Motor Sport's weekly debrief

by Web Editor on 16th June 2017

The fastest ever lap at Le Mans, McLaren win a raft race, Meeke is dropped for Poland and remembering James Hunt.

Sports cars

Advantage Toyota as Kobayashi smashes Le Mans lap record

Kamui Kobayashi has ensured it is advantage Toyota at the Le Mans 24 Hours, setting a blistering lap time of 3m14.791sec to break the existing Le Mans lap record set by Neel Jani in 2015 by more than two seconds. The former Sauber F1 driver claimed pole in the #7 Toyota TS050 - Hybrid that he shares with Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin in a time that puts them 2.337sec clear of the #8 Toyota in second position.

Porsche's #1 and #2 cars will start the race third and fourth with Toyota's third car almost four seconds off the pole position pace in fifth.

Watch Toyota's blistering pole lap here

Panoz announces all-electric sports car concept

Le Mans is used to welcoming striking race car concepts to the grid through its innovative Garage 56. In 2012 the DeltaWing turned heads and a new concept by Panoz and Green4U Technologies could do the same.

Although plans are uncertain, the proposed all-electric and very green (in colour, and environmentally) race car could target a slot in Garage 56 at Le Mans in 2018. The concept is likely to produce up to 450 kW of power and reach a top speed of 180 mph.

Rally

Citroën​ drops Meeke for Poland

It's been a tough year for Kris Meeke. The four-time World Rally winner has shown blistering speed in his C3 WRC and while victory in Mexico proved he undoubtedly has the pace, no points and a number of crashes in the other six rallies have tested his, and Citroën's, nerve.

In light of his poor form, Citroën have taken the decision to drop Meeke from their line-up at the next rally, Rally Poland, replacing him with former VW driver Andreas Mikkelsen. Meeke will rejoin the team's line-up at Rally Finland, where last year he became the first British winner of the ultra-fast event. 

Watch Kris Meeke take a detour through a car park en route to victory at Rally Mexico

Touring cars

Several BTCC drivers injured in qualifying crash

Oil is believed to be the cause of a multi-car accident which left several drivers injured during BTCC qualifying at Croft last weekend. The championship released an official medical statement on Sunday reporting that Luke Davenport is in a serious but stable condition in an induced coma; Jeff Smith is in a serious but stable condition with multiple chest injuries; and Aron Taylor-Smith has suffered fractures to his left leg as well as concussion.

Whilst very serious, none of the injuries are immediately life threatening. Motor Sport wishes all the drivers involved a fast and full recovery.

Gaming

Forza Motorsport 7 announced

Over 700 cars will feature in the latest evolution of Forza Motorsport, set for release on October 3. Available for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, the game will also feature 30 locations, a full dynamic weather system and the ability for drivers to step out of their race cars with customisable player characters. Real world Le Mans prototypes and GT cars feature prominently in the game's trailer.

Three things we didn't know last week

1) McLaren is the fastest raft paddler

Formula 1's famous raft race is back and what a spectacle it was at last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

As firefighters drenched frantically paddling F1 personell, Ross Brawn watched on with a Hawaiian-style flower necklace around his neck as a grinning Christian Horner fired a super-soaker into the air. And the winner? McLaren, who scored its first victory in Canada since 2012. Clearly F1 has found its sense of humour again.

Watch the entire F1 Raft Race here

2) Force India considering name change

When Vijay Mallya acquired the Spyker F1 team in 2008 and rebranded the outfit as Force India, the Indian multi-millionaire arrived on the scene with two goals: to bring an Indian driver and more Indian companies to F1. On track the team has been something of a revelation, finishing fourth in last year's constructors' championship, the position it currently holds this year too.

For the team that has evolved from Jordan to Midland and Spyker to Force India, the latest name change has been proposed to bring an 'international flavour' to the team.

3) F1 boss to start 85th Le Mans

Le Mans organisers have announced that this year's Le Mans 24 Hours will be started by F1 chairman and chief executive Chase Carey. The American follows Brad Pitt and Bill Ford in starting the great race and will get action underway by waving the French flag. The race begins at 2pm UK time on Saturday afternoon.

One video you should watch

The fastest ever lap of Le Mans

A record-breaking time of 3m15sec was predicted, but Toyota's Kamui Kobayashi blew that out the water. 

Whatever happens come the weekend, Kamui has secured himself a place in the Le Mans record books.

From the archive

Ford's first Le Mans win

'It was tense. Ford expected to win and there were three teams each trying to do the best they could. Shelby had got so far in debt to Ford over the Mustang and Cobra projects that he’d become a division of Ford, albeit a fairly independent one. So his was the factory team. Both Alan Mann’s and our drivers were told not to pass a Shelby American car unless a Ferrari was passing it, too.'

Ferrari, animosity and political in-fighting. There was much more to Ford's historic first win at Le Mans than you might first think.

Read the feature in full

Your weekend of motor sport

Sports cars

WEC: Le Mans, France

Motorcycles

British Superbikes: Knockhill, UK

Touring cars

DTM: Budapest, Hungary

Historics

MGLive!: Silverstone, UK

This week in motor sport

We delve into the Motor Sport database to find the major events that have happened over the years, this week in motor sport:

June 12, 2011: Jenson Button wins the longest ever F1 Grand Prix. Report

June 10, 2007: In only his sixth Grand Prix start, Lewis Hamilton becomes a Grand Prix winner in Canada. Report

June 15, 1993: Charismatic and rapid James Hunt dies. In profile

June 11, 1989: Sauber Mercedes finish 1-2 at Le Mans. Report 

June 11, 1988: Silk Cut Jaguar wins at Le Mans for the first time. Report

June 11, 1972: Jo Bonnier, one of the greatest advocates of motor sport safety, is tragically killed. In profile

June 13, 1970: Herrmann and Attwood pilot Porsche to historic first win at Le Mans. Report

June 11, 1939: Jackie Stewart, the outstanding driver of his time, is born. In profile

June 10, 1935: Vic Elford, arguably the most versatile driver of his era, is born. In profile

June 13, 1930: Britain's star driver of the 1920s Henry Segrave dies. In profile

Subscribe to Motor Sport

Please select one of the following subscription offerings to gain uninterrupted access to over 92 years of Motor Sport archive.

Need to get in touch with Motor Sport Online?

Contact Us