INTERNATIONAL
Friday, Sep 20 06:00pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Keeping up with the Kiwis, your guide to the action: September 20–23

There’s a lot on this weekend in all facets of racing around the world, with two big-name Kiwi drivers fighting for a title.

 

Single seaters. Sports cars. Touring Cars. There's a bit of everything for everyone to enjoy. Scott Dixon, Hunter McElrea and Nick Cassidy headline the action all around the world. 

 

Scott

Scott Dixon

What: NTT IndyCar Series

Where: Laguna Seca, USA

When: R SUN 6:30AM

How to follow: SKY Sport | Live Timing

 

It seems like an insurmountable task, but Scott Dixon could come out the other side of this weekend as a six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion.

It’ll be tough, there’s no questioning that. With one round to go Dixon has an 85-point deficit to series leader Josef Newgarden, who for all money is an odds on favourite to win the title.

Alexander Rossi and the seemingly infallible Simon Pagenaud are playing rear gunner in second and third respectively with Dixon mathematically in the hunt down in fourth.

To win it, absolutely everything will have to go right for Dixon and absolutely everything has to go wrong for the other three contenders.

So how exactly can he do it?

Simply put, Dixon has to win. That’s the first major hurdle to overcome. Then Newgarden has to finish 23rd or worse. Bear in mind there are only 24 cars on the grid. That’s a tough ask too given Newgarden hasn’t finished worse than 19th all season. Though stranger things have happened. Rossi and Pagenaud have to finish sixth or worse as well.

Also, Dixon can't lose any bonus points to any of the other three title contenders. He’ll have a tiebreaker over both Rossi (with more wins) and Pagenaud, (same wins, more seconds) if he takes out the race. However, that’s not the case with Newgarden (fewer wins), which may mean taking pole position, most laps led, and fastest lap of the race (all an extra point) are worth it.

That’s Dixon sorted. On the other side of the draw, Newgarden has to just finish fourth to clinch his second title for Team Penske. He can finished fifth depending on how bonus points play out.

For Rossi or Pagenaud to win the championship, Newgarden must finish sixth or worse if they win the race.

Interestingly the average finish on road courses this year for Newgarden, Rossi and Pagenaud is 7.2, 7.5 and 8.5.

The final round of the NTT IndyCar Series takes place at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend.

 

CLICK HERE to see all the possibilities

 

Hunter

Hunter McElrea

What: USF2000 Championship

Where: Laguna Seca, USA

When: R1 SUN 11:55AM | R2 MON 5:25AM

How to follow: Road to Indy Live Stream 

 

The stage is set for the closest Road to Indy title-chase of all, in USF2000, with California-born, Australian-raised New Zealander Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) having eked out a slender six-point edge over Braden Eves (Cape Motorsports), from New Albany, Ohio.

 

That there is even any doubt about who will win the coveted Road to Indy Scholarship, valued at over  $300,000 to ensure graduation to Indy Pro 2000 in 2020, speaks volumes for the tenacity of McElrea, who with five of the season’s 15 races in the books trailed his rival by a whopping 44 points.

 

Eves had picked up the gauntlet laid down by 2018 champion Kirkwood by winning the first four races on the bounce for Cape Motorsports, which, impressively, has claimed the last eight USF2000 drivers’ titles in a row.

 

But fellow rookie McElrea finished on the podium in all four of those races. He then claimed an emotional breakthrough maiden victory at Pabst Racing’s home track, Road America, in June. More recently McElrea, 19, has claimed three consecutive wins of his own, at Mid-Ohio and Portland, to elevate himself to status of hunted, rather than hunter, heading into this weekend’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products.

 

But Eves, 20, bounced back from a sticky mid-season to claim a pair of runner-up finishes in Oregon to keep himself firmly in contention. It promises to be an intriguing battle between two very talented youngsters.

 

Words / USF2000

 

Liam

Liam Lawson

What: Euroformula Open Championship

Where: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain

When: R SUN 1:15AM | R MON 2:00AM

How to follow: Euroformula Open Live Stream

 

The Euroformula Open championship returns to its spiritual home of Iberia this weekend at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where a new champion could be crowned.

 

Motopark’s Marino Sato leads Teo Martín Motorsport’s Lukas Dunner by 106 points heading to Barcelona, with 108 available in the remaining four races.

 

Even before the end of the season, the Japanese has already climbed a further ladder in the formulae pyramid, as he took part to the last two rounds of the Formula 2 championship with former EFO team Campos Racing and impressing in front of the Formula 1 paddock. Having missed the Silverstone round, Sato is back to the Euroformula with a ‘job to finish’ mission.  

 

Joining him at Motopark are Red Bull juniors Liam Lawson and Yuki Tsunoda, currently third and fourth in the standings, and the most recent recruits of the German squad, Cameron Das and Niklas Krutten.

 

Austria’s Lukas Dunner is set to be leading the charge for Teo Martín Motorsport on the team’s home race and will fight to secure runner-up honours in case Sato takes the title.

 

Teo Martín isn’t the only Spanish team in the field, with Drivex School fielding Rui Andrade and returning to the 4.65km circuit where it showed impressive testing form pre-season.

 

British team Carlin has expanded its line-up to five cars, with Pau Grand Prix winner Billy Monger, Nicolai Kjaergaard (who both shone at Silverstone with very solid results), Christian Hahn and Honda junior Teppei Natori being joined by Formula 4 racer Ido Cohen.

 

Words / Euroformula Open

 

Will

Will Bamber

What: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia

Where: Marina Bay, Singapore

When: R1 SAT 8:45PM | R2 SUN 8:45PM

How to follow: No Live Streaming Available

 

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia gears up for its penultimate stop at the breathtaking Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore alongside the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.

 

Singapore first hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2008, and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia has served as a support race every year since. This thrilling circuit is considered by many to be one of the season highlights. With 21 turns and several fast straights, the track passes by some of Singapore’s most famous landmarks and even passes beneath one of the spectator grandstands.

 

Philip Hamprecht currently sits atop the overall leaderboard. With 160 points, Hamprecht is 15

points clear of his closest rival Martin Ragginger from Porsche Holding.

 

With four races left in the season, Ragginger is going to have to put in a perfect performance if he hopes to claw back some points from his rival Hamprecht.

 

Meanwhile, with 140 points, Team Giltrap Group’s Will Bamber is himself a mere five points behind Ragginger. With a grand total of just 20 points separating the top three places, the final four races of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2019 Season are set to be a show-stopping showdown.

 

As Marina Bay is a street circuit, the punishing reality remains: one mistake and it could be all over. If any one of our top drivers slip up on this circuit it could see his championship chances disappear in an instant.

 

However, with the scores so tight at this late point in the season, this is no time for strategically careful driving. Each of our top three are going to have to pull out all the stops to try and secure a victory at Marina Bay if they hope to secure an overall victory at the end of the season.

 

Words / Carrera Cup Asia 

 

Nick

Nick Cassidy

What: Autobacs SUPER GT Series

Where: Sportsland SUGO, Japan

When: R SUN 5:00PM

How to followMotorsport.tv Live Stream

 

Sportsland SUGO race has been providing numerous scenes of fierce battle along its history, but this year the intensity will probably get even higher than any other years since the coefficient of the handicap weight will be a half of previous round due to the event being scheduled as the seventh round of the season.

 

Intensity is also building up in the title contention, and we may see a new champion rising at upcoming race. Dramatic race with increased tension has always been an allure to the fans of motorsports and next race is certainly no different.

 

There are only two races remaining in this season including upcoming Round 7 SUGO which means the championship is entering one of the most exciting and critical point of the season.

 

Current leader of the point ranking is No.6 WAKO'S 4CR LC500 (Kazuya Oshima / Kenta Yamashita) who won Round 4 Thai and Round 5 Fuji back to back.

 

Right behind No.6 car is another two LC500s, No.37 KeePer TOM'S LC500 (Ryo Hirakawa / Nick Cassidy) and previous Autopolis winner No.39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD LC500 (Heikki Kovalainen / Yuichi Nakayama), second and third in the point ranking, respectively.

 

Both No.37 and No.39 cars are a former champion, 2017 and 2016, respectively, and it will not be surprising to see both experienced teams drawing up a strategy for last two races of the season already.

 

However, given the point gap against No.6 car, they must finish in front of their rivals at SUGO to reduce the gap. From No.6 car's point view, however, the team just want to avoid finishing the race with no points and move on to the final round with as much advantage as possible over other teams behind them. Thus, they may just concentrate on finishing the race safely at Round 7 SUGO.

 

Furthermore, if the teams in the top group of the point ranking end up with no points and No.6 car finishes on podium, then the title winner will be decided at SUGO. Considering how the point leading team has been constant in last three races, the chances are quite high.

 

For No.38 ZENT CERUMO LC500 (Yuji Tachikawa / Hiroaki Ishiura) at fourth in the point ranking, they would at least need a podium finish plus No.6 car finishing at seventh or below position for capturing the title since the point deficit is large. In other words, the team must come in with strong determination to take pole and then keep the leading position from the start to the finish line.

 

Words / SUPER GT

 

Andre

Andre Heimgartner & Chris Pither

What: TCR Australia Series

Where: Sandown Raceway, Australia

When: R1 SAT 3:10PM | R2 SUN 2:15PM | R3 SUN 3:20PM

How to follow: Shannons Live Stream

 

Wall Racing is calling in the big guns as it aims to end the formidable Will Brown and Hyundai combination in the 2019 carsales TCR Australia Series.

 

The Sydney-based team is importing Argentinian Nestor Girolami – one of Honda’s leading global driving stars – for the penultimate round at Sandown Raceway next weekend.

 

Girolami will drive Wall Racing’s no.38 Honda Civic Type R, recently driven by Tim Brook at Winton Raceway.

 

Girolami is currently fourth in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup, driving a Civic Type R TCR for series leaders ALL-INKL.com Munnich Motorsport. He has taken three race wins this year.

 

The deal has been put together by Wall Racing and JAS Motorsport, the official constructors of the Civic Type R TCR cars, who will support Girolami with an engineer to ensure they get the most out of the visit.

 

The timing of having an experienced, international TCR driver could not have come at a better time for Wall Racing, with its lead driver Tony D’Alberto third in the series standings, but a sizeable  145 points behind runaway Hyundai star Brown.

 

Girolami has a decorated touring car career, having won the Súper TC2000 touring car championship in Argentina in 2014 and 2015. He has also enjoyed success with Volvo and Peugeot, but has recently found his home at Honda.

 

The Sandown weekend kicks off on Friday with two practice sessions, followed by qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday and Races 2 and Race3 on Sunday.

 

All races are broadcast live, free and in HD on SBS, as well as the livestream.

 

Super3

Madeline Stewart

What: Kumho Tyre Super3 Series

Where: Sandown Raceway

When: R1 SAT 2:05PM | R2 SUN 6:35PM | R3 SUN 5:05PM

How to follow: Shannons Live Stream

 

Four young stars of Australian motorsport will battle for the overall championship, while the Kumho Cup for Pro-Am drivers is also wide open with four drivers also in contention for the ‘race within a race’.

 

Just 11 points separate leader Broc Feeney and Jayden Ojeda, who has won the last three rounds.

 

Matt White Racing duo Hamish Ribarits (-58 points) and Zak Best (-73 points) both remain well in contention with 143 points up for grabs across three races this weekend.

 

The Kumho series has fielded consistently strong grids across a five-round 2019 campaign, with the Sandown round to feature more of the same.

 

While all the title-contending and front-running series regulars return, Joel Heinrich will make his second Super3 series start fresh from a promising debut at The Bend Motorsport Park last time out.

 

Also returning is young-gun Matt McLean, who impressed across the opening two rounds of the series earlier this year – including a season-best finish of fourth in the final race at Winton in May.

 

McLean returns with former series champions Image Racing this weekend, once again driving an FG Ford Falcon.

 

Emily Duggan, who finished sixth in the same wild Winton race, will also return having also missed the two most recent rounds of the series. Sandown was the scene of Duggan’s Super3 series debut in 2016.

 

Meanwhile, experienced racer Dean Lillie will fulfil a career-long dream by making his first Super3 series start, aboard a car with notable Supercars series history as well.

 

Lillie, who via his Ravage Raceworks business prepares and runs Jim Pollicina’s Kumho Series and Touring Car Masters entries, will drive Pollicina’s second ex-Tasman Motorsport VE Commodore at Sandown.

 

The 41-year-old Victorian is a vastly experienced racer and last year was a race winner in the Touring Car Masters series.

 

The car, TMS002, finished second at Mount Panorama in the 2008 Bathurst 1000 in the hands of Greg Murphy and the late Jason Richards, and also won the 2010 Dunlop Super2 series title in the hands of Steve Owen.

 

It has been raced in the Super3 series on regular occasions by Pollicina and, most recently, Michael Caine.

 

The title will be decided across three races this weekend.

 

After practice and qualifying on Friday, two races (12:05pm and 4:35pm) will be key to drivers’ title hopes on Saturday. The longer finale – which awards more points – will be held at 3:05pm on Sunday afternoon.

 

Befitting the title decider, all three races will be streamed live via the Shannons Nationals live stream, the Kumho Super3 Series website and social media channels.

 

The massive Sandown weekend includes action from TCR Australia, the debut of S5000, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, Australian GT and Australian Production Cars.

 

Words / Kumho Tyre Super3 Series

 

Taylor

Taylor Cockerton & Tom Alexander

What: S5000

Where: Sandown Raceway, Australia

When: QH1 SAT 4:20PM | QH2 SUN 12:05PM | R 4:15PM

How to follow: Shannons Live Stream

 

Australian open-wheel history will be made at the inaugural race for the all new S5000 category at Sandown Raceway this weekend.

 

Thirteen cars will hit the track for the first of two events in 2019, supporting the final rounds of the Shannons Nationals ahead of a full calendar of races in 2020.

 

Positioned as the premier open wheel class in the Australian region, the CAMS Australian S5000 Championship will hit Australian motorsport circuits in 2020.

 

Boasting a brand-new FIA-approved Onroak/Ligier chassis, a powerful and cost-effective five-litre V8 engine and an all-Australian transmission system, S5000 is a bold, contemporary and modern class aimed at introducing young and aspiring drivers, as well as experienced professionals, to first-class open wheel racing.

 

A host of high-profile drivers, aspiring professionals and rookie racers make up the entry list for the opening event, headlined by the most experienced Formula 1 driver in history.

 

Rubens Barrichello, 11-time Grand Prix winner and five-times podium placer at the Australian Grand Prix, will return to a city where hundreds of thousands of fans cheered his name during his Formula 1 career. The popular Brazilian who made a record 322 GP starts, will feature in the debut event for Australia’s brand new premier open-wheel category.

 

Other notable entries include Indy 500 racer Matthew Brabham, former European open wheel driver John Martin, two-time Australian Driver’s Champion and Gold Star winner Tim Macrow, Carrera Cup champion Alex Davison and current TCR Australia Series leader Will Brown.

 

This weekend will see drivers fight it out in a unique Qualifying format including two Qualifying heat races using a partial grid reversal to set the grid for the feature 30-minute race on Sunday afternoon.

 

Words / S5000

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