Friday, November 11, 2011

2012 World Endurance Championship

 The 2012 World Endurance Championship (WEC) Calendar was unveiled to the public at a press conference today at Zhuhai, China. The newly formed world championship for endurance racing will be comprised of eight rounds, and they are as follows:

  • 17 March 2012 - 12 Hours of Sebring (Sebring Raceway, USA)
  • 2 May 2012 - 6 Hours of Spa (Spa Francorchamps, Belgium)
  • 3 June 2012 - LeMans Testing (LeMans, France)
  • 16 / 17 June 2012 - 80th Running of the 24 Hours of LeMans (LeMans, France)
  • 15 August 2012 - 6 Hours of Silverstone (Silverstone, UK)
  • 16 September 2012 - 6 Hours of Sao Paolo (Brazil)
  • 30 September 2012 - 6 Hours of Mount Fuji (Japan)
  • 20 October 2012 - 6 Hours of Bahrain (Bahrain)
  • 11 November 2012 - 6 Hours of TBA (China)

The formation of the WEC will effectively take over the short-lived Intercontinental LeMans Cup starting next year. A venue for the China round in November has yet to be chosen at the time of the announcement.

Meanwhile, Peugeot Sport continued to dominate the timesheets during free practice on Saturday. Sebastien Bourdais and Anthony Davidson took the baton of fastest lap time from teammates Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin, clocking in at 1:22.397 around the Zhuhai circuit. The Saturday Free Practice session was prematurely concluded when the PTRS Racing Formula LeMans Prototype made contact on the front straight, bringing out the red flag and ending the session early.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Danica Patrick: Las Vegas Tribute was Randy Bernard's Idea

Danica Patrick revealed the idea of a 5-Lap Tribute Salute to Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway came from IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard

Speaking during the Friday Press Conference at Texas Motor Speedway, Patrick gave details on what went on during the drivers meeting prior to the official announcement of Wheldon’s passing.

'We came into the drivers meeting room after we had been told that Dan had passed away, and it was a discussion about, "what do we do? Do we go out there?"' Patrick recounted. 'There were all kinds of conversations about how to race and 2 to 3 wide and trying to restrict things. It was just a very complicated conversation.'

'But Randy did come in and said "Look, you guys can’t think straight right now. I’m going to make this decision. You’re going to go out and you’re going to do a 5-lap tribute, and we’re not going to run today." That was good because after a day like that, it’s probably true we couldn’t think straight. The 5 Lap Tribute was nice to do. It was emotional, but it was nice to do.'

Patrick is competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend driving in the #7 GoDaddy / Dan Wheldon Memorial Car.  She was especially proud of the special paint scheme, which featured Wheldon’s signature ‘Lionheart’ Decal emblazoned across the hood of the Chevrolet powered machine.

'It feels comforting in a way, to be honest,' Patrick said.  'When they popped the hood open and they work on the car, to see "Lionheart" while I’m sitting in my car waiting for changes, it’s a cool thing. It’s a privilege.'

Patrick will donate her prize money from this weekend to the Dan Wheldon Memorial Foundation. She will also auction off her specially designed Wheldon memorial helmet to the charity auction spearheaded by IndyCar driver Graham Rahal. 'My hope is that we can do everything possible to come together to honour Dan, and to support Susie (Wheldon) and the kids.'

Patrick also said the three week break between the IndyCar finale in Las Vegas and the NASCAR race this weekend made it easier to cope with getting behind the wheel of a race car again.

'It was really nice to just have a couple of weeks off and create some space between that weekend and those emotions, and getting back out on the race track again.'

'It’s a tragedy, and it’s terrible, but hopefully everyone can learn and be safer from it. I have dealt with something like this before, and it’s never easy.'