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JHS18

Sports Car Racing Thread

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I'm also hearing that Toyota will be present at Silverstone on the 26th August. Not sure if it is with one car or two. I hope to be there.

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Also - cool video. Muscle Milk HPD testing at Virginia International Raceway - apparently got to within 0.2 of the lap record set by an F1 car in 2004.

Edited by JHS18

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That's just PR stuff. They were three tenths off of a 1994 Benetton chassis being driven by a 54-year-old American in 2004...not exactly the world's greatest accomplishment. tongue.png

Speaking of accomplishments, the Dempsey Racing LMP2 (Lola B12/87 Judd) was slower than the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport LMPC on both days of VIR testing. I'm not even sure how that happens. I know Patrick and Joe Foster are pals and all that, but I can't help but think that of their six drivers, the P2 should be Jonny c#cker, Dane Cameron, and Patrick Dempsey and the PC should be Joe Foster, Duncan Ende, and Henri Richard.

But what do I know?

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Two strikes for Enge...

http://new.motorspor...nned-substance/

"I’m more careful than ever and actually a little paranoid." He basically admits that he's still using recreational drugs in that sentence. There's nothing to be careful or paranoid about when you're clean...

In other news, someone has proposed ALMS allowing the old prototypes to race in 2014 to help increase their car counts. Those teams wouldn't get invites to Le Mans for winning the title, but very few LMP1 teams have ever used one in ALMS history anyway and past champions haven't been invited, either. I suspect this will happen since ALMS has always allowed cars much past their expiration date in ACO; the B06/10 Lolas were still plugging away here for a long time, and the Dyson #20 Lola B09/86 Mazda is not ACO legal due to age (though it's also more of a P2 racing as a P1 which is why I was surprised Dyson got invited for Le Mans this year after winning the title with it) as well. I'm pretty sure the AMR Lola DBR1-2 is allowed in ALMS still, too, though no one runs one.

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Saw the Enge thing - he says it was for a long standing medical condition...it'd be interesting to know what he has actually tested positive FOR, but I guess we won't find out for a while if ever.

It is good to see that motorsport is very strict about this kind of thing though. Whilst it is an unfortunate situation for him, there cannot be any exceptions to the rule. The FIA has long been pushing for improvements in road safety and things, so it would seem odd if he wasn't punished in some way.

Be interesting to see what happens now.

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You can't tell me that I can't talk about ALMS in a thread about sports car racing. I have the authority, kiddo, and I'm flooding your thread with Grand-Am as punishment. tongue.png

Are the 2014 rules what I heard they were, where they're going back to a Group C-type deal where you have a maximum amount of fuel and the rest is pretty free? Someone was saying that's what it was, but I didn't ever see what the rules were. I know all cars are closed cockpit now.

There's a consortium in the United States trying to rescue Lola. I'm under the impression it involves the Dyson family and Carl Haas. Which would make it the same consortium that tried to rescue Élan Motorsport (Panoz and Van Diemen)...which wasn't the most successful thing in the world. You have Élan, Swift, and Lola all in danger of disappearing. Élan got absolutely screwed with the Champ Car deal (DP01 was used for a total of 17 races or so) and never really recovered (and Dr. Don Panoz decided to take ALMS off TV for a year to build his Abruzzi...don't even go there with me). Swift put everything into getting the 2012 IndyCar contract assuming the process wasn't already rigged (from day one, the attention on IndyCar's part was to have Dallara supply the chassis; they only invited Swift, Lola, BAT, and DeltaWing so Dallara could poach ideas from each, which they did) and ever since getting rejected, they've been on the brink. Lola's problems extend past that, but losing the IndyCar contract didn't help. All three got caught out, at least in part, by the politics of American open-wheel (for the DP01, they were promised that there would be a merge, but it would begin with two separate series cooperating in 2008 and a unified series with a DP01 in 2009...the oval DP01 prototype exists; it was basically a DP01 with the G-FORCE IndyCar nose and wings...for Swift and Lola, they bought in to IndyCar's scheme). My point is, while it's not sports car-related, having the world's largest spec-series be a complete mess has implications well outside of that series and the country it races in.

I loved the DeltaWing video, thanks. thbup.gif

That's where I figure DeltaWing comes into ALMS. If you lose Lola, you lose a lot of your prototypes (Dyson's two in LMP1, Black Swan in LMP2, Dempsey in LMP2...though to be fair, Dempsey is going to WEC next year so we were losing them anyway). Four from a total of nine isn't good. Dr. Don Panoz is making a big push for a DeltaWing class in ALMS, and I have to wonder if they want to invest in DeltaWing to reinvent their series. The prototype count isn't high, it hasn't been, and it's not going to get better. The original DeltaWing concept came with an idea: it would be open-source. Anyone could build their own DeltaWing however they'd like to. Could we see that principle applied to a multi-car DeltaWing class? Could they get rid of LMP1 altogether and go to LMP2 with DeltaWing running as a classified LMP2 (I don't see how this wouldn't be fair...it's on the low-end of pace but on the very high-end of efficiency, which wouldn't be enough to make it dominant in ALMS' shorter races, and with reliability still unproven, you never really know at Sebring etc. Besides, there was a time when the Indy 500 was won by a diesel that did the entire 500 miles in zero pit stops. That's racing. You design something more efficient, you deserve to win).

Where the money comes from to keep DeltaWing alive, I don't know, but it's going to have a life in the American Le Mans Series, because they want it there, and because they're going to need it there. The series needs to take a departure with Lola teams in question and the possibility of Dempsey and Pickett Racing (Muscle Milk) going WEC...DeltaWing's the departure.

I like Delta Wing...yummy

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Is it like Group C again? I guess in a way it is, I'm not too sure about that. It seems like the focus is about increasing the efficiency of the cars and encouraging manufacturers to run hybrid technologies, or even do something completely different like an all electric/hydrogen type car like GreenGT. Apparently they are also wanting to make the LMP1s faster too, so yeah, I guess you could say it is kind of like going back to Group C regulations. Some interesting articles about the '14 regulations:

http://www.motorauth...mp1-regulations

http://www.carmagazi...2014-announced/

It is interesting though. I believe the record for the highest speed down the Mulsanne straight remains from the Group C era when cars were reaching 240mph down there, or even a little higher than that.

As for Lola, I hope someone does rescue it. As you've rightly pointed out - it would be a major problem if it does fold. I knew that Dyson used Lolas, but I wasn't aware that there was that many Lolas in ALMS. Lola has built some of the most iconic Le Mans cars in history, and the sport would be worse off without them around.

You make valid points about Davidson's accident. Someone made the point that the fin helped the car spend less time in the air that if it didn't have it, and whilst I don't know if it is true, you are right that I guess you can't totally eliminate this kinds of accident. if you look at that accident, you can imagine that if it had flown any further it could have easily cleared the tyre barrier, and at that point of the track there wasn't any catch fencing.

I also think something needs to be looked at in relation to back injuries in motorsport in general, because there seems to be a lot about at the moment. Moreau on Le Mans test day, Stanaway in a recent World Series Renault race at Spa and now Davidson are three that stand out. What the solution is to giving drivers better spinal protection, I'm not entirely sure.

The loss of Lola would be catastrophic for ALMS. Skinny drivers and skinny hard shell seats are a recipe for disaster, especially if all four corners of the car hit the deck at once after an arial tumble. Don't think anyone is going to put driver comfort before car weight requirements though. I think it say something about modern race car design though that Ant is alive to talk about it.

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I think it say something about modern race car design though that Ant is alive to talk about it.

Agreed - modern day safety is fantastic, and yet there's still improvements that can be made as evidenced from the fact that drivers still get injured. Obviously motorsport will forever remain a dangerous sport and freak accidents will continue to occur, but these injuries will give the ACO and FIA something to think about. I think it is telling that for the '14 regulations they're stating they want to help increase the visibility for drivers by changing the seating position in a coupe. The visibility out of a coupe car compared to an open car is notoriously poor, as we've seen from the last two years with accidents resulting from prototype drivers perhaps having to take too many risks in traffic.

Also - a story you may have missed from last weekend. Rinaldo "Dindo" Capello is retiring from driving duties, that was his last Le Mans. There's a lot of nice guys in sports cars, but Capello is one of the nicest. It does make you wonder who Audi will replace him with though, with the possibility that someone like Dumas (Porsche factory driver) will be unavailable again. Potentially two open Audi drives in the future.

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Kirby, like every other big-time motorsports journalist, has a bit of an agenda and a bit of an ego, but his article, mostly about DeltaWing, is worth reading:

http://gordonkirby.c...t_is_no340.html

At the end of the day, the variety and technology in sports car racing makes it a lot of fun. It's exciting even when it's boring because the cars are so damn cool and different. And I know from the ALMS that I watch, the racing's usually pretty good. I think it goes hand-in-hand. Exciting cars often produce exciting racing because exciting racing requires cars to have different strenghts and weaknesses over the course of a lap and over the course of a race.

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An interesting article, thanks for posting that.

I think in a way whilst the ACO should be thanked for creating the Garage 56 rules, they should also be criticised in a way as well. It is a bit of a shame that Dwltawing quite possibly won't race at Le Mans ever again. I'm sure that is something that Nissan won't really be happy about. It is all very well running one race, but then what? It hasn't really been that clear cut what Deltawing would do next, seeing as it is so different from everything else that races. I guess with GreenGT it might be clearer what future that car will have, seeing as it is closer to a traditional prototype than Deltawing, but the problem still exists. What do you do with the thing post Le Mans?

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I do agree that it would be nice for DeltaWing to have had a home beyond Le Mans, but one correction is that this isn't Nissan's project, it's not Nissan who will be looking after it beyond this. Nissan of Europe were a one-race engine supplier and sponsor. DeltaWing LLC (Ben Bowlby) is behind the project, which was funded initially by Chip Ganassi, and thentake care of by a partnership of All-American Racers (Dan Gurney) and Highcroft Racing (Duncan Dayton), with a one-race agreement with Nissan of Europe after being rejected by Ford Motor Company. So I don't think Nissan are going to be upset with the ACO; if DeltaWing surfaces again in ALMS this summer or at Petit Le Mans as rumored, it will need to sign a new agreement, either with a new supplier or with Nissan of North America. Nissan of Europe and Darren Cox made Le Mans possible, but I'm not sure they ever intended to do more than that, whereas DeltaWing LLC did.

Anyway, a small quibble over details aside, I don't think this is the end for DeltaWing, definitely not as a concept. Ben Bowlby and DeltaWing LLC have been tenacious this whole time. They were rejected by IndyCar, they were rejected by Ford, they were rejected by skeptics, they had to re-work this car so many damn times to make it comply with rules (even ones such as fitting in a pit box) and make it run...they'll find somewhere to go.

And if not, they'll be there in spirit. They got it out there. They threw down a huge challenge to constructors of racing cars and to sanctioning bodies of auto racing: do it better than we did. Don't underestimate the power in that.

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The one reason ALMS returns year after year (source being an ALMS press release from a little while ago):

According to Nielsen Media Research Sports Quest Report, the American Le Mans Series TV audience has the most affluent demographics of any regularly televised sport in America, exceeding the PGA Tour and ATP tennis. Many of its fans own or aspire to own products from the Series’ automotive manufacturers and other brands that participate in the American Le Mans Series. The median income of the average fan is in excess of $120,000 with nearly a quarter having a net worth of more than $1 million. Nielsen also identified a typical Series fan as a highly desirable market influencer, more than half of whom are more likely to purchase a product or service from a company affiliated with the American Le Mans Series. With these types of demographics, it is easy to understand why premium brands choose to associate with the American Le Mans Series and its fans.

$120,000 per family (not per person) is the top 15% of income earners in the United States. You don't have to appeal to everyone if you appeal to the right people from a marketing perspective, and I think with all the technology and innovation, ALMS and sports car also stand a good chance of appealing to a younger generation that is less connected to cars and performace and more connected with technology and efficiency, whereas things like NASCAR and drag racing that center on "car culture" are going to lose out with the next wave of fans.

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Yes, I knew it wasn't a complete Nissan project, I just meant that I thought they'd be pretty annoyed if a car they power couldn't race again in Europe at least despite all the media interest that has built. Nissan has been keen to promote it as the "Nissan Deltawing" or the "Deltawing powered by Nissan" or whatever. It seems like a fairly...short term project from the Nissan point of view from what you say, so it is interesting. At least it was good to see them getting behind something completely different, like when they got behind the Gran Turismo Academy that loads of people said would never work.

Good point about the fan thing as well. I think it is pretty clear that there is a different culture of fans who follow sports car racing compared to those who follow F1. For a time, I wasn't really sure whether our generation would really "get" Le Mans, but I was pleased to see that there seemed to be a fair amount of interest for the race of people my age at the weekend. Whether that was just because it was Le Mans and there was the added interest from very recognisable names to UK fans like Martin Brundle being there, and sports car racing will just go back to being something that only the diehards follow for the rest of the year, I'm not sure. Certainly you'd have to say sports cars is in a better position in terms of manufacturers than F1, but with fans? I'm not sure really.

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It's not in a better position with fans than F1, or any other series, honestly.

But the point is that it doesn't have to.

When you aim to be mainstream with a product that people can't understand or can't care for, you fail, big-time. Look at IndyCar.

When you aim to absolutely exploit your niche of car people and of technology people, you end up appealing to a small number of passionate people who make up for a lot of the sheer masses who are "F1 fans" or "NASCAR fans" who don't actually attend races, watch races, purchase sponsor products, etc.

ALMS is the only racing series in North America experiencing growth amongst viewers aged 18-34, and has been over the last few years.

The thing that sports car racing is realizing is that you can dumb a lot of products down to appeal to the lowest common denominator. And it works. Especially in the U.S. You can get a lot of people to come watch cheap, tacky, low-intelligence entertainment and there's nothing wrong with that.

But it also leaves a good-sized sector of people who want intellectual, advanced, pure forms of sport and entertainment, and ALMS (and WEC if they'd get a TV contract here, but they had Sebring so we'll count that, and Le Mans was on SPEED) is one of the only players in that market.

It can be, and in this case is, more lucrative to be top dog in a small market than loser in a big one. It doesn't solve every problem ALMS has, but it gives it a better future long-term if it can survive the short-term one.

Still, I applaud sports car racing for being sports car racing, and not trying to be something else. It's working better for them business-wise, but even more importantly to all of us, it makes for better racing.

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RE: Nissan and DeltaWing

It's sad to report that the DeltaWing is officially dead as you read this. There is absolutely no funding to run the car beyond Le Mans unless Nissan or another manufacturer steps forward and decides to support the program further. Will the concept live in IndyCar, or as a new-look chassis for the Indy Lights series? Will it live in LMP2 in the American Le Mans Series? It's anyone's guess at this point.

Nissan of Europe did a good job getting a lot out of their time with it; they promoted Nissna DeltaWing so heavily because they wouldn't have opportunities afterward. Nissan of Europe, of course, won't fund the car racing anywhere outside of Europe, and Nissan of North America is not into motor racing and never has been.

Source of the quote is Peter M. DeLorenzo, who is very over-the-top, but he makes a lot of really great points: http://www.autoextre...6/18/fumes.html

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As for Audi, if Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard are back at Porsche, and Rinaldo Capello is done, you have a convenient three drivers leaving. If they're going back to just three cars next year, which seems to be believed (someone else would know more than I do), they already have the drivers...

Otherwise, you figure Marc Gené stays on, and then you have to find two seats to fill if both the Porsche guys are gone.

And then if you have Toyota bringing a third car next year...now it gets pretty interesting with filling seats, eh?

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I guess the one thing sports car racing does hold in its advantage is that it is definitely the cars that are the stars.

In F1 the focus is always on the drivers. There's the WCC in the background, but most fans only really care about the driver's championship. Compare that to sports cars, like at Le Mans in the GT class everyone was like "hey, it's Aston Martin racing Corvette" not "It's X driver racing Y driver" and the same at the front with the whole deal over Audi versus Toyota, and before, Audi versus Peugeot. Undoubtedly there are some star drivers as well that draw a crowd, like Tom Kristensen, Mr Le Mans, being popular in Denmark etc but it seems more than any other form of motorsport, there's more focus on the car and the brand compared to in F1 when on the whole it seems to be all about the drivers.

Audi drivers in the future? I've heard the thing about Audi scaling down to three cars next year as well, and I guess it all makes sense, seeing as the Ultras are effectively redundant in their purpose now. It would be weird if they entered those cars again seeing as a hybrid, the E-Tron Quattro, won Le Mans. The hybrid side is what the ACO and FIA are pushing for, and it the way Audi want to go as well. They only have two full time cars entered into the WEC, and both of those are E-Trons from memory. The Ultras were really only for Spa and Le Mans. So I guess it all makes sense that they'd field three E-Trons next year at Le Mans.

I keep reading comments from people saying "oh, Audi and Porsche will never end up racing each other, VW won't want it, Audi will quit to do F1" - and I just can't see that happening at all. The way I see it is that Audi is still committed long term to sports car racing, and have shown no interest in quitting to do something else, like F1. Besides, there's been comments from all sides, from Audi, Porsche, and at the very top within the VW group that say it isn't a problem. Why would it be? Two VW owned manufacturers racing just increases the chance of success, and increases media interest too. Porsche is the most successful brand ever at Le Mans with 16 out right victories. Audi is next on 11. I think however unlikely it may have seemed once, we will still see the two racing each other in '14, and Toyota should be there too. Toyota doesn't do short term motorsport projects, and despite the quite major changes for '14, I think they are in it for the long haul too.

Edited by JHS18

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Added to the Audi/Toyota seats for 2013 is the fact that Lotterer and Duval were/are actually Toyota guys. They've been racing for Toyota in the Japanese Super GT series up until recently.

That does make it very interesting if Toyota turns up with three cars and wants them back. tongue.png

Edited by JHS18

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Rumors:

HPD and Nick Wirth are committed to a coupe for 2014 and will offer it to customers that very year. Honda doing this the right way makes me so excited.

Dyson Racing might be going in a whole new direction (one that could honestly be Grand-Am). Dyson are obviously fielding Lolas, which is a rough place to be in right now, but with the Mazda LMP2 diesel engine, the little support they get from Mazda isn't likely to return. Dyson's current Mazda engine is a four-cylinder isobutanol-powered motor built by AER. Dyson owns AER now so it's really their own thing, and they therefore need funding for it. It's my favorite racing engine EVER because it's tiny and uses an obscure fuel and still packs a huge punch. I will miss it if it disappears...but between chassis and engine questions, you can see where Dyson would look elsewhere. There is a small rumor out there that they could go LMP2, either with Mazda and Bailey or with Ford (Roush-Yates) and Bailey, but with them owning AER, I figure they're not going to just idle that side of operations. That rumor would also have to tie in with ALMS re-merging LMP1 and LMP2, though Dyson did field segregated P2s at a time (but it's more from an ALMS perspective, of not wanting a one-car class).

There is a German firm interested in buying Lola Cars. No idea how serious or what parts of it (buying Lola doesn't mean doing everything Lola does today).

Viper could debut at Lime Rock, but it's not likely. Black Swan have yet to enter their home race; they were upgrading to 2012-spec, but with Lola's troubles, they may have never gotten the new bodywork. They didn't have spare parts to repair the 2011 car and figured it wasn't worth it just for one race, so they missed Laguna Seca as well. Still a few weeks for either or both to enter, and the SRT Viper will definitely be there soon.

Dr. Don Panoz is the money behind DeltaWing LLC. He also owns the ALMS. If/when it gets an engine, now you know where it races.

Duncan Dayton (Highcroft Racing) and Audi are having serious talks. It may be about DeltaWing, but it is more likely about a customer Audi P1. Audi have been dropping hints about using customer cars in 2014 and beyond to improve marketing and exploit privateers' technical freedoms. Highcroft's a good way to go...

Toyota have a desire to run their hybrid in North America (ALMS). Whether or not they act on that, I don't know.

Old news:

Grand-Am will add a third class, called GX (a rip-off of Green X Challenge), starting with the Rolex 24 in 2013. The only known rules are that all cars will be alternative fuel. Mazda will enter a 2.2L Skyactiv Diesel in...something? I believe it's production-based. Grand-Am started-and-parked their press release before they got to any details, but the traffic at the Rolex will be crazy, considering how many cars they had this year.

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Pat Patrick is back! Natural gas-powered LMPCs in 2013. This is pretty damn cool.

http://www.washingto...kqoV_story.html

LMPC is exciting now! Spec chassis still, but at least it has a purpose and use now, to contribute something to this sport. And Pat Patrick! Gosh golly this is cool guys THIS IS COOL.

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Agreed - modern day safety is fantastic, and yet there's still improvements that can be made as evidenced from the fact that drivers still get injured. Obviously motorsport will forever remain a dangerous sport and freak accidents will continue to occur, but these injuries will give the ACO and FIA something to think about. I think it is telling that for the '14 regulations they're stating they want to help increase the visibility for drivers by changing the seating position in a coupe. The visibility out of a coupe car compared to an open car is notoriously poor, as we've seen from the last two years with accidents resulting from prototype drivers perhaps having to take too many risks in traffic.

Also - a story you may have missed from last weekend. Rinaldo "Dindo" Capello is retiring from driving duties, that was his last Le Mans. There's a lot of nice guys in sports cars, but Capello is one of the nicest. It does make you wonder who Audi will replace him with though, with the possibility that someone like Dumas (Porsche factory driver) will be unavailable again. Potentially two open Audi drives in the future.

I was amazed to see Karun Chandok's team do relatively well at LM. Shame no one will ever pay him to race in F1 or offer him a pay drive again. I believe he has more talent and raw pace than Senna, for instance. Davidson's pace has never been under question. Why he never got a drive worthy of his talent in F1 surprised me. If I remember this right, Ant was well placed before the tumble. An Audi candidate? What about the long-legged Wurz?

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Wurz: rides a BMX pretty handily. Has long legs.

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HPD and Nick Wirth are committed to a coupe for 2014 and will offer it to customers that very year. Honda doing this the right way makes me so excited.

Duncan Dayton (Highcroft Racing) and Audi are having serious talks. It may be about DeltaWing, but it is more likely about a customer Audi P1. Audi have been dropping hints about using customer cars in 2014 and beyond to improve marketing and exploit privateers' technical freedoms. Highcroft's a good way to go...

Toyota have a desire to run their hybrid in North America (ALMS). Whether or not they act on that, I don't know.

Heard the thing about Nick Wirth during the race. I was writing something up, so had got the audio turned down, but I recall hearing him say something very similar, about how there's potentially work in place for '14, but he didn't specify what it could be understandably. It'd be cool to have Honda back as a manufacturer back in LMP1, and they've certainly been loyal to sports cars in the last few years with customer HPDs. There was a rumour going around during the week that Honda were actually paying really close attention to the customer team's progress (Strakka and JRM were both running HPDs) to see if any would be worthy of full Honda manufacturer support to essentially become the works Honda team. Certainly something to look out for.

That makes it quite interesting then. If you factor in what Pickett Racing were saying about running a Porsche in '14, it'd be interesting to see what they'd do, whether they'd run it in WEC, or against Audis and Toyotas (if they are going to be there) closer to home.

I was amazed to see Karun Chandok's team do relatively well at LM. Shame no one will ever pay him to race in F1 or offer him a pay drive again. I believe he has more talent and raw pace than Senna, for instance. Davidson's pace has never been under question. Why he never got a drive worthy of his talent in F1 surprised me. If I remember this right, Ant was well placed before the tumble. An Audi candidate? What about the long-legged Wurz?

The HPD is a good car, but yeah, Karun did a good job as a rookie. I think it is interesting to look at the number of ex-F1 drivers who are now viewing sports cars as a bit of an alternative to F1. This year you had Chandhok, Buemi and Nakajima all making their debuts, all did very good actually. Then there's people like Davidson, Wurz, Fisichella etc, who have been doing this for a few years now.

As Chandhok admitted this week, there's too much focus on F1 really, and quite a few guys, Chandhok in particular, have been really enjoying sports car racing. It is easier to find a good drive and it isn't as depended on bringing funds with you. With options in F1 so few and far between in F1 at the moment, that's why the sport is seeing more and more young drivers electing to go the route of sports cars rather than F1. Look at Alexander Sims, winner of the McLaren Autosport BRDC award a couple of years ago, not exactly lacking in talent, and he made his debut at Le Mans with Status in LMP2 this weekend.

I think, predictably, F1 remains the target for a lot of young drivers. Would Chandhok etc make the switch back to F1 if the chance came to do so? Possibly, but they're not as desperate to do so now they're in sports cars. A lot of drivers dream of reaching F1, but equally, they all want to make a living out of being a professional racing driver. With manufacturer interest coming back into the prototype classes, and plenty of manufacturer interest in GTs, that is possible.

As for Wurz moving to Audi? Personally, I think it is unlikely. Wurz left Peugeot to sign with Toyota even before it was official that they were withdrawing. The Davidson deal came together quite late in the day, as to start with it looked as if Toyota would only run one car at Le Mans, before the eventually confirmed a two car entry. And yes, you're right, he was doing well. His car was in third place, and the other Toyota was fighting for the lead with the #1 Audi.

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