Jean-Eric Vergne embraces his win during the podium ceremonies at the CBMM Biobium Punta del Este E-Prix in Uruguay last weekend. Photo LAT/Formula E.
Punta del Este
Formula E ended the first half 2017 – 2018 season with a riveting performance in Punta del Este, Uruguay. Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne nabbed his second win, third podium of the season, after he and Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas Di Grassi had an intense battle on the track for the length of the race, even through the last lap, as Vergne was running close to 3% battery and Di Grassi continued to try to sneak around for a win. Di Grassi was unable to get around him in a pivotal turn, which earned Vergne the win and Di Grassi a second-place finish. D.S. Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird finished the podium with P3.
Di Grassi fined for Underwear
And you thought F1 penalties were humorous and odd, Formula E issued a fine to the Brazilian Audi driver Lucas Di Grassi, after his second place finish last weekend, due to wearing non-compliant underwear. The driver claimed he ran out of underwear and it was quite warm, so he opted for new shorts, which were not the compliant briefs. This little mistake cost 10,000 euros ($12,300 USD).
Rome E-Prix, April 14
F1 THEME MUSIC
Ah yes. Liberty Media is in the midst of putting together the entire package for the Formula 1 season of entertainment. To take F1 yet another step above the rest, it now joins the ranks of IndyCar and Nascar with its new theme song. The song was composed by Brian Tyler, the brain behind the music in The Expendables and Iron Man 3, which can be heard here. Give it a listen so you can form your opinion of what it is too. If not, plans for the Formula 1 race broadcasts are set to include 3-minute long plays of the song with “cinematic camera angles” of the race action.
Mercedes worries going into Aussie GP
Thoughts Mercedes might struggle against their usual front-runners in the season opener were voiced by the team earlier this week. However, following the first practice for the Australian Grand Prix (#AusGP) late Friday night (9 p.m. EST), Mercedes topped the practice times, Lewis Hamilton holding to P1 and Valtteri Bottas P2. Those impressive and quick lap times could be the set up for yet another Mercedes-dominate season. Not too far behind though was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, followed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Hopefully it’ll be more of a three-team competition, which was how the 2017 season was looking to start and of course, ended with Mercedes after Mercedes victory. But for now, Mercedes appears to have nothing to worry about.
Australian GP, March 25
Watch 1 a.m. EST on ESPN3
IndyCar will be NBC, NBCSN for 2019
Announced this week, IndyCar’s television home will be NBC and NBCSN. No longer will there be the long split in the month of May, Detroit, or the beginning of the season with ABC as it has been for quite some time. Instead, IndyCar will have a new home, and delightfully it sounds like Leigh Diffey (beloved announcer, formerly for NBCSN F1 coverage), at the helm for the season as well.
Mann to run 500 with Coyne
Dale Coyne Racing will be running a fourth car for the Indy 500, with Pippa Mann behind the wheel with the Donate for Life, Indiana as a sponsor. Mann finished 17th in the field of 33 cars during last year’s running of the 500.
Marco running Mario’s winning livery for Phoenix
Marco Andretti’s No. 98 car will be running a retro-inspired livery of his grandfather, legendary Mario Andretti’s 1993 Phoenix-winning livery for the race in Phoenix in two weeks. Instead of the K-Mart and Texaco decals of Mario’s sponsors from his car 25 years ago, Oberto will be the sponsor for the throwback paint scheme.
Phoenix Grand Prix, April 7th
Much can be said about the strange, yet also fortunate givings of the 66th Annual Mobile 1 Twelve Hours last weekend. The Tequila Patron Prototype team has a case of good luck, bad luck, as their No. 2 car was out in the first minute of the twelve-hour stint. However, the No. 22 car brought their Nissan DPI to victory with teammates Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek and Nicholas Lapierre. Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac had P2, and Rolex 24 third-place contenders, in the No. 31 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPI, finished P3 in the Prototype category.
GTLM did not see a Corvette or a Ford GT take the win or even a podium finish last weekend. Instead that honorable spot belonged to the No. 911 Porsche GT Team’s Porsche 911 RSR with Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet, Frederic Makowiecki. The No. 25 Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMW M8 GTLM and the other Porsche GT Team member, the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, rounded out the podium.
And the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 landed the GTD category P1 finish with Corey Lewis, Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow. This puts the unlikely manufacturer at the top of the competition, with 70 points in the Manufacturer standings, after the No. 11 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 landed the Rolex 24 win in January. Last year’s GTD championship winner, the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 finished P2, and P3 was earned by the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3.
You can follow up on the rest of the Twelve Hours of Sebring results on Motorsport.com.
Grand Prix at Long Beach, April 13 & 14