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Trophy raid co-driver Mykhailo Svirgun killed in action

Ukrainian Trophy-Raid Championship regular Mykhailo Svirgun was kiled in action while serving with the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Before the Russian invasion began in 2022, Svirgun competed in the series as a co-driver during the late 2010s. A Kharkiv native, he was part of the local Bilka off-road team and thus worked alongside drivers like fellow residents Serhiy Tarasov.

Tarasov and Svirgun mainly raced a Toyota Land Cruiser or a UAZ-469 in the TR2 class. Prior to the series’ pause by COVID-19 in 2020, the duo enjoyed podiums at rounds like the 2019 Polissya Trophy, the second race of the season held in Kyiv.

With Bilka, he was a popular face in the off-roading and Jeep community.

“Mykhailo Mykhailovych Svirgun, the navigator of the ‘star’ Kharkiv crew ‘Belka’, died defending Ukraine from the Russian-fascist invaders,” reads a statement from the Automobile Federation of Ukraine. “A wife and two children were left without a husband and father…

O’Ward declared St. Petersburg winner following Penske disqualifications

In a surprise announcement Wednesday, IndyCar announced that Team Penske has been assessed penalties following an issue with the team’s “Push to Pass” system discovered during morning warmup on Sunday in Long Beach. Winner Josef Newgarden and third-place finisher Scott McLaughlin are both disqualified from the season opener at St. Petersburg in March, with teammate Will Power promoted to second place but penalized 10 driver points. Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward, who originally finished in second place, is now the official winner – his first win since Iowa in 2022.

Officials determined that all three cars used the “Push to Pass” system on race starts and restarts, which is not allowed under Rule 14.19.16 of the IndyCar Series rulebook. Investigation showed that Newgarden’s No. 2 and McLaughlin’s No. 3 gained a competitive advantage with the violation, whereas Power did not, resulting in the 2022 champion keeping his position.

Team Penske president Tim Cindric responded, saying it was a mistake related to recent hybrid testing, and that the team will not appeal:

Statement from Team Penske President, Tim Cindric, on penalties resulting from St. Petersburg Grand Prix: pic.twitter.com/JNHmbuPE4u

— Team Penske (@Team_Penske) April 24, 2024

In the top five, O’Ward and Power are joined by Colton Herta, Alex Palou, and Felix Rosenqvist. Newgarden, who previously led the championship standings, is now in 11th with McLaughlin down in 29th. Scott Dixon, who won in Long Beach, now leads the standings, followed by Herta, Palou, O’Ward, and Power.

Kamui Kobayashi: “Our car was not the fastest this week but the team performed so well.”

Team principal and driver of the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing car, Kamui Kobayashi has paid tribute to the superb effort that was put in by the whole team to secure victory in the Hypercar class at the 6 Hours of Imola. After a tough race full of twists and turns, the #7 car triumphed in the second round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), propelling the drivers to 2nd in the championship and Toyota to second in the manufacturers’ championship.

“It was a very tough race and to win here is absolutely phenomenal. Our car was not the fastest this week but the team performed so well” Kobayashi admitted. He paid tribute to his fellow drivers, Mike Conway and Nyck de Vries for getting them into contention from qualifying in 6th. “There was big pressure from the start of my stint; I was in the lead on slick tyres in the rain. We made the right call to switch tyres and build a gap, then we kept good pace on the wet tyres.“

The winning #7 Toyota pushed all the way by the 2nd place #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport. Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Not only did the rain cause strategy headaches, so too did the fuel levels come the final stages of the race. “We were not sure about fuel so we started to save energy and I gave everything, it was very tough” explained Kobayashi. He was being hunted down by the very rapid #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport car while trying to save fuel simultaneously. Ever humble, Kobayashi played down his part in the victory, saying “the team did a great effort in terms of strategy and that gave us the chance to fight for the win. Thanks to the everyone for their fantastic work here.”

Kobayashi gets ready for his race winning stint. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

Mike Conway, driver of the #7 car for the opening stint of the race, was quick to praise his teammate. “It was really tense all the way to the end” the British driver said. “Kamui did a great job at the end to stay ahead whilst saving energy. As always the pressure doesn’t affect him; I think my heart rate in the garage was higher than his in the car!“

Reflecting on his own performance, Conway said “at the start I stayed out of trouble and tried to move forwards. I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed my first time racing here.” He also praised the team, saying “the crew did a great job in the pits and the strategy couldn’t have been any better. Congratulations to the whole team and everyone at Toyota.“




FLEX SHOW AIKAWA Racing returning to Asia Cross Country Rally in 2024

After last racing before COVID-19, Show Aikawa‘s FLEX SHOW AIKAWA Racing will make their return to the Asia Cross Country Rally in August. The team will field a Toyota Land Cruiser 150 Prado for himself and Masato Kawabata with Daychapong Toicharoen as co-driver.

Kawabata and Toicharoen currently compete in D1 Grand Prix, the former a three-time champion with titles in 2007, 2013, and 2015. Toicharoen hails from Thailand, where the AXCR takes place, but is fluent in Japanese. In 2023, Kawabata finished ninth in the top-level D1GP standings while Toicharoen raced a part-time schedule.

In 2019, Kawabata finished second overall in his AXCR début. AIKAWA Racing first appeared at the rally the year prior, finishing sixteenth with Aikawa, Kinya Miyamoto, and Takahiro Yasui.

Although they did not return to the AXCR after the onset of the pandemic, Aikawa kept the programme alive by competing in the XCR Sprint Cup and Rally Hokkaido, both of which Kawabata won in 2023. Aikawa himself also runs rallies in a Toyota Yaris from Toyota Gazoo Racing. Due to timing, the team will not be able to defend their Rally Hokkaido win, though Aikawa plans to field a second car in the future.

“It’s our first Asia Cross Country Rally in five years, so both Kawabata and I are very excited and looking forward to it,” said Aikawa. “We believe that we will make up for the humiliation of 2019 and win our class.”

Santag Racing partners with GRallyTeam

Santag Racing has joined forces with GRallyTeam for the 2024 FIA European Baja Cup and Portuguese Cross-Country Championship, fielding the OT3 car in the Challenger class for Armindo Araújo and João Dias.

Founded in 2021, Santag Racing previously competed with a Can-Am Maverick in both the Challenger (T3) and SSV (T4) categories. They are the reigning European Baja Cup team champion, ironically beating GRallyTeam by ten points, while Dias won the T3 title over GRallyTeam’s Ghislain de Mévius in a tiebreaker. Santag also claimed the 2023 CPTT T4 championship with Rui Farinha.

As part of their new partnership, Santag will be the exclusive distributor for the OT3 on the Iberian Peninsula. The alliance comes weeks after the team entered the World Rally-Raid Championship‘s BP Ultimate Rally-Raid in Portugal and Spain: Dias and his Maverick led the Challenger overall early on before a burst gas pipe relegated him to eighth; Araújo finished second, losing by less than eight minutes.

With their successes in Europe, Santag plans to enter the Dakar Rally in 2025.

“These cars are highly competitive, bearing the hallmark of GRallyTeam, which continues to invest in the quality, evolution, and development of the OT3,” commented Santag manager David Vieira. “It provides us with promising indicators and expands our offerings to customers, solidifying our position and growth in this sport in both Portugal and Spain.”

2025 KTM 450 Rally Replica revealed

The KTM 450 Rally Replica has received a facelift for 2025, which the manufacturer deemed its biggest since 2020 as changes are intended to make it closer resemble the factory counterpart used by those in the World Rally-Raid Championship‘s top-level RallyGP.

The 450cc fuel-injection engine is modelled after the one used in KTM’s motocross and enduro bikes and features a new single overhead camshaft. To improve its cooling, a second radiator has been added. The clutch and gearbox are also stronger to protect them from damage.

The frame, a departure from the steel trellis frame, is supported by a new aluminum swing arm to reduce weight while maintaining stiffness.

In total, the bike can carry 34.5 litres of fuel. A sixteen-litre fuel tank is situated at the back while nine- and 9.5-litre tanks are at the front, each of which have a fuel pump that the rider can operate independently.

The dashboard is lighter with more warning lights and an LED headlight system to help riders in dawn and at night. KTM regards the changes as “a major styling update, with a sharper, more aggressive profile.”

Jose Ignacio Cornejo joins Hero MotoSports

A month after parting with Monster Energy Honda Rally Team, José Ignacio Cornejo has signed with Hero MotoSports for the rest of the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship.

“I’m really excited to join Hero MotoSports, a team that’s making the waves for all the right reasons,” commented Cornejo. “I’ve known the team for years, and they’re all good friends from the circuit. I’m sure it will be great fun to embark on a journey with some of the best riders in rally raid, and create greater success stories for the team. In the past few years, Hero has shown exceptional growth, and I know the journey is only upwards from here.”

The Chilean raced for Honda from the 2018 Dakar Rally through the 2024 edition, finishing sixth in his final start with them in January with a career-best three stage wins. He ended his Honda tenure with ten total Dakar stage wins and a best finish of fourth in 2020, along with back-to-back sixths in the W2RC RallyGP points.

Honda skipped the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in February, and Cornejo left the team the following month. Without Cornejo or Dakar winner Ricky Brabec due to sponsorship obligations, Honda entered the recently concluded BP Ultimate Rally-Raid with just four riders but won anyway courtesy of Tosha Schareina ahead of Cornejo’s new team-mate Sebastian Bühler.

Cornejo joins Hero at an opportune time as the team is enjoying their best season to date so far. Although he did not win, Bühler’s runner-up in Portugal is the highest W2RC finish of his career. Ross Branch, Hero’s other full-time rider, currently leads the championship with a pair of seconds at Dakar and Abu Dhabi. Aaron Marè scored the marque’s maiden W2RC victory in Abu Dhabi as a substitute rider for Bühler. After three rounds, Hero leads Honda by three points in the manufacturer’s standings.

Shinya Fujiwara planning Dakar Rally debut in 2026

Shinya Fujiwara knows how to navigate obstacle courses on a motorcycle, but will now see if he can transfer those skills to the Saudi desert. At a press conference in Nagoya on Monday, he announced his goals of entering the Dakar Rally in 2026.

As he has no prior rally raid experience, he will run the Rallye du Maroc in October and the Africa Eco Race in January 2025 to get accustomed to the discipline. The former, held in Morocco, is the final round of the World Rally-Raid Championship while the AER follows the Dakar’s original route from Europe to Senegal. The Rallye du Maroc is on the Road to Dakar, a programme in which the best finisher who has never competed in the Dakar earns free registration.

“It has always been my dream to participate in the Dakar Rally. As the song by Mr. Children goes, ‘I feel great when I climb progressively higher walls,'” said Fujiwara. The song he quotes is “Owarinaki Tabi” (“Endless Journey”), one of the most popular works from the Japanese rock band. “By taking on a big challenge, I want to show the pride of being a Japanese person to the world.”

Nicknamed “Bussashi-sensei”, Fujiwara won the 2014 All-Japan Trial Championship in the International A category. He also competes in hard enduro events, winning the All Japan Hard Enduro Championship‘s selection tournament in 2021 and 2022, and contesting the legendary Red Bull Erzbergrodeo; he finished eighty-second overall at the latest edition in 2023. Fujiwara will return to the Erzbergrodeo in June before beginning his rally training.

Born on 6 January 1990 in Hyōgo Prefecture, he began riding when he was seven years old.

Glickenhaus 008 Hydrogen Fuel Cell aims to run the “first zero emission Baja 1000” in 2024

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus hopes to be the first team to complete the daunting Baja 1000 with zero emissions, and plan to do so with the SCG 008 Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) car.

Introduced in 2022, the SCG 008’s standard ICE form is a kit car (meaning it ships with most components but customers must acquire others like the engine themselves) that combines elements of the SCG Boot with the 004 sports car. The 004 has been used by the team in endurance races like the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, while the Boot—based on Steve McQueen’s car of the same name that raced in the 1960s—won Class 2 at the 2019 and 2020 Baja 1000s with Sonora Rally director Darren Skilton as driver.

Team owner Jim Glickenhaus described the 008 as being like a rallycross or rally raid version of the 004. Indeed, the design of the 008 is modelled after the 004 and both are three-seater vehicles with the driver’s seat in the centre. Otherwise, the 008’s bodywork is made from fibreglass rather than carbon fibre. It also uses a carbon steel chassis with independent rear suspension.

The HFC version will use 700-psi hydrogen tanks that can be swapped out within a “few minutes”, with an intended range of roughly 150 miles in the desert.

“We hope to prove that this can be done safely with quick safe refueling,” wrote Glickenhaus. “We are also developing a HFC pick up truck. We are also working on viable refueling stations and viable remote refueling solutions.

SST Long Beach Race 2 cut short by fence-ripping crash

Zoey Edenholm was not the first Stadium Super Trucks driver to end up in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach‘s catchfence (Pat O’Keefe in 2016 has that dubious honour), but her accident was enough to create the shortest official race in series history.

Sunday’s Race #2 was barely four laps old when contact between Edenholm and Saturday winner Max Gordon sent the former airbourne and into the fence, shredding a section of it. Although the damage was repaired in time for the weekend-ending GT America, SST could not be resumed. Due to time constraints, this is not an uncommon fate for SST rounds that serve as an undercard to larger series; in Long Beach’s case, SST supported the NTT IndyCar Series whose race took place directly before theirs.

Edenholm’s truck had slightly rotated mid-air while hitting the second ramp coming to the start/finish line to begin lap three, causing her to land sideways and run diagonally into Gordon’s path. Neither she nor Gordon were able to react in time before they collided, spinning Edenholm into the wall.

Gordon lost his hood in the incident and attempted to continue. As it turned out, he also lost his brakes and careened past turn one into a barrier. He and Edenholm walked away without injury.

Lap four was supposed to be the restart after a scheduled competition caution, with Edenholm and Gordon respectively restarting second and third. By lasting just four circuits, it is the shortest SST event in terms of lap count. Race #2 of the 2016 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix only saw three laps completed prior to Matt Mingay‘s crash and resulting injury, but is not counted in series records.

Toyota Triumph In Turbulent 6 Hours Of Imola

Toyota Gazoo Racing pulled off an extraordinary victory in the Hypercar class in the 6 Hours of Imola, the second round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship. The #7 car, driven by Mike Conway, Nyck de Vries, and Kamui Koboyashi, drove a superb race, battling a very difficult track, changing and treacherous conditions, and fierce competition from Porsche Penske Motorsport to win a very hard fought race.

Winners at the Qatar 1812km, the #6 Porsche came home second ahead of the sister #5 car in another very strong weekend for the German team. The first Ferrari AF Corse, the pole-sitting #50 car, came home 4th after another disappointing weekend for the Scuderia. The #8 Toyota came 5th, followed by a fantastic result by the #20 BMW M Team WRT car. The #51 and #83 Ferraris came home 7th and 8th.

The LMGT3 class winning BMW M4 LMGT3. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

Meanwhile, in LMGT3, it was a superb 1-2 finish for Team WRT, the #31 car claiming victory over the #46 car. This result means that local legend Valentino Rossi claims his first podium, taking second position along with his teammates Ahmad Al Harthy and Maxime Martin. Winners in Qatar, Manthey PureRxing, secured 3rd position in their Porsche 911 GT3 R LMGT3.

Speaking after the race, Koboyashi said “the team made a great achievement. I tried to not mess up! The track was really challenging and I had a lot of pressure from car #6 who did an amazing job. Thanks to the team and the support in Italy, and of course these two guys here” referring to his fellow drivers.

After his first WEC victory, de Vries said “I’m very happy and very thankful to be sharing the car with Kamui and Mike. The team executed the race perfectly and I think we really deserved this one.”










Verstappen Takes Victory on F1’s Return to Shanghai

Max Verstappen took victory at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix ahead of Lando Norris and Sergio Perez.

Formula 1 returned to Shanghai this weekend, and the grand prix didn’t disappoint, with multiple safety car and controversial incidents throughout the 56 lap race.

Valtteri Bottas brought out the first safety car after an issue caused him to stop on track, which was a disappointing end to a good weekend, where he managed to qualify ninth and tenth in both qualifying sessions. The restart saw multiple incidents, the most controversial being Lance Stroll crashing into Daniel Ricciardo and ending the Australian’s race.

Ricciardo was having his best weekend of the season so far, dominating his teammate in all of the sessions before the race. The Australian looked on for his first points of the season but had to retire despite trying to give it a go for a few laps after the contact.

Ricciardo was still in the race for the second safety car as it came out just a lap after the first one ended because of another incident involving a Visa Cash App RB car, this time Kevin Magnussen spinning Yuki Tsunoda out of the race. 

Max Gordon leads another Gordon 1–2 in SST Long Beach Race 1

In 2022, Max Gordon started the Stadium Super Trucks season by winning Race #1 of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach while his father Robby Gordon finished right behind him to complete the family 1–2.

Two years later, Max Gordon started the 2024 SST season by winning Race #1 of Long Beach while Robby finished right behind him to complete the family 1–2.

The younger Gordon only needed three laps to take the lead after starting eighth, and never lost the position the rest of the way. Behind him, his dad had a dramatic battle with Matt Brabham that went down to the final lap, the two running side by side for much of the lap before he cleared Brabham for second.

While Brabham had every opportunity to get physical whenever the older Gordon ran besides him (even quipping that he is “just saving it for tomorrow”), the three-time champion opted to race clean. The two were the fastest qualifiers on Friday, with Gordon holding the edge.

“I knew Robby was going to do everything he could to kind of rough me up and give Max a little bit of a break,” Brabham explained. “Obviously Robby wants to win, but he also probably wants his son to win over me. We had a good race out there. I just felt like I couldn’t quite get close enough in the last couple of corners. I was a bit stronger in the first half of the track. Maybe I can rough him up a little bit tomorrow. There’s obviously the overall and we’re all pretty close on points for that so we’ll see.”

Ferrari Fastest In Thrilling Imola Qualifying

Ferrari AF Corse put on a dominant display in qualifying for their home race at the 6 Hours of Imola. The Scuderia secured the top three spots on the grid in the Hypercar class for the second round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with Porsche Penske Motorsport behind them in 4th and 5th. In LMGT3, round one winners Manthey PureRxing secured the top spot.

Hypercar

It would be hard for the weekend to be going much better for Ferrari AF Corse after qualifying. The Italian team topped both practise sessions on Friday and FP3 on Saturday morning at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. The Tifosi (Ferrari fans) were overjoyed when the team continued that run of form in qualifying, with Antonio Fuoco taking Ferrari’s third Hypercar pole in the #50 car with a stunning lap time of 1:29.446.

The #50 Ferrari 499P in the pits. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

The privateer Ferrari AF Corse team came second, with Robert Schwartzman posting a time of 1:29.885, with the other factory Ferrari coming in just 0.068 seconds behind that in third. Such consistent performance will be heart-warming for the team who suffered a disappointing weekend at the season opening Qatar 1812km.

The team who dominated that weekend in Qatar, Porsche Penske Motorsport, are next on the grid. Race winning #6 comes 4th, an exciting 0.148 seconds behind the third Ferrari, with Matt Campbell, polesitter in Qatar, in 5th. Then comes reigning champions Toyota Gazoo Racing. Their mission is to get back on the podium. With their #7 car starting in 6th and #8 in 8th, they stand to benefit from any carnage between the Porsches and Ferraris.

A magnificent sight lined up in the pit lane. L-R: Cadillac, Ferrari, Porsche, two Toyotas, Porsche, and the pole position Ferrari. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

First of the new teams for 2024 is BMW M Team WRT. They managed to split the Toyotas with Rene Rast posting a 1:30.600. They may still be 1.134 seconds of the pole pace, but to be in the mix with such veteran teams is surely encouraging. The three privateer Porsche teams make up the next three positions, with Hertz Team JOTA taking 9th and 11th, split by the Proton Competition Porsche in 10th.




IROC revival to debut at Lime Rock

After eighteen years, the International Race of Champions will make its return on 19/20 July at Lime Rock Park as part of the SpeedTour All-Star Race weekend.

While regarded by owner IROC Holdings LLC as a continuation of the defunct championship, the revival is more a vintage car series for veterans and those who own the original incarnation’s vehicles than pitting active racing stars against each other (a concept currently employed by the unrelated Race of Champions). The cars will be on display at the track before taking part in an exhibition race.

Regardless of whether authentic and replica, any car is eligible to participate so long as it has a pedigree in the old series. Seven models are available: the Porsche 911 RSR used during the inaugural season in 1973/74; the Chevrolet Camaros that competed from IROC II (1974/75) to its pause in 1980, brought upon by Chevrolet preparing for the third generation model; said third-gen Camaro from the relaunch in 1984 to 1989; the Dodge Daytona from 1990 to 1993 and Dodge Avenger in 1994 and 1995; and the Pontiac Firebird from 1996 to its shutdown in 2006.

The IROC name and assets were acquired by Ray Evernham and Rob Kauffman in January. Evernham, a NASCAR champion crew chief and NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, began his career as a chassis specialist for the original IROC and maintains a large car collection that includes challengers from the series. He also co-founded the IROC spiritual successor Superstar Racing Experience in 2021 alongside Tony Stewart, who won the final IROC title. Kauffman formerly co-owned NASCAR teams Michael Waltrip Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing.

“I began my professional racing career at IROC, so to be part of the team bringing the brand back to life and to the fans is extremely gratifying,” said Evernham.


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