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Archive for September, 2013

Dan WellsDan Wells and Investors Ltd places Dan in Formula Masters China for remainder of 2013 Season.

British Racing Driver Dan Wells has announced that he will be competing with Asian motorsport force Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG in the final round of the Formula Masters China Series this year, along with the non-Championship Macau GP event. Dan finished as Vice Champion in the 2012 equivalent series with 3 victories and 9 podiums, and after much hard work by his management team, and the formation of Dan Wells and Investors Ltd, his new company, he has been able to put a program together.

DWI’s Chairman and Driver Manager Ian Phillips has a wealth of knowledge and experience gained from his key positions at Jordan Grand Prix; and more recently, Force India F1 teams.

“I came to hear of Dan as a result of a chance meeting between Dan’s father and an associate of mine in Hong Kong. It resulted in Dan coming to the UK for an evaluation, such was the report and as a result of our meetings I decided to get on board with DWI and was delighted when asked to be chairman. He has the raw driver talent and the determination, courage and commitment required to utilise it.”
Dan will hope to return to winning ways igniting the old partnership with his engineer Andrew Winsall, before looking to a step up to Japanese F3 in the 2014 season.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be able to announce my participation in the rest of FCMS, especially Macau, which is my favourite circuit. It is a testimony to all the hard work everyone has put in, especially my main sponsor Start JG, who have been my partners since my arrival in Hong Kong in the middle of last year. I’m looking forward to getting back into the car and competing at the sharp end”.

John O’Hara, KCMG Deputy Managing Director, commented: “We’re happy to welcome Dan back to the team this season. With the success that we’ve achieved in Formula Pilota last year, the team is looking forward to have Dan in the car. We are confident that his comeback will produce strong results in the series.”

Seb MorrisGinetta Ambassador Seb Morris secured his ninth podium of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship season during the final event of the year at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 28th/29th September, on his way to a coveted top three finish in the 2013 driver standings.

Although the visit to the East Midlands turned into something of a mixed bag of results for Seb, the 17-year-old’s charge hampered by a puncture in round 23 and contact in round 24, he still produced three typically determined race performances.

Sporting a newly designed crash helmet, sponsored by Warrington-based Cable Systems Limited, the Marford youngster began the opening encounter on Saturday, round 22, from fourth on the grid and he maintained the position during the early going before grabbing third at the end of lap two.

Initially running within just one second of the runner-up spot, the Hillspeed driver showed good pace but soon started to come under pressure himself for third. Holding firm, despite the close attention, Seb defended well to get the weekend off to a positive start with podium number nine of the year.

Lining-up sixth on the ‘reverse grid’ for the first of Sunday’s two contests, the British Racing Drivers’ Club ‘Rising Star’ climbed into fifth place on the opening lap and then moved up into fourth on lap two as just a couple of seconds covered the lead quartet.

Edged back to fifth again on the next lap, Seb regained fourth soon after but any hope of fighting for another podium went awry when a puncture resulted in a significant loss of pace. Even so, the Welsh racer expertly coped with the problem and managed to bring his car home in eighth place for some crucial championship points.

Determined to end the season on a high with a strong finish in round 24, the Loughborough College student’s hopes were dashed on the first lap at Melbourne Hairpin when contact from Jack Barlow dropped Seb to the tail of the field after a spin. Recovering as well as he possibly could, Seb battled back through into the top 10 – vitally securing enough points to seal third in the title race.

“We’ve had a positive year, a lot of podiums but we haven’t had the car to challenge really and that’s what it’s been down to”, said Morris, “The first race this weekend was alright, in the second race we had the puncture, unfortunately, halfway through and I was wiped out in race three which wasn’t the end to the season we were obviously hoping for.

“I’ve proven my pace this year and what I can do, so now it’s all about looking forward to next year and getting our plans in place. I’ve enjoyed being part of F4 in its first season, finishing the year third in the championship isn’t what we wanted but it’s not bad and we’ve had some good races.”

The final three rounds of the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship will be screened on ITV4 and ITV4 HD at 18.00 next Sunday, 6th October.

Final 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship Standings:
3rd Seb Morris, 380pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Felix RosenqvistFelix Rosenqvist fought back in the fight for the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship title by claiming the maximum 75 points on offer – and winning twice – at Zandvoort this weekend.

Rosenqvist once again proved to be the man to beat at the Dutch venue – where he won the Masters of Formula 3 for a second time earlier in the year – as he blitzed the 27-car field to score two pole positions in Friday qualifying; one of them by a margin of more than four tenths. The Swede then finished second in the first race of the weekend, but was handed the maximum score of 25 points as he came home behind non-championship runner Daniil Kvyat – before going on to convert pole position into victory in both of the remaining races at the meeting.

Further underlining his pace, Rosenqvist notched up the fastest lap of both races two and three, while simultaneously bettering his own 2012 FIA Formula 3 European Championship lap record.

Rosenqvist’s Dutch performance means he has now reduced the deficit to championship rival Raffaele Marciello (Italy) from 72.5 to just 9.5 points, setting up an ultra-dramatic chase for the title with 150 points still up for grabs in the two remaining rounds of the campaign. Marciello and Rosenqvist are now more than 120 points clear of third-placed Alex Lynn in the standings.

“An absolutely incredible weekend; Zandvoort certainly is the place for me,” Felix Rosenqvist says. “I did not expect to go away from here less than ten points adrift of the championship lead, and the outcome of this weekend has put us firmly back in the title hunt once more. We’ve scored the maximum 75 points on offer, won two out of three races, topped qualifying and set two fastest laps and a new lap record – it certainly could have been a lot worse! Big, big thanks to the entire team at Mücke Motorsport for giving me such a great car this weekend. We now have to redirect our focus towards the final two rounds of the season, and we have to work as hard as we humanly can to try and maintain this form in Italy and Germany.”

The penultimate round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season will be staged at the Italian circuit of Vallelunga – a new acquaintance for Rosenqvist – on October 11-13. The finale takes place at Hockenheim (Germany) a week later.

Photo by Mattias Persson / Motorsport Publication.

Ryan Verra continued Alliance Autosport’s perfect win record in the 2013 USF2000 National Class Presented by SCCA Enterprises by winning both races at the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The event started off well with Verra running over 80 trouble free laps over the three test sessions and official practice session, getting faster and more consistent each session out. In qualifying, Verra laid down a very fast time on Lap 3 which would not beat.

In Race 1, Verra started the Alliance Autosport No. 25 Capto Scientia/Enemy Sport/Toshi/Cancer Research Society entry from the pole position. He had a very good start and was able to open up a small gap to his closest competitor, fellow Canadian James Dayson. By mid-race Dayson had closed the gap and was applying constant pressure to. Verra, however, ran mistake-free the entire race and opened up another gap towards the end to pick up his first career USF2000 National Class victory.

For Race 2, the grid was set by fastest lap times in Race 1 which meant Verra would again start from the pole position. He had another solid start and once again was able to maintain the lead and hold off multiple passing attempts by Dayson. Verra maintained the lead after a late race restart and went on to pick up his second win of the weekend.

“Ryan drove incredibly well all weekend,” stated Alliance Autosport Team Owner Scott Rettich. “He went faster each session out and didn’t put a wheel wrong the entire event. It was awesome to see him not only come away with one win, but win both races! I know he learned a few more things this weekend and gained confidence that will make him even stronger in Houston.”

“During the practices I was able to find some good speed in the fast corners which I carried into the races and used to maintain the lead and come away with the wins,” stated Verra. “It felt amazing to come away with my first wins in the USF2000 National Class in the Mazda Road to Indy. I’m more ready than ever to tackle the streets of Houston in October.”

Peter DempseyPeter Dempsey’s run with Belardi Auto Racing will come to a premature close following the news that the team will lack sufficient sponsorship to field the Freedom 100 winner’s campaign at the last two races.

Dempsey and Belardi Auto Racing proudly claimed their first victories together in an unforgettable win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, and Dempsey’s intent to complete his first full season with the team in the Firestone Indy Lights series looked promising.

With just two races to go, the Irish racer lies fifth in the championship and is mathematically still in contention for the title. Despite the possibility, the team felt the odds of becoming the 2013 champions were slim, and the shortage of proper funding weighed in heavier in the decision of whether or not to finish out the season.

“It’s been a pleasure to have Peter with us this season,” said Team Owner Brian Belardi. “He has been a great asset to our team this year on and off the track. I saw a lot of potential in him last year in the races that he ran with us, and I knew with his determination he would find success on the podium with our team, just as he did at the Freedom 100 this year. That incredible finish marked history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I couldn’t be happier to say he and Belardi Auto Racing both got their first Indy Lights victories there. I enjoyed having him with us this year and I wish him all the best of luck in the rest of his career.”

“It’s very disappointing to not be in a position to finish out the championship with Belardi Auto Racing,” said Dempsey. “However, I do fully understand the unfortunate reasons for their decision. Motorsport is an expensive sport and things like this happen all the time. I’ve really enjoyed the last year with the team. Brian [Belardi] gave me the biggest opportunity anyone has ever given me, and that’s something I will never forget.

“During our time together, we had a lot of success, winning the Freedom 100 and achieving multiple podiums. I worked as hard as I could for the team and brought them the best season they’ve had in the series, and I’m very proud to be a part of that. I now feel that I am more prepared than ever for IndyCar, and I would never have gotten to this point without Belardi Auto Racing. I wish Brian and the team all the best, and I hope they can have more success in the near future.”

Dempsey remains focused on advancing to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2014 and is working hard to raise the necessary sponsorship to earn his seat.

McIntyre & LesterJohn McIntyre will once again pair with young Kiwi endurance specialist Jono Lester for the three round V8SuperTourers Endurance Championship.

Currently 7th in overall points, the 2012 Sprint Champions JMR have shown plenty of speed during the 2013 season but have been the victim of on-track incidents that have cost numerous podium finishes. McIntyre and his Taupo-based team are looking to the nine race ‘Enduro Series’ both to move forward on the overall Championship, and aim for high honours in the Endurance Championship also.

“Although these races are called enduros, they are effectively sprint races with a pitstop,” McIntyre commented.

“We will need the same fast pace we had at round one and for both drivers to put in fast but consistent performances over the three races.

“Jono has had laps in the car this year and due to his busy driving schedule is very race fit and is adapting well to the V8ST style.”

23-year old Lester is enthusiastic about the team’s chances in the 2013 V8 SuperTourers Enduro Series;

“The JMR team have displayed great speed throughout the 2013 season so far and I’m excited to again join the team after our two Taupo Podiums.”

“JMR are a well-oiled machine and we have continuity on our side. The key to success over the nine races will be consistency and keeping out of trouble. If we can combine that with the speed we know the #47 has then we will be on the right track!”

With Lester fresh from leading the Super Taikyu Series in Japan and McIntyre winning the South Island Endurance Series opener at Invercargill last weekend, the pair are looking forward to pushing the #47 Blackwooks Protector Falcon to the front at Hampton Downs.

The V8SuperTourer action commences on Saturday with two 45-minute practice sessions, followed by individual qualifying and a 36 lap race. The stars of Australasian motorsport will hit the track again on Sunday for two races of 56 laps each.

The weekend will feature same-day television coverage on TV3′s CRC Motorsport, from 03:00pm to 05:30pm this Sunday, September 29.

Jono LesterKiwi endurance driver Jono Lester is disappointed not to have capitalised on a strong qualifying performance for the PETRONAS Syntium Team at Suzuka, finishing fourth in his race at the penultimate round of the 2013 Super Taikyu Series.

After scoring the team’s second pole position of the season alongside Tatsuya Kataoka, Lester lined up in third on the grid for the opening race.

A frantic start saw the top four cars immediately locked in battle, rarely separated by more than a few inches as crowds were witness to one of the most enthralling tussles in the history of Super Taikyu, until the interjection of a lengthy safety car period part-way into the 40-minute race.

With lapped traffic separating Lester from the leaders, the 23-year old, Takapuna based driver lost out at the restart in a drag-race to the first corner with the #81 GTNET Nissan GT-R of Takayuki Aoki.

From there, with a handful of laps remaining, a challenge for the final podium spot was unsuccessful and a despondent Lester settled for fourth place.

“I’m incredibly disappointed to not be able to translate our pace into a strong result today,” Lester said.

“There was some questionable driving out there and playing by the rules ended up working against me. In such a tight championship battle we need every point, so our job just got a little bit harder for the final round at Autopolis.”

Damage limitation on Sunday came in the form of a brilliant win from Kataoka, followed up by another for Fariqe Hairuman to set up an exciting final round with just 6.5 points separating Car #28 from points leader, sister SLS AMG GT3 #1.

“The boys performed flawlessly on Sunday and kept our hopes alive. Autopolis is going to be a nail biter!”

The final round of the 2013 Super Taikyu Series takes place at Autopolis on November 09-10.

Lester returns to New Zealand overnight to prepare for the first of three endurance races that make up the V8 SuperTourers Endurance Series. He will again be paired with John McIntyre against a stellar field of Australasian motorsport stars.

The following weekend both Lester and McIntyre will join Fastway Racing for the Christchurch round of the 2013 SIERDC at Ruapuna, a 3-hour race driving a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup alongside Simon Ellingham.

Lester is supported throughout the 2013 season by key partners including Vortex Racewear, Lero Global, R Redpath Limited, OPTI-Flex, Fastway Couriers, Robbie Bird Wines, CRC MotorNews.co.nz, Mako Networks, iSign it, Sony New Zealand, Sony Xplod, ThrillPledge and Webdesign.

More details about Jono and his season can be found at www.jonolester.com, or by following ‘Jono Lester’ on Facebook, @jonolester on Twitter and @jono_lester on Instagram. Join the conversation using the hashtag #flyingkiwi on social media platforms.

Follow the action from your smartphone by downloading the free Jono Lester app, simply by visiting http://jonolester.appguppy.com from your iPhone or Android device.

Photo by PETRONAS Syntium Team.

Seb Morris - Formula 4Welsh racing driver Seb Morris says he will fight tooth and nail in his bid to become the inaugural BRDC Formula 4 Champion at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit next weekend, 28th/29th September, during the final three races of the 2013 season.

Despite going into the event more than 50 points shy of the championship lead, the Ginetta Ambassador is confident he still has a genuine and realistic chance of claiming his fourth car racing title in as many years.

Ahead of the season finale, the Marford 17-year-old is third in the standings with eight podiums to his credit. Working incredibly hard all season to achieve his first win, when the victory finally came at Snetterton last time out Seb was stripped of the result due to a perceived issue with the gurney flap on the rear wing of his car being ‘non-compliant’ with the technical manual.

Disagreeing with the decision of the series officials, Seb and his Hillspeed team protested the exclusion to the MSA [Motor Sports Association] but the hearing is unlikely to take place until after the final race meeting. Therefore, the Loughborough College student heads into rounds 22, 23 and 24 some 53 points away from the top of the table when it could have been just 18 points.

“It’s a bit weird going into Donington not actually knowing where we are with the appeal and what the outcome will be”, said the British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star, “I’m aiming really high though, regardless, and I’ll be fighting to try and win this championship next weekend.

“Race wins are the only aim really and I’m confident we’ll have the pace to challenge for them. We can still overturn the lead [Jake] Hughes has at the top of the championship, all it takes is a DNF for him in the first race and then the whole title picture could change.”

Qualifying strongly will be more important than ever for the championship finale to give Seb the very best chance of overcoming the odds. Therefore, unlocking a good set-up during the pre-event test at Donington next Thursday, 26th September, will be crucial to his chances.

“We’ve only had one day in the car at Donington so we have got limited experience compared to some of the others”, he added, “The pre-race test will be highly important and I’m confident we’ll be able to find a good set-up and balance for the race weekend.

“I’ve never been at this end of things before, each year I’ve been leading a championship going into the last rounds so this is a new position to be in. I’ll do my bit, push as hard as I can and just see what happens.”

Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit qualifying will take place at 09.35 on Saturday, 28th September, with round 22 set to follow at 16.00. Rounds 23 and 24 will be contested on Sunday, 29th September, at 10.00 and 14.30 respectively.

Provisional 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship Standings (after Rd21):
3rd Seb Morris, 344pts

Photo Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Jono LesterKiwi endurance driver Jono Lester is excited at the prospect of a return to the famous Suzuka circuit for the penultimate round of the 2013 Super Taikyu Series.

On a weekend that supports the World Touring Car Championship, Super Taikyu will again adopt the sprint race format that was trialed with success at South Korea’s Inje Speedium early in the season.

Three 40-minute sprint races will see each driver complete a full race to contribute to an overall points haul. With the pair of PETRONAS Syntium Team Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 now equal at the head of the points table, the importance of three strong Suzuka performances is critical to Lester’s chances of claiming the overall title.

“Suzuka will be the most important round of the season so far,” Lester commented.

“With that in mind, I’m glad this is the circuit where the pressure is on. I won here last year and the car is never better than on tracks of this nature, so I’m confident in an all-round strong performance from #28 to set up the final showdown at Autopolis in November.”

With much of his career to date in sprint racing, Lester has thrived in this format in Super Taikyu over the last two season, winning at Suzuka last season and again at Korea early in 2013 as part of a #28 clean sweep at the Inje Speedium.

“The early years in Porsche Cups have put me in good stead for sprint racing. Some of my toughest races were just 20 or 30 minutes long and the intensity is certainly a lot higher in that environment.

“The margin for error, on the flipside, is a lot lower! We need to ensure no mistakes and – best case scenario – three from three with Fariqe [Hairuman] and “TK” [Tatsuya Kataoka] both on top form after their recent win at Okayama.”

Immediately after Suzuka, Lester returns to New Zealand for the first of three endurance races that make up the V8 SuperTourers Endurance Series. He will again be paired with John McIntyre against a stellar field of Australian motorsport stars.

The following weekend both Lester and McIntyre will join Fastway Racing for the Christchurch round of the 2013 SIERDC at Ruapuna, a 3-hour race driving a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup alongside Simon Ellingham.

Lester is supported throughout the 2013 season by key partners including Vortex Racewear, Lero Global, R Redpath Limited, OPTI-Flex, Fastway Couriers, Robbie Bird Wines, CRC MotorNews.co.nz, Mako Networks, iSign it, Sony New Zealand, Sony Xplod, ThrillPledge and Webdesign.

More details about Jono and his season can be found at www.jonolester.com, or by following ‘Jono Lester’ on Facebook, @jonolester on Twitter and @jono_lester on Instagram. Join the conversation using the hashtag #flyingkiwi on social media platforms.

Follow the action from your smartphone by downloading the free Jono Lester app, simply by visiting http://jonolester.appguppy.com from your iPhone or Android device.

Photo by PETRONAS Syntium Team.

PS RacingZhuhai International Circuit, Zhuhai ChinaWith the 2013 Asia Formula Renault series winding down the season, the competition amongst teams and drivers remains tight. Last weekend’s AFR Rounds 7&8, part of Zhuhai International Circuit’s huge Pan Delta Race Festival, had an attendance of over 20,000 fans as well as live TV for all events.

Formula Renault teams at the ZIC had Official Practice on Friday, with PS Racing driver Sunny Wong of Hong Kong setting the 3rd fastest time in OP1 and 4th fastest in OP2. In qualifying, Wong took 5th but American Pete Olson a disappointing 9th after starting to get up to speed late in the session just before a red flag came out for a car stopped on track. PSR’s AFR rookie Neric Wei was 12th of 18, doubling up on his race weekend by competing in both the Circuit Hero events in a Honda DC5, as well as AFR.

Wong got off to a strong start in Saturday afternoon’s Round 7, spending most of the race having a thrilling televised battle with Alex Asmasoebrata which resulted in a half dozen position swaps, with Wong finishing 6th. Olson got a wheel-spinning start and initially dropped to 11th but then fought up four positions in ten laps to finish 7th overall, with Neric Wei 11th overall but taking 3rd on the podium in the Asian Class.

In Sunday’s Round 8, Olson got off to a fantastic start while Wong stalled, with Olson moving up to finish 4th just off the podium and Wong making an incredible charge up the field to battle back from 17th to 7th in just ten laps.

After the races, Olson and Wong were interviewed by Deutsche Presse-Agentur for a radio interview about PS Racing’s promotion of ‘Racing for Children’ with ChildFund International, where the drivers and team use the popularity of auto racing to spread publicity about the worldwide charity [http://www.ChildFund.org]

urrently, with the 2-race points drop, Olson is tied for 3rd for driver’s points in AFR’s top International Category with himself and Asmasoebrata at 74 points each, and PS Racing’s AFR rookie Neric Wei currently 4th overall in the Asian Category. PS Racing currently stands a close 2nd overall in team standings by just two points. The 2013 Asia Formula Renault series will come to its dramatic conclusion on December 21-22 with Rounds 9&10.

For more information visit PS Racing on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PSRacingChampions, or the team website at http://www.pekkasaarinen.info.