Rear View Mirror 11-6-17
Happy Monday! As I wrote this edition of Rear View Mirror, I kept noting how every series is coming to the end of what has been an incredible year. Leaves have fallen, snow has even fallen, so it follows that it is that time of year. It just went by so fast.
Let’s get into what happened over the weekend in racing!
V8 Supercars Pukekohe
With a name like Whincup, you have to wonder if fate itself has chosen Red Bull’s Jamie Whincup to hold the lead for what could be his seventh V8 Supercars championship (which would be a record). Whincup has managed his position this year with only three wins and two poles. It is the seventh time out of his eleven seasons that Whincup has entered the final round to fight for the title.
While in previous years Whincup has been out of reach, this year, Shell Ford driver Scott McLaughlin has been a contender. The younger McLaughlin acquired seven wins and 14 poles with one race remaining. He is just 30 points adrift of Whincup and it will all come down to who brings their best game to the final race at Newcastle.
The Pukekohe race weekend was a sneak peek at what will likely be an epic battle in the title showdown. Whincup and McLaughlin chased each other all weekend and fought for thousands of a second in qualifying for pole in Sunday’s finale. Saturday McLaughlin had the advantage with a third just ahead of Whincup. Sunday Whincup took pole and the win with McLaughlin right behind him.
Out of contention for the championship, Shane van Gisbergen showed he still had game by winning on Saturday and taking pole for that race. The stage is now set. Is it the beginning of the McLaughlin era? Or will Whincup show that his heart of a champion is still unbeatable? The final race will tell.
WEC Round 8 Shanghai
If not for a contact between the #7 Toyota and the #92 Porsche in the final hour of the six-hour endurance race at Shanghai International Circuit, the race and championship results could have been turned on their head. Up through the Shanghai race, and with one round in Abu Dhabi remaining, wins have been split between Porsche and Toyota.
However, whether by the fault of Toyota’s Jose Maria Lopez or by the consistency of Porsche, the German marque took both the driver’s and manufacturer’s trophy. It was the third consecutive dominance for the winningest brand in history. Toyota did win the Shanghai race but the remainder of the podium was all Porsche.
In LMGTE the battle between Ford and Ferrari was waged. The race went to the #67 Ford of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell. It was their second consecutive win at Shanghai. Ferrari were the big winners though. The #51 Ferrari 488 of Alesandro Pier Guidi and James Calado landed third behind the #91 Porsche driven by Frederic Makowieki and Richard Lietz. Combined with the sixth place finish for its sister car, Ferrari captured the WEC manufacturer’s championship.
The LMGTE driver’s championship is separated by just two points between Marenello driver pairing Pier Guidi/Calado and Stutgart’s Makowieki and Lietz. Bring on Bahrain!
NASCAR – Texas
Only one race stands between now and who will contend for the 2017 NASCAR Cup. Texas was a big decider on who will be fighting for that cup, and in a late race push, Kevin Harvick added his name to the Championship 4. He had to beat Martin Truex Jr. who was leading the race up until Harvick pushed his way around him with ten laps left. After that Harvick was gone.
The consolation prize for Truex Jr., as well as second place, was earning his way into the final four to battle for the title at Homestead. Truex Jr. has had the best year of his career but when they get to Homestead, it all comes down to who crosses that line first. Kyle Busch locked up his spot in the final four when he won at Martinsville last week. One spot remains.
Fighting for the last spot are Chase Elliot and Jimmie Johnson. Who will get it? The new kid on the block or the veteran with the most championships ever under his belt? Elliot came in eighth in Texas, Johnson in 27th. Both will likely need a win in Phoenix next week to see their fate through.
Ken Block’s Gymkhana 10 Trailer
It’s still quite some time until the October 2018 release of Gymkhana 10, but who says the hype can’t start now? Certainly not Ken Block himself, or the boys at Hoonigan. Admittedly, I am a little behind the ball on sharing this but it has taken me a week to put words together to describe how incredible this is going to be.
Starting with the flame-throwing nostrils of the methanol-burning Hoonicorn adorned in white wheels and raised white-letter Toyo tires, is only the beginning. The journey of mind-blowing driving and stunting will travel through five locations. The driving will utilize five different vehicles, including a new build yet to debut.
Look for an unscripted Amazon original series telling the story behind “10” and the previous Gymkhanas between now and then to fill in the dead space. Also don’t forget the Hoonigans are having fun doing rad car stuff every day in their Daily Transmission series.
Watch the trailer for yourself and let the hype begin.
Are you ready for the first Forza Motorsport 7 marathon show on the #TuesdayDrive? Thanks to the release of the Xbox One X Update for Forza Motorsport 7 that includes awesome new features and the Samsung OLED Car Pack we will have a full day of fun on the Mixer and Twitch stream tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. Pacific. We will go until my butt goes numb or around 3 p.m.
For the first time ever we will be streaming from Xbox One X. I am absolutely stoked to be playing Forza 7 in stunning native 4k and I am expecting this will make my driving even that much better to watch. The latter remains to be seen, but show up for the show and find out for yourself.
V8 Supercar photos courtesy of Red Bull Media
WEC Shanghai photo courtesy of FIA WEC