Author: Ernest Scott

Toyota Racing gets ready for 2019/20 WEC season-opener at Silverstone

In its final season, Toyota Racing is prepping to go out with a bang as the 2019/20 WEC (World Endurance Championship) season-opener hits Silverstone this weekend. The 4-hour race will see the sole factory Toyota squad battles the many private contenders for the WEC crown, which culminates with the Le Mans 24-hour.

This season’s WEC features eight races on four continents and concludes at La Sarthe on 14 June 2020. For the start of its fourth and final season, the Toyota TS050 Hybrids will compete in high-downforce specification, giving a race debut to the new aerodynamic configuration which was also used during the Prologue test in Barcelona last month.

Home favorite Mike Conway leads the #7 TS050 Hybrid line-up alongside Kamui Kobayashi and José María López while WEC Champions Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima are joined by Brendon Hartley, who will make his Toyota Racing debut at Silverstone. “It’s a really fun track, although traffic can be difficult there and you have to get your timing right. There’s always a big crowd and I have family and friends supporting me, so I would love to finally win my home race; I’ve been close a few times but I hope this is the year,” Conway said.

“We are focused on the new season and the first race at Silverstone, we want to make a winning start. The competition from the other LMP1 cars looks to be quite challenging this year following the regulation changes so we are expecting a fight and we know we need to prepare ourselves thoroughly to get the right result on Sunday,” Buemi added.

Silverstone was the only race which Toyota Racing did not win last season; following a one-two victory both cars were excluded after failing post-race technical checks due to floor damage after hitting kerbs. That disappointment means the team is even more determined to earn another victory at the British track, where they won six-hour races in 2014 and 2017.

This year’s Silverstone race is the first of the WEC’s modern era to be held over four hours, during which the leading cars can expect to complete close to 800km on the 5.901km circuit. They will be fighting to earn the Royal Automobile Club International Tourist Trophy, first awarded in 1905 and won by motorsport legends such as Tazio Nuvolaro, Stirling Moss and Graham Hill.

The TS050 Hybrids will face a challenge from LMP1 non-hybrid rivals Rebellion and Ginetta, boosted by revised regulations which enhance their performance. At Silverstone, the TS050 Hybrids will be 94kg heavier than the non-turbo Rebellion and 85kg heavier than the turbo-charged Ginetta. Meanwhile, the Rebellion is permitted 61% more fuel per stint than the TS050 Hybrid, with the Ginetta’s turbo engine allowed 50% more. Regardless how the organizers intend to make the competition fair, the Toyota cars will be hard to beat based on raw power and factory-backed advantage.

British fans get their first chance to see the 2019-2020 WEC grid in action on Friday, with two 90-minute practice sessions while qualifying takes place on Saturday noon prior to a midday day start to Sunday’s race.

This weekend marks the first visit to a WEC race in his new role for Katsuyoshi Hikichi, new President of Toyota Motorsport. .

MotoGP Silverstone: Rins steals it from Marquez

Suzuki rider Alex Rins scored a brilliant victory against Reigning Champion Marc Marquez at Round 12 MotoGP in Silverstone.The margin of win was just 0.013 seconds. Maverick Vinales completed the British GP podium with a third place finish.

Marquez made a perfect start aboard from pole and escaped an incident involving Andrea Dovizioso and Fabio Quartararo, who both crashed out of the race, With the two contenders out, it was an all out fight between Marquez and Rins from that point. Rins had jumped from fifth to third after the contenders crashed out. By the end of the first lap, Rins had put in a pass on Valentino Rossi to take 2nd place, then proceeded to set several fastest laps.

With 12 laps left to go, Rins executed a move on Marquez and the pair exchanged positions back and forth. As Marquez attempted to pull away, Rins stayed on his tail. Even a small moment at Turn 9 with 4 laps to go was not enough to distract Rins from his goal. As the laps ticked down, he looked for every opportunity to overtake his rival, finally pulling off a fantastic move in the final corner to take his second win of the season. The result enabled him to regain 3rd place in the Riders standings.

Vinales finished third as the best rider for Yamaha, having battled Franco Morbidelli and eventually beating his factory team mate for third. The Yamaha rider was less than 3 seconds from the race leaders and had cut the gap to half a second by the final laps. He would end up 0.620s from first.

Rossi hung in there for fourth overall as he wasn‘t able to match the pace of the front-runners due to a lack of grip. He managed his race pace and ended up fourth behind his team mate.

Best Ducati finisher was Danilo Petrucci who topped Jack Miller but behind Cal Crutchlow for seventh.

With second place, Marquez’s 88th podium has equaled Giacomo Agostini’s premier class podium record. The result moves Honda to 45 points clear of Ducati in the constructor and brings the Repsol Honda Team to within 36 points of Ducati in the teams.

The teams now move to the Misano Circuit for a two-day test. Racing resumes at the San Marino GP from 13 – 15 September there.

2019 MotoGP Silverstone results
1        Alex Rins    Suzuki         ESP    40’12.799
2        Marc Marquez     Honda         ESP           00’00.013
3        Maverick Viñales Yamaha      ESP           00’00.620
4        Valentino Rossi   Yamaha      ITA           00’11.439
5        Franco Morbidelli          Yamaha      ITA           00’13.109
6        Cal Crutchlow      Honda         GBR           00’19.169
7        Danilo Petrucci    Ducati         ITA           00’19.682
8        Jack Miller  Honda         AUS   00’20.318
9        Pol Espargaro       KTM  ESP    00’21.079
10      Andrea Iannone  Aprilia         ITA           00’25.144

Riders Standings

1        Marc Marquez     Honda         ESP    250
2        Andrea Dovizioso          Ducati         ITA           172
3        Alex Rins    Suzuki         ESP    149
4        Danilo Petrucci    Ducati         ITA     145
5        Maverick Viñales Yamaha      ESP    118
6        Valentino Rossi   Yamaha      ITA     116
7        Jack Miller  Honda         AUS   94
8        Fabio Quartararo Yamaha      FRA   92
9        Cal Crutchlow      Honda         GBR   88
10      Franco Morbidelli          Yamaha      ITA           69




Ladies, Are ya up for a challenge of driving a Race Car?

Join the Proton R3 Lady Search and Mentor programs

Ladies if you like to try out a new challenge, here’s one that might be of interest – the Team Proton R3 Lady Search and Mentor program. The program is initiated by the National carmakers to encourage more females to dabble in domestic-sanctioned racing. The selected all-girls team will compete in the S1K (1,000 kilometers) endurance race at Sepang Circuit in a Proton R3 racer. Furthermore, the selected teams are bound to participate in the domestic race series (Malaysia Speed Festival) by Proton.

The Lady search and mentor programs are in partnership with MSF, the largest grassroots motorsports event in the country. Both programs aim to develop motorsports at a grassroots level by leveraging on R3’s experience built up over years of competition.

The Proton R3 program has been around for 15 years and garnered quite a number of accolades including the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), Production WRC, the defunct Merdeka Millennium Endurance (MME) and Sepang 1000km (S1K). Now, the time is right to appease the girls to join the Lady Racers Search and incumbents to partake in the  MSF-R3 Mentor Program. The aim is simple, to evoke aspiring racers and teams to participate in the programs with an opportunity to  elevate the incumbents’ performance and eventual success at national level events. It is also an opportunity to discover talented lady racers and nurture their careers, giving them a good head start in a male dominated scene.

Aspiring ladies into motorsports isn’t a new thing in this country as many top names in the game have ventured in it. A famous domestic lady racer, Leona Chin, motorsport athlete and girl drifter, came from such a program in the past, by Red Bull Drivers search..

Proton R3’s Lady seatch and Mentor programs

From an initial pool of participants, three will be offered an opportunity to develop as racing drivers and participate in the 2019 edition of the S1K race, driving a Team Proton R3 prepared car. Selections will be based on how contestants perform in a series of on and off-track activities and will include being judged on criteria such as discipline, team work and commitment aside from their skill behind the wheel.

As for the mentor program, selected drivers and teams competing in the MSF SuperTurismo races using Proton vehicles will be supported by Team Proton R3 personnel for the remaining three events this year. Though each team will be independently run managed, R3 will provide technical and set-up know-how before and during the race, with the specific aim to improve their performance and inculcate best industry practices

Incumbents of the Proton R3 Lady Search and Mentor programs

MSF-R3 Racers Mentor Program:

Mohd Hafiz Saad #248

Nik Shahrul Fadli Nik Mansor #141

Alban Raymond De Sauza #16

Muhammad Faishal Othman #180

Md. Shah Hashim #387

Lady Drivers Search:

Ng Aik Sha

Samanda Lee

Nurul Husna Nasharuddin

Nursharina Nor Ramlle

Dayangku Faratiwan Adnil

Rozana Rahmat

Umi Nasirah Sulaiman

Zaidah Mohd Ishak

Nor Azirah Mohd Azhar

MotoGP tackles resurfaced Silverstone track for Round 12

Round 12 of the MotoGP Championship moves to the heartland of British Motorsports, Silverstone. Silverstone has been resurfaced this year and it  presents a somewhat unknown element as teams and riders will seek to understand tyre life, the various bumps and how fast the new surface is.

The Marquez – Dovizioso title rumble continues at this British track with Marqquez having an upper hand. Narrowly missing out on victory last time out, the reigning champion is fired up and ready to return to the top step of the podium to protect his comfortable 58-point championship lead. Since Austria 2018, Marquez has crossed the line in first or second in all the races he has finished, an impressive run he is looking to continue as he aims to return to the Silverstone podium for the first time since 2014. Another top three finish would see him equal Agostini’s 88 podiums in the premier class.

Jorge Lorenzo returns to racing after being out for three races. Having recovered from a back injury, the 5-time MotoGP champion will take it easy and acclimate to the RC213V again.

Ducati camp is fired up to push Dovizioso’s fight, following a marvelous win at Red Bull Ring. Dovizioso is actually the rider who scored the last race win in England in 2017 on his Ducati. Team mate Danilo Petrucci on the other hand arrives at Silverstone with the aim of defending his third place in the classification: with 136 points to his name, maintains a lead of 12 over Suzuki’s Alex Rins, in fourth place. Petrucci returns to the circuit where he scored his first podium in MotoGP, a second place in 2015, on a Ducati Pramac.
 
Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales are looking to match the Hondas and Ducatis in the remaining six races. Rossi has stood on the Silverstone podium four times since the round was added to the racing calendar in 2010. He missed out on the first edition due to injury but made up for it by getting familiar with the Silverstone rostrum in the following years. The Doctor secured a MotoGP third place in 2014, and followed it up with a superb win in 2015, adding two further third places in 2016 and 2017. Unable to extend his podium streak last year, the Italian is keen to be in the mix for the win again at the British GP this weekend to enjoy the view from the rostrum and reduce the 21-point gap to fourth in the championship standings, as he currently holds fifth position.

Viñales holds sixth place in the overall rankings, one point behind Rossi, and is feeling optimistic he can reverse their roles this weekend. He is a fan of the Silverstone Circuit and has expressed that he is looking forward to this round in particular.

The British GP will take place at high noon on Sunday, 25 August due to the unique schedule of the UK round.

Dovizioso pulls through for win at Red Bull Ring

Andrea Dovizioso proved he is a worthy championship contender at the Red Bull Ring by beating rival Marc Marquez for win, last Sunday. All through the race, Dovizioso and Marquez went a it until the Ducati rider made it stick in the final lap of the race.

At race start, the Dovizioso-Marquez battle began at turn 3 on the first lap, but Marquez would slip back to fifth when he ran wide. At this time a certain Fabio Quartararo in a Yamaha Satellite led the race. The Yamaha Satellite rider would lead until lap 6 when Dovizioso overtook him as race leader. Marquez slotted second right behind the race leader. On lap 8, Marquez pounced on Dovizioso and made it stick for the lead. It looked like it was going to be another Marquez run, but Dovizioso wouldn’t have it. Quartararo, meanwhile, was third ahead of his factory Yamaha mates Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi. Imagine, a Satellite rider leading the factory guys.


In the final laps of the race, Dovizioso came back to capture the lead on lap 20. Marquez took his time to launch his counter attack, but was just short. Dovizioso would score the win, only 0.213 seconds in front of his rival. “My Strategy was to be aggressive right from the opening lap, but Marquez was more aggressive than me. He immediately tried to impose his rhythm but I was always able to respond and in the final stages I think he had more wear on his tyres than me so I could stay right on his tail until the end, and attempt that crazy passing move on him at the final corner,” Dovizioso commented.

Eventhough Marquez was second, he still holds a healthy 58-point advantage in the riders standings, while Honda continues to lead the constructors with 236 points.


Behind the trio were the factory Yamahas Rossi was fourth and Vinales fifth. Rossi made good on his race at the Red Bull Ring, gaining six positions through the race. Viñales lost some ground in the opening stages but recovered and showed solid pace to take fifth over the finish line.

Sixth was the factory Suzuki of Alex Rins who topped Francesco Bagnaia in a Satellite Ducati and Miguel Oliveira in a KTM. Danilo Petrucci had a difficult race, who started from row 4. The Italian managed to get up to ninth place on lap 17, but was unable to improve any further and finished the race in that position. Rounding off tenth was the second Satellite Yamaha of Franco Morbidelli.

The MotoGP riders will next be out on track for the British GP, scheduled for the weekend of 23-25 August at the Silverstone circuit.

2019 MotoGP Austria results
1 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 39’34.771
2 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 39’34.984
3 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha FRA 39’40.888
4 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 39’42.490
5 Maverick Viñales Yamaha ESP 39’43.445
6 Alex Rins Suzuki ESP 39’43.466
7 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati ITA 39’50.792
8 Miguel Oliveira KTM PRT 39’50.977
9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 39’52.121
10 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha ITA 39’55.281

Riders standings
1 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 230
2 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 172
3 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 136
4 Alex Rins Suzuki ESP 124
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 103
6 Maverick Viñales Yamaha ESP 102
7 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha FRA 92
8 Jack Miller Honda AUS 86
9 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 78
10 Takaaki Nakagami Honda JPN 62

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MotoGP contingent heads to Austria

Just a week after the Brno round, MotoGP crews are back in action again at the Red Bull Ring in Austria for Round 11 of the Championship. This is the second set of back-to-back races of the the season, only the fourth edition held here.

The Championship scenario is all Marc Marquez at the moment unless Andrea Dovizioso could answer the challenge. Marquez has been consistent at Red Bull Ring with top five finishes in the previous three occasions, including two seconds. He’ll be hunting for a first win this time around.

Team mate Stefan Bradl will again join the Repsol Honda Team in place of the recovering Jorge Lorenzo. The German rider is excited at the prospect of another Grand Prix aboard the RC213V after improving his feeling on the bike during the Brno weekend. Racing in Austria in 2016, Bradl has some experience of the track to draw upon.

Following his second place finish at Brno last weekend, Dovizioso currently also lies second in the championship standings with 147 points (63 behind leader Márquez) and he arrives in Austria determined to repeat the results of the last three editions, in which he has always been on the podium: second (2016), first (2017) and third (2018). For his part, Team mate Danilo Petrucci will be aiming to step onto the podium of the Austrian track for the first time, so as to maintain his third place in the overall standings with 129 points, 15 ahead of Suzuki’s Alex Rins in fourth.

In the Yamaha camp, Maverick Viñales took a solid sixth place twice in Austria, and a twelfth place last year. This year he is planning to come back fighting at the Spielberg track, especially after showing strong pace again at the Brno test. At the last testing, he worked on braking later and deeper to suit the Spielberg track’s stop-start corners to make sure that he would be able to get in the mix for the battle for top positions.

MotoGP veteran and 9-time champion Valentino Rossi looks to pour his best riding as he knows  that the nature of the Red Bull Ring traditionally doesn’t play into the Yamaha’s strengths. The Doctor is more familiar with the Spielberg track than most. He first visited the rostrum there in 1996, taking third place in the 125cc class, and secured second place in the same class a year later, before a 19-year hiatus in Austrian GPs. The Italian’s best premier class result in there is the fourth place he snatched in 2016. It’s his aim to try and change that this year and reach for the podium.

The action begins with FP1 on Friday morning, between the picturesque hills of the Red Bull Ring. Lights for the 28-lap Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich will go out at high noon on Sunday.

2019 Updates of the Mazda MX-5 RF

The Mazda MX-5 RF is distributed by Mazda Malaysia in very limited quantity. And as you’d guess it, it was snapped up almost instantaneously by avid Roadster, MX-5 lovers, although the price of the MX-5 RF is slightly on the upside. Now, the MX-5 RF has received much needed updates for the year.

As a hardtop roadster, the MX-5 RF receives fresh new black-metallic 17-inch wheels to give it a fuller profile. This augurs well with the iconic design of Mazda’s beloved roadster.

Inside, the RF has been fitted with a new telescopic steering wheel. This new leather-clad steering offers a better grip and allows some more dramatic drives. It fits Mazda’s self-claimed proclamation of applying the human-centered development philosophy to all kinds of common driving situations. In short, the MX-5 RF provides the joy of driving or the driver feels at one with the car. One of the main additions to the interior is the Mazda Connect infotainment display, which offers a lot of connectivity and a much improved user interface.

The RF takes up a similar SKYACTIV-G 2.0l engine, with a 6-Speed automatic transmission with manual mode or a 6-Speed manual. For more fun drives, the 6-speed manual is the way to go. With minimal improvements, output is still under 200 hp at 181 hp/ 7,000 rpm for 17-percent increase from its predecessor. Meantime, torque is 205 Nm (151 lb-ft) at 4,000 rpm with an upped torque curve through the rev range. As a result, the MX-5 aims to be quicker, more responsive and more engaging to drive, adhering to Mazda’s unique Jinba Ittai (horse and ride as one) philosophy.

The Mazda MX-5 RF is available in these colors: Soul Red Crystal, Machine Gray, Jet Black, Snowflake White Pearl, Eternal Blue, Ceramic Metallic and Artic White. The price is from RM 259,154.

Marquez snatches win No.50 in Premier Class at Brno

The MotoGP Brno race saw Reigning Champion Marc Marquez claim his 50th premier class win. Ducati rival Andrea Dovizioso finished runner-up again, with Jack Miller third for his Satellite squad.   

Due to the somewhat wet conditions, the race had been cut short with Marquez leading the rest of the field. Marquez jumped into the lead from Dovizioso, Alex Rins and Miller in the first turn. He soon had a comfortable lead from his pursuers. Ducati’s lead man held second for the entire race as well. Behind the leaders, Rins and Miller battled for the final podium spot which eventually went to Miller, who wanted it more.

Marquez finished two seconds ahead of his rival to become just the fourth rider in Grand Prix history to take 50 wins in the premier class and equals Mike Hailwood’s 76 wins across all classes. Fourth on the all time winner list, Marquez heads to round 11 in Austria with 210 points, 63 points clear of Dovizioso.

Cal Crutchlow was fifth behind Rins as he beat his factory Yamaha mate Valentino Rossi, who was sixth. Crutchlow gained a position on Rossi, 13 laps from the end. The rest of the race was an eventful ride for the 9-time Champion as he didn’t want to risk a possible fall. He took sixth place, 9.083s from first.

Team mate Maverick Vinales couldn’t make an impression and battled mostly in the midfield. He would end up tenth, 16.558s from the front.

Eighth place went to Danilo Petrucci, who started from the third row. The Italian rider, who was seventh at the end of the opening lap, dropped down a couple of positions in the next few laps but was able to get back into eighth place on lap 13, finishing the race behind Fabio Quartararo.

The teams get right back into action at the Automotodrom Brno for the one-day rest.

2019 MotoGP Brno results

1          Marc Marquez Honda ESP     39’24.430

2          Andrea Dovizioso       Ducati ITA     39’26.882

3          Jack Miller      Honda AUS    39’27.927

4          Alex Rins        Suzuki ESP     39’29.288

5          Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR    39’30.437

6          Valentino Rossi          Yamaha           ITA            39’33.513

7          Fabio Quartararo         Yamaha           FRA            39’36.522

8          Danilo Petrucci           Ducati ITA     39’38.406

9          Takaaki Nakagami      Honda JPN     39’40.154

10        Maverick Viñales        Yamaha           ESP            39’40.988

Riders standings

1          Marc Marquez Honda ESP     210

2          Andrea Dovizioso       Ducati ITA     147

3          Danilo Petrucci           Ducati ITA     129

4          Alex Rins        Suzuki ESP     114

5          Maverick Viñales        Yamaha           ESP     91

6          Valentino Rossi          Yamaha           ITA     90

7          Jack Miller      Honda AUS    86

8          Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR    78

9          Fabio Quartararo         Yamaha           FRA    76

10        Pol Espargaro  KTM   ESP     61