Welcome to The Grid, R&T's quick roundup of the auto industry and motorsports news you should know this morning.
The Land Rover Defender is coming back in 2019. And the good news is that it's likely to be the boxy, rugged truck you remembered. And it'll be sold in the US,
At the opening of Jaguar-Land Rover's new HQ in New Jersey, AN got a snap of a product slide that shows the silhouette of the next Defender closely echoes the outgoing model. Also, when asked if it'll be sold in America, JLR US head Joe Eberhardt said that the Defender will be a global vehicle and that "the United States is on the globe." This is great news.
Alonso Wants More Speed
McLaren's first race in Melbourne made it look like the switch to Renault power was a brilliant decision. The Toro Rosso-Hondas had issues and McLaren had a double points finish. But the tables turned in Bahrain. Toro Rosso had an aero update and Honda had a modified power unit. Both Toro Rossos out qualified the McLarens and Pierre Gasly finished fourth, the best finish for a Honda-powered entry since the company's 2015 return.
Alonso put on a calm face , but he must be a little panicked that Honda is suddenly strong. The two-time champ said that he hopes McLaren can make a similar step to Toro Rosso in the coming races, particularly because the McLaren was easily quicker than the Toro Rosso just one race prior. McLaren has to be hoping the same, just for its own sanity.
Labonte Is Back
Bobby Labonte won the NASCAR championship in 2000 for Joe Gibbs Racing. . Kind of.
Labonte will race in the full 2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series which runs on tracks all over, you guessed it, Europe. Labonte will drive the YACCO Toyota for RDV Racing and carry the number 18, just like he did when he competed full-time in NASCAR in the states. The Whelen Euro Series runs its first race this weekend in Valencia, Spain.