Race Details Race Times: 5pm & 6pm Laps: 28 & 14 Last Time Here Winner: Ben Weather: Dry Hotspots: Turns 3a & 7 The Track Sonoma Raceway, formerly Sears Point Raceway and Infineon Raceway is a 2.52-mile (4.06 km) road course and drag strip located on the landform known as Sears Point in the southern Sonoma Mountains in Sonoma, California, USA. The road course features 12 turns on a hilly course with 160 feet (49 m) of total elevation change. it is host to one of only two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races each year that are run on road courses (the other being Watkins Glen). With the closure of Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, California after the 1988 season, NASCAR, wanting a west coast road course event to replace it, chose the Sears Point facility. In 2002, Sears Point Raceway was renamed after a corporate sponsor, Infineon. However, as with many renamings of sports complexes, many people still call it by its original name. On March 7, 2012, it was announced that Infineon would not renew their contract for naming rights when the deal expired in May, and the track management is looking for a new company to take over naming rights. Until it can find a new corporate sponsor, the course is simply identifying itself as "Sonoma". The standard, full length road course at Sonoma Raceway is a 2.52 miles (4.06 km) 12-turn course. This course was utilized by all competition through 1997. Most races, including the Grand Prix of Sonoma, use the full course. The course is noted for turns two and three, which are negative-camber ("off-camber") turns, with the inside of the turn higher than the outside. This provides a challenge for the driver, as turn two would normally have the drivers moving to the left side of the track. The raceway also has a 440-yard (402.3 m) dragstrip used for NHRA drag racing events. The drag strip was originally located on part of the front straightaway of the course. Track changes completed in 2002 separated the road course from the drag strip. The track was modified in 1998, adding the Chute, which bypassed turns 5 and 6 (the Carousel), shortening the course to 1.95 miles (3.14 km). The Chute is only used for NASCAR events such as the Toyota/Save Mart 350, and was criticized by many drivers, who prefer the full layout. In 2001, it was replaced with the 70° turn, 4A bringing the track to its current dimensions of 1.99 miles (3.20 km). From 1989 to 2001, the pit road could only accommodate 34 pit stalls. So, during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, some teams were required to share pit stalls while other teams were forced to pit inside the garage area. When cars dropped out of the race, their pit stalls were reassigned to cars who were sharing. After a few years, a makeshift auxiliary pit road was constructed inside the hairpin (turn 11) nicknamed Gilligan's Island. Cars that had the nine slowest qualifying speeds were relegated to these pit stalls. Pitting in this area was considered an inconvenience and a competitive disadvantage, more so than even the disadvantages one would experience pitting on the backstretch at a short track at the time. Since the length of the auxiliary pit road was significantly shorter than the main pit road, the cars that pitted there were held from 15–20 seconds to make up for the time that would have been spent if the cars had traveled the entire main pit road. Variations of Sonoma's circuits are often used. Motorcycles use a 2.22 miles (3.57 km), 12-turn course. It is based on the full layout, and does not include the Chute. This layout, opened in 2003, skips the later section of the Esses (8A and 9) and the run from Turn 10 to Turn 11 (the hairpin), using instead Turn 11a as Turn 11 has no runoff. This hairpin is located just past the drag strip control tower and offers a fairly straight run to the start-finish line. (Shown below). The qualifying & race lap record are dominated by the Audi R8. Allan McNish holds the qualifying lap record, and Marco Werner the race lap record. The Audi R8's that hold the lap record around the Infineon Raceway (As you can see they are also ironically sponsored by Infineon) Last Time Out Silverstone provided 2 very tricky races, with torrential rain and thick fog pushing the drivers to the limits, with one mistake being costly as Adam and Benji found out early in the feature. Gaz took pole with Oz taking P2, then Benji and Liam completing row 2. the front row stayed the same but Liam attacked Benji, which ultimately left him vulnerable to Adam, who took advantage to take P4. The first lap was an experiment for the drivers but that didn't stop some trying to make gains, including Liam who took P4 back off Adam into Stowe. Lap 2 saw some drama, with Adam spinning into Brooklands, going down to 2nd last, then Benji lost it on the exit or Luffield, spinning into a tyre barrier, but luckily escaped with very minor damge, dropping a couple of places. Oz soon made a mistake onto the Wellington straight, allowing Liam to close up and apply pressure. Benji was in a battle with Ben & Matt but he soon pulled away. some pitted early, but soon it became clear that the rain was not going to stop, with the last few pitting, Oz made a mistake into the pit entry, which proved costly as Liam performed the overcut to gain a 5s lead. in the last 3 laps the rain became thunderstorms, with some struggling to keep temperature, but it ended with Gaz winning, Liam taking P2 to complete a SFR 1-2. Oz took P3 as his post race penalty made no difference but will have a qualifying ban for Sonoma. With Benji recovering to P4. The sprint saw another 2 car shootout, with Adam taking pole from Frank. Adam initially lead the race, but only a few corners in he had Gaz, Oz and Liam in 2nd, 3rd and 4th. It may have gotten to him as he Spun on lap 2 into Stowe, ultimately DNF'ing the race. Again it finished Gaz P1, Oz managed to keep P2 this time, Liam P3 & Benji P4 again. Questions Sonoma hasn't been used since season 1, but this is the first time on the GP track, do you like Sonoma? There will be no more random weather races this season, what was your favourite wet race and did you ultimately like them? There are 2 TBA (To be announced) GT3 Cars in the pCars 2 car list, what do you hope they are? Is Bottas pushing himself into the championship fight?