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Friday, 30 September 2016

Sonoma 2016 - GoPro Grand Prix Indycar Qualifying

The results of qualifying at the final round of this year's Indy Car Championship final round at Sonoma with pictures I took on the day from the public areas at turn 2.

1st   22  Simon Pagenaud,  Team Penske Dallara IR12-Chevrolet, Pole Position and winner at Sonoma, thus clinching the Indycar Championship.
Frenchman, Simon Pagenaud was dominant all weekend and deserved to win this year's championship.
I was lucky enough to be in California around the time of the final round of this year's Verizon Indycar Series Championship final round at Sonoma, so decided to pop along on Saturday to see the qualifying.   Sonoma is a 2.4 mile 12 turn road course and all my pictures of the Indycars were taken at turn 2 as it is my favourite spot.   I was particularly keen to go this year as a Frenchman was poised to win the crown.  Simon Pagenaut didn't disappoint and dominated qualifying, being ahead at each of the three stages.

2nd   3 Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Dallara IR12-Chevrolet.  Won at Sonoma in 2008.
Three time Indy 500 victor Helio Castroneves was on the front row at Sonoma.  He looked like he might get pole until Simon put in a stunning lap under pressure right at the end.
All of the Indycars have the same Dallara chassis and Firestone tires. There are two engines running in the series, Chevrolet and Honda, and each has slightly different aerodynamic packages.  The red walled tyres are the faster of the qualifying tyres.  Everyone starts off in the first qualifying session and then it is whittled down to the top twelve fastest and then the top six fastest go for pole.

3rd   2 Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Dallara IR12-Chevrolet.  One of my favourite GP drivers ever when he was racing with Williams.
Two times Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya.
4th   12 Will Power, Team Penske Dallara IR12-Chevrolet.  The Australian was 2014 Champion and winner at Sonoma in 2010, 2011 and 2013.  This weekend he had a chance at winning the Championship again but Simon Pagenaud was quicker and Will eventually suffered an unlucky retirement.
Will Power came into the weekend hoping to win the championship but could only get fourth position on the grid, the slowest of the Penske cars.
5th   15 Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara IR12-Honda.   Winner on a road course at Mid-Ohio in 2015  near where he was brought up.
Graham Rahal was the fastest of the non-Penske cars and was also the fastest Honda car.  He actually set the second fastest time overall but didn't go fast enough when it counted in the Top Six run-off.
6th   28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Dallara IR12-Honda. 2012 Champion.
Top Andretti runner and the only one in the Top 6 run-off was Ryan Hunter-Reay.
7th   9 Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara IR12-Chevrolet, last year's Champion.
Scott Dixon just missed out on the final round of qualifying.
8th   98 Alexander Rossi, Andretti Herta Autosport Dallara IR12-Honda. This year's winner of the Indy 500 and rookie of the year in the series.
Alaxander Rossi did well at Sonoma and won the Indycar Rookie of the year trophy.
9th   11 Sebastien Bourdais, KVSH Racing Dallara IR12-Chevrolet.  Another Frenchman and 4 times Champ car champion.
Sebastien Bourdais.

10th   21 Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara IR12-Chevrolet, this years top points scorer on the Ovals.
Joseph Newgarden.
11th   7 Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara IR12-Honda. The Russian is a previous Renault 3.5 champion.
Mikhail Aleshin.
12th   83 Charlie Kimball, Chip Ganassi Racing Team Dallar IR12-Chevrolet.  An American born in Chertsey in England, he won at Mid Ohio in 2013.
Charlie Kimball
13th   10 TonyKanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara IR12-Chevrolet.  A Champion back in 2004.

14th   27 Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Dallara IR12-Honda.  A member of the famous Andretti clan (son of Michael) he won at Sonoma in 2006.

15th   14 Takuma Sato, A.J.Foyt Enterprises Dallara IR12-Honda.  In 2013 he became the first Japanese driver to win an Indycar race.
Takuma Sato
16th   26 Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport Dallara IR12-Honda.  The Columbian is a previous rookie of the year and winner in Indycar racing.

17th   41 Jack Hawksworth, A.J.Foyt Enterprises Dallara IR12-Honda.  This young Brit has had one podium so far in Indycar racing.
Jack Hawksworth
18th   8 Max Chilton, Chip Ganassi Racing Team Dallara IR12-Chevrolet.  A rookie from England.
Ex-Manor F1 driver Max Chilton is his first Indy Car season.
19th   20 Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara IR12-Chevrolet.  A rookie from the USA.

20th   5 James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara IR12-Honda.  The Canadian was a winner for this team at their first race and also won pole at Indy this year.
James Hinchcliffe
21st   18 Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing Dallara IR12-Honda.  A rookie from the USA.
Conor Daly
22nd   19 RC Enerson, Dale Coyne Racing Dallara IR12-Honda. A rookie from the USA.
RC Enerson
A few more pictures to give some atmosphere and tell the story of practice.
Max Chilton leads Simon Pagenaud through Turn 2 in practice.
Will Power's Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet.
Will Power
Ryan Hunter-Reay has a small off in practice.
Joseph Newgarden nudges the tyre barriers at turn 2 and ends his practice session.
Simon Pagenaud tests the circuits limits in practice in his Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet.
Graham Rahal chases Alexander Rossi out of Turn 2
Three cars venture out on the circuit at the start of Qualifying.
The same 3 cars a few moments earlier - Bourdais, Kanaan and Pagenaud.
Great links

For Formula Car Challenge at Sonoma, click here.

Trucks in the paddock
One of the 2 seater Indy Racing Experience cars spins as another goes by.
Another view of the 2 seater Indy Racing Experience cars.
John Etherton asserts his copyright to all of the photos on this blogpost.  However, you may post the photos elsewhere on the web as long as you credit the photographer, John Etherton, and this blog post, and provide a link to this page.

John Etherton affirme son droit d'auteur à l'ensemble des photos sur ce billet de blog. Cependant, vous pouvez poster des photos ailleurs sur le web aussi longtemps que vous créditez le photographe, John Etherton, et ce blog, et fournissez un lien vers cette page.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Pirelli World Challenge GT & GTS Racing - Sonoma 2016

Pirelli World Challenge GT cars turning into the hairpin at the end of Sonoma's drag strip.  Car number 45, Porsche 911 GT3, was racing in the GTA class
Supporting the Indy Car GoPro Grand Prix at Sonoma in September were some really excellent GT races that were part of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championships road racing series.  They featured some extremely close and competitive racing, some well known drivers such as Patrick Long and a mouth watering selection of GT cars.   It is not in many series where you see cars from Audi, Cadillac, McLaren, Porsche, Nissan, Maserati, Mercedes, Bentley, Ferrari, Lotus and Aston Martin out on the track!  
Ryan Eversley in the Acura TLS-GT that was racing in the GT class.   Here he is seen exiting turn 3.   Acura is a brand used by Honda.   This car has a 3.5 litre turbocharged engine producing 550hp.
GT Class
The GT class is for FIA GT3 cars, luxury brand sports or GT vehicles.  They can be two door coupé or sedan models with rear wheel drive and have turbocharged or normally aspirated engines with 500hp plus.  The PWC attracts an amazing variety of cars into this class as can be seen below:
John Fogarty in the McLaren 650S GT3 entering turn 2 at Sonoma.
Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 3.8 litre turbocharged GT car.
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 6.2 litre GT Coupé entering the turn 7 hairpin.
Johnny O'Connell, four times driver's champion in this series in his Cadillac ATS-VR GT3. 
Kyle Marcelli in his Audi R8 LMS Ultra.
Adderley Fong in the Bentley Continental GT3
Gunnar Jeanette in a Porsche 991 GT3R
GTA Class
The GTA class is for GT cars driven by Gentlemen drivers rather than the professionals or semi-professionals.   They race with the GT cars.
The Mexican driver, Martin Fuentes, in a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3
Andy Wilzoch in the Flying Lizards Porsche GT3R
Drew Regitz in the Audi R8 LMS GT3
Tim Pappas in a Porsche
GTS Class
The GTS cars have lower power than the GT cars and are 300-400hp and have a lower permissible prep level.
Ford Mustang Boss 302 driven by Nate Stacy
Martin Barkey in a KTM XBow GT4
Scott Heckart in a Sin R1 GT4
Greg Milzcik in an Aston Martin Vantage GT4
Jeff Courtney in a Maserati Gran Tourismo MC Trofeo leads a similar car through Turn 2.
The Lotus Evora GT4 of Kevin Marshall
Harry Gottsacker's Ginetta GT4 leads a group in the GTS race.
Tony Gaples in a Chevrolet Camaro Z28
GT CUP Class
The GT Cup class is for 2015-2016 Porsche 991 GT3 Cup spec cars with about 400hp.  They race with the GT cars.
Preston Calvert in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in Turn 3.
The GT Race
This was an exciting race which Austin Cindric led for a long time in his McLaren before finally getting beaten by Johnny O'Connel's Cadillac.  Top GTA car was the Porsche of Michael Schein who just beat the Ferrari of Martin Fuentes.
Austin Cindric's McLaren leads on the first lap at the hairpin turn 7.  He is followed by 2 Cadillacs, 2 more McLarens, a Porsche and a Nissan.
Further down the field the Acura battles it out with the Porsches, Ferrari and Bentley.
The field exits the hairpin and enters the Esses.  Close racing throughout.
The No.97 Porsche of Gunnar Jeanette spins on the exit of the hairpin.
Patrick Long's Porsche finished in eighth position.  Here he leads a Nissan and a Ferrari.
The battle for the lead between McLaren and Cadillac between turns 3 and 4.
The GTS Race
The GTS race was also great entertainment with Nate Stacy just holding off the pack to take a win in his Mustang.
Stacy's Mustang leads the field into the second corner on lap 1.
Further down the field a Sin R1 leads the Maseratis.
After a lap or two the Mustang had a definite lead from the KTM XBows. The sixth place Ginetta eventually finished second. 
Ginetta about to gobble up a KTM XBow.
Mark Klenin eventually finished eighth in his Maserati.
Top XBow driver was Hugh Plumb in third place.
John Etherton asserts his copyright to all of the photos on this blogpost.  However, you may post the photos elsewhere on the web as long as you credit the photographer, John Etherton, and this blog post, and provide a link to this page.

John Etherton affirme son droit d'auteur à l'ensemble des photos sur ce billet de blog. Cependant, vous pouvez poster des photos ailleurs sur le web aussi longtemps que vous créditez le photographe, John Etherton, et ce blog, et fournissez un lien vers cette page.