Entries in TUDOR (4)

Monday
Oct052015

Monday Moanin' Outta My Mind

While there were plenty of story lines coming out of the 2015 18th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda, the departure of Team Falken Tire can’t be overlooked. Winners of the final American Le Mans race, the 2013 Petit Le Mans, and winners of the Inaugural TUDOR version of Petit Le Mans in 2014, it’s hard not to imagine what does the “con” side of the decision making process look like as the team and manufacturer depart from the Series.

While I have no inside information, it’s hard not to assume Falken’s decision was financial and market driven. After all, what sense does it make to throw tons of resources (both money and research and development) at a program that is immersed in a venture dominated by a competing manufacturer. Especially, when the domination is bought and paid for.

Michelin dominates the GTLM class by determination and providing a quality performance tire and a well run marketing effort. And I think the Falken people were ok with that. That’s competition. But to attempt to have a voice and capture the ear of the market place, in a Series who’s primary tire sponsor is mandated on three of the four classes… well, what’s the point?

Tires are an integral part of the competition… especially so in an endurance format of racing. Sure, it’s possible that one tire manufacture may dominate. But if it’s earned… so what?

Michelin earned the respect of fans and competitors alike during the hay-day of the ALMS. And, in the absurd weather conditions of this year’s Petit Le Mans, they earned it again putting a GT car in the overall winners circle.

For six seasons, Team Falken earned the respect of fans and competitors through their continued efforts to fight competitively and to win. Bryan Sellers, Wolf Henzler and Team Falken consistently proved they were capable with back-to-back victories at the 10-hour Petit Le Mans, as well as races as diverse as Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the city streets of the Baltimore Grand Prix. Oh, by the way, they won Baltimore twice. They brought the resources they had and they made it work. It’s fair to say, they were sometimes David to Michelin’s Goliath. Good on them…. and I can assure you, Michelin would say the same.

So… if you’ve read this far, you’ve probably figured out, I don’t like spec tires. I don’t like sponsors buying out the spirit of competition.

To the folks at Falken…. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Derek Walker and the whole Walker Racing crew… Thanks! Thanks for your perseverance, your tenacity and your allegiance to sports car racing fans. You’ll be missed!


Monday
Oct062014

IMSA and TUDOR United Sports Car Racing Begin a New Chapter at Petit Le Mans.

VIEW FULL GALLERY HERE!Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, Clap along if you know what happiness is to you. Because I’m happy…

In the spirit of consistency, my Rolex 24 review is HERE! Feel free to review it for what I thought then… and what I think 10 months later.

The weather was a cool version of spectacular and, much to the credit of tradition, the fans were out in record numbers. Whether they understood what they were watching… or even cared for that matter, remains an unanswered question. Personally, I look at the grid and even I’m confused. In fact, I’m not sure I could explain it in a way a new comer would understand.

The race, now changed to run a full 10 hours, logged a record 13 cautions. Yeah… I know.

Ricky and Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli (No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Corvette DP) won the Petit Le Mans - the 10-hour TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season finale at Road Atlanta - holding off the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP by 11.062 seconds. The trio completed 400 laps – 1,016 miles – as the brothers became the first American-born drivers to win the event overall. “It’s a great way to end the year,” Jordan Taylor said. “We’ve won the last race the last three seasons, and it’s a great trend we hope to continue. My dad won the first Petit Le Mans, so we’ve always heard about this race. He always talks highly about it, putting it up with Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, We’ve had the car to beat the last two races, so we’re definitely looking forward to next season.”

The Action Express team also clinched the TUDOR Championship team title with the waving of the green flag, and less than two hours later Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa had driven the required distance to secure the drivers’ crown. (Sebastien Bourdais completed the driver line-up at Road Atlanta.) At the eight-hour mark, the team wrapped up the $100,000 Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup team championship by leading the second segment in the competition rewarding competitors for high finishes in the four endurance races in the TUDOR Championship: the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida and Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.  “This team was unbelievable since the end of last season,” Barbosa said. “We worked all winter for the big challenge of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. It was a big task for a small team, but we had a great year. We were the only team to compete every lap in all of the races. We had eight podiums in 11 races, three great victories, and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Patrón Endurance Cup – what a great year for Action Express.”

Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Scott Dixon (No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Telcel Ford EcoBoost/Riley) finished third overall, one lap down.

Bryan Sellers, Wolf Henzler and Marco Holzer (No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR) won the GTLM class at Petit Le Mans. “Before the restart (near the end of the race), I asked and they said there were a couple of prototypes between us [and second place], so I thought maybe I’d be safe,” said Henzler, who beat Michael Christensen to the stripe by a mere 0.937 seconds. “I had three laps and I was able to keep my pace and keep him behind. He never could really attack me, but he was close.”

Michael Christensen, Patrick Long and Earl Bamber (No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR) finished second in GTLM to win the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup team championship, while Christensen and Long won the Patrón Endurance Cup driver championship. Porsche won the manufacturer championship in the four-race endurance competition, which also included the races at Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen.

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Monday
Feb032014

For the benefit of Mr. Kite There will be a show tonight on trampoline 

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The Hendersons will all be there Late of Pablo Fanque’s Fair, what a scene

With 10 days past, I’ve begun to formulate my own thoughts about this year’s running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. I’ve seen the opinions of others, and of course I’m aware of the actual race results. But with all due respect to the winners, for me, the competition… at least for this year, wasn’t the story. And… in all honesty, I’m not sure the story was really a story at all. If there’s any story, then it’s more in the form of a “to be continued….” and the cliff hanger was all but missing.

For me, the story left  me feeling suspended in limbo. Sure, the story had a plot, but I’m not convinced it thickened. It had characters, but I’m not sure they were fully developed. And the climax… well, it never happened for me.

Yes, there was an event… there was a race… it was attended by all the usual suspects with the unique scenario thrust upon us by the “merging” of the American Le Mans Series and Grand Am Racing. All the parts were there. But not unlike most Super Bowls, the product didn’t meet the hype.

To be fair, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. I understand that. I know we need to be patient. But how patient? How long? When are we going to know where this is all going? For me, there were more questions than answers.

The one question I do feel that was answered is one that leaves me very uncomfortable. There used be a joke in Detroit when Chrysler “merged” with Mercedes. It was “How do you pronounce, Damlier-Chrylser?” “The Chrysler is silent.”

Well… how do you pronounce “TUSCC?” “TSK” … in other words, the United is silent.

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