until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Crash, blown engine and missed start wreck Norris’ Supercars outing

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris endured a difficult third outing in the virtual Supercars series at the Charlotte oval and Daytona road course.

Norris, representing the Walkinshaw Andretti United team co-owned by McLaren CEO Zak Brown, scored a debut podium at Spa and bagged a reverse-grid win at COTA.

Wednesday’s Supercars round marked the series’ first outing on an oval, with a no-damage Charlotte having replaced Talladega on the schedule and followed by two races on Daytona’s road configuration.

The McLaren F1 driver qualified second to Anton De Pasquale for the oval race, and though he was slow off the line, he soon drew side by side with De Pasquale before clearing him at the start of the fourth lap.

With the draft proving very powerful, the leaders continued to dice for position and soon Shane van Gisbergen took the lead from Norris at the start of the eighth lap.

Norris retook first place on the back straight, but van Gisbergen repeated a Turn 1 move down the inside – and as they continued to duel over the next few laps, Norris ended up backed up behind van Gisbergen and slipped behind team-mate Chaz Mostert as well.

He was soon shuffled down to fifth but still within touch of the leader – but an attempt to slow down and pit on lap 17 went badly, with Norris hit by Anton De Pasquale and Jamie Whincup in quick succession and spinning out.

That put paid to Norris’ victory hopes, and though a caution period with 10 laps to go gave him the chance to make up some ground at the subsequent restart, he was part of a multi-car collision – that also involved erstwhile points leader Scott McLaughlin – and went airborne, before ultimately recovering to an 18th-place finish.

Norris was due to be sixth on the grid for the first Daytona race, but was unable to make the start due to what he reckoned was slow internet connection.

He thus started from the pitlane, and while his recovery drive was stymied by a spin triggered by Mark Winterbottom nudging Fabian Coulthard first into Bryce Fullwood, he finished 14th.

That would be his starting spot for the final race, and he’s made his way up to sixth place – avoiding chaos up front – only to have his engine go up in smoke on the oval section.

Shane van Gisbergen, who is part of simracing outfit Team Redline along with Norris and Red Bull F1 driver Max Verstappen, swept all three of the day’s races.

He narrowly saw off Cam Waters in a photo-finish on the Charlotte oval, where the top four was split by 0.114s, before outduelling De Pasquale in the first Daytona race.

With De Pasquale then missing the rolling start for the second Daytona race and having to go from the pitalne, van Gisbergen was free to dominate, finishing nearly five seconds clear of nearest rival Mostert.

McLaughlin, who had led the Supercars virtual series for its entire duration so far, has yielded the points lead to van Gisbergen after being caught up in multiple dramas on Wednesday.

The 10-round series is now heading into its final stretch, with three events remaining and the finale scheduled to take place on the now-closed Oran Park venue and the legendary Bathurst on June 10.

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