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First Time’s A Charm for Sims, Tandy with Corvette Racing

#4: Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R, GTLM: Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy, Alexander Sims

No. 4 Corvette Team Earns Rolex 24 GTLM Pole with Motul Pole Award 100 Win; Auberlen, Foley Take Top Spot in GT Daytona

By Mark Robinson

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Corvette Racing has shown it can win shorter IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races at Daytona International Speedway. It remains to be seen if the GT Le Mans (GTLM) stalwart can end a drought in the iconic 24-hour race.

Alexander Sims and Nick Tandy – both new to the team in 2021 – drove to the class victory Sunday in the Motul Pole Award 100, the qualifying race that sets the starting grid for the world-famous Rolex 24 At Daytona that starts Saturday, Jan. 30 on the same DIS road course. Sims and Tandy guided the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R to a 12-second win over their teammates, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg, in the No. 3 Corvette.

Motul Pole Award 100 Results

It marked the second straight win for Corvette at Daytona, going back to July’s IMSA WeatherTech 240 when Taylor and Antonio Garcia won in the No. 3. However, a Corvette hasn’t won the big race, the Rolex 24, since 2016.

“It was fun, actually,” Tandy said of Sunday’s race that climaxed the Roar Before the Rolex 24 that in the past consisted only of WeatherTech Championship test sessions. “I think it was good for the Roar. It enables you to get some different testing in, but obviously it’s meaningful.”

Starting third on a wet track from a pre-race shower, Sims jumped the two BMW Team RLL M8s in front of him and took the class lead on the opening lap. From there, it was a battle of strategy as the track began to dry. Sims handed over the car to Tandy on the first pit stop under a full-course caution with just more than an hour remaining in the 100-minute race. The No. 4 also took on slick, dry-condition Michelin tires at the time.

“It was an interesting first taste of the conditions for me in the car,” said Sims, who most recently was a BMW GTLM endurance driver. “But very quickly I was given a lot of confidence from the car as to how to push. I was able to get around the BMWs on the first lap and then just sort of find my feet, lap by lap. … It was nice to just get some experience in the wet and get a feeling for how the car was working.”

The main competition from that point was the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, attempting to stretch its fuel to the finish. But with the race staying green for the final hour, Kevin Estre was forced to stop with 17 minutes remaining and surrendered the lead back to Tandy. Estre and co-driver Cooper MacNeil finished an impressive third in the privateer Porsche.

“I think their plan was to stay out and hope for a lot of yellow and kind of roll the dice that way,” Tandy, the former Porsche GTLM driver, said. “We went with the slick tire in the stop, where a couple of the cars and one of the BMWs stopped and kept the wet (tires). It proved to be a good strategic call from Corvette Racing which got us a 1-2 in the end.”

“Everyone wants to start the Rolex 24 from the pole position. We get to do this (qualifying race) in sort of a pressure situation and run through all the procedures. … It’s obviously a great start for both me and Alexander to kick off our time with Corvette Racing.”

As important as the victory was, it also earned the No. 4 a valuable 35 points toward the GTLM championship under the WeatherTech Championship’s new scoring format.

With the starting grid settled, all cars are idle now until Rolex 24 At Daytona practice begins Thursday. The 59th Rolex 24 takes the green flag at 3:40 p.m. ET Saturday. Live coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. on NBC. Complete IMSA Radio coverage is also available on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio.

#96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, GTD: Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, Colton Herta, Aidan Read

Auberlen Earns Another First, Winning an IMSA Qualifying Race

Bill Auberlen has the most race wins in IMSA history, so he’s quite familiar with victories. Taking first place in a qualifying race, however, was something new for the Turner Motorsport driver.

Auberlen and teammate Robby Foley were the GT Daytona (GTD) class winners in Sunday’s Motul Pole Award 100, crossing the finish line in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 4.424 seconds ahead of the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R.

The result gives Auberlen and Foley another Motul Pole Award for the ledger, and the 52-year-old will take whatever accolades come with the 35 points he and Foley earned toward the season championship.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a qualifying race,” Auberlen admitted afterward. “It’s cool to win something new. I like it! To qualify on the pole for the Daytona 24-hour race is amazing. That is really great because that’s just the crown jewel of IMSA, is Daytona.”

The No. 96 BMW followed a similar path to the GTD win as the No. 4 Corvette did in GTLM. Foley started seventh in class and was among a throng of GTD cars to pit at the first opportunity once his 30-mimute minimum drive time was achieved. Auberlen hopped in with fresh slick tires.

The wily veteran stopped again with 50 minutes remaining and stalked the leaders from there, waiting until the No. 111 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 needed to make late pit stops. Rolf Ineichen and Mirko Bortolotti finished third in the No. 111 Lamborghini.

“The race today, we just tried to execute,” Foley said. “We ran through the driver change, a couple pit stops, so the guys did a nice job in the pits. It was just nice to get back in the swing of things.”

“For sure, it’s the best place to start,” he added of the pole-clinching effort. “I think you can control your own destiny a bit better.”

2021 Corvettes Now Shipping to Dealers

2021 Corvettes Now Shipping to Dealers

Photo Credits: Jeremy Welborn


We got some more good news regarding Corvette production over the weekend as we’ve learned that the 2021 Corvettes are now shipping. Not only have they started shipping but some dealers have already announced their arrivals!

Why this is great news is that these first 2021 orders are supposed to go to those who had an order for a 2020 Corvette but unfortunately didn’t make the cut due to the COVID-19 shutdown. We were hearing that the cars were subject to a quality control hold so it’s great news that some of these “bumped” customers will actually get to enjoy their 2021s this year.

Yesterday we read on the Corvette Action Center that MacMulkin has five 2021 Corvette picked up by Jack Cooper Transport and are currently inbound. Earlier today, Mike Furman confirmed on his facebook page that his first 2021s are on a truck as well.

Our friend Rick ‘Corvette’ Conti announced today that he had two 2021 Corvettes dropped off first thing this morning. His two cars are both Torch Red Convertibles and their VIN sequence numbers are #85 and #437.

2021 Corvettes Now Shipping to Dealers


The Corvette Assembly Plant is normally scheduled to be off this week but instead, they are running both shifts through Wednesday before breaking for the holidays. Those three days should add close to an additional 500-600 Corvettes to the 2021 total. Again, great news!

Following the holiday break, the Corvette Plant will pick up where they left off on January 4th.

Thanks again to all those involved from the Corvette Team to the assembly plant employees, as well as those at Jack Cooper Transportation for all the great work you do in making Corvette Dreams come true!

Corvette Blogger Keith Cornett

GM Design Team Reveals C8 Corvette Sketch

The new C8 Corvette is a major break from tradition, transforming the Chevrolet Corvette nameplate with a brand-new mid-engine layout and even higher performance potential. With so much good stuff on offer, the C8 needed a modern exterior restyle to go with it, something that would accommodate the new powertrain placement. Now, we’re getting a look at a stylized C8 Corvette sketch, courtesy of GM Design.

Recently posted to the official GM Design Instagram feed (@generalmotorsdesign), this C8 Corvette design sketch is highly stylized, showing off the overall shape of the new mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette, but without too many details. In fact, the sketch looks as though it shows a single hunk of aluminum that was whittled down to look like the new C8.

The proportions are pure mid-engine goodness, with the cabin moved forward on the body, pushing the eye towards a cone-shaped nose that slants down towards the pavement at an aggressive angle. The front end is flanked by two hugely flared front fenders, which wrap around a concave shape for the wheels. Inside the wheels, we find a V-shaped design that looks a bit like the crossed flag Corvette logo.

Moving along the profile of the sketch, we see a clear C8 Corvette design element in the prominent wide side intakes. The intakes flair out ahead of the rear wheels in a “boomerang” shape that adds tons of visual punch, while also teeing up the ultra-wide rear fender flairs.

The open space created by the side intake is shared by the top of the cabin, which falls away into a relatively flat rear deck lid. Finishing it all off is a blade-like rear spoiler section, which is complemented by thin tail lights and another V-shaped badge. Under the spoiler is the suggestion of a diffuser.

All told, the look is aggressive, sleek, and attractive – just like the C8 Corvette.

Johnathan Lopez- GM Authority

USA BOBSLED/SKELETON 2020 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES ANNOUNCED

USA Bobsled/Skeleton 2020 Hall of Fame inductees announced

Lake Placid, N.Y.(December 9, 2020) – USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS) proudly announced today the six individuals that will be inducted into its Hall of Fame. Steve Mesler, Tristan Gale Geisler, Randy Jones, Vonetta Flowers, James “Nitro” Morgan, and Geoff Bodine will be inducted as the eighth class. A celebration will be held at a future date when inductees can safely gather for a ceremony.

The USABS Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the sports of bobsled and skeleton. Their dedication and commitment as athletes and supporters of USABS will be forever honored through their induction into the Hall of Fame. 

“These six people are titans of our sports, and we are honored to recognize their achievements as the newest members of our Hall of Fame,” said USABS CEO Aron McGuire. “Our current success is thanks to the hard work, dedication, and success of the people that have come before us and who’ve paved the way for the future. We are grateful for their contributions, and we’re excited to celebrate their accomplishments.”

Mesler’s accomplishments in the sport of bobsled as a push athlete include world champion, Olympic champion, three-time Olympian, and winner of 39 world cup medals – the most of any American bobsled push athlete in history. Mesler won the 2010 Winter Olympic four-man bobsled gold medal as a pusher for the late Steven Holcomb, who was inducted into the 2017 USABS Hall of Fame posthumously. It was the first gold medal for the United States in 62 years. Mesler also earned two world championship medals in four-man bobsled, winning the gold medal in 2009, which was the first in 50 years for the United States, and a bronze in 2004. Mesler attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he competed as a decathlete for the Florida Gators track and field team from 1997 to 2000. He graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in exercise and sports science in 2000. In 2009, Mesler and his sister, Dr. Leigh Mesler Parise, founded Classroom Champions, which has grown into an international organization that connects Olympians, Paralympians, student-athletes and pro athletes to millions of students in classrooms across the U.S., Canada, St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Costa Rica, and military installations in Germany. Mesler lives in Calgary, Canada with his wife, Rhiannon MacDonnell Mesler, and their daughter, Brett.

Gale Geisler was a pioneer in the sport of women’s skeleton, competing in the inaugural women’s skeleton Olympic race in her hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002. In front of her friends and family, Gale Geisler became the first-ever women’s skeleton Olympic champion. Growing up in Salt Lake City, she was a downhill ski racer before deciding to switch to skeleton. Gale Geisler followed up her Olympic performance in 2003 with a bronze medal at the world championships in Nagano, Japan. She and her husband, Jonathan Geisler, who is a major in the Marines, have two kids; Brynn and Grey.

Jones competed in the 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006 Olympics as a push athlete, winning the Olympic silver medal in the four-man bobsled event alongside Todd Hays, Bill Schuffenhauer, and Garrett Hines. It was the first time since 1956 that the U.S. won an Olympic medal in men’s bobsled. In addition, he finished the world cup season ranked in the top three three times: third in 1993 and 1997, and second overall in 2003. At one time, Jones held numerous push start records across the world and was considered one of the best push athletes to compete during his world cup seasons. As a team member, Jones represented everything you needed to be a champion in the sport. He had extreme work ethic, tenacious drive, toughness, character, athleticism and exuded great team camaraderie. Jones attended Duke University, where he played football and ran track while earning a Mechanical Engineering degree. He graduated in 1991, and as of 2020, he still holds five team football records for Duke in kick returns. Jones and his wife, Cheri Alou, have twins, Roman and Marissa, and live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Flowers was a pioneer as a female brakeman in the sport of bobsled by competing in the first two women’s bobsled Olympic races in 2002 and 2006. Her early accomplishments proved to be an inspiration to several future American push athletes. Flowers was the first member of her family to attend college when she accepted a track and field scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she claimed 35 conference titles and victories in the Penn Relays and The Olympic Festival, and first seven-time All-American. Flowers’ transition to bobsled paved the way for many female sprinters and track athletes to follow in her footsteps by moving from track to bobsled. Flowers pushed Jill Bakken in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, winning the inaugural gold medal in the event. As part of the winning team, Flowers became the first African-American Winter Olympic gold medalist in history in any sport. Since her historic accomplishment, other African-American athletes have won medals at the winter Olympics in bobsled as well as other sports, thanks in part to the path paved by Flowers. She and her husband, Johnny, have 3 boys; Jaden, Jordan, and Jaxon and live in Jacksonville, Florida.

Morgan, known as Jimmy, but nicknamed “Nitro” because of his explosive driving style, started driving bobsleds in 1971 and quickly rose up the ranks as one of the top bobsled pilots in the country. He competed at the 1975 World Championships in Cervina, Italy, where he finished seventh in the two-man event. It was the best American finish at the world championships in Europe in the decade of the 70s. Morgan went on to be the top American bobsled pilot at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Olympic Games in the two-man and four-man competitions, finishing 12th and 13th, respectively. Morgan tragically lost his life during the 1981 world championships in the final curve of the Cortina, Italy track. He is the only U.S. bobsledder ever killed in competition internationally. Morgan’s younger brother, John, was calling the competition with ABC Sports’ Bill Flemming at the 1981 competition that took Morgan’s life. He joins John as the second Morgan sibling to be inducted into the USABS Hall of Fame. Morgan was one of seven brothers and four sisters, and was raised in Saranac Lake, N.Y. He was also a Vietnam veteran.

Bodine, a former NASCAR driver and the 1986 Daytona 500 winner, brought car racing principles, competitive savvy, and 3-D design software to build a gold-worthy bobsled. Bodine noticed that the team had been using hand-me-down sleds from European teams, and he had a desire to see U.S. Olympic athletes compete in American-made bobsleds. Bodine collaborated with race car designer Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics to create the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. Cuneo was part of the fourth class of USABS Hall of Fame inductees for his contributions to the sled project. Bo-Dyn bobsleds first appeared in the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. The most famous Bo-Dyn sled was the four-man “Night Train,” which was driven by the late Holcomb to the 2010 Olympic gold medal. The achievement ended a 62-year drought for the United States, which had not won a gold medal since the 1948 Winter Games. 

There are now 28 members of the USABS Hall of Fame with the addition of Mesler, Gale Geisler, Jones, Flowers, Morgan, and Bodine. Learn more about all 28 Hall of Fame inductees here.

For media inquiries, please contact USABS Marketing and Communications Director Amanda Bird at amanda.bird@usabs.com.

About USA Bobsled/Skeleton

USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com. Individuals interested in becoming a bobsled or skeleton athlete can visit www.usabobsledskeleton.com

This Is How Romain Grosjean Survived

Romain Grosjean walked away from a horrific, fiery wreck at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Here’s what led to the crash, and what allowed Grosjean to escape it without serious injury.

f1 grand prix of bahrain
Clive Mason Formula 1- GETTY IMAGES

Romain Grosjean started Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix from 19th on the grid. A poor start by second-placed Valtteri Bottas slowed the entire rest of the field, creating chaos and an opportunity for Grosjean to make up spots in a car that has struggled for outright pace for the past year. He was already making up positions heading into Turn 1, and light contact between a Ferrari and a McLaren on the exit of Turn 3 created even more opportunity. Grosjean saw the opportunity to take another position, maybe even a few, heading into Turn 4, so he dove to the inside line and prepared to out-brake the cars that had exited Turn 3 with far less momentum. This is when his right-rear corner struck the right-front corner of Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri entry, forcing Grosjean off track at a high speed.

On an ordinary Formula 1 track, Grosjean would have collided with a wall at a forgiving diagonal, spreading the impact out over the nose and sidepod of the car as it slid along the wall or guardrail. Bahrain’s Turn 3 exit, however, is a temporary guardrail, one that juts out into the paved off-track area meant to allow drivers to recover from exactly this sort of collision. Grosjean’s trajectory just so happened to put him nearly perpendicular to the wall. The nose of his car seemed to hit precisely at a seam in the three-layer guardrail, splitting the barrier open. Rather than absorbing the impact, the wall halted Grosjean’s car immediately.

This is when the car split in two.

The car bisected at the point where the driver’s protective carbon fiber “tub” connects to the powertrain and rear bodywork. The cockpit hit the guardrail with such force, Grosjean and the remainder of the car went clear through to the other side.

This is where the fireball erupted.

Formula 1 cars carry a full fuel load at the start of every race, a safety measure designed to eliminate in-race refueling that can lead to fires in the pit lane. While most of Grosjean’s fuel seemed not to ignite, the immediate and sustained fire implies that at least some fuel seeped out and caught flame. The fireball was enormous and explosive, engulfing only the cockpit area on the infield side of the barrier, the side Grosjean was sitting in.

Seconds later, Grosjean emerged from the flames on his own. A safety team began putting out the fire, and Grosjean leaped over what remained of the barrier and walked to the waiting medical team. He spent an overnight in a hospital in Bahrain, but preliminary scans show no broken bones. Aside from burns on the backs of his hands, Grosjean escaped the horrific crash without major injury.

Grosjean suffered the ultimate nightmare of any racing driver, a perfect storm of cascading catastrophes. Everything that could go wrong did, all at once, and each component of the crash was meant to be controlled by a specific safety measure. Grosjean not only lived, he walked away from one of the most harrowing racing crashes imaginable without a single broken bone.

This is how it happened.

To understand what went right, we also need to understand what went wrong. This starts with the collision itself, a simple result of on-track jockeying for position at the cramped center of a chaotic standing start that left a car careening off the line at a high-speed section of track. All of this is relatively routine, and would traditionally be countered by a flat wall or guardrail positioned to slow an out-of-control car with a glancing blow. Grosjean’s car would hit such a barrier at an angle and slide along its length, dissipating energy and shedding speed. Instead, this particular wall juts outward, covering an access road made from existing runoff area. This positioning created a nearly head-on collision, the first thing to go wrong.

Grosjean struck the wall at a reported 137 mph. A three-piece steel guardrail, colloquially known by the brand-name Armco, is designed to deform on impact, absorbing momentum and keeping the car from piercing through the barrier. The guardrail that Grosjean hit ended up splitting between the first and second bars, the forceful impact of the car’s nose seeming to break the bars in two. This led directly to the worst elements of the incident.

BBC Sport’s Andrew Benson reported that the 137-mph impact had a force of 53 g. That energy had to go somewhere. With the driver’s survival cell suddenly stopped, the impact force pounded through the car, splitting the chassis in half at the point where the cockpit connects to the drivetrain and rear of the car. This splitting off is by design—the car is built to protect the survival cell by dissipating the impact elsewhere, and a violent crash can cause the drivetrain to snap off. But Grosjean’s high-speed separation seems to have released fuel that was then ignited, creating a towering fireball—the third and most dramatic of the catastrophic failures that contributed to this crash.

f1 grand prix of bahrain

DAN ISTITENE – FORMULA 1GETTY IMAGES

After the nose of the car pierced the guardrail, the next thing to hit would have been Grosjean’s helmet. This was the fourth catastrophic failure of the crash, and the point where we get to see up-close the life-saving power of recent safety changes.

On the other side of the guardrail, the force of the impact actually created a new point for the area above the nose to hit at full speed. In the past, this exposed area would be an open cockpit, and the next point of impact would have been the driver’s helmet. This was the fourth catastrophic failure.This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

It was just three years ago when Formula 1 mandated the introduction of the “halo” safety device that adds a secondary protective structure around the driver’s helmet. Grosjean’s halo made direct contact with the top portion of the barrier, a collision that should theoretically be impossible in the controlled conditions of a live race. It was not impossible, of course, and the halo ended up absorbing some portion of the impact.

Grosjean likely survived the impact thanks to the halo; without it, his helmet would have been directly in the line of the impact. It meant he could escape the fire on his own, in under 30 seconds, avoiding more serious injury—and disproving some early fears that the halo would impede a driver’s ability to get free of a burning wreck. Had he not been able to escape, Formula 1’s professional safety team was able to get to the car almost immediately.

Fire protection gear is only effective for so long, and Grosjean was able to get out of the car before coming close to those limitations. Series doctor Ian Roberts, who spoke with the Sky F1 broadcast team after the race, arrived at the crash so quickly, he was able to help Grosjean over the guardrail as crews were still putting the fire out. Formula 1’s professional rescue team, like the IndyCar team that saved James Hinchcliffe’s life in 2015, is a fully-dedicated group, led by Roberts since 2013, with extensive training in extracting, diagnosing and treating drivers immediately at the scene of a crash. The rescue team’s performance at Bahrain was a shining bright spot in this incident, with the safety car arriving mere seconds after Grosjean’s car came to a halt. Thankfully, their role was minimal, but had things gone differently—had Grosjean been knocked unconscious in the crash, or had his tub been trapped within the mangled guardrail instead of piercing through—the rescue team would have been tasked with a difficult extraction under urgent time pressure.

auto prix f1 bahrain
Tolga Bozoglu- Getty Images

Make no mistake, this was not a proud day for Formula 1. Like so many harrowing wrecks, this incident was the result of a cascade of failures both catastrophic and banal. Racing safety is made up of two components: the car and the track. The Bahrain International Circuit is responsible for the design of the guardrail Grosjean hit as well as its positioning relative to the direction of travel. Formula 1 regulations dictate the height of the car’s nose, which seemed to allow the No. 8 Haas to split through the guardrail, as well as the design and positioning of the fuel system, which was clearly compromised in some way when the car split apart, turning a violent crash into a fiery one. And Formula 1 approved the track, and those walls—along with another, faster track layout for a race next weekend.

All of these individual decisions contributed to the scale of the crash. If the guardrail that angled toward the track had instead been designed as a reinforced barrier running away from the racing line, Grosjean might simply have had an unremarkable crash and retired from the race. If the guardrail was in its current position, but built from a more modern impact-absorbing structure—like the SAFER barriers used in the U.S. or the recently-updated TecPro barriers used in high impact points at multiple Formula 1 tracks—Grosjean might have suffered an unusually painful hit, but the car likely would not have split in two, and there would likely be no impact to the halo. If the car hadn’t broken in half, there likely would have been no fire. Thankfully, other safeguards were in place, and Grosjean was able to survive all four of these catastrophic unexpected problems.

There was also considerable luck involved. Had this crash happened further away from the pit lane, the recovery team would have taken longer to arrive. Had the car gotten tangled in the guardrail rather than piercing all the way through, Grosjean would have struggled to free himself from the wreck. Most importantly, had Grosjean lost consciousness, this could have been a tragedy. A number of things had to go right for everyone involved to get this lucky, but none of that would have mattered without the decades of safety improvements that allowed Grosjean to survive the impact in the first place.

There are failures here that need to be investigated, and changes that will need to be made quickly. The FIA will spend the next few months investigating Grosjean’s crash and will eventually share its findings. Hopefully, what’s learned will make Formula 1 even safer for future generations of drivers and participants. Until then, all we can do is be thankful that auto racing is at a point where so many of these safety features have been implemented already. These findings should lead to real safety improvements, ones that will mean a driver won’t need such improbable luck to survive so many things going wrong. Constant safety improvement has allowed Formula 1, and modern auto racing in general, to reach this point of safety. It can’t stop here simply because Grosjean walked away from what could have easily been a fatal crash. His survival is nothing short of miraculous, and it would have been impossible if Formula 1 ever gave up on getting safer.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page

Source: Roadtrack

They’re Back! Chip Ganassi Racing Returning to WeatherTech Championship in 2021 with Cadillac DPi Entry

23-26 January, 2014, Daytona Beach, Florida USAChip Ganassi@2014, Richard DoleLAT PHOTO USA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chip Ganassi Racing, which has fielded seven IMSA season champions and eight Rolex 24 At Daytona champions, is returning to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition with a Cadillac entry in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class.

Joining its already-successful operations in IndyCar and NASCAR, Chip Ganassi Racing joined IMSA in 2004 and won the first of seven championships that same year. The team competed in the Daytona Prototype category through 2015 before moving to the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class from 2016-2019.

Other sports car achievements by the team include 64 total race wins, including marquee events such as the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ganassi is the only team owner in history to win three straight Rolex 24s (2006-2008).

“We can’t wait to get back to IMSA and fight for the overall win after several years competing in the GTLM class,” Ganassi said. “Our relationship with General Motors has expanded from the NASCAR Cup Series and we couldn’t be happier. Partnering with Cadillac is a tremendous opportunity for our team and we want to start delivering for them in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.”

autosport

CGR will field one car in the 2021 season, with the driver lineup to be named. It joins a Cadillac program that has claimed victory the last four years at the Rolex 24, won last month’s Motul Petit Le Mans and came within a single point of winning the 2020 DPi driver, team and manufacturer championships.

“We are very excited to welcome Chip Ganassi Racing to the Cadillac competition family,” Cadillac Vice President Rory Harvey said. “Their success across many forms of racing, including sports cars, will be a great addition to our IMSA WeatherTech lineup. Chip’s pedigree at winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona eight times, as well as their championships in this form of racing, gives Cadillac another stalwart team to compete for the 2021 IMSA DPi championship.”

The 2021 WeatherTech Championship season kicks off with The Roar Before The Rolex 24 testing Jan. 22-24 at Daytona International Speedway. The Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Saturday, Jan. 30 on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn road course.

Source: Mark Robinson

Twelve Hours of Sebring entry list

Sebring 12 Hours entry listIMSA

The premier division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is up for grabs this weekend over 12 hours at Sebring International Raceway, and some NTT IndyCar Series stars on the entry list could factor into the outcome.

Reigning six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi will be driving for the top two teams in the IMSA DPi points standings entering Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which will close the season after being rescheduled from its traditional mid-March date because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The No. 7 Team Penske Acura of Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor leads by two points over the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac of Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe. For the third time this season, Rossi will join Castroneves and Taylor, who have won four of the past five races.

Dixon will be making his third start with van der Zande and Briscoe, having won in their previous two outings at the Rolex 24 and last month at the Petit Le Mans (where Castoneves, Taylor and Rossi finished second).

Ranked third in the standings is the No. 31 Action Express Whelen Engineering Cadillac of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani, who trails by nine points. Nasr and Derani, who will be joined by Gabby Chaves this weekend, won in the series’ July 18 visit to Sebring.

The No. 31 Cadillac of Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr won July 18 at Sebring (IMSA).

Other IndyCar notables who will be racing in the IMSA season finale on the 17-turn, 3.74-mile course:

–2016 series champion and 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske of Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya;

–2014 Indy 500 winner and 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 55 Mazda with Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell;

–Sebastien Bourdais, who will drive full time next year for AJ Foyt Racing, will wrap up his IMSA season in the No. 5 Cadillac of Mustang Sampling Racing / JDC-Miller MotorSports;

–In the GTLM category, Andretti Autosport winner Colton Herta will be driving the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Saturday’s coverage of the Twelve Hours of Sebring will begin at 10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 3-6 p.m. on NBC and 6-10:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Flag-to-flag coverage of the 12-hour race will be available on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

By Nate Ryan for Motorsport NBC

USA Bobsled/Skeleton athletes celebrate first runs of the season in Lake Placid

Mount Van Hoevenberg track (Provided photo — Jimmy Reed)

LAKE PLACID — USA Bobsled/Skeleton athletes are back on ice at Mount Van Hoevenberg to kick off the much-anticipated 2020-2021 season. U.S. athletes are normally on track by early October, but increased safety measures due to the global pandemic delayed the start of the season.

“It’s great to have the team back on the ice,” USABS CEO Aron McGuire said in a statement. “We’ve had all hands on deck to get our athletes back to the ice safely. While it’s complicated and things continually change, our athletes have done an exceptional job of remaining flexible and focused. One of the positives of this pandemic is that we’ve seen just how resilient and strong our athletes are.”

Team trials were originally scheduled to take place in Lake Placid and Park City, Utah, but USABS leadership announced Tuesday, Nov. 3 that team trials will take place entirely in Lake Placid. The coaches and staff want to limit the number of variables involved in team selections by not disrupting the system currently in place. In addition, warmer temperatures are expected in Lake Placid, which may push the current competition days back. USABS is hoping to utilize the Park City track for national team training camps after the team is named.

Skeleton athletes were welcomed to the track by a snow storm Monday, Nov. 2, when they had the opportunity to take their first runs of the season.

“After a longer than normal offseason and so much uncertainty leading into this winter, it was nice to finally get on ice,” skeleton Olympian Kendall Wesenberg said in a press release. “We know how much effort went into getting us to this point, and we are so thankful for the extra effort. Our USABS staff, the U.S. Olympic Training Center staff, and the track crew put in a lot of hard work to make this happen, and it feels great to be back getting to do what we do.”

Bobsledders had to wait one more day before getting back on ice, and took their opening run of the 2020-2021 season the evening of Election Day.

“Getting back in the saddle was huge today,” bobsled pilot Hunter Church said in a press release. “It’s hard enough to go an entire summer without driving, but even harder because my last run of the 2019-2020 season was a crash. It felt really good to shake that off finally. The track crew is hustling the best they can to keep us sliding, and we’re very appreciative for everyone’s extra efforts to get us on ice this season.”

USABS athletes will be training and competing in Lake Placid for the start of national team trials to decide who will compete on the World Cup tour. The U.S. team has opted out of at least the first half of the international season to reduce quarantine times and travel for the athletes.

These Are History’s Sickest Special-Edition Corvettes

SOURCE: Aaron Young for HotCars.com

Ranging from pure performance monsters to cool and unique designs, here are some of the coolest forms the Corvette has taken over the years.

Long live America’s sports car – first shown to the world at GM’s Motorama in 1953, the Corvette is nearing its 70th anniversary as the premier American sports car, and one that has come to represent the American performance game. With its signature V8 power, and price that makes it a great value for the performance, the Corvette has stuck around in the hearts and minds of enthusiasts, even through its darkest years during the Oil Crisis.

Along the way through, the Corvette has also been defined by a multitude of special editions. Ranging from pure performance monsters to awesome looking aesthetic changes, the special edition Corvettes have been some of the coolest forms the car has taken over its long life. These 10 though, are among the sickest special edition Corvettes to ever hit the street.

10/10

1967 L88

The greatest of all classic Corvettes, the L88 is an absolutely wicked, special, and rare ‘Vette that now commands millions of dollars at auction.

Unleashed onto the world in 1967, the L88’s development was carried out under command of Zora Arkus-Duntov himself. Packing plenty of racing-oriented modifications, the L88 was intended to help further the Corvette’s status as a motorsports icon. But, what was truly special about the L88, was its engine. Thoroughly modified, the legendary 427 V8 inside the ‘Vette was brought up to a truly wild number of around 580 hp.

Stripped of most comfort based options and features, GM tried to scare people away from buying the monstrous car. Down-rating it, and claiming the engine had 435 hp, intentions were for people to be scared off by the lack of “civilized” features, and opt for another performance package that included them while having similar power. Mostly ending up used as race cars (to GM’s relief), only 20 L88 Corvettes were made in 1967, making them one of the most powerful, and rare special editions in the Corvette’s history.

9/10

1970 ZR1

A familiar name in the modern Corvette’s legacy, the ZR1 began life as a successor to the earth-shattering L88, and still stands for the ultimate performance edition a Corvette can have.

Sold under a Regular Production Order (RPO) from 1970 until 1972, the ZR1 was similar to the L88 in that ordering it meant you had to sacrifice many comfort-based options such as air conditioning, the radio, and power steering. What you got in return though, were specialized performance parts like beefy suspension, a performance transmission, and big brakes. More importantly, though, the ZR1 gave you the special LT1 small-block V8 laying down 370 hp, turning the C3 Corvette into a monster. Yet, only 25 ZR1s were sold in 1970, making it among the rarest special edition Corvettes.

8/10

1990 ZR-1

With the Corvette losing most of its performance and overall greatness during the tail end of the C3 generation, and the first years of the C4, the 1990 ZR1 came about to reclaim the nameplate’s glory as a performance monster.

Named “King of the Hill” during its development, this revival of the ZR1 would live up to that name in spades. Forgoing the standard V8 that had been powering the C4, a special 5.7 L LT5 V8 making 380 hp was mounted inside – developing over 400 hp by the end of its run. Not just powerful though, at the time GM owned Lotus and brought them on to make the ZR1 handle as well as it accelerated. An instant success, the 1990 ZR1 was one of the fastest cars of the early ’90s, helping rekindle the Corvette’s flame, and remaining on sale until 1995.

7/10

1966 Grand Sport

While somewhat overshadowed by the 1990-95 ZR1, the 1996 Grand Sport was an awesome way to send off the C4 generation Corvette.

Built as an homage to the ’60s Grand Sport Corvette racecars, the 1996 Grand Sport was situated in a tough position. With the C4 ZR1 ending in 1995, and the all-new C5 ready for release in 1997, Chevy needed to make a splash with a special edition for the C4’s retirement.

While not the performance beast that the ZR1 was, the Grand Sport was one of the coolest C4 Corvettes to be released. Tuning the LT1 V8 to 330 hp, and renaming it the LT4, the Grand Sport was genuinely quick for the late ’90s. Sporting the iconic blue and white paint with red fender marks, the 1996 Grand Sport did its job of sending off the C4 with great style and set the tone for later Grand Sport editions of the Corvette.

6/10

2004 Z06 Commemorative Edition

Similar to the 1996 Grand Sport, the 2004 Commemorative Edition was a send-off for the C5 generation of Corvette, and focused on a flashy red, white, and blue paint job.

With the C6 on the horizon for 2005, and the C5-R Corvette racecar scoring consecutive class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Commemorative Edition sent off the C5 generation by celebrating those Le Mans victories.

Available on either the coupe, convertible, or Z06 flavors of Corvette, the Commemorative Edition was mostly just aesthetic changes. Painted in the same base scheme as the Le Mans C5-R, the Commemorative Edition came with plenty of cool touches like badges and seat embroidery. One performance touch present though, order the Commemorative Edition Z06, and you had the option to add a carbon fiber hood.

5/10

2009 ZR1

Bringing the special edition ZR1 nameplate back for its third shot at crushing the performance game, 2009 saw it return with the greatest power of any road-going Corvette before it.

Gone from the market since the previous one’s end in 1995, the ZR1 returned with ferocity after 14 years. Like the previous ZR1s it followed in the footsteps of, a monstrous and unique engine was placed inside – the supercharged LS9 V8 spitting out a whopping 638 hp. With features like a window in the hood that displays the supercharger, the most power a stock Corvette had up until it, and a 200 MPH+ top speed, the 2009 ZR1 helped prove that the Corvette was a competitive force in the modern car industry.

4/10

2011 Z06 Carbon Limited Edition

Another special edition that celebrates the Corvette’s long-lived presence at Le Mans, the Z06 Carbon Limited Edition does more than just add a special paint job though.

Limited to just 500, the Z06 Carbon Limited Edition takes the already performance-oriented Z06 and imbues it with performance parts from the monstrous ZR1. Included in the Carbon Limited Edition are the big carbon-ceramic brakes, adjustable shocks, wheels, and tires from the ZR1. But that’s not all, as the “Carbon” in its name also refers to the carbon fiber front splitter, hood, and roof panel it comes with. Only available in a special shade of blue or orange, the Carbon Limited Edition is one of the coolest modern Corvette special editions.

3/10

2013 427 Convertible

A number that will be instantly recognizable to Chevy fans, the 427 Convertible pays tribute to the legendary 427 big-block V8 of Chevy’s muscle car past.

While the Z06 is a favorite amongst Corvette fans for its balance of performance, affordability, and ease of street use, one of its best features on the C6 generation was the 505 hp LS7 V8. Although the Z06 and its LS7 didn’t come in convertible form – the 427 Convertible changed that.

While missing Z06 exclusive features like its aluminum frame, the 427 Convertible drops the LS7 into a convertible Corvette and adds touches like a special paint scheme, and the rear axle and shock absorbers from the Z06. Back to the name though, the LS7 is technically a 427.7 cu-in engine, but Chevy rounded down to pay tribute to their classic big block, it’s a technicality that’s easy to forgive though, especially when the car is this cool.

2/10

2019 ZR1

The 4th, and most powerful iteration of the legendary ZR1, the C7 based edition is also the last time ZR1 will be used on the Corvette’s traditional front-engine layout.

Even better, or worse – depending on your perspective, the C8 ZR1 is confirmed to be a hybrid. But back to the C7 ZR1 – serving as the 4th time the special edition ZR1 has graced Chevy showrooms, the 2019 ZR1 evolved from the 2009 version with even more ridiculous amounts of power. Capable of a 0-60 MPH time of 3.0 seconds thanks to the 755 hp its supercharged LT5 V8 produces, the 2019 ZR1 is the most powerful and most insane stock Corvette so far – though, the C8 ZR1 is said to be shooting for 900 hp.

1/10

2016 Z06 C7/R Edition

A team with many decades of racing legacy, Corvette Racing’s C7.R is the focus of this special edition, using a Z06 to pay tribute to the full-on racecar and its iconic yellow paint.

Limited to only 500 units, the C7.R edition was available on Z06 Corvettes and offered the Z07 Performance Package with its carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes. Otherwise, the C7.R Edition is mostly an aesthetic one, packing Corvette Racing Yellow paint, special graphics, wheels, yellow brake calipers, as well as a black interior with yellow contrast stitching. Equipped with the C7 Z06’s supercharged LT4 V8 with 650 hp, the C7.R Edition is one of the coolest for fans of the Corvette Racing team.

SOURCE: Aaron Young for HotCars.com

Why Porsche and BMW are Gunning For Hoodie-Wearing Teens

Luxury automakers are trying to lure in younger fans through hyped-up partnerships with insidery clothing companies like Aimé Leon Dore, Kith and Supreme

As part of the Kith partnership with BMW, Kith owner Ronnie Fieg refurbished a vintage M3 sports car.

EARLY THIS FEBRUARY, before we all began sheltering in place, visitors streamed into the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in downtown Manhattan to ogle a one-of-a-kind Porsche.

The refreshed vintage Porsche 964 coupe—white with a shiny red Pegasus emblem, a honey-tinted leather interior and a swooping “duckbill” spoiler tacked on the back—was designed by Teddy Santis, the founder of Aimé Leon Dore, a 7-year-old streetwear label based in Queens. The result of an official partnership between the label and the German automaker, the car sat in the gallery’s center on an interwoven heap of Persian-style rugs. For four days, Mr. Santis’s fans poured through the doors in droves to inspect the interior’s splashes of Loro Piana fabric, scoop up co-branded apparel and take photos of the extremely hyped, extremely not-for-sale auto.

Scores of young and youngish clothing fanatics turned out to see the collaboration between Porsche and Aimé Leon Dore

The partnership was the first of several 2020 pair-ups between luxury automakers and youth-seducing clothing designers. This April, Italy’s Lamborghini and the streetwear virtuosos at Supreme released a run of hoodies, quilted jackets, tees and other items splayed with the car brand’s glimmering gold-lettered logo. In September, Mercedes-Benz debuted “Project Geländewagen,” a widely publicized and frankly confusing initiative in which the German carmaker worked with artistic director Virgil Abloh of Off White and Louis Vuitton to design a G-Class SUV. The only tangible result: Sotheby’s auctioned a one-third-scale mock-up of the concept car, with the proceeds going to charity.

The most extensive collaboration yet—between BMW and Kith, a New York hoodie-and-sneaker emporium—was unveiled last week. The results included: a co-branded 94-piece clothing and accessories line; a single rebuilt vintage BMW M3; and 150 special-edition, Kith-branded M4 Competition sports cars that started at $109,250 and were distributed through BMW dealerships.

By selling an actual automobile, the BMW-Kith partnership most closely resembles car and fashion pair-ups of the past, which typically focused on producing limited-edition automobiles. Among the many motor-minded marriages of the past: Lincoln and Givenchy (1979), Peugeot and Lacoste (1984), Mercedes-Benz and Armani (2004) and Thom Browne and Infiniti (2013).

During a preview last week, Kith owner Ronnie Fieg was quick to point out that outsiders might underestimate the number of big spenders who worship his brand. And true enough, within an hour of the Friday morning release of the Kith-ified M4s, all 150 of the six-figure cars were spoken for.

However, for the 2020 partnerships, selling a car is not, the only (or even primary) objective; for the automobile brands, it’s also about targeting a young demographic that could someday evolve into a reliable customer base. As Uwe Dreher, head of marketing for at BMW North America put it, it doesn’t matter if the “people who buy the hoodie with the Kith BMW logo….also buy the car.” As he said in an interview before the launch, many of Kith’s shoppers aren’t even old enough to drive. The partnership is also about building awareness.

The Kith for BMW apparel collection included higher end pieces like a silk lined blazer and a $120 co-branded scarf.

For car manufacturers, young people are an increasingly elusive demo. “The people who are buying new cars are people my age, baby boomers,” said Carla Bailo, the president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research, a nonprofit in Michigan. A study released in 2019 by Sivak Applied Research found that in 2017, half of all vehicle buyers in the U.S. were over 54 years old, while those 34 and under comprised just 14% of the total. Instead of purchasing cars, many young people are turning to ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft.

Mr. Santis, the Aimé Leon Dore designer, said that Porsche voiced these very concerns at the outset of his collaboration with the brand. “They came to us and they felt like the sports car consumer and enthusiast they had was kind of getting aged out. And the newer kid, the younger kid was more caught up with, you know, Uber and Lyft,” he said. Deniz Keskin, Porsche’s head of brand management and sponsoring, said that “getting access to these new people was definitely a plus” in working with Mr. Santis. Many of the oglers who poured into the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery to see the resulting car, he said, “were only coming from the angle of Teddy’s fashion brand and would normally not attend a Porsche-type event.”

Brandon Watson, 27, a commercial photographer in Buffalo, N.Y., was one such onlooker. As a longstanding Aimé Leon Dore customer, he was duly impressed that Porsche tapped an emerging clothing label. By tying itself with a “streetwear brand,” Mr. Watson said, the automaker “refreshed people’s memories of what Porsche actually is.”

And what’s the perfect way to draw in auto-agnostic kids? Clothes. If streetwear has proven anything, it’s that when armed with enough clout a clothing brand can make any partner—no matter how random—appear desirable via a co-branded T-shirt or hoodie. Kith’s recent collaborators, for example, have included properties as disparate as the see-and-be-seen eatery Nobu, Looney Tunes and Coca-Cola.

Such apparent randomness aside, Mr. Fieg said that he’s felt a personal connection to all of Kith’s collaborators. BMW is no different: his grandfather owned a 1989 M3, the same model Mr. Fieg worked on restoring as part of the collaboration. As for the idea that anything he stuck his logo on would sell, Mr. Fieg said “I never go into anything assuming that. But we have definitely built a loyal consumer in nine years.” “Loyal” might be an understatement: All of Kith’s recent collaborations have sold out swiftly.

In both the BMW and the Porsche collaborations, the idea of bundling in co-branded tees, keychains and other take-home souvenirs came from the clothing brands. Both Mr. Fieg and Mr. Santis viewed that element as vital to making the collaborations a success. “There’s got to be some component of product or merchandise or something tangible that the kid who knows nothing about what we’re talking about shows up and leaves with something,” said Mr. Santis. Porsche went along with the idea of offering clothes; the collaborative pieces sold out in two days.

To promote the Porsche collaboration with Aimé Leon Dore, both companies released a teaser of the car driving through snow that was shared widely across the internet.

The art gallery event also allowed Porsche to wiggle further into Instagram, another key piece of the teen-and-twenty-something ecosystem. The entire space was set up like one giant Instagram shoot, complete with the sort of verdant potted plants you can’t escape on the social media platform. Even after the clothes sold out, fans continued to pour into the Dietch gallery to snap selfies next to the Porsche.

Covid-19 has temporarily derailed plans to host these kinds of bustling events, though automakers are trying to find workarounds. For “Project Geländewagen,” Mercedes-Benz created a digital simulacrum of the car that Instagram users could “place” in their homes using augmented reality. Though in theory a savvy way to bring the collaboration right to users, the technology proved a little awkward to use. (Mercedes-Benz declined to be interviewed for this story.)

Meanwhile, BMW and Kith previewed their collaboration for editors and influencers at a small, relatively socially distanced event in Brooklyn, spurring some buzz on social media—albeit much less than Porsche enjoyed from its partnership with Aimé Leon Dore. Nevertheless, by Friday afternoon, just a few hours after it launched on Kith’s website, most of the clothing collection had sold out.

By Jacob Gallagher for WSJ