Sunday Group Management Blog: Virtual Racing from the Other Side of the Screen

Sunday Group Management Blog: Virtual Racing from the Other Side of the Screen

Amy Greenway manages the media relations and social media programming for Sunday Group Management client Trans Am presented by Pirelli, and has some recent first hand experience to share about the dramatic recent growth of online racing.

31 March 2020- In my household, everyone is a gamer. My daughter hosts her own Twitch channel, my husband was a finalist in the inaugural NBA 2k league tryouts and Overwatch time for me serves as a peaceful solitude where I can mindlessly capture a point in team play.

But, over the last week, I’ve quickly learned being on the other side of the controller is so much more difficult than I had ever imagined.

During the furloughed racing shutdown, I’ve taken part in three live online racing events hosted on the iRacing and rFactor 2 simulation platforms, with each series proving more difficult and more complex than the last.

In a platform that I’ve only watched Twitch streams of, Conor Daly being my favorite, hosting a league was my first direct experience with iRacing.

I immediately found out that there’s no dipping your toe in the waters; it’s jump in, swim upstream or drown trying. The virtual racing platform is unforgiving and the programming is much more than just- ‘download the software and go racing.’

As a league organizer, I had to recruit drivers, manage the schedule, decide on a proper setup- including the type of chassis, download multiple pieces of software that are required to properly run the game, update the announcer on each driver participating, host the stream, produce the stream for YouTube, Twitch and Facebook, promote the event to the media, cultivate prizes, and oh yeah, did I mention keep sponsors happy along the way?!?

All this in seven days’ time, while reading the iRacing manual from cover to cover, supported by how-to YouTube videos and hours spent on the phone with a couple of drivers who were willing to give me a crash course in items I was having trouble with.

And, the minute I had a bit of confidence about my progress, a new technical issue would emerge, which meant hitting up YouTube for more videos, chatting with iRacing support and more late-night tutorials via FaceTime with drivers.

Working through all the trials and tribulations and with fingers that had no nails left to chew, it was time to push the GO LIVE button…

I can hear the announcer, minimal echo=great!
There’s cars on the track=awesome!
No drivers have messaged me saying they can’t join=sigh…
The stream is a bit choppy=make a note.
The winning driver didn’t join discord for his interview=we will do better next time.
Negative comments=nominal.
The flood of positive feedback of fans who were just happy to watch some sort of racing=worth it!

I read on a Motorsport Prospect blog that “plain and simple- racing is about people, and not technology.” After this experience, I could not agree with that statement more.

I set my expectations to having to respond to the massive amounts of online gaming and racing trolls who feast on tears of the weak, but what I got instead was an overwhelming support of community. Fans who overlooked the minor tech glitches and were appreciative that we were actually trying to showcase drivers and racing in this unprecedented time.

Gaming and motorsport have long run in separate niche lanes, but combining the two markets with real-life race car drivers competing against fans and other series drivers will solidify the existing base while attracting new fans and potentially new drivers. The iRacing and rFactor 2 simulation allowed for fans or drivers who otherwise don’t have the budget, to race alongside the drivers they’ve followed their entire careers. The drivers were in to it, the fans enjoyed it, the media was engaged, the social media response was noteworthy and the sponsors were happy about the deliverables.

The shutdown has taught me that it takes innovation to survive, striking back to engage fans, drivers and sponsors. The word CHANGE in motorsport can sometimes bring the crowds to their knees hyperventilating into paper bags. But the ability to adapt to big change brought bigger opportunities.

Literally, not two minutes after the first stream ended, I had a sponsor text me how they could get more involved. Now, because of their investment, we were able to hire a streaming company that can deliver a better product to our fans- just because we were willing to CHANGE.

The hours of heartache trying to figure out something new, was worth it, and we will continue to explore this unprecedented path far after we are back to “normal.”

SiriusXM expanding INDYCAR coverage

INDIANAPOLIS (March 10, 2020) — SiriusXM, the Official Satellite Radio Partner of INDYCAR, the sanctioning body for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, is expanding its coverage for the 2020 season. In addition to delivering live flag-to-flag broadcasts of every race all season long, SiriusXM will debut a new weekly show featuring current and former INDYCAR drivers.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, run through the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET). SiriusXM listeners will have access to the live call of this race and every one of the 17 events on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar, from the green flag through the finish, including the world-famous Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24. SiriusXM listeners will also get coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying sessions.

SiriusXM’s INDYCAR race coverage will be available to subscribers nationwide on the SiriusXM radios in their vehicles (Sirius channel 211, XM channel 205), and outside the car on the SiriusXM app for connected devices and speakers. For a schedule of races go to:SiriusXM/IndySeries.

In addition to airing live coverage of every race, SiriusXM will debut a new show dedicated to INDYCAR that will air weekly throughout the season. Brick by Brick will debut Wednesday and air each Wednesday (6-7 p.m. ET) on SiriusXM’s exclusive Dan Patrick Radio channel (SiriusXM channel 211). The show will be hosted by former NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver AJ Allmendinger and veteran motorsports broadcaster Jack Arute.

On the season premiere, Allmendinger and Arute will be joined by two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden and other drivers to preview the season opener.

On Thursday, Tony Kanaan, the 2004 series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner, will host a special edition of Brick by Brick alongside Arute live (7-9 p.m. ET) from St. Petersburg. Kanaan, who has announced that this season will be his last as a primary driver, will be a host on Brick by Brick multiple times this season.

In addition to NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, SiriusXM will also air Indy Lights races throughout the course of the season. Indy Lights is the final step in the Road to Indy driver development series, which features some of the world’s best young open-wheel drivers and has produced many of today’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES stars.

2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Team Preview: Meyer Shank Racing

INDIANAPOLIS (March 10, 2020) – This is the 10th of a 12-part series of comprehensive team previews as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES prepares for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg set for March 13-15 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The preview series features each of the full-time teams as well as teams running a partial schedule that includes the season-opening race. Today’s featured organization: Meyer Shank Racing.

Coming Wednesday: Team Penske.

The season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday, March 15. The pre-race show begins at 2:30 p.m. ET with the green flag scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Starting Lineup: Jack Harvey (No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda).

2019 Recap: The team increased its season schedule to 10 races last season after competing in a partial, six-race season in 2018. The highlight of 2019 was Harvey’s and Meyer Shank Racing’s first-ever NTT INDYCAR SERIES podium at the INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after starting third. Harvey’s second-best qualifying effort in 2019 was at Portland International Raceway, starting fourth; he also finished 10th in three other races.

What’s New for 2020: Meyer Shank Racing will embark on its first full season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition in 2020 and a technical partnership with Andretti Technologies. The Ohio-based team will be competing full time in both the NTT INDYCAR SERIES as well as returning to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to defends its 2019 championship title. The growth of MSR also means that both the INDYCAR and sports car programs will have their own personnel; only team owner Michael Shank and team manager Jason Givens will cross over between both race series.

Keep An Eye On This: One thing will be how quickly MSR adapts to several new changes, including working alongside the Andretti Technologies program. Racing full time will allow for the team to get up to speed quicker with more track time than the team was used to in the past. It also will be the first time that MSR and Harvey compete at several of the oval circuits on the schedule.

Season Outlook: Harvey has every reason to be excited about his first full season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The team has stuck to its growth plan and improved results have come. Interestingly, Harvey has competed in 19 series races but has yet to drive at four of the oval tracks on the 2020 schedule (Texas Motor Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Iowa Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway).

“A Different Breed” Notable: Harvey is one of only seven drivers to have won on the oval and the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, accomplishing that in Indy Lights in 2015. Harvey took home six wins in his two years racing in Indy Lights, finishing runner up in the championship in both 2014 and 2015.

IMSA Wire: Goikhberg, McMurry Leaning on Teammates in Transition to Meyer Shank Racing Acura

Goikhberg, McMurry Leaning on Teammates in Transition
to Meyer Shank Racing Acura

Feb. 20, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

SEBRING, Fla. – Among the eight drivers entered in this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona for Meyer Shank Racing and its sister team Heinricher Racing, only two drivers were in the same seat as last year.

Mario Farnbacher and AJ Allmendinger returned in the team’s No. 86 Acura NSX GT3, with Farnbacher once again tapped as the full-season driver and Allmendinger swapping his helmet for a headset with NBC for the remainder of the season.

Meanwhile, Trent Hindman – who with Farnbacher was crowned the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) champion – made the transition from the No. 86 to Jackie Heinricher’s No. 57 entry for the four IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds this year.
Then it gets interesting.

Two of the team’s full-season drivers are making their return to the Shank camp after brief hiatuses. In the No. 57, Alvaro Parente will be back behind the wheel of MSR machinery for the first time since 2018. In the No. 86, it’s 2019 WeatherTech Championship LMP2 champion Matt McMurry alongside Farnbacher.

“It’s great to be joining Meyer Shank Racing again,” said McMurry, who also interned with Honda Performance Development this past summer. “I raced with them back in [2015] when they were still running prototypes. It’s great to be back with them again and with some great teammates like Mario Farnbacher.”

McMurry admits the transition from a prototype to a GT3 car is a leap, but that he’s got some help to adjust.

“There’s quite a big difference from P2 to GT, especially around a place like Sebring,” said McMurry while testing at Sebring International Raceway, the next stop on the WeatherTech Championship calendar next month. “This GT3 car handles the bumps quite a bit differently, so that’ll take a little bit of getting used to. But I think we’ve got a great team and great teammates to help get me up to speed quickly.”

If there’s anyone that can relate to McMurry, it’s Misha Goikhberg, one of three new drivers to join the two-car Acura team this year. Alongside his full-season co-driver Parente, Goikhberg made his GT debut at the 2020 Rolex 24 following a prototype career that has spanned the past five seasons in the WeatherTech Championship.

“It’s a team with a lot of wins, just fresh off a championship, so it’s a car that’s already very well developed,” said Goikhberg. “I think their strength is their ability to bring new people in and to get them up to speed quickly, so both me and Matt are fortunate to be able to draw upon experience from guys like Mario and Trent, who have been here for a while.

“Alvaro is very experienced, one of the best GT drivers in the world. For both of us, there’s a big body of experience there we could lean upon, and that’s been very helpful, so we’ve been very fortunate in that regard.”

The other two drivers new to Meyer Shank and Heinricher at Daytona were Shinya Michimi and Jules Gounon. While Gounon’s role was specific only to the Rolex 24, Michimi – who has a successful background in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series – continues with the No. 86 for the remaining Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.

Looking ahead to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on March 18-21, compatibility doesn’t seem to be an issue for the mix of the established team drivers and newcomers. The six drivers entered for next month’s race often were huddled up during their Sebring test days.

What about the relationship off the racetrack? Well, that could get interesting too.

“Thankfully, they haven’t gotten me into any big trouble yet,” McMurry joked about his new teammates. “They’re trying to, for sure. I’m sure they’ll get us to do something stupid at some point during the year, but I’ve been safe so far.”

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts is set for Saturday, March 21. The race starts at 10:40 a.m. on CNBC. It can also be streamed on the NBC App with authentication and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio will have coverage available at IMSARadio.com, RadioLeMans.com and Sirius XM.

Tickets are available now at SebringRaceway.com.

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IMSA Wire: Nasr, Tandy Get Quick Start at BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach

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Begin forwarded message:

From: “NewsWire, IMSA” <imsanewswire>
Date: April 12, 2019 at 12:42:34 PM PDT
To: matt
Subject: IMSA Wire: Nasr, Tandy Get Quick Start at BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach
Reply-To: imsanewswire

IMSA Wire: No. 31 Whelen Cadillac DPi Squad Caps Dominant Day with Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts Victory

Begin forwarded message:

From: “NewsWire, IMSA” <imsanewswire>

Subject: IMSA Wire: No. 31 Whelen Cadillac DPi Squad Caps Dominant Day with Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts Victory

Date: March 17, 2019 at 1:05:45 AM EDT

To: matt

Reply-To: imsanewswire

For Immediate Release
No. 31 Whelen Cadillac DPi Squad Caps Dominant Day with Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts Victory

No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Team Scores LMP2 Victory

March 17, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

SEBRING, Fla. – They were the class of the field for the vast majority of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R team of Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Eric Curran were rewarded with an overall victory in a grueling IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship battle on Saturday.

Morning rains and exceedingly wet track conditions prevented the green flag from flying for the first time until 40 minutes into the 12-hour race. But once it did, the No. 31 was flying too. The team combined to lead a race-high 249 of a possible 348 laps, including all three points-scoring segments toward the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.

It wouldn’t be an easy victory, though, as the No. 31 team had its hands full with the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R co-driven by Renger van der Zande, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Jordan Taylor over final two hours of the race.

Taylor nearly got past immediately after a pit stop with an hour and 20 minutes remaining when Nasr took over the No. 31 from Derani, but on that occasion, Nasr eventually managed to pull away. Taylor wasn’t done yet, though. He closed all the way up on Nasr with 21 minutes left in the race, getting to within 0.2 seconds, but still not quite close enough to make his move.

The fifth and final full-course caution came out with 15 minutes to go, giving Taylor one last shot on the ensuing restart with under 10 minutes remaining, but Nasr built just enough of a lead to seal a 1.030-second victory over the No. 10. It was the closest overall finish in the 67-race history of the Twelve Hours, eclipsing the 2016 margin of victory of 2.82 seconds.

“Jordan was already warmed up, he was in the car, and I got in the car knowing that he was going to be close,” Nasr said. “From the time I jumped in the car, all the procedures getting the belts on the team stopped changing tires and go – and he was right there.

“I couldn’t do a little mistake today. It was all about hitting our marks and I did that from Lap 1 to the checkered flag. There were some pretty tricky moments out there, like I caught traffic a few times and I had a four-second lead, and that last yellow flag as well that came with four laps to go, man, that was really tricky. I could see they picked up their pace, but we got the job done first.”

It was the first Sebring victory for both Nasr and Curran – who together co-drove to both the 2018 WeatherTech Championship and the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Prototype titles. It was Derani’s second consecutive Sebring victory and his third in four years, making him the first driver with three overall wins in four years since the legendary Phil Hill won in 1958, 1959 and 1961.

“It means the world,” Derani said. “Today was just one of those days where everything went perfect, but we had a lot to lose in the beginning with the rain at the beginning. Two and a half hours I was in the car and there was lot of stress because there’s a lot to lose. You’re thinking, ‘OK, there’s 11 hours to go. What should you do? Push?’ But in the end, everything worked perfectly thanks to this amazing team.”

Derani and Nasr will continue as full-season co-drivers in the No. 31, while Curran will rejoin the team for the next Michelin Endurance Cup round, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on June 30.

“As a sports car driver, you kind of have your list of the races that you want to win on your bucket list, and the Sebring 12-hour is right up there at the top,” Curran said. “I don’t know how many years I’ve been racing the Sebring 12, but back to the ALMS days and obviously finishing second last year and finishing second prior to that, to come so close to a win, but not quite enough. So, it feels really special to now win this thing, finally, in a Whelen Cadillac.”

After winning both the 2018 season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and the 2019 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, the No. 10 team picked up its third consecutive podium with a runner-up result. They’re now tied with the No. 31 team – which finished second at Daytona – in the DPi championship standings with 67 points apiece after two of 10 races.

“We had a third-place car all day,” Taylor said. “So, to finish second was good. I think we overshot what we were capable of, so leaving here with that, we should be proud of it. It’s a good points day. We’d love to win Sebring, but I don’t think it was worth making a huge risk at the end to lose a bunch of points, so I’m happy with second and we can move on to Long Beach.”

Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley made it two Action Express Racing cars on the podium with a third-place run in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi. Finishing fourth was the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi team of Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi which battled back after falling off the lead lap in the wet conditions early on.

The No. 54 CORE autosport Nissan DPi of Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and Romain Dumas completed the top five. It was Nissan’s second consecutive top-five at Sebring after winning the race last year with Derani, Johannes van Overbeek and Nicolas Lapierre in the No. 22 Tequila Patrón ESM entry.

No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Team Scores LMP2 Victory
A seesaw battle in the early stages gave way to a dominating LMP2 class victory for the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA squad of Kyle Masson, Cameron Cassels and Andrew Evans. At two hours and 43 minutes into the race, Anders Fjorback slowed on course with left-side suspension problems on the Motul Pole Award-winning No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA.

The issues sent the No. 52 to the paddock for lengthy repairs, giving the No. 38 team an easy, 13-lap victory. It was the first Sebring victory for both Cassels and Evans, while it was the second for Masson, who also won in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class with the Performance Tech team back in 2017.

“Today was a really hard 12 hours,” Masson said. “Sebring is so bumpy. To get through the day with the car holding up completely, no mechanicals, it was a flawless execution. I’m just happy we brought the car home safe.

“For me, the rain was something I prayed for. I love driving in it and I love racing in it. I showed that this morning. I perform well in it is maybe the reason I love driving in it. I brought our car up to sixth overall, and to be passing the pole-sitting Penske DPi was a great feeling. I was very calm and cool, and experience builds calmness in the car. It was a lot easier today than two years ago remaining level-headed throughout the day.”

Next up for the WeatherTech Championship is the 100-minute BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach on Saturday, April 13. The race features only the DPi and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes as part of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach event weekend.

NBCSN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the race beginning at 5 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio also will cover the action live on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio.

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Sunday Group Management Mission:
Driven by a passion for the sport, Sunday Group Management generates compelling content, raising the profile of our clients to help them achieve their goals and build the audience for motorsport as a whole.

Sunday Group Management Vision:
Our vision is to be recognized as a creative leader in motorsport based on the excellence of our work, making ongoing contributions to the growth of motorsport through our clients’ success.

IMSA Wire: Action Express Cadillacs 1-2 After Four Hours in Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts

For Immediate Release
Action Express Cadillacs 1-2 After Four Hours
In Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts

March 16, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

SEBRING, Fla. – Most of the first third of the 67th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts was all about the pair of Action Express Racing Cadillac DPis, which occupied the first two positions at the four-hour mark.

Felipe Nasr led the way in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering machine by 53.503 seconds over Brendon Hartley in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac. Nasr and the No. 31 team are the defending champions of both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.

By leading at the four-hour mark, the No. 31 team moved to within two points of the Michelin Endurance Cup DPi class points lead behind the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi squad. The No. 10 – which won January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona – battled early brake cooling issues and also incurred a drive-through penalty in the first four hours, but Matthieu Vaxiviere had the car on the lead lap in fifth place. Olivier Pla was third in DPi at four hours in the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P DPi machine.

While the race started as scheduled shortly after 10:30 a.m. ET, steady rains and excessively wet track conditions kept the field behind the Corvette safety car for the first 40 minutes before conditions improved enough for green flag running.

In the LMP2 class, Cameron Cassels held a substantial, 22-lap lead in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA over the No. 52 PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA. Anders Fjorback was driving the No. 52 at four hours, but the car spent considerable time behind the wall for repairs due to a mechanical problem.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais ran 1-2 in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. Driving the No. 67 Ford GT, Briscoe was 13.619 seconds ahead of Bourdais in the No. 66 entry. Both of the Ganassi cars now have 13 points toward the Michelin Endurance Cup, pulling them to within two of the effective GTLM class leader, the No. 912 Porsche GT Team entry shared by Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet.

The No. 912 was running seventh at the four-hour mark, two laps behind the leader and actually is one point out of the Michelin Endurance Cup lead, 16-15, behind the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari team that is not competing at Sebring.

In the GT Daytona (GTD) class, the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG trio of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga extended their lead in the Michelin Endurance Cup standings as Bleekemolen led the race at four hours.

Bleekemolen was 8.296 seconds ahead of the Rolex 24 At Daytona-winning No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 driven at the time by Mirko Bortolotti. The No. 33 team leads the Michelin Endurance Cup standings by three points, 19-16.

Live television coverage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts continues on NBCSN through 11 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio also has complete live coverage on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius 216/XM 201/Internet 972).

Notes:
– Wet conditions persisted for the first two hours of the race before Derani switched to dry-weather tires. Despite the difficult conditions, there was only one full-course caution period after the initial 40-minute safety car period. That caution was caused by the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P, which stopped on course with a small fire two hours and 20 minutes into the race. Timo Berhhard was at the wheel at the time of the incident.

– Tristan Nunez took the lead in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P DPi going into Turn 1, getting around polesitter Dane Cameron in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi.

– Motul Pole Award winner Cameron and the No. 6 Acura team got off to a rocky start. Cameron encountered electrical issues around the one-hour mark in the race, bringing the car onto pit lane for an unscheduled stop. Adding insult to injury was a drive-through penalty for speeding on pit lane. Another issue just before the four-hour mark dropped the team three laps behind the leader.

– The No. 7 Acura DPi shared by Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi also was one lap down at four hours. Taylor had a spin, during which his belts came loose inside the car, forcing him to make an unscheduled stop.

– The No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R lost 11 laps for repairs to the alternator belt and jack shaft in the first four hours.

– The top eight cars in the GTD class were on the lead lap at four hours. The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R shared by Zacharie Robichon, Scott Hargrove and Lars Kern, and the Motul Pole Award-winning No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 shared by Trent Hindman, Justin Marks and Mario Farnbacher were particularly strong throughout the first third of the race. The No. 9 was running fifth at four hours while the No. 86 was seventh.

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matt

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Sunday Group Management Mission:
Driven by a passion for the sport, Sunday Group Management generates compelling content, raising the profile of our clients to help them achieve their goals and build the audience for motorsport as a whole.

Sunday Group Management Vision:
Our vision is to be recognized as a creative leader in motorsport based on the excellence of our work, making ongoing contributions to the growth of motorsport through our clients’ success.

IMSA Wire: Sellers Scores Another Street Circuit Motul Pole Award, Will Lead GTD Field to Green at Detroit

For Immediate Release
Sellers Scores Another Street Circuit Motul Pole Award,
Will Lead GTD Field to Green at Detroit

June 1, 2018
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

Qualifying Results

DETROIT, Mich. – Bryan Sellers definitely seems to know the quick way around street circuits, and he proved it again in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class qualifying for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic.

Piloting the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3, Sellers captured the Motul Pole Award on Friday afternoon after posting the fastest lap of one minute, 28.942 seconds (95.117 mph) at the 2.3-mile Belle Isle Park street circuit in Detroit.

Sellers will lead the GTD field to green on Saturday afternoon before handing the reins over to co-driver Madison Snow in the 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, which will be televised live on FS2 at 12:30 p.m. ET. A re-air of the race is set for Sunday, June 3 on FS1 at 8:30 a.m.

The pole is Sellers’ third in the WeatherTech Championship, with the previous two also coming at street circuits – in 2016 at Belle Isle and at the 2017 BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach. The pole continues the momentum for Paul Miller Racing, as the team won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts in March and has finished on the podium in each of the three GTD races so far in 2018.

“When we finished the second session, we thought there was no way we would even be close to this but getting in clear air is a huge advantage here,” Sellers said. “It gives you an opportunity to gain and gain and gain and luckily at three, four, five laps all on my own where I could just work on it, the last lap was just the right way. I got it all put together – how I wanted, when I wanted – and the crew did a great job on the car. We struggled in the second session with balance, but the temperatures came down and I think it all came into our hand a little bit.”

Cooper MacNeil in the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 and Dominik Baumann in the No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 also took turns atop the leaderboard in the slightly shortened qualifying session. Typically 15 minutes in duration, qualifying on Friday afternoon was reduced to 12 minutes due to track cleanup following an incident in the session prior for another series.

Meyer Shank Racing’s two Acura NSX GT3s will start behind the No. 48 Lamborghini – the No. 86 of Katherine Legge and Mario Farnbacher, followed by the No. 93 of Lawson Aschenbach and Justin Marks. Legge is a defending winner of the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, while Farnbacher won the GTD race at Belle Isle in 2015.

Additionally, both Lexus RC F GT3s from 3GT Racing qualified fourth and fifth, the No. 14 of Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli – winners of the most recent GTD race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in early May – and the No. 15 of Jack Hawksworth and David Heinemeier Hansson, respectively.

The No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 of John Potter and Andy Lally was the only GTD car to not participate in qualifying. Damage from an incident earlier Friday afternoon in Practice 2 forced the team to forgo qualifying to repair the car. Lally and Potter will start Saturday’s race from the back of the 12-car field. Lally co-drove to the GTD victory last year with Legge.

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IMSA Wire: Derani, Nissan DPi Score Motul Pole Award At Detroit

For Immediate Release
Derani, Nissan DPi Score Motul Pole Award At Detroit

June 1, 2018
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

Qualifying Results

DETROIT, Mich. – Pipo Derani and the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi team pulled off an upset Friday in Motul Pole Award qualifying for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle Park.

On a four-minute sprint following a brief red flag due to an incident involving the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA LMP2 car of Robert Alon, Derani shot to the top of the charts with a lap of one minute, 22.273 seconds (102.828 mph). The Brazilian then managed to hold on for the pole, ending a two-race stranglehold atop the Prototype charts by Acura Team Penske.

In fact, Derani’s lap was an impressive 0.719 seconds ahead of runner-up Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi, 1:22.992, and a full second ahead of Helio Castroneves’ No. 7 Acura DPi, who qualified third with a lap of 1:23.275.

Acura Team Penske entered the weekend on an impressive run, sweeping every practice session one race earlier at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, sweeping the front row in qualifying, and culminating the weekend with a 1-2 finish – the first win for the Acura DPi in WeatherTech Championship competition. In Detroit, the team promptly topped the charts in each of the weekend’s first two practice sessions.

“You know, that shows that we’ve been working really hard,” said Derani, who scored his second career WeatherTech Championship pole. “The level of IMSA has been incredibly high and to be able to put it on pole here against well-known teams, it’s very rewarding.

“We’ve been working really hard and it’s nice to see that the work has been paying off in terms of speed, and we’re showing that we can go head-to-head with these guys. So hopefully tomorrow we have a clean race. Starting from pole definitely helps.”

Derani will be joined Saturday by co-driver Johannes van Overbeek. The duo won earlier this season at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, joined in that race by endurance teammate Nicolas Lapierre.

The normally 15-minute qualifying session was shortened to 12 minutes due to track cleanup following an incident in the session prior for another series. The green flag time was shortened even more when Alon hit the barrier at the exit of Turn 4 five minutes into the session. Alon was able to drive to the pits with an askew rear wing, but the session was halted briefly to remove debris from the track.

Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic will be televised live on FS2 starting at 12:30 p.m. ET, with a re-air of the WeatherTech Championship race airing on Sunday, June 3 on FS1 at 8:30 a.m. ET. IMSA Radio coverage of the race can be heard on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com

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IMSA/NBC Partnership Announcement (social media posting)

IMSA, NBC Sports Group Announce
Six-Year Partnership To Begin In 2019

New Partnership Brings IMSA Racing To NBC Sports Networks, Digital Platforms

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 30, 2018) – The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) will have a new U.S. broadcast home for its flagship IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, what is currently known as the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda as NBC Sports Group and IMSA today announced a six-year partnership starting with the 2019 season.

This enhanced media rights partnership includes a significant increase in network coverage of the WeatherTech Championship over 2018. Three races will broadcast on NBC and there will be more than 45 hours of WeatherTech Championship action televised on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) throughout the season. NBC Sports will present more than 100 hours of IMSA coverage across its broadcast, cable, and digital platforms. The NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com will offer flag-to-flag live streaming coverage of every WeatherTech Championship race to authenticated subscribers.

“The resonance and gravity of this new partnership with NBC Sports Group for IMSA fans and our stakeholders cannot be overstated,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett. “This agreement is the culmination of a comprehensive process to align ourselves with a media rights partner that will capitalize on the tremendous momentum the WeatherTech Championship and IMSA is currently enjoying, and will help our sport reach new heights. Without question, NBC Sports Group ‘gets’ motorsports and our unique premium product. We could not be prouder to call NBC Sports our future partner.”

“As the U.S. home of motorsports, we are excited to present IMSA’s high-quality and diverse racing circuit to our abundance of racing fans,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “By utilizing our wide-array of broadcast, cable, and digital platforms, we can service IMSA and motorsports fans with more coverage and in more ways than ever before.”

This media rights agreement with NBC Sports Group capitalizes on IMSA’s unprecedented growth and its bright future including the sanctioning body celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2019. Among the highlights of this growth include record attendance at each race this year, unique television viewership for the year is on track to surpass last year’s record of 6.5 million viewers, and significant digital and social media growth.

NBC Sports Group is the home of motorsports in the U.S., with this agreement adding to its extensive portfolio of auto racing that includes NASCAR and INDYCAR.

The 2019 season starts with the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 26-27, 2019 and the entire season broadcast schedule will be announced in the coming months.

ABOUT IMSA
The International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) was originally founded in 1969 and owns a long and rich history in sports car racing. Today, IMSA is the sanctioning body of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the premier sports car racing series in North America. IMSA also sanctions the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda, as well as four one-make series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama; Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama; Ferrari Challenge North America; and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. IMSA – a company within the NASCAR family – is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. For more information, visit www.IMSA.com, www.twitter.com/IMSA or www.facebook.com/IMSA.

ABOUT NBC SPORTS GROUP
NBC Sports Group serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN, Golf Channel, NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital, which includes NBCSports.com, NBCOlympics.com, GolfChannel.com, the digital assets of the NBC Sports Regional Networks, Rotoworld, the NBC Sports Talk franchise, multiple apps, and two transactional sports businesses, GolfNow and SportsEngine. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of television rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, INDYCAR, PGA TOUR, The R&A, PGA of America, Churchill Downs, Premier League, Tour de France, French Open, and many more.