Porsche wins third straight World Endurance Championship
In its final season of Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) competition,
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has confirmed Oakville, Ontario native James Hinchcliffe (above, right) will return to the Verizon Indycar Series team in 2018 on a multi-year extension, and will be joined by friend and fellow Ontario native, Robert Wickens of Guelph (above, left). The duo marks the first all-canadian lineup in North American open-wheel racing since Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier were teammates with Forsythe Racing in the former Champ Car World Series in 2004.
“Not only am I really excited to be able to say I'll be back with SPM for next year and beyond, but I am also really looking forward to being teammates with one of my oldest friends,” Hinchcliffe said.
Hinchcliffe has thus far captured five wins (St. Pete, Sao Paulo, Iowa 2013; New Orleans 2015; Long Beach 2017), 14 podium finishes and one pole position (Indianapolis 500, 2016) in his six full seasons of Indycar competition. He has led 691 laps to date.
With two Formula Championships under his belt (Formula BMW USA, 2006; Formula Renault 3.5, 2011) as well as a season as a Formula One test driver (Marussia Virgin Racing), Wickens will make his return to open-wheel racing following six seasons of competing in Europe for Mercedes-benz in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM). During his time in sports cars, the 28-year-old clinched six wins, five pole positions and 15 podium finishes.
“This is an entirely new chapter to add to my racing career, and I am really excited for this opportunity that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has given me. I think everyone knows the story by now that James and I grew up racing against one another in go karts, and to make it to the largest openwheel racing series in North America together as teammates, it's crazy to think about,” Wickens said.
Mercedes-benz Canada brought a healthy roster of AMG products to the event. Given the time of year, (late October), most of the cars on site were 2018s, but a few 2017s were also present. I've indicated the `17s with an asterisk in their respective listings on the following pages. Given the limited amount of space I'm working with here, I'm not going to go into too much detail with each vehicle, but I've included basic specs along with driving impressions and some final thoughts regarding the program as a whole. BASE PRICE: $63,200 (2017) 3.0L biturbo V6 HORSEPOWER / TORQUE: 362 hp @ 5,500 rpm / 384 lb-ft. @ 2,500 – 4,500 rpm
front engine, TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic 4.9 seconds 304 km/h
THE SMALLEST OF THE AMG SUVS, KEEPING UP WITH THE V8-POWERED ENTRIES IN THE GROUP IT WAS PLACED IN WAS DIFFICULT FOR THE GLA 45. Even in sport+, it simply wasn't as fast or responsive as the bigger AMGS (or the CLA 45, for that matter). Its higher centre of gravity had it pitching and rolling a lot during cornering, with plenty of tire squealing to boot. I acknowledge I was pushing hard to try to keep up with the group (I was bringing up the rear in the GLA 45), hence the tire noise, but that doesn't explain its sub-par on-track handling. That, my friends, is pure physics.
BASE PRICE: $115,500 (2018) 4.0L biturbo V8 HORSEPOWER / TORQUE: 603 hp @ 5,750 – 6,500 rpm / 627 lb-ft. @ 2,500 – 4,500 rpm
front engine, I ONLY HAD ONE GO AROUND IN THE ALL-NEW 2018 E 63 S 4MATIC+ BUT OH MAN, WAS IT EVER FUN. The only car in the group that comes equipped with the 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system that features variable front / rear torque distribution (which can send 100 percent of it to the rear wheels), the power of the 4.0L biturbo V8 is paired with a chassis set-up that really keeps the car under the driver. Even though VIMC isn't ideally suited to a car with this much power, I was able to push the E 63 S hard without being overly concerned about how I was going to get through the next corner. It's blindingly quick, but 4MATIC+ allows the driver to get the most out of the E 63 S' powertrain while remaining in control, and g getting g a little sideways at the same time – a win-win, indeed!