Toyota claimed its first World Endurance Championship victory in nearly two years in a dramatic finish on home ground at the 6 Hours of Fuji on Oct. 16.
Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Stéphane Sarrazin took victory by a scant 1.4 seconds from the Audi of Oliver Jarvis, Lucas di Grassi and Loïc Duval in a race that all three LMP1 manufacturers had a chance of winning. The winning Toyota TS050 Hybrid was in the hunt all the way, but it ultimately prevailed over its rivals courtesy of two tactical calls in the closing stages.
It's been 38 years since Formula One had an American race winner or world champion. Jimmy Carter was president, Tom Landry's Dallas Cowboys were Super Bowl champions and Pete Rose had just recorded his 3,000th major league hit.
The driver who claimed both was Mario Andretti, winning the 1978 world championship with the iconic Lotus 79. He became the second American after Phil Hill to claim the F1 title, though his triumph — and final victory at that year's Dutch Grand Prix — precipitated a nearly four-decade long drought for drivers from his country.
In the early days of automobiles, there weren't many dedicated racing tracks. And since street racing has always been frowned upon, people who wanted to race their cars often did so on the beach. You had long stretches of flat sand, no traffic, and semi-cushy dunes to crash into if things went sideways.
To celebrate that tradition of early-days vintage auto racing, a few car enthusiasts got together and started The Race of Gentlemen (or TROG). They spend two days racing pre-war cars and motorcycles on the beach, just like drivers did when these cars were new.
Collectors based outside the British Isles took advantage of the weak pound to snap up a selection of British classic cars at auction last week — including no fewer than 10 Jaguar E-Types. H&H Classics said its recent car auction at the Imperial War Museum "brought in additional new foreign buying interest" as overseas investors jumped at the opportunity to strike with the pound plunging.
In 21st-century endurance racing, no manufacturer has been more dominant than Audi. When the open-topped R8 LMP1 debuted in 1999, it paved the way for an astounding 13 Le Mans victories and countless other endurance racing wins. Corporate brother Porsche reentered prototype endurance racing in 2014, and now it could be edging Audi out.
That's per a report from German publication Auto Motor und Sport, which says Audi will pull its LMP1 racers out of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) after 2017. Autocar also cites anonymous Audi insiders that say there's an end in sight for the company's LMP1 program.