and secured himself as one of the favorites heading into the Pocono 500. During practice on Saturday, British rookie Jack Hawksworth lost control of his car in Turn 2 and registered a 100g impact with the Turn 2 wall. He was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a bruised heart. Due to his injury, he was unable to compete but has been cleared to race in Iowa the following week. The “Tricky Triangle”, as Pocono Raceway has been nicknamed due to its three distinct corners, presents yet another type of challenge for teams. After qualifying, it was clear that Team Penske has it right with Juan Pablo Montoya on pole and team-mate Will Power taking P2. Both drivers were nearly eight tenths of a mile an hour faster than P3 qualifier, Andretti Autosport driver Carlos Munoz; an eternity on an oval in IndyCar. The race started at a torrid pace as drivers jockeyed for early race track position. On large www.pitlanereporter.com 39


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ovals like Pocono, there is a fuel mileage penalty for leading the race and breaking the clean air. But Will Power took the lead and stayed there for nearly 50 laps before Tony Kanaan was able to run him down and wrestle the point from him. The remainder of the race was a heated battle between Will Power, Tony Kanaan and Juan Pablo Montoya who had been quietly sitting in the top five for most of the day. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s Triple Crown dreams were dashed when he had a suspension failure early in the race. The team was able to get the car repaired and return Ryan to the track albeit 19 laps down. Graham Rahal brought out the only caution of the day on lap 159 with a lazy spin in Turn 2. Leader Tony Kanaan took the opportunity to pit in a bid to nurse his car to the end knowing his competition still had to complete one more stop. Without another caution, Kanaan had to take a splash of fuel with just a handful of laps to go. Will Power and Helio Castroneves were having a spirited battle when Power threw a dangerous block on the Brazilian driver and was served with a drive through penalty on lap 176 effectively ending his day. Once Kanaan made his final stop, the stage was set for Juan Pablo Montoya to cruise home for the victory; his first in Indy-style racing since his win at the Gateway Motorsports Park oval in 2000. He also notches another historic milestone as the Pocono 500 was the fastest 500 mile race in history. Helio Castroneves would recover and take advantage of Will Power’s misfortune and pull equal with him in the championship battle with Simon Pagenaud 44 points behind the tied Team Penske pair.

Everyone at Pit Lane Reporter would like to congratulate Juan Pablo Montoya on his return win to the Verizon IndyCar Series!


the montoya report

by eric hall

A mere 5010 days since making the hard left into victory lane on the Oval at Gateway Motorsports Park, Juan Pablo Montoya made his triumphant return to the winners circle at Pocono Raceway. Montoya and Team Penske expertly navigated the 500 mile marathon of fuel savings and strategy decisions to dominate the afternoon.

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s soon as the green flag was waved, the pack settled into fuel save mode. The fastest runners grouped together nose to tail without really challenging each other early in the race. It was a battle of who could slowly race the fastest. Losing the pack would have been the end of the day, but as Tony Kanaan learned when he went off strategy while in the lead late in the race, burning excess fuel was downright wrong. It was a day of patience; an almost foreign concept to the fiery Colombian.

saving fuel, something not experienced in IndyCar considering the testing limits and only six oval races a year, Montoya was in prime position to take advantage of his skills and excel in an oval race of this type.

An American stock car is a 3400 pound, 850 horsepower lumbering beast attempting to put that power to the ground through a solid rear axle and navigate the courses with tiny 9.5 inch wide tires. Patience is the name of the game in NASCAR. You simply cannot overdrive the car or force a move outside of the handling window Arguably, Juan Pablo is the most experienced oval or you will end up in the wall and out of the race. driver in the field. NASCAR races 34 points paying oval races of between 300 and 600 miles each year, Although he had the car to beat, he patiently stayed in and given his seven full seasons racing stock cars; the line early in the race and focused on the long-term goal numbers add up. And with so many miles to practice of the afternoon: victory. He was even able to resist the www.pitlanereporter.com 41


urge to chase a charging Tony Kanaan and stay on track with his strategy, only to be rewarded when the faster runners peeled off for fuel with a handful of laps left. We all know the old Montoya would not have stood for this. He was full attack all the time, but he has clearly matured into a highly consistent IndyCar driver. He has had his ups and downs throughout the season, but he has used every outing as a learning experience to build upon his existing knowledge. And it all came together far sooner than few would have imagined. With his win in the current iteration of IndyCar and against possibly the most competitive field top to bottom in American open wheel racing history, is Juan Pablo Montoya the best driver of our generation? His trophy case includes the 1998 International Formula 3000 championship, the 1999 CART championship, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 victory, 6 wins in Formula 1 during the Michael Schumacher era including a win at Monaco and two P3 championship results, one win in NASCAR Cup and three Daytona 24 Hour wins. Juan Pablo Montoya stands second to none in terms of success across a wide range of four wheeled motorsports. At 38 years old, Montoya is in prime position to dominate the Verizon IndyCar Series for the next five years. IndyCar racing has historically favored well-seasoned veterans and highly experienced aces when challenging drivers across a championship season. The only thing missing from his illustrious resume is a shot at Le Mans, and that is another event that favors the wily silver-haired pilots contesting the race. Wining on a big oval is one thing, but taking the race winning hardware home on a short oval or a road or street course is a whole other story. Juan Pablo still has a huge amount of work to do to be truly competitive at every event week in and out, but he is improving. Since the Indy 500, Juan has finished outside the top ten only twice in seven races and has taken home the most points of any competitor. He may still have a few niggling items to learn and relearn, but Juan Pablo Montoya has solidified himself as a competitor. Seeing how much damage he can do to the lead of teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves will be a fascinating story to follow through to the end of the year.


At 38 years old, Montoya is in prime position to dominate the Verizon IndyCar Series for the next five years.

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looking ahead in indycar

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eing a relatively new addition to the American racing world, Iowa Speedway has quickly become a destination event for teams, drivers and fans alike. The tiny 0.875 mile oval has been likened to flying jet fighters in a gymnasium, an apropos metaphor given the speed and banking seen at the facility. Iowa Speedway presents a racing surface unseen at any other oval facility on the schedule. The three racing lanes of the track are progressively banked with the inside lane holding the least amount of banking at 12 degrees and the outside lane possessing 14 degrees with the middle lane at 13 degrees. The front straight is banked at 10 degrees, while the back straight is banked at 4 degrees.

by eric hall

American open-wheel racing for the 29th time since 1986. And for the second year running, they will host another double-header round of the Verizon IndyCar series. Teams and drivers will be fresh off two straight weekends of oval racing so the tight and bumpy confines will test the paddock in a whole different way. Oval racing can cause just as much drama between drivers as street racing, but with constant speeds of over 200 mile per hour, retaliating after a perceived wrong doing is an extremely dangerous proposition. Look for those wrongs to be avenged during race one with a complete field meltdown possible by the time the checkered flag flies for race two.

This configuration gives the drivers a virtually unlimited number of options when choosing a racing or passing line. As long as the driver still has enough grip in the tires they can run nearly as fast on the top line as they can on the bottom line. Steely determination and absolute fearlessness will be required to find victory lane at the smallest oval on the schedule.

Largely unchanged since its inception nearly 30 years ago, the Toronto street course has always been a place of anger, danger and crashed race machines. There’s always been something special when IndyCar and its previous incarnations head north of the border. Is it the long and wide back straight down Lake Shore Boulevard, or possibly the tight and rhythmic backside leading onto the front straight?

Andretti Autosport has been incredibly strong on the ovals this year and will be the team to beat when the green flag is waved on Saturday night. Short track veteran and Texas 600 winner Ed Carpenter should make a good showing as well as weekly favorites Team Penske.

Toronto is also where the Canadian love affair with IndyCar style racing comes into sharp focus. It is a celebration of the feats their countrymen have achieved in America’s top line series. It is also a time to remember the heroes that have put Canada on the American racing map.

The relatively unknown Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin has made great progress on the ovals this year along with Colombian rookie Carlos Munoz. Although neither should figure for a win, both will be great guys to watch during the Saturday night shootout.

Team Penske has been riding high for most of the season and will be the team to beat on the streets this weekend. Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves and Will Power have all made their mark on the season and look to continue their championship march right through the double-header.

Toronto The historic street course in Toronto will host www.pitlanereporter.com 44

Andretti Autosport and Ganassi Racing have had trouble finding consistency on the streets in 2014


allowing smaller teams to find the podium multiple times this year. Ed Carpenter Racing, Dale Coyne Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsport have all found the top step of the podium on street courses. Expect those small teams to grab any crumbs the big three teams may drop. The smaller portions of the grid have flexed its muscles this year and the double header in Toronto looks to be no different.

Mid-Ohio The circus will reform one short week later at another historic IndyCar facility: the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. A gorgeous natural terrain road course in the lush rolling hills of central Ohio, Mid-Ohio will welcome the paddock for the 29th time since 1980. Although the facility has had an on-again, off-again love affair with Indy-style racing, MidOhio has defined road course racing in recent years.

instead of outright teams. Simon Pagenaud, Takuma Sato, Justin Wilson and Sebastien Bourdais will be drivers to give Team Penske and Andretti Autosport trouble all weekend long. Given the wildly unpredictable nature of road and street course racing in IndyCar, nothing will be guaranteed this weekend. The race has just as good of a chance to go caution free as it does to be a yellow filled wreck-fest. This will necessitate teams and drivers to be very dynamic as to stay ahead of the inevitable strategy changes that will occur as the race wears on. In any case, IndyCar has an exciting and varied schedule in the coming weeks to give maximum challenge to drivers vying for the season championship. The fight is really heating up as Will Power and Helio Castroneves are tied in the point standings. Any bobble could cost the men their chance at their first championship.

The track boasts large runoff areas and just enough space to give the pilots enough room to race. Fuel strategy and tire conservation has been the main story line in the previous few years with the 2012 12 July - Iowa Corn Indy 300 - Iowa Speedway race running caution free, a rarity for IndyCar. 19 July - Honda Toronto Indy Race One - Exhibition Overtaking can be a challenge as the track has only Place Street Course one true passing zone, but the DW12 chassis has proven to be a formidable opponent and drivers have 20 July - Honda Toronto Indy Race Two - Exhibition been able to make passes in previously unthinkable Place Street Course corners. Concentration, rhythm and patience will be in demand this weekend as Mid-Ohio is a driver’s track 3 August - Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio - Mid-Ohio that demands maximum attention and precision. Sports Car Course A track like this will favor certain drivers

Upcoming IndyCar Events

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last time out

KATY MCCONNACHIE

austria gp2

RACE 1 - Nasr Hails Victorious At Spielberg

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illiams Test Driver Felipe Nasr took a phenomenal win from lights to flag at the first ever GP2 race to be held in Austria; victorious over McLaren ProtĂŠgĂŠ Stoffel Vandoorne and Ferrari Academy driver Raffaele Marciello during the Feature Race at the Red Bull Ring.

and eventually, his strong pace finally paid off when on Lap 30, once the leaders had pitted, he came out in 2nd place just behind Nasr who had not lost the lead thanks to a brilliant stop from his Carlin pit crew. Marciello was having a good run as he took 4th from Palmer into Turn 1 and then repeated the move on Coletti towards the end, taking the 3rd and final podium spot at Spielberg.

A fantastic start from the Brazilian Carlin driver had him ahead of pole-man Johnny Cecotto and 2nd place On his fresh set of rubber, Nasr had managed to pull a starter Jolyon Palmer before Turn 1. 3.8s gap from Vandoorne and Marciello by the end of the race and was granted the top step of the podium. A Despite his pace during Practice, Cecotto had a gutted Coletti finished ahead of British driver Palmer terrible start and was struggling to keep up with the to take 4th position, just missing out on the podium. pace of the race leader and, in the opening laps, lost Cecotto had a nice, quiet race to take 6th whilst Mitch a number of places to drivers including Palmer and Evans had taken 7th from Caterham Racing driver, Stefano Coletti. Vandoorne also seemed to have a Alexander Rossi. Rossi finished 8th handing him the bad start and was doing his best to fight his way back Reverse Grid Pole for the Sprint Race. Takuya Izawa through the pack at an impressive rate. took 9th and Arthur Pic rounded out the points, continuing his fine finishing run. Palmer, Vandoorne and Marciello had all chosen to start on the option compound at the start of the race and all three were coming in just after Lap 10 for a fresh set of rubber, after failing to make their tyres last. Up front, Nasr had built a gap of 2.5s on Coletti and whilst the Monegasque driver did his best to keep up with the Brazilian, he failed to match or better the pace of the Carlin driver. Vandoorne was tired of being held back and slowly began making his way past those who were yet to pit www.pitlanereporter.com 46


RACE 2 - Trident’s Johnny Cecotto Takes Sprint Race Win

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ohnny Cecotto held off rivals to take a welldeserved win in the picturesque mountains of Austria during the Sprint Race. It was another ‘lights to flag’ sprint for the Venezuelan driver who was on the podium along with the Racing Engineering pair of Stefano Coletti and Raffaele Marciello. Although the previous race had been disappointing for Cecotto, a fantastic start saw him steam ahead of front row starters Alexander Rossi and Mitch Evans. Julian Leal also had a great start, gaining six places from his P13 starting position. The same couldn’t be said for Feature Race winner, Felipe Nasr who was involved in an incident with Takuya Izawa and Mitch Evans which left the Brazilian with damage and a terminal clutch issue bringing his race to an early end. After his podium during the Feature Race, Marciello was making his way through the pack, passing the Caterham of Rossi, and taking a daring chance on Lap 6 at Turn 5 by cutting up the inside of the American driver. Once the move had paid off, the Italian was quickly chasing down race leader Cecotto.

Whilst a number of drivers were pushing hard, Coletti had decided to take a gamble and play it safe to preserve his tyres in the warm Austrian conditions. It eventually paid off when he took advantage of the struggling Alexander Rossi before he took the fight to those further ahead. Coletti continued to move up, passing his teammate who was struggling with his tyres, and was soon putting pressure on the race leader. Despite being hounded for the lead, Cecotto held off the Racing Engineering driver and took the victory by just 0.7s. Marciello held onto his second podium finish ahead of Evans and Rossi who had been under an immense amount of pressure from Championship leader Jolyon Palmer, whilst Leal and Izawa closed out the points finishing positions.

The results of the weekend meant that Palmer had extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship over Nasr with Palmer having 117 to the Brazilian’s 84. Cecotto sat in third ahead of Leal. Stoffel A little further down the field, Artem Markelov Vandoorne took the honour of being highest placed was also making good progress but as he made rookie from Arthur Pic who had managed to add his move on Britain’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs more points into the bag leaving him level with into Turn 3, his aggressive pass left Quaife- Coletti on 41. Hobbs furious at the RUSSIAN TIME driver. www.pitlanereporter.com 47


last time out

KATY MCCONNACHIE

austria gp3

Lynn Takes Red Bull Ring Win

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lex Lynn converted his Pole Position into a lights to flag victory in Austria with his teammate Emil Bernstorff close behind for his maiden GP3 podium whilst Sweden’s Jimmy Eriksson rounded out the podium finishers.

Patrick Kujala as the three found themselves in an incident whilst meant that the ART Grand Prix driver and Stoneman’s races would come to an extremely premature end. Arden International’s Robert Visoiu also retired on the first lap.

Lynn’s strong start meant that he had the The Safety Car was deployed for the incident on edge over the rest of the field. Emil Berstorff the first lap. Once it was in, Richie Stanaway began also had a brilliant start from P2 on the grid. moving up the order, passing Eriksson but didn’t manage to hold him off as the Swede reclaimed P3 However, it wasn’t a great start for Alex Fontana and from the Status Grand Prix driver. the Marussia Manor Racing duo Dean Stoneman and www.pitlanereporter.com 48


It was an early end for Alfonso Celis. Jr and Adderly the final podium position. Fong after the Status Grand Prix driver made contact with the rear of the Jenzer Motorsport driver. On the pre-race grid, ART Grand Prix driver Marivn Kirchhöfer stalled his car and despite the efforts of Up front, Lynn pulled out a 1s margin over his his mechanics, he was unable to start the race. Both teammate Bernstorff with the two of them pulling a Alex Fontana and Alfonso Celis. Jr made their starts 4s gap from their nearest rivals. Although the second from the pitlane after receiving penalties after Race 1. Carlin driver was putting a large amount of pressure on his teammate, he just couldn’t manage to get past It was a good start for Sa Silva but it was Nick Yelloly Lynn who had bagged two points after setting the who made the better, the two of them battling wheel to fastest lap and for his efforts, his lead increased. wheel in the opening lap and eventually it was Yelloly who passed the Carlin driver to lead the race on the In the closing stages of the race, German rookie second lap. Marvin Kirchhöfer just missed out on taking P4 from Stanaway who had to fight hard to remain in his Whilst it was a good start for Sa Silva and Yelloly, Alex position, a few seconds behind Eriksson. Stanaway Lynn suffered a puncture from an incident on the wasn’t the only one being left to defend as Nick Yelloly opening lap and had to make a stop for a fresh set of found Luis Sa Silva all over his rear wing. Another rubber. hard fight in which the leading driver held of the pursuing drivers. Tuscher was determined to make a move on Sa Silva but it didn’t go to plan and the two made contact, with At the flag, Lynn took victory ahead of Berstroff and the Swiss’ race coming to an end when his car become Eriksson. Stanaway, Kirchhöfer, Tuscher and Yelloly airborne for a moment. Sa Silva was fortunate enough completed the Top 7 whilst Sa Silva scored his first to make it back to the pitlane for repairs to the damage point in GP3 and also grabbed the reverse grid pole on his car. for the second race of the weekend. Kujala and Patric Niederhauser rounded out the Top 10 positions. Jann Mardenborough spun off into the gravel and retired from the race whilst he was running in a points position. Whilst it went wrong for one Brit, it was all going right for another at the front with Bernstorff building a margin from Stanaway and Eriksson. Stanaway began to struggle for pace and soon the Swede behind him made his way past and moved into P2. The day belonged to Bernstorff, taking the Carlin team’s second win of the weekend from Eriksson, the Koiranen driver taking his second podium of the weekend. The battle for P3 had become a fourway one between Stanaway, Yelloly, De Beer and Niederhauser all of them battling down to the wire but it was Stanaway who came out on top and took the third podium position. De Beer managed to get the better of Yelloly and took P4 whilst Niederhauser remained in P5. Kujala and Dino Zamparelli rounded out the points. Bernstorff Takes Second Carlin Spielberg Victory After missing out to his teammate in the first race, British driver Emil Bernstorff took victory during the second race of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend ahead of Jimmy Eriksson, with Richie Stanaway taking

Lynn continued to lead the Championship but Eriksson had managed to gain on the British driver. Stanaway had placed himself in third with 45 points and moving into contention of the Top 3 was Bernstorff.

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INTERVIEW

KATY MCCONNACHIE talks to Campos Racing Driver Arthur Pic


Arthur Pic secured a 2014 GP2 seat with Campos Racing after competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 series for 3 seasons. The 22-year-old Frenchman, whose older brother is former Marussia and Caterham driver Charles Pic, had a strong start to his 2014 campaign with consistent point finishes and outperforming his teammate.

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ith a successful few years in the FR3.5 series and numerous GP2 tests with the likes of DAMS, Arden International and ART Grand Prix, it was Spanish outlet, Campos Racing who managed to snap the young Frenchman up, pairing him alongside Japanese driver Kimiya Sato for the 2014 season. Pit Lane Reporter caught up with Arthur Pic just before the Austrian Grand Prix weekend. Katy McConnachie: We’ve seen you score points in five of the first eight GP2 races this season. How have you found the opening races? Arthur Pic: The opening races have been extremely positive for the whole team. My goal at the beginning of the season was to gain as much experience as possible by completing each race, while also trying to finish every feature race in the top-eight. I’m pleased with my start to the season but am now aiming to finish on the podium as soon as possible during the remaining seven rounds. KM: What made you switch from Formula Renault 3.5 to GP2 for this season? AP: I’d spent the last three years in Formula Renault 3.5 and although my third year wasn’t the best, I felt ready to make the switch. You need to be well prepared when moving into the GP2 Series because the level of competition is extremely high, plus there’s limited free practice time in which to ready yourself. At the end of 2012 with DAMS, I believed there was still significant room for improvement in terms of my race management, so I decided to remain in FR3.5 for another season. KM: How does the GP2 Series compare to that of FR3.5? AP: The GP2 Series is much more difficult than FR3.5 for me because many drivers have years of experience in the championship. It’s important to be immediately switched on during the weekend because you only have 45 minutes of practice to prepare. The Michelin tyres used in FR3.5 are


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also very different to GP2’s Pirellis. The latter’s engine is also slightly more powerful. Apart from that, both cars are relatively similar. KM: What made you decide to compete in motorsport? Did your older brother, Charles, influence your decision to race? AP: I’m very close to Charles; we’ve been playing sports together since we were young, like tennis, football and motocross. However, Charles suffered an accident on a motocross bike, so it was swapped for a go-kart. We both loved it and the rest is history! KM: Going into Austria you are the highest placed rookie in the drivers’ championship standings (5th with 40 points at the time). How did that feel at an early stage of the season? AP: It feels great to be the best-placed rookie, especially when you consider I’m competing against McLaren and Ferrari protégés Stoffel Vandoorne and Raffaele Marciello. In order to remain the highest placed rookie I’ll need to keep working hard and continue to score points in every race. KM: What targets do you hope to reach by the end of the season in terms of your own personal performance and that of your team, Campos? AP: My personal target is to remain as the series’ best rookie, while keeping hold of a top-five position in the championship. I hope that our hard work will be rewarded with Campos achieving a similar position in the team standings. KM: With the performances you have shown in these early stages, do you believe that a podium is possible? And what about a win before we reach the final race? AP: Indeed, I think a podium is achievable this year, and maybe even a victory in the reverse-grid sprint race where anything is possible. A huge thank you Arthur and his management for their time and for allowing us to ask him a few questions. For updates on Arthur over the course of the season use the following: Twitter: @ArthurPic Facebook: Arthur Pic Instagram: ArthurPic


INTERVIEW ANNIKA GOCKE talks to gary paffett

We want to get results this year but more important is that we have a good car for next year


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No factory-provided brand has been committed to DTM longer than MercedesBenz. The success story began in 1988 when the DTM right-holder ITR decided that only manufacturers cars would be allowed to race (previously it included private-teams as well).

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heir aim was to improve marketing and Mercedes-Benz was part of it from the beginning.

Mercedes-Benz DTM record 116 171 6 12 9 174

Pole-Positions Victories Constructor Titles Team Titles (AMG/HWA) Driver Titles Fastest Laps

The table above shows just how successful MercedesBenz has been. Finishing last in the constructor’s championship 2012 and 2013 marks a new low in their history. This is also reflected in the drivers results. Christian Vietoris was the best, finishing fourth in the driver’s championship 2013. Any improvement has yet to be seen. In the first race, no Mercedes driver made it into the points (Pascal Wehrlein who finished 11th was the best). Victory of Vietoris in the second race in Oschersleben is still described within Mercedes as a “lucky coincidence due to the weather”. The third race in Budapest produced another poor result again with no Mercedes driver in the points. Yet again another 11th place of Robert Wickens was the best result. This could not continue! In DTM racing, a vehicle must be homologated (shown to have been made as a production vehicle) by the DTM Commission before it can race. At the beginning of June they decided to freeze the DTM vehicles’ homolagation which came into force on 01st March, 2014, up to the end of the 2015 season. They also froze the additional homologation of individual components (mainly for the suspension area), which was carried out in June. In the case of a joint application of all the three manufacturers involved in DTM - Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz


- DMSB may adapt the homologation-realisation deadlines.

and the mechanical balance of the springs, dampers and rollbar is important. needs you need to work on here. The aerodynamics needs to provide relatively Within the scope of this arrangement, manufacturer low drag for the straights to get a topspeed but it’s all Mercedes-Benz will be offered the opportunity to about mechanical grip in the low speed corners.” enhance their car within the specifications of the existing technical regulations and undertake a testing PLR - I think you had quite a difficult race at day before 25th September (just before the 9th round Norisring. The first pit stop was too early, changing of the DTM season).” on the wets again and then Tomczyk...? This decision resulted in a heated debate after Robert Wickens won at Norisring. Detailed driver’s statements are supposed to be released soon - Pit Lane Reporter will keep you updated. What could therefore make more sense then talking to an experienced DTM driver: GB’s Gary Paffett has been driving for Mercedes in DTM since 2003. He was champion in 2005 and clinched the “vice champion’s” title four times. PLR - What do you like most about Norisring?

“The start was good, I got up to 3rd but began struggle with the rear tyres quite early in the race. Traction was difficult and it allowed Pascal and Christian to gett by. We risked another set of wet tyres to hopefully give us a little bit more speed and it did. We were quicker on that set of tyres, making all the time up and got into a position where we were a pit stop ahead of Pascal and Ekki as well as the other guys.

When they pitted, they came out behind us, but “I enjoy something different and enjoy racing on unfortunately it didn’t rain again and we had to pit street circuits - they are a different challenge and again for the option tyre. We were very quick after that’s clearly what I like most about this place.” that; I think the pace was always good. It was the first set of tyres which really hurt us. Had we stayed out, PLR - In your opinion what is the key factor for a we may have been in a better postion at the end but successful Norisring weekend? felt that we were losing too much time.” “Just having a setup where you can push the car and trust it. Because you’re always running so close to the walls, it’s important to have a car that is predictable and easy to drive. That’s what we certainly had yesterday in Qualifying: we were able to push the car very hard, almost to the limit. In additon there are few things you need for Norisring. The car needs decent straight-on speed because basically you have lots of straights. You need good braking as well as good acceleration and normally our braking has been very good. Traction in the car this weekend has been very strong. For years Mercedes Benz have had a very good way of setting the car up for Norisring which is a very special circuit requiring a very special setup. Our experience tells us how to set the car up to succeed at Norisring.” PLR - So you do have a special Norisring setup? “Well I think the stiffness of the springs and dampers is the thing to concentrate on here. It’s very bumpy compared to a normal circuit. Even though parts of it have been resurfaced recently. Given that it’s a street most of the time, the lower grip level is significant

PLR - It was wet enough for the rain tyre. Do you know the reason for the problems with these tyres? “It could have been due to a difference in car setup or a difference in tyre pressure or temperature. The wet tyre pressures are very sensitive and it is easy to get it slightly wrong which I think happened today. We have to look at all the results and see why because the other guys weren’t struggling quite as much. So as yet we don’t really know why, but, we will certainly have a look and try to make sure we get a better job next time. We were unfortunate, as getting taken out by Martin (Tomczyk, editor’s note) cost us several places and time as well. I had a sms apology on my phone even before I got back to the trucks, so clearly he felt sorry for what happened.” PLR - So Mercedes is hoping for more? “Yes. Congratulations to Robert (Wickens, editor’s note) and the team. Robert was fantastic this weekend and he did a really good job today. He extended the Mercedes tradition of either winning or being the www.pitlanereporter.com 55


first car home at Norisring which is great and he really deserved it. But with 5 cars in the top six at the start we obviously expected more. Unfortunately with race conditions like that anything can happen. We saw that in Oschersleben where we didn’t deserve to win but did. Anyway, we were unfortunate on a lot of fronts at Norisring: Pascal got taken out by Tambay, I had a problem with a pit stop and Christian had a problem with the wheel nut. Despite everything Congratulations to Robert, at least one of us managed to keep it together and win the race.” PLR - Given the difficult circumstances during the race - did you still had the time to enjoy the atmosphere? “I wouldn’t say that it was difficult for us, but it’s tough for the fans when it’s raining. Luckily it didn’t rain for most of the race. It was just drying up so they got to enjoy it. We feel the atmosphere here all weekend as we stay at the hotel at the other side of the park. So we cycle through the campside day and night and everyone is having a really good time. The atmosphere at Nuremberg and Norisring is definitely the best all year. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the season.” PLR - Will the next weeks and months be spent more beside the track then on the track? “Yeah, we still have a lot of work to do. This is indicative of what we can expect at the next few races. We are not going to be this competitive at Moscow. It is likely that things will be similar to where we were at the last race at Budapest. We just have to try to improve step by step. This felt like a week off from car development to run a new Norisring setup and have a bit of fun. Now it’s back to work again because it’s going to be hard work. We have the window of homologation to improve the car so the guys are working really hard to try to come up with some ideas and develop the car. But obviously development will not be there for Moscow, so we have to try to redefine what we have and get the best result we can. Following that, we can look forward to the future and to some updates.” PLR - Do you like Moscow? “Yes, I enjoy the circuit and I had a great result with P5 last year which was pretty good for us. There is a lot of travelling to get there, and certain things are

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a bit more difficult, but I believe that it’s good for DTM to be going there. We have a longer circuit layout this year which should be good fun and I’m looking forward to it.” PLR - Do you hope for good rain? “No, to be honest I think we prefer it to be dry so we

can actually work on the car. We want to get results this year but more important is that we have a good car for next year. That’s where the focus is; to make sure we use the time we have on track to get an idea of where we need to go with the car. So that we are in a good position at the end of the year to ensure we are going to have a very strong 2015.” www.pitlanereporter.com 57


Become a DTM race driver

by Annika Gocke

DTM is known as a particularly fan-friendly series. Fans are offered the chance to get even closer to DTM action than ever before: As of now every fan can experience the battle against the clock in a virtual DTM race car themselves. Real sounds, tracks, teams and fights are brought to your computer by “DTM experience.” Purified authenticity for beginners and pros

D

TM Experience is aiming at providing a high degree of realism as well as skillful arrangement of challenges to assure an authentic driving experience to reach all players. The different levels “Novice” and “Amateur” offer intelligent support for the driving dynamics of the cars and in fact allow a good balance between easy handling and a challenge.

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The “Get Real” driving model allows adjustment of the race cars according to the official DTM regulations and let the players experience DTM like a real race driver. At this level, all technical settings correspond with that of their real life counterparts. Transmission ratio, differential, aerodynamics and many more parameters can be changed to simulate the powerful mechanisms behind a real DTM car. Experienced drivers can further add tyre wear and car damage to their adventure. A particular action-packed option is provided by the DRS (Drag Reduction System). As in real life, the players can activate the DRS by pushing a button on the steering wheel. This moves the rear wing to support crucial takeovers. A further highlight is A.R.I. (Adaptive Racing Intelligence) which adapts automatically and intelligently to the individual drivers skill. When the driver becomes better, so do the opponents. The artificial intelligence “learns” and


continues to be a challenge for the driver.

The Swedish game developer SimBin Studios AB and RaceRoom Entertainment AG are responsible for the development of DTM Experience on behalf of the rights owner and marketer ITR e.V. Furthermore “RaceRoom” is bringing this special experience to the Paddock during DTM races. Spectators can take place in a race seat for a small fee. “The trailer has 8 places and is build up relatively quickly. Afterwards it is ready for immediate use. It takes 3 hours to get the trailer and tent ready. Without the tent - which we only use to sell our products during DTM weekends - we need 30 minutes,” explained RaceRoom’s head of event management and mobile concept Klaus Bitzer. “We are constantly on the move. You can find RaceRoom at GT Masters, World Touring Car Championship or company events, to name just a few possibilities. We take ‘DTM Experience’ to a majority of the events. But for those interested we bring the multiplayer game to GT Masters for a change,” Bitzer shared some more details with Pit Lane Reporter. The number of visitors depends on the overall number of spectators during a DTM race weekend. “I think 300 to 600 people will visit RaceRoom at Norisring,” he continued.

To ensure a high degree of realism the “design data of the exterior body work and the different setup

configurations of each manufacturer are needed. Our guys visit DTM races to reproduce the sound for the game in the end,” said Bitzer. 35 regular members of the development team and 70 external staff were busy developing DTM Experience over the last 5 months. “But we are never finished. There’s always something new to come,” added Bitzer. The DTM drivers themselves weren’t involved in the development. But they tested the game afterwards and were very pleased according to Bitzer. The best example was Jamie Green who used the game to present the Norisring track. In addition “we are supplying the game and simulators step by step to the drivers. And they are very keen which is reflected on lap times. This is especially useful for tracks which the drivers aren’t familiar with allowing them to try them out and adjust to them in advance.” Bitzer has especially good news for sim racers: a virtual race series is planned and already partly implemented. “There is an online competition before every race where anyone can participate. The best participants will also be rewarded - they will for example be invited to DTM races. Additionally we are planning a world final at the final DTM race in Hockenheim,” he revealed. Online Leaderboard Challenges connect directly to driving profiles. Gamers’ lap times mix with the DTM pros’ times enlisted on the Leaderboards. “The online competition to race against one another is ready from this week. ” Bitzer informed us. The latest update already contains the 2014 DTM cars. Summing up, DTM Experience caters for everyone from Rookies to more experienced racing game fans and real race drivers. “The desire of the ITR and DTM partner was to bring the most popular international touring car series on the computer and meet the demands of this series. The ITR attempted to integrate its partners and use the possibility to interact with fans, in an intensity which was not feasible previously,” said ITR e.V.’s Walter Mertes. “DTM Experience is not just a game. It will provide the opportunity to experience virtual racing and bring the fans much closer to the action than they have ever been before,” explained SimBin Studios AB CEO Klaus Wohlfarth. Game supplies like a DTM race seat (369.95 Euros) can be found on www.dtm-experience.com. More game supplies like a RaceRoom game seat (329,95 Euros) are available on www.raceroom.com.

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unsung heroes of motorsport part 3 BY ANNIKA GOCKE

Behind the scenes: with Norisring Race Director Thomas Dill

M

onitoring the building of the race track, controlling the race and guaranteeing safety - we are talking about the tasks of Race Director Thomas Dill at the International ADAC Norisring Speedweekend 2014 (27/29 June). Preparing the unique race track in front of Nuremberg’s Dutzendteich is a challenging task in many ways. Organising this highlight of the DTM season keeps Thomas Dill and his fellow management colleagues at Motorsport Club Nuremberg (MCN) busy throughout the year. “Supervising a street circuit presents different challenges compared to a permanent race track; for me personally, this gives it a special charm.” ‘Bigger View’ required With all the many and varied duties involved, the Race Director needs good coordination skills and the ability to view to the bigger picture. Thomas sometimes feels like a referee at a football game, needing to implement regulations or applying penalties (working

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with stewards from the DMSB (Germany’s motor racing governing body). Additionally, there is the organization and implementation of a perfectly timed race schedule. It is important to avoid any delays: “This is not easy to handle because spectators have to cross the track before or between races to reach the grandstand”, says Thomas.


The Race Director’s workplace is the centre of audience and the unique atmosphere shows that operations known as ‘Race Control’. This acts as our voluntary commitment is appreciated and both the control and operations centre where racing encourages us to do our best again every year.” procedures for the whole track are monitored on screens and from where emergency services and security vehicles are coordinated. Employees of the Bavarian Red Cross (BRK) and the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) are on site as well as the fire brigade and police. This allows them to react as quickly as possible in case of emergency. Prior to the start, Thomas undertakes a track inspection. The Norisring street circuit is normally used by public transport. Thomas, using an operational plan, checks whether all drains are correctly fixed and that the 100+ marshals are at their allocated positions. The races can only start once the An example of the efficient work could be seen on track has passed this inspection. Saturday afternoon during the Scirocco R Cup race. Committed and well-rehearsed team responsible for Heavy rain created extremely difficult conditions when Frederik Schandorff forced Yann Ehrlacher setting up the track (nephew of WTCC driver Yvan Muller) into the At the crucial stage of preparations, not only the barriers. It was a bad crash and he almost rolled over. long-term MCN members lend a hand but also Luckily the driver was unhurt and returned to the volunteers, to set up the temporary street circuit track after being checked in the hospital. A response within a few weeks. “A major event such as Norisring unit arrived with heavy equipment and managed to - which is set up thanks to the many helping hands fix the twisted barrier in less than an hour and a half. - is exceptional in that everything functions so well. Everybody puts their heart and soul into this project and does a great job every year”, praises Thomas. This year help came in a very special way. DTM points’ leader, MCN member and local hero Marco Wittmann (BMW) hopped behind the wheel of a forklift truck and manoeuvred a number of concrete crash barriers into place near the entrance to the pit lane. Under the watchful eye of Wolfgang Schlosser, chairman of the MCN, and his employees, he then used a special machine to paint the white lines that mark the pit lane entrance, and even assembled seats in one of the grandstands. “That is the first time I have ever driven a forklift,” said Wittmann. “After some brief instructions it actually worked very well and I was at least able to lend the volunteers a hand in setting up my home track. These people really do a great job and ensure that we enjoy a very special race here year after year. It is exciting to see the circuit being put together, rather than just seeing the finished product that we drivers are greeted by on the weekend.” Thomas Dill is always looking forward to the Norisring race weekend: “The applause from the

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rally poland BY bruno keiser

review

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BY bruno keiser

polish h


high speed games

Tervetuloa!

U

ltra high speeds, smooth gravel roads over crests with long jumps and the rally with the longest tradition after the legendary “Monte” were the characteristics of LOTOS 71st Rally Poland at the weekend of June 26 - 29. Located several hours north of Warsaw, the city of Mikolajki hosted the seventh round of the World Rally championship. After a five years absence, the event in the Masurian Lake district has changed its appearance with all new stages except for the test at the Mikolajki Arena. Poland’s return to top rallying has a lot to do with national hero and former Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica and also with Lithuania, the 32nd different country to feature in the championship. Let´s find out if the partnership between Poland and Lithuania worked as well as it does e.g. with Sweden and Norway.

day 1 Poland was a new territory for most of the current drivers and consequently Thursday morning’s shakedown stage was a busy place. To get an early feel for the sandy roads, most of the pilots drove more than the two obligatory runs. This rule will change next year when the FIA dictates a minimum of three shakedown runs for all priority 1 and 2 drivers. Jari-Matti Latvala was first, half a second faster than Citroën’s Mads Östberg. Third quickest was Andreas Mikkelsen and in a promising fourth was Local hero Kubica whose Fiesta RS WRC carried the Polish colours of red and white. The first three stages were held that afternoon and saw a tight battle between the two Volkswagen aces Andreas Mikkelsen and Sébastien Ogier. Dust and the setting sun didn’t bother the world champion who was fastest on the day- winning the 2.5km super special “Mikolajki Arena” to steal the rally lead out of his team-mate’s hands. “My speed was good and I trusted my pace notes. With the road characteristics here, reliable notes make a big difference because the roads around Mikolajki are super fast”, said a happy Ogier at SSS3 stage end. Before that, it was Mikkelsen who set the pace. He managed the conditions much better than Jari-Matti Latvala who complained about setup problems. Audience favourite Kubica had bad luck when he missed a junction in SS2 and rolled into a small ditch. Luckily spectators put his Ford back on its wheels but the time loss put him back to position 12.

day 2 Today’s tests were held in Lithuania and the morning loop was dominated by a continuously changing lead between the two Volkswagen drivers Mikkelsen and Ogier with advantage world champion at midday service.

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The Frenchman usually complains about being first on the road as championship leader but this time it was definitely an advantage. Even after only a few cars, the road began to crack and deep ruts were carved into the sandy ground. Thierry Neuville railed: “The road is completely destroyed and thus very dangerous. We spun in the last corner because I couldn’t get grip on my steering anymore.” Third place so far went to Mads Östberg but behind him, Finn Latvala seemed to have solved his setup problems and could match his rival’s speed. Robert Kubica had a promising start with a third quickest run through SS4. His compatriot Michal Solowow ended the day earlier than expected with his Fiesta upside down due to a wrong pace-note. Hyundai’s Kiwi Haydon Paddon struggled with an oil leak and lost precious time.

faster”, said Hirvonen later that evening. Side note: Today Andreas Mikkelsen set a new world record for the fastest ever measured average speed in a rally stage: 136.88 km/h on the second pass of “Wieliczki”. Wow!

day 3

Yesterday Andreas Mikkelsen got a 5000€ penalty for a shortcut but today, that wasn’t the reason why he was 18.5 seconds faster on the longest stage of the rally. Mads Östberg hit a rock, rolled and blocked the road with a ripped off front wheel. Of all people, Sebastien Ogier lost most time of all the competitors when he couldn’t pass stranded the Östberg. Later the stewards gave Ogier the lost time and lead back. The story of the afternoon was the cancellation of Fair! two Lithuanian special stages. The visit to Poland’s neighbour made an unwanted impression. Two out The same 35km “Goldap” test caused more drama. of four stages had to be cancelled for safety reasons Luckiest of all was Juho Hänninen who had to bite a and the remaining stages were already shortened lot of dust because the driver’s door was not closed before the rally because heavy rain had made the properly. Kris Meek went off the road and suffered roads impassable. All in all, only 30.89km action were a puncture while Jari-Matti Latvala had to avoid left although all drivers had to follow the schedule, collision with Östberg’s Citroën and hit a big stone use the remote service, drive to the cancelled stages’ which broke the front left suspension. The Finn time control and back. To cut a long story short it managed to repair it in a rough-and-ready way but had unnecessarily long liaison sections for simply still had one stage to go before midday service. nothing. Another tricky challenge, especially for co- An overeager safety marshal slowed Robert Kubica drivers, was the change in time zone as Lithuania is down more than one kilometre before Kubica reached one hour ahead of Polish time. If I had to sum up Östberg rolled car. The Pole didn’t know why he was Rally Poland’s detour abroad with more than three being slowed down, lost his concentration and split words, I’d say it with a funny Marcus Grönholm a tyre (probably on the same rock that caused Elfyn Evans’ puncture). The former Formula 1 ace couldn’t quote: “Not very good.... today.” change the wheel because he had already used his Like the day before, Sebastien Ogier grabbed back spare wheel, and so he had to drive another stage the lead on the “Mikolajki Arena” test from his with a flat tyre before service. Norwegian team mate, who showed his best ever performance so far. Mads Östberg’s Citroën couldn’t Andreas Mikkelsen was forced to give up his chase match the speed of the two Polo’s in front of him for the lead with braking problems in the afternoon. but finished the day in third position. Latvala in At the end of the day, reigning world champion fourth, a safe fifth for Kris Meek and Hyundai’s Finn Ogier had a confident lead with Mikkelsen in second and Thierry Neuville in third place. Mikko Hirvonen Hänninen rounded up the top six. had found some speed but was still unhappy with his Hometown boy Kubica and M-Sport junior Elfyn pace notes. Juho Hänninen and third Finn in this Evans benefitted from Thierry Neuville’s rear wheel row Latvala rounded up the top six. braking problems and ended overnight in positions To everybody’s regret, Local hero Kubica went wide, eight and nine behind Mikko Hirvonen. “I´m still not damaged his right rear wheel and was forced to stop happy with my pace notes”, explained the Finn about in SS17. his big time loss. “They are too slow. I was maybe too cautious on the recce, I must correct them, I can go www.pitlanereporter.com 64


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day 4 Rally leader Ogier began the final day with a big advantage and managed to save his tyres for the closing power stage. To nobody’s surprise, Rally Poland became another triumph for Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia who also gained the three extra points for winning the power stage. “I think it was a perfect weekend for me”, said the Frenchman after he crossed the finishing line, “the stages were fun to drive and really fast.” Second spot on the podium went to Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen, co-driven by Ola Floene. Third were happy Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul for the Hyundai team. For the first time the Korean manufacturer finished a rally with all three cars winning championship points with Hänninen sixth and Paddon eighth. Disappointment in the Finnish corner: Mikko Hirvonen was never able to find the necessary speed and Jari-Matti Latvala struggled first with the car’s set-up and then, when he had found the pace, a big stone broke both his suspension and his chase for more championship points. A similar song could be heard from the French manufacturer. Kris Meeke and Mads Östberg were capable of matching the Volkswagens pace until the damaged roads in Lithuania ruined their hopes and the seventh place for Meeke was disappointing. Henning Solberg and co-driver Ilka Minor ended their visit in Poland as the fastest privateers again. Next stop for the World Rally Championship is Finland on July 30 to August 3. I hope my “compatriots” do better this year because last year had seen no Finn on the podium for the first time ever... It’s time to strike back! High octane greetings, Bruno To see the race results, please click this link http:// www.wrc.com/en/wrc/results/poland/stage-times/ page/368-232-8--.html Here are the current championship standings (correct following the Rally of Poland)


current championship standings (correct following the rally of poland)

Position

Name

Points

1 2 3 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Sebastian Ogier Jari-Matti Latvala Andreas Mikkelsen Mads Ostberg Mikko Hirvonen Thierry Neuville Kris Meeke Elfyn Evans Martin Prokop Henning Solberg Bryan Bouffier Juho Hanninen Robert Kubica Ott Tanak Benito Guerra Latapi Chris Atkinson Pontus Tidemand Jaroslav Melicharek Hayden Paddon Nasser Al-Attiyah Lorenzo Bertelli Matteo Gamba Yury Protasov Craig Breen Jari Ketomaa Khalid Al Qassimi

165 116 83 66 52 46 38 36 31 24 18 12 12 10 8 6 4 4 4 3 2 2 2 2 1 1

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Mat Jackson Interview

BY phil woods & adam johnson www.pitlanereporter.com 68


Mat Jackson has been involved in racing for the last 14 years, a champion in his early days racing in Seat Cupra Cup, and now a very popular BTCC driver.

M

at drives for Airwaves Racing (also known as Motorbase Performance) a team who are celebrating 10 years in racing during 2014.

In this interview we asked Mat about British Touring Cars in general and about his own career highlights. Mat talked openly and honestly with us and I know that you will enjoy this intriguing feature. PW - Plenty has been made this year of the driving standards. What are your thoughts and where do you think the balance lies between close racing and just wrecking everything? MJ - I think there is a line; obviously Touring Car Racing is inherently very very close. There has to be a balance in there of some light contact but it’s a question of drawing the line between what is acceptable and what is not. It is always hard as a driver to race when the boundaries are not defined. It makes it very tricky because it is always somebody’s opinion on whether it is fair or not fair. The official looking down the Pit Lane at the end of the race to see the cars smashed to look more like stock cars is not professional racing. PW - The stewards in F1 are following a set of rules that are well defined. Do you think Touring Cars need something a bit more defined, so you know what is fair and what is not fair, perhaps?

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MJ - I think on the whole, as I say, the Championship do a very good job of it. I think where it is going wrong is defining track limits, and I think we saw that this weekend in Formula One. The circuits nowadays have become extremely safe. They allow you to go wide, to go across Astroturf and then still have tarmac behind that. Unfortunately, because it makes it easier then you hear drivers bleating and moaning that so and so has got an unfair advantage. I think it’s a shame, I understand why the circuits have gone down that road, but it is almost like they have brought it on themselves because they have made it so that the circuits are a lot safer allowing cars to run off without their race being finished. But then of course there is always a white line but a white line is not going to jump out like a barrier and stop you and I think there needs to be some clarification over how they enforce it. It can’t be enforced in Touring Cars as there is a grid of 31 cars. Are you going to tell me that one guy is going to check 31 drivers on each corner of every lap of each lap of the race and be able to take a judgement on every driver across the whole race? It is never going to happen so you are going to

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get away with some stuff. That causes a frustration and it’s a real difficult one. I don’t think anything was wrong with the way it was before, if anyone did take the Mick they would get penalised and really they have to trust the drivers not to take the Mick. PW - This year you’ve had ex-champion Fabrizio Giovanardi in the team. Has that changed your approach having an experienced driver alongside (even compared to your 14 years in motorsport)? And does it feel strange to have such a fan favourite as a team-mate? MJ - There is no doubt in his abilities and he has won a great many championships, so he brings a great level of experience with him. As far as my changing my approach, no, it hasn’t affected it in anyway. You know we are there to do a job and we are there to win; I want to win as much for myself as I do for the team. He is obviously great to have around and is a good character, but no it has not changed my approach. We still get on with our own setup, which is very different on both of the cars. And obviously


your team mate is your nearest rival because we have essentially got the same tools in the tool box to play with. So there is always a team rivalry there but no, he is a good guy and when he gets to grips with the car, he will be on the pace. PW - It is not easy coming back into something as things change in any motor sport. But for me there is no point you changing your approach actually in the modern car as effectively you are the experienced one. MJ - Yeah absolutely. With Touring Cars they came from a manufacturer backed team with S2000 regulations and they knew the cars inside and out, It is a completely different concept. I think it’s great for these guys to come back because it actually shows that the level of competition we have without these guys is very high. I think that’s showing when they come back in and its obviously harder than what it looks on the outside. It is great to see the young talent coming though and it is great bringing the guys back through who were quick in their heyday. It just reinforces the talent that we have now got in the British Touring Car Championship. PW - Much has been made of the FWD/RWD debate. Has this been an issue for a while, and drivers are only now speaking up? And how do you think it can be solved, if indeed you believe there is an issue? MJ - Yeah there is an issue. I have been on both sides of the fence. We have raced a RWD for four years and we have raced a FWD car for four years as well so yeah there is an advantage, that’s a definite. The RWD is the correct way a race car should be but it gives them a lot of traction from the start line which is frustrating as it can jump three rows on the grid if they hook the start up. So really in qualifying today it doesn’t matter where they qualify as long as they are on the top sort of six or eight they can pretty much be guaranteed to be heading to the front at the first corner and be in the top three. That is annoying and it can also be quite dangerous because of the rate in which they accelerate, it is far greater than what a FWD can. In terms of enforcing a regulation against it, it is a characteristic of what the car is and it will always be faster off the line and obviously is good on traction as well so I don’t know what the right way of trying to get parity between the cars is. They have put us all in 1st gear but, with a turbo engine that has not affected them anywhere near as much as everyone had hoped, they are still blindly quick. www.pitlanereporter.com 71


I don’t know the answer. In an ideal world every car would be the same but there are for’s and against’s for all the cars that are out there and we shall just have to wait and see how they respond to it if they can in any way. Certainly in the last 2 rounds nobody can touch the BMW. It’s absolutely flying; Turkington has put it on pole by six tenths at Croft and that’s pretty unbelievable in a Championship where effectively we are all one make car. Underneath we run the same dampers; we run the same sub frames, geometry and everything else so to do what he did clearly they have unlocked something in the car.

was no object?

PW - Last year the idea was mooted to have a one-off ‘crown jewel’ race for BTCC like the Bathurst 1000, and the WTCC are now trying to do that with their Nurburgring race in 2015 - same with the British GT going to Spa. If you could take the BTCC to one track anywhere in the world for a one-off race, where would it be and why?

MJ - I think the concept of it is good. It bunched the racing up very close. Is the racing a little bit too stable; and is that a result of the NGTC regulations? Well that’s something to be argued. I think cost wise the development means you are taking an S2000 as a road car and making it into a race car. There is a huge cost involved, so anyone with manufacturers backing will come to the top. Yes it certainly gives an opportunity to independent teams to take that battle on. The question for me is, - is it too close now so that nobody actually has got a big advantage. Taking FWD and RWD aside, let’s say they are all FWD, then it’s a lot harder to race as everyone has the same tools. It’s a changing world out there and manufacturers are into different things other than automotive, like football, golf and cricket but it all goes in cycles.

MJ - Good question. There are many out there that are good, The Nurburgring on the North Line is amazing. Spa I think is also a great venue. I think a good one would really be to keep the BTCC in Britain and have a supporting race for the F1 British Grand Prix. It’s a shame that doesn’t happen anymore as I think it would be very exciting for fans and spectators and might spice up the Formula One race. It would put us in the limelight to show what the BTCC in Britain is about at the British Grand Prix. It used to happen and I know that doing it has been talked about and for me it would be absolutely amazing to race in front of 127,000 or so fans. It would also spice up F1 weekend and both sides would benefit equally as much.

MJ - I think the V8 Supercars is number one on most of the driver’s hit list and I am no different. It would be a mega place to go and the sun shines most of the time. The cars look absolutely phenomenal, the circuits look great, and they are huge grids with very close races. So yeah I would join Colin in the V8 Supercar. PW - What’re your thoughts on the NGTC platform, and do you think any more manufacturers will join the series anytime soon?

PW - Who is your favourite driver to race against, and, of course least favourite! MJ – Yeah, I mean there are some good guys on the grid. The likes of Plato and I have always raced very respectfully with each other. There are feuds there between a few of the other drivers. It is about having the respect of each other in the BTCC. If you give out the contact you expect it back and that is how it works. With some drivers you give them the slightest push and they will come back with a very forceful manoeuvre which can put you out of the race. That is how it is and its different personalities and about putting people in their place.

PW - You spent 2 years in the Seat Cupra Cup prior to entering BTCC. You were hugely successful in that, finishing 2nd in your first season and then winning PW - Colin Turkington recently said he would be the championship the following year. 11 wins in 18 interested in doing V8 Supercars. Which other racing races is some going, what was it about that season series would you love to do, if money/sponsorship that made you so dominant? What memories do you www.pitlanereporter.com 72


I think the V8 Supercars are number one on most of the driver’s hit list and I am no different.

have of that season?

enabled us to move into BTCR which then was the launch pad really for the 7 years we enjoyed in the MJ - They were good years. We ran the car from Touring Car Championship. our own base; there was me and my father preparing the car for the race weekend. We worked very hard PW - What has been the proudest moment in your in making sure everything was right. In every racing career? championship you sort of need reliability and that’s sort of where we came through. The biggest part for MJ - I think it has to be the first Touring Car win at me was that the prize money that Seat was putting Oulton Park in 2007. We were running in the family in was so good with the winner getting a £100,000 team and it was on a shoe string budget for the cash prize. That meant that if we could win, we season. We held off Plato to win in the works Seat. could get into Touring Car Racing, which is what What made it fantastic and even sweeter was that we we did. Obviously, we achieved it because as you were on the verge of getting a Seat drive alongside said we came in second then first, which mounted Jason but we lost out so we went down the BMW up to £140,000 and individual race wins (18 in road. To stick that win on the board was good in total) provided another £10,000, so £150,000 later it many ways.


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BTCC roundup BY adam johnson

Back to School? Never A Dull Moment

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ike Brazil losing 7-1 at football, a boring weekend of BTCC racing is something you just don’t expect to see. And when reviewing the races feels like being the headmaster dealing with a bunch of troublesome kids, you know the BTCC is back in safe territory. Oi, Mr Plato, stop moaning about rear-wheel-drive and apologise to your old mentor Mr Menu for annoying him. And you Mr Austin and Mr Neal - stop fighting at the back. Mr Jordan - I’ll deal with you later. Yes, I know Mr Giovanardi has annoyed many people before, but that’s still no excuse. I’ll see you after school for detention. Either way, as much as the quality of racing was sometimes at the level of a 12-year-old playing Gran Turismo online, it’s nice to talk about the actual racing again and not get into arguments with Ian Harrison on internet comment boards about the technicalities of rear-wheel-drive; although judging by Colin Turkington and Rob Collard’s performances, that row will run on for a while yet.

across the grass from Jack Goff and Nick Foster, and a dead Adam Morgan WIX Mercedes. Turkington led away from pole (you know, because RWD and all that) closely shadowed by Gordon Shedden, and Plato had no time to moan about RWD advantage as he had an RWD machine up his exhaust pipes in Rob Collard, with Andrew Jordan and Neal looking to join in the fun. The race settled down into a familiar first-race-of-day pattern - set yourself up for better results late in the day. In fact, this combined with Turkington cruising away up front, fitted in to a pattern established in the Oulton Park tedium - the top 10-15 cars are all so closely matched that overtaking is rather tricky. Collard proved in the late laps that the drivers are certainly trying to make great racing, but ultimately it came to nought, and Turkington cruised home a ‘lights-to-flag’ winner ahead of Shedden, Plato, Collard and Jordan. Further down, Martin Depper and Tom Ingram went down to the wire for 14th, with Depper taking it by 0.041 seconds - proof once again that perhaps the best battles are in the midfield.

Race 1 kicked off with a bang immediately, as a predictable stack-up in the first chicane caused a tankslapper for Matt Neal, a spin for Rob Austin, charges ‘Right, didn’t have the best start in Race 1, here’s

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hoping Race 2 goes a bit better’ said Austin, before promptly getting squeezed in the melee at the start of the race and spiralling off before even reaching the first turn. This contact also eliminated Dave Newsham. To say Austin has had miserable luck this season is to say Brazil’s defending against Germany wasn’t very good, and it wasn’t exactly going to get any better...meanwhile, the race resumed exactly the same pattern as Race 1; calmness up front, bedlam in the midfield. Warren Scott spun James Cole a perfect 360, and Depper was finally enjoying being not rubbish as he and Ingram resumed their duel in earnest.

for Plato. I guess any illusions Menu had of his old Renault protege having mellowed in the years since he’s been away from BTCC have long gone, right? Turkington cruised home to take 2 wins out of 2 ahead of Shedden. Neal was later DQ’ d with a ride height infraction which put Collard up to 3rd ahead of Jordan and Jackson, after Plato’s 10-place penalty.

The reverse-grid Race 3 is often the most entertaining, and this one didn’t disappoint. Goff was placed on pole next to Fabrizio Giovanardi, and lasted in the lead...about 15 seconds, before running wide, sideswiping the surging Tom Ingram and piling off, tumbling to 3rd. Ingram promptly fell off, and Giovanardi swept into the lead having not had to do much...before being forced off outrageously by Jordan at Sunny 1. By this point, driving standards were out the window, and it was only going to get worse from here - especially with fast guys like Neal, Austin and Menu back in the midfield bedlam. Neal knocked Glynn Geddie for six on the first lap, before then ending up in the middle of a 3-wide sandwich with Austin and Warren Scott into Clervaux... somewhere where 3-into-1 definitely doesn’t go. All three off, and fingers pointed after the race - Neal accused Austin of banger racing standards of driving, and Austin accused Neal of not backing down and turning in when incident could have been avoided. The stewards probably got it right with no penalties; this was a classic six-of-one half-a-dozen-of-another incident, an example of two fast, frustrated drivers going for broke and leaving with broken cars.

Collard had successfully passed Plato at the start (you know, because RWD), and as he romped away to join Turkington and Shedden up front, old friends Plato and Neal were reunited, and Neal swung past Plato with an audacious (and surprisingly clean) move at Sunny 1 on lap 5. Meanwhile Alain Menu, looking to keep his head down after sharing Austin’s luck for most of the year, sniffed a chance to advance and swarmed Andrew Jordan for 6th place. Jordan’s best form of defence was attack, so he in turn he started swarming Plato as a ‘train’ formed with Mat Jackson and Sam Tordoff looking to join the fun. Jordan proved he’s a quick learner and pulled a carbon copy of Neal’s move on Plato at exactly the same corner on lap 7, which suddenly left Menu and Plato reunited. Menu waited, and waited, and waited, before finally making his move at Clervaux on lap 14 - before Plato promptly punted him clean off again. Cue one annoyed Menu, and predictably a penalty Meanwhile Turkington’s perfect day went up in www.pitlanereporter.com 76


smoke with a DNF after getting a biff from teammate Nick Foster whilst fighting with Aron Smith, giving Jordan a great chance to steal back the initiative in the title race. The real battle was now for 2nd - Goff had no pace but tonnes of grit, and Collard and Jackson were forming the pain train looking for a way by. Just behind, Tordoff, Shedden and Morgan (fighting back from a miserable first race) were engaged in a similarly tense 3-way fight. In a day of ever decreasing driving standards Collard was the latest to blot his copybook by pushing Goff sideways to take 2nd, and Shedden demonstrated the line between hard racing and lazy punting with a shoulders-out move on Goff on lap 13, and started working over a resilient Jackson as the pain train grew behind. Smith, Foster, and Tordoff were swiftly joined by Menu charging up the field and back into the fun, and it took another gritty but fair move from Shedden to clear Jackson on lap 17 as things really started going crazy in the closing laps. A stupid move by Smith around the outside at Clervaux was doomed to fail but luckily didn’t end in disaster, and Morgan and Goff nearly dead-heated at the finish - Morgan’s A-Class winning by a nose - literally! Jordan, Collard and Shedden were the comfortable podium group ahead of the six-foot-wide Jackson and the tenacious Morgan. The big question after three races of bedlam and bent panels was about driving standards, once again receiving criticism from some quarters. The fact is, if you want hard racing (and let’s face it, I’d rather have that than more single-file bore-fests like Oulton Park), it’s inevitable that the tightrope will snap and wrecks will occur. Paul O’Neill called it right in commentary – forcing and contact is okay as long as it doesn’t result in wrecks and putting drivers out of the race. Sadly at Croft, the latter was often the case. Perhaps a system which closer matches the punishment to the crime is in order - for example, Menu lost a lot more than the 10 places that Plato was penalised and the same for Jordan with Giovanardi. But the stewards largely dealt with the incidents well. Jordan was also penalised a 10-place grid drop for the next race after his ‘removal’ of Giovanardi in Race 3. But so long as we do not return to late-2000s era driving standards (i.e. there weren’t any), we will largely get more excellent races than poor quality crash-’em-ups.

Rest up boys, and have at it at Snetterton in August. www.pitlanereporter.com 77


btcc driver standings (9th july 2014)

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Name Colin Turkington Gordon Shedden Andrew Jordan Jason Plato Robert Collard Mat Jackson Matt Neal Sam Tordoff Aron Smith Fabrizio Giovanardi Alain Menu Jack Goff Adam Morgan Rob Austin Tom Ingram Nick Foster Dave Newsham Marc Hynes Hunter Abbott Glynn Geddie Lea Wood Jack Clarke Martin Depper James Cole

Car BMW 125i M Sport Honda Civic Tourer Honda Civic MG6 GT BMW 125i M Sport Ford Focus ST MK.III Honda Civic Tourer MG6 GT Volkswagon CC Ford Focus ST MK.III Volkswagen CC Vauxhall Insignia Mercedes-Benz A-Class Audi A4 Toyota Avensis BMW 125i M Sport Ford Focus ST MK.III MG6 GT Audi A4 Toyota Avensis Toyota Avensis Ford Focus ST MK.III Pirtek Racing Toyota Avensis

Points 228 221 200 179 170 138 127 122 86 69 69 65 65 63 62 48 25 21 12 9 6 5 5 4


Blancpain GT Round 3 Round-Up BY adam johnson

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Paul Ricard (28th June) & Zandvoort (6th July)

oth arms of the Blancpain GT series continued at pace heading into the early summer months, and after a British double-header the series split away with the marquee Endurance Series heading to Paul Ricard in France, and the Sprint Series over to Zandvoort in Holland. Both offered dry-runs for the upcoming Spa 24 Hours, in which 90% of the teams in Blancpain GT will be involved; particularly with the Paul Ricard race run in day-to-night conditions. And as usual, they didn’t disappoint.

blancpain endurance series Round 3: Paul Ricard, France 28th June On that day-to-night point, I’m well aware local councils and planning regulations are incredibly annoying and tedious to race tracks, but surely there’s got to be wiggle room for more dusk racing? The strange, blue-patterned Paul Ricard circuit, looking like a modern art exhibition with cars driving on it, beautifully drenched in a sunset worthy of the Lion King, before darkness fully descended and the cars became pairs of very loud headlights sweeping through the night. As a dry run to the Spa 24 Hours, it couldn’t have gone www.pitlanereporter.com 80

better - certainly for the impressive Bentley operation. As debut seasons go, Bentley’s GT3 operation so far is nearing the level of Marc Marquez - that is, incredibly successful. A promising debut gave no hint of the awesome speed which was to come at Silverstone, where the #7 Continental of Guy Smith, Andy Meyrick and Steve Kane hunted down the previously dominant ART McLaren squad like a mix of the Terminator and Jaws - not even a drive-through penalty could stop them storming to victory. And in France? Well...sort of the same thing really. The first 45 minutes were the usual series of squabbles and shadow-boxing that Blancpain GT racing is becoming famous for, and at one point the entire top 16 cars were involved in battles. Dominant pole-sitter and round 1 winner Alvaro Parente had to fight off the attentions of heroic Pro-Am Nissan driver Katsumasa Chiyo, yet another graduate of the ‘lets-turn-video-game-nerds-into-race-drivers’ GT Academy. His teammate was the first victim of the race - Silverstone runner-up Kevin Estre (#99) suffered suspension damage whilst charging through the field, and his 3-hour race lasted...about 3 minutes.


Meanwhile, Smith in the Bentley was already swarming through the field, scrapping with the Mercedes of Steff Dusseldorp, and a pain train rumbled around the circuit formed of the #333 Ferrari (with Vadim Kogay thankfully, nowhere to be seen), #84 Mercedes, #8 Bentley and #26 Audi. For the first 35 minutes, the scraps were relentless, with Smith’s audacious move around the outside of Dusseldorp at the long, fast Signes corner. Eventually things settled down, and once again the cream rose to the top - deja vu when the leader is an ART McLaren and 2nd place is the #7 Bentley. Some cream that didn’t rise to the top, surprisingly, was any team using the Audi R8 LMS Ultra. Once again, the poor Audi lacked straight-line grunt, and when you saw reigning Sprint Series champion Laurents Vanthoor get lapped in 18th place with 53 minutes to go, you knew something was badly wrong. The Santeloc crew, led by the belligerent veteran Stephane Ortelli, were the only German marque’s representation in the top-5. The theory goes that in the Sprint Series, the lack of grunt is compensated with excellent handling - but on the longer GP circuits used in the Endurance Series, the asthmatic Audi is left floundering. Hour 2 was all about #98 vs #7, as Meyrick pursued Demoustier in a re-run of Kane’s pursuit of Andy Soucek in the final hour at Silverstone. The pivotal lead change was a smash-and-grab raid (without the smash) at the final corner, just over halfway in, and you couldn’t say it hadn’t been coming. The #8 car had dropped out with transmission problems, so Bentley’s attack was now a solo mission just like ART. The hard charger was Nick Catsberg in the TDS BMW, and with some brave eye-catching moves including one around the outside of the #35 Nissan whilst simultaneously avoiding a spun McLaren, as well as his ‘creative’ interpretation of track limits, much to commentator John Watson’s chagrin. Into Hour 3 and the sweat was dripping from brows. The #7 Bentley had all its advantage wiped out by a poor pit stop, leaving Le Mans star Nicolas Lapierre glued to the fat bottomed Continental throughout hour 3. With lapped traffic keeping the gap fluctuating up and down, both drivers knew one mistake would potentially bin the chance of victory. However, despite a top-calibre Le Mans winner hounding his tail, Kane held firm to take a tense victory in the nightfall by just 1.3s. The #85 HTP Mercedes wrapped up a solid 3rd ahead of teammate #84 after a great scrap, with www.pitlanereporter.com 81


the heroic Santeloc #26 Audi 5th and the kamikaze Catsberg BMW 6th, taking Pro-Am honours as well, despite only running 2 drivers. 1. 2.

#7 Smith/Meyrick/Kane - M-Sport Bentley #98 Demoustier/Lapierre/Parente - ART Grand Prix McLaren 3. #85 Wolf/Afanasiev/Dusseldorp - HTP Motorsport Mercedes 4. #84 Primat/Verdonck/Buhk - HTP Motorsport Mercedes 5. #26 Sandström/Ortelli/Guilvert - Sainteloc Racing Audi Pro-Am: #12 Hassid/Catsburg - TDS Racing BMW Gentlemen Trophy: #458 Ehret/Mattschull/Schmickler – GT Corse Ferrari

blancpain sprint series Round 3: Zandvoort, Holland 6th July Contrast the gorgeous sunset of Paul Ricard with the relentless dreary greys and rain of Zandvoort, where the Sprint Series paid a visit to a week later. The Sprint Series’ attitude of going to smaller racetracks which don’t see international action as much anymore seems to be paying dividends - seeing GT3 machines flying around first Brands Hatch and now Zandvoort was a sight to behold. – Unfortunately, Seeing them tiptoeing around in pouring rain was another matter altogether. Race 1 remained calm in the early part, with Brands Hatch dominator Jeroen Bleekemolen (on home territory) leading the way from reigning champ Laurens Vanthoor, and aside from the odd scuffle, things remained fairly calm. Then 20 minutes in, came the wildcard; a sudden rain shower, coming five agonising minutes away from the pit window opening. As much as Bernie Ecclestone’s crackpot ideas to improve F1 are about as intelligent as NASCAR’s new Chase system, on this basis you can see why he wanted fake rain sprinklers. With no-one prepared to end up taking two pit stops to change tires outside the pit window, the field ended up in the awful scenario of having to slip and slide around a soaking wet racetrack on slick tires. It was inevitable someone would hit trouble, and Marcus Winkelhock went from hero to zero as the safety car arrived. What followed was pitlane bedlam; www.pitlanereporter.com 83


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Vanthoor and co-driver Cesar Ramos were the big losers, sinking like stones as championship leaders Max Buhk and Gotz profited. As the race restarted, Gotz did battle with Stefan Rosina, in the Peter Kox-driven Lamborghini, and Vanthoor’s teammate Enzo Ide, having taken over from Rene Rast. Ide (no relation to F1 flop Yuji) became the cork in the bottle, with Filip Salaquarda, Matheus Stumpf, Thomas Jager and the resurgent Ramos forming a pain train in the rain. They ended up catching Rosina as Gotz shadowed Procyzk up front; Ide gobbled up Rosina, but Salaquarda wasn’t so lucky, and he and Rosina wrecked out, causing a second safety car period and leading to a GreenWhite-Checker scenario. Procyzk and Gotz engaged in a hugely tense duel in the final two laps, with Procyzk just hanging on for victory. Behind them, Ramos pulled an audacious move on teammate Ide for 3rd, and Stumpf ’s great run ended in the gravel trap with a wrecked right-front. Barely 100 metres had elapsed before trouble hit the main race, as the G-Drive Audi of Roman Rusinov was clipped into a spin in the pack, wiping out the #60 Bhaitech McLaren of Fabio Onidi. After the restart, the hard charger early on was Jager, powering past the wildcard Porsche of Robert Renauer and surging up to the rear wing of Ide’s Audi within ten minutes of the restart. The first half of a Blancpain Sprint race is generally setting yourself up to be in with a chance of winning it, so no-one was prepared to put it all on the line just yet. With the gap at under half a second between 1st and 2nd, though, it did mean all the pressure was on the pit crews. Which is exactly where the crucial mistake came. Bleekemolen had time to have a cup of tea and read the newspaper whilst the car he had just jumped in was being serviced, as problems hit the tire changers. The #84 Mercedes gleefully sailed past, as Bleekemolen’s hopes of a second consecutive weekend sweep went down the toilet - he then spun on the outlap just for good measure. Then the rain came. Again, but this time it was pouring down one minute, dry the next. Much like a British Bank Holiday. And as Buhk stuttered in the damp, Rast came alive, swarming the rear of the SLS before pulling off a stunning move around the outside at the Audi S chicane. Seriously, look it up on Youtube if you haven’t seen it - you won’t see many better cleaner passes all year in any series. Buhk


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seemed so stunned that he promptly spun a perfect 360, nose-diving down to 6th. Suddenly the two surprise packages of the weekend - the #76 BMW of Jager and Dominic Baumann and the #21 Porsche of Renauer and Jaap van Laagen - were 2nd and 3rd, and Rast quickly went from hunter to hunted as Baumann went tearing after him with 10 minutes to go, threatening a sensational upset victory. The final five minutes were full of tense shadow boxing, but Rast held firm to take a deserved first victory of the season in the best race of the year so far. Van Laagen held 3rd, and Buhk and Bleekemolen came home 4th and 5th after their earlier blunders.

Then the rain came. Again, but this time it was pouring down one minute, dry the next. Much like a British Bank Holiday.

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historic racing - le mans 24 hour BY brynmor pierce

The iconic Circuit de La Sarthe has seen some epic racing over the last month

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f we take ourselves back four weeks, one of the two main support races for the Le Mans 24 Hours this year was for Group C /GTP cars. Anyone over a circuit age will no doubt remember the monsters of Group C during the 1980’s where we saw battles between Porsche with their 956/962, Jaguar/Aston Martin and then latterly Nissan/Mazda/ Mercedes and in the other classes Spice/Gebhardt. Indeed this 45 minute/10 lap race was to prove no exception. Drama started in qualifying with the Jaguar XJR-14 failing to take the start due to technical issues and continued with the side-lining (with major mechanical issues) of the much anticipated 962 Porsche of the experienced Mark Sumpter along with Derek Bell, despite setting a 3rd fastest time. Many people had been looking forward to seeing the 5 times Le Mans 24 winner Derek Bell in action. Several cars had fire problems including the 962 of Zak Brown and the Lola of Paul Stubber.

in 2nd. It’s perhaps interesting to note that these ‘old’ cars, especially in the case of the Nissan, would have lined up 2nd overall in the main race, clocking a top speed approaching 211 mph!! The race itself was one of attrition. The Bob Berridge Mercedes jumped in to the lead (with the Nissan in the hands of Joaquin Folch dropping to 5th) but sadly he didn’t make the end of two laps due to tyre failure. Another early departure was the gloriously sounding Mazda 787B, succumbing to engine issues. Mercedes were still leading though Shaun Lynn, stretching out over a minute from the rest of the field by the time of the pit window. The main battle now would be for 2nd/3rd/4th with the Nissan now being piloted by Kubota, whose incredibly impressive overtakes saw him climb from 5th to 3rd but sadly he couldn’t quite haul in the Tom Kimber-Smith Aston Martin.

It has been said that the drivers of these cars don’t On pole would be Katsu Kubota in the mighty Nis- push them very hard. In what are now very rare and san RC90k, with the Mercedes C11 of Bob Berridge dare we say old cars there will always be something www.pitlanereporter.com 87


held back but as a spectacle they take some beating. combined time wins…tres simple ! We’ll be bringing you a big feature on these from the Silverstone Classic in the next issue. The event itself apart from the truly wonderful racing is much like a massive classic car show and The second recent highlight of Le Mans has been party atmosphere. Some of the displays from single the three days Le Mans Classic which is a bi -annual manufacturer Clubs (Renault A110 was particularly event catering for cars which would/have competed impressive) have to be seen to be believed. there up to 1979 as a cut-off point. This year’s event suffered with poor weather but in Whilst I won’t give a race report (as there were many ways that only increased the spectacle; think simply so many races) the basic premise is that grids Jaguar D-Type at speed down Mulsanne in torrential are split by age category, you compete in 3 races each rain… (one of which will be in the dark), and at the end If you get the chance to go, make a date in your diary of this you get an aggregate result and the quickest for July 2016.

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‘Pit stop at night with CGAracing.com’


historic racing BY brynmor pierce

Described by some in a rather lackadaisical way as the ‘Goodwood of the North’, the perception that moniker gives, does the event an injustice.

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ars, Boats, Planes the only thing not present The event has always been timed to coincide with are trains but hey that would be spoiling us - the yearly classical music concert held at the venue one step to far!! which is followed by a spectacular fireworks display. A common theme did grace us in that it rained. It’s The Pageant was first staged in 2008, situated in the rained every year bar one!! delightful Cheshire Country estate of Cholmondeley, (pronounced Chumley), a brave effort as the UK was It’s fair to say that the event exploded in size for 2009. gripped in a dire recession at that time. The brainchild Everywhere one looked there was literally ‘more’ of of the estate team and race fan Duncan Ricketts (father everything. From here on in it’s gone from strength of Coronation street actor Adam). to strength… That first event was relatively low key, a handful of traders, some nautical action on the ‘Mere’ but a delicious line up of classic machinery in the garaged area (generally referred to as ‘shedding’). Highlights from the first show included a trio of Bentley Speed 8 Le Mans cars, (Bentley being one of the main title sponsors), along with many interesting faces milling about. A personal highlight was seeing long time sports car racer Brian Redman, who popped in whilst visiting from his home in the USA.

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How would the Friday night music concert float your boat, opened this year by the legendary Status Quo!! The Pageant does have a competitive element however which has provided much excitement over the years. The track is basically an anti clockwise horse shoe shape and all the displays/retail take place within it. Incredibly narrow and tree lined in many places, if it’s damp braking is very tricky. From the start line, with the house in the background,


the cars go over a small bridge and then onto the long straight through ‘chestnut avenue’ then braking hard into the 90 left at ‘Lodge’ followed by another 90 left at ‘Vicarage’, then a flat out blast along the straight with a chicane (the scene of regular carnage) under the main footbridge along ‘Polo Straight’. A lift of the throttle and watch your braking for the 60 left at ‘Chapel’ into the fast and long 45 right of ‘Lozenger’, again braking hard into the 90 left at ‘Castle’. The crews then hit the most photographed point of the course, the large jump over a hump back bridge, and with the house back in view over the finish line. The course in total is 1.2 miles long, the record time being 56.41 seconds, this being achieved by Robbie Kerr in the Radical SR8 xm this year. For comparison, the quickest rally car this year was Elfyn Evans in his factory Fiesta S2000 with a 65.23. Supercar honours went to Niki Faulkner on 60.95 seconds in an Ariel Atom 3.5R. Perennial favourite Barrie ‘’whizzo’ Williams, despite pranging the Lotus Elan 26R, managed a 73.74. Not bad for a car and crew with a combined age of well over 110 !! (sorry Barrie) The Pageant really does cater for all; did I mention the classic scramblers? Think older bikes and dare one say older riders racing through the mud with the smell of two-stroke filling the air…magical. Accompanied is a selection of pictures form all the Pageants so far to give you an idea, if you can make it next year please do try, but don’t tell everyone, it’s our little secret ok ?

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Motorsport

A lifelong Passion

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o a lot of people, motorsport is a passion. For this issue Jake Humphreys spoke to Edward Davis, a life-long fan of motor sports (and also his grandfather). In this fascinating interview, we get an insight into what it’s been like to be a fan over the years.

BY jake humphreys (pauses) intoxicating, you can’t imagine the smell and sound of the 60s at Bolton park. We had saloon cars, Galaxies, Mini-Coopers, Lotus Cortina’s that were just incredible, there was also Grand Prix, Formula 2/3 and GT cars, wonderful. JK - When did you first know you were a man with a true passion for motor sport?

ED - When working with cars in my early day’s JK - So Grandad what was your first memory of (laughs) so a while ago; also being at the race course enjoying the sport? when the events were on. It wasn’t televised a lot in those days, (were talking late 50s early 60s) but just ED - My first memory of enjoying motor sport was to be at the meetings and hear the power of these attending the Gold Cup meeting at Bolton Park in the cars was amazing; you really had to see it to believe it. 60s. The power, the noise, the smell was absolutely www.pitlanereporter.com 93


JK - In your opinion, what have been the most this generation. significant changes in motor racing in the last 30 years? JK - If you were to pick one modern and one past racing driver, who are the two most formidable? ED - The most significant changes are the safety aspects of motor racing; the way that circuits have ED - Stirling Moss for the past… Sir Stirling changed and the way that barriers have become (laughs)… Hell of a driver. And today I think one of stronger. When Stirling Moss had his big crash it was the best drivers who support the old school style of into a bank which doesn’t really happen anymore and racing is Lewis Hamilton. that’s because of the general changes to the circuits JK - In closing, you’ve enjoyed the sport for many JK - Do you think the change to circuits has years, you became a fan, as you said, in the 60’s and affected the kind of drivers we are now producing in have avidly watched the sports natural progression. professional motor sport racing? Do you believe the sport will still be here in another 50 years’ time? ED - No not really, the drivers are still as good. They are no better or no worse than the drivers from ED - I don’t think so, no. It seems now to becoming the 60s, 70s and 80s. However the cars drive faster, more about diesel cars, quiet cars, even electric corner faster, meaning drivers must be much fitter. racing cars! (Laughs in disbelief). You know, to my The most significant changes are to the cars, the generation, this seems so strange; it’s not what it tracks, the tyres, not the drivers. once was - the sound, the roar is to many, the soul of motor sport; it’ll be a sad day when that’s gone. JK - What are your five personal racing highlights in all of racing history? ED - Well, the first has to be Stirling Moss going for the World Championship and not quite getting it. With his amazing driving, he should have been Champion really .Then Stirling Moss winning the Mille Miglia race in under ten hours, amazing. The Hunt, the Lauda years they were absolutely incredible, the speed was phenomenal, the excitement took your breath away and was amazing to watch. The saloon car racing of the 60s; the minis against the Lotus Cortinas; those races were incredible. The 60s as an era, where the drivers were more accessible, the sport was in a raw state in my opinion. The 60’s for motor sport was more personal, that’s my highlight JK - In one sentence what makes the sport, so exiting? ED - The smell, the noise, the speed, the spectacle is intoxicating, you can’t replicate it anywhere else, it is only on race tracks. JK - Do you think the celebrity now surrounding some drivers takes away from the rawness of the sport? ED - I don’t think so, really. I think it is the way that the cars have changed; being more enclosed takes away from the rawness of the sport; also the noise reduction of Formula 1 cars makes it less exciting for www.pitlanereporter.com 94


F1 Aerodynamics

part 3 of 3

BY KIRIL VARBANOV

VORTEX Vortex in aerodynamics is any fluid or gas formation which usually has turbulent flow. What is typical for a vortex is the low pressure at its core, which rises progressively as we go away from the centre to the outer edges where the pressure is very high. This is one of the reasons why aero people generally would like to avoid creating vortices - the high pressure would mean lower velocity of the surrounding layers, thus drag. The reason why, however, vortices are sometimes deliberately induced is to wake or re-energize the boundary layer - the small portion of air which is very close to a surface, where due to skin friction and resistance the velocity of the air is very low. We would like, as aero people, to have less drag, so we create a vortex generators - small winglets, which often induce normally rotating, weak vortices. The trade-off is the smaller portion of drag induced due to the shape of the device. In F1 world we often hear the term referred to as “wingtip vortices�, as seen on the picture below. The reason for creation of such formations is the natural tendency of the air to move from high to low pressure regions, being a continuous function. Here, since we operate with negative lift (downforce), the direction of the vortices is upwards. These wingtip vortices, on the other hand, create lift-induced drag and drag is unwanted in any of its forms in motor sports, where speed matters.

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VORTEX GENERATORS We have already explained what boundary layer is, so down on the alphabet we reached the vortex generators - small, usually vertical wings (or winglets, if you prefer - the synonym for small wing) whose purpose is re-energize the boundary layer, and thus increase the overall velocity of the air stream. Generally, they are quite an easy way to direct air (flow conditioning) and enforce some turbulence close to the surface. In Formula 1 cases we have even seen plastic-like Vortex Generators used on Toro Rosso’s car.

WAKE This is the turbulent disturbed air behind an object where the total pressure is low. Notice the 3D grid generated behind the wing’s trailing edge below.

YAW (PITCH AND ROLL) Yaw, in particular, is the motion of race car around a vertical axis, which occurs for example during steering. All three directions are shown below:-

F1 Aerodynamics – Parts 1 and 2 of the Glossary can be read in the May and June editions of ‘Pit Lane Reporter’ www.pitlanereporter.com 96


Phil Woods “Motorway Madness”

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otorways are convenient, they are an easy way to get from A to B, almost every country in the world has them. They have different names, but in essence they are usually a multi-laned road with a higher than normal speed limit. The main issue with motorways though, is that anyone is allowed to drive on them. That means imbeciles, rude people and complete a*seholes are able to use them. This month, I look at the most annoying things people do on motorways. Straddling the White Line’s in Between Lanes You’ve all been behind these idiots. You can’t overtake them on a two lane carriageway, because you don’t know which lane they are supposed to be in, I often wonder if they know. What do these people think the white lines are for? It’s pretty simple to figure it out. Remember in school when you wrote in between the two lines on your paper? There’s the clue thicko! Choose your lane and stick to it unless you need to www.pitlanereporter.com 97


overtake! Which brings me on to the next thing.......

Middle Lane Hoggers This has to be my biggest pet hate when it comes to motorway driving, people who decide to use the middle lane regardless of whether there is anyone on the inside lane. They are not overtaking, they just seem to tootle along at the speed limit (or slightly less if they want to annoy other motorists even more). I don’t know what possesses people to do this, are they scared that they might fall off the edge of the motorway if they use the outside lanes? Perhaps they are concerned that if they go into the inside lane, they may never get out again. There are those that drive at 60mph in the middle lane of British motorway’s, inevitably they believe that there are different speed limits for each lane, 50mph for the inside, 60mph for the middle lane and 70mph for the outside lane. If they are caught doing 60mph on the inside lane, they may be arrested and put on death row. It’s a rational fear, after all!

do it? This brings me onto the most annoying thing about motorway driving, that thing that makes me want to pull my hair out (what little hair I have left anyway)..............

Pushing In

This isn’t just any old pushing in; this is the ultimate in pissing people off. I am talking about when a lane has been closed 1000 metres up the road, there are signs to make people aware, these are usually spread out every 200 metres or so. You can see that the sensible drivers start to filter into the two remaining lanes in plenty of time. This ensures that there isn’t a bottle neck at the start of the lane closure. It is common knowledge that this is the best thing to do, and 99% of drivers follow this unwritten rule. There is though, that 1%, who use the last 500 metres of the empty lane as a way to drive at 70mph and race past the queue of patient people. This causes that bottle neck that everyone else has tried to avoid, thus making everyone a little bit later. If you are in this situation and have complied with the unwritten law, then you see rude bastards doing this, then pull into the empty Lorries Overtaking Lorries lane and drive at the same speed as the queue, this will stop people from being able to do this.......You I am assuming that maths was never a strong subject then see the bare faced cheek of these people, as they for lorry drivers who do this. Lorries tend to do their beep you, as if you are doing something wrong. maximum speed limit, or very close to it when on the motorway. So, when a lorry, with a maximum speed As you can probably tell, there is nothing that annoys of 60mph overtakes another lorry on the motorway me more about motorway driving than that. There with the same maximum speed, it takes around are plenty of other things too, like people speeding 4 hours to complete the manoeuvre. This is most up just as you start to overtake them, then slow down annoying when on a dual carriageway, you see two again if you pull back in behind them. I’d better stop lorries ahead, you are approaching faster than they talking about this now though, my blood pressure is are going, so you pull out to overtake, but wait, the just about to go through the roof, so much so, that if lorry behind travelling at 60mph decides he needs I was standing over Pompeii right now, the residents to overtake first. He can’t stay behind a lorry driving would be ‘kacking’ themselves. at 59mph, that would delay his journey by around 30 seconds and that just won’t do! Be prepared for a long wait behind the lorry now!

Changing Lanes in a Traffic Jam It always baffles me when I see people do this. We are all moving at less than 10mph, we are all annoyed, as nobody likes being stuck in a warm car on a motorway for hours. People who change lanes consistently do nothing more than stress other drivers out. They don’t get anywhere faster, they don’t have an improved journey, the scenery doesn’t get any better, absolutely nothing changes, so why

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limited edition prints by gary drew

T

his is an exciting opportunity to own some unique and exciting artwork from the exceptional Gary Drew.

Part of a set of 11 pieces, one for each Formula One team, these are each limited to 250 copies. These are ideal for motorsports fans and art lovers alike. Each print is priced at ÂŁ25.00 plus ÂŁ3.49 postage and packaging , and can be ordered individually or alternativly you can subscribe to the print releases for ÂŁ50 per month for five months and you will receive www.pitlanereporter.com 99


limited edition prints by gary drew

the whole collection of limited edition prints, one of which will be free of charge. When they are gone, they are gone, so click on the link below to place your order before they are all gone!

www.pitlanereporter.com 100

order now >


photograph credits

Cover: Clive Mason Getty Images - Felipe Massa’s Car, Dale Jr. by Winning Daytona 500 Car Austrian GP Review: 1 copyright Force India F1 Team; 1 copyright McLaren Mercedes F1 team, 1 copyright Mercedes AMG F1 Team, 2 copyright Mercedes ANG F1 Team, 2 copyright Sauber Motorsport AG, ‘Close to Nature’ Copyright McLaren F1 Team, ‘Traditional Dress for the Grid Girls in Austria Copyright Force India F1 Team.British GP Review: copyright force india f1 1, copyright Force India F1, copyright Mercedes AMG F1 team 1, copyright Mercedes AMG F1 team 2, copyright Mercedes AMG F1 team. BTCC Review: copyright psp and airwaves racing. DTM Experience Picture 1 Cockpit view of the game DTM Experience ©DTMexperience Picture 2 DTM Experience game, Racing at Nürburgring ©DTMexperience; Picture 3 RaceRoom trailer with 8 places to play ©PitLaneReporter; Picture 4 RaceRoom exhibition stand at Norisring ©PitLaneReporter Picture 5 You need to be taller than 1,40m to play ©PitLaneReporter. Felipe Massa Interview Picture 1: All eyes on Mercedes DTM guest Felipe Massa at Norisring ©PitLaneReporter Picture 2: The Mercedes goal wall #BereitWieNie - “prepared as never before” (DSC_0308_2) ©PitLaneReporter Picture 3: Bernd Mayländer, Felipe Massa, Lucas di Grassi, the 18-year-old challenger and the 11-year-old winner (from the left) ©PitLaneReporter Picture 4: Massa shooting at the goal wall ©PitLaneReporter Picture 5: Felipe Massa and Bernd Mayländer at the “inofficial football playoff game” organised by Mercedes-Benz. ©PitLaneReporter. Gary Paffett Interview Picture 1: Gary Paffett leaving the pitlane, second free practice, Norisring ©PitLaneReporter Picture 2: Paffett in the Mercedes garage, Norisring ©Mercedes-Benz Picture 3: Pascal Wehrlein (on the left) and Gary Paffett (on the right) driving through a corner at Norisring ©Mercedes-Benz Picture 4: Norisring winner 2014: Robert Wickens ©Mercedes-Benz Picture 5: Gary Paffett, Grundig-Kehre ©Mercedes-Benz. Mat Jackson Feature all images copyright psp images. Unsung Heroes of Motorsport Picture 1: Race Director Thomas Dill ©MCN Picture 2: Marco Wittmann (BMW) manoeuvres a crash barriers into place near the entrance to the pit lane. ©BMW Picture 3: Marco Wittmann assembling seats in one of the grandstands ©BMW Picture 4: Marco Wittmann using a special machine to paint the white lines.

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Pit Lane Reporter Issue 5  

In this months edition we have interviews with two legends of Motorsport and much much more

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