October 25th, 2013, 6:49 pm #1
IndyCars - The off-season: Series news and comment until the March 2014 kick-off...
For the faithful, it's a long wait until March, but series news will be reported here 'til then, and let's start with the next race - TOMORROW!
No, it's not the big cars. It's GO-KARTS!!
Most of the drivers in IndyCar started out in karts. Many of them STAY SHARP on open-wheel by karting, still. Not the kind at Disneyland, these are very simple but very fast and serious open-wheel racers, capable of over 160 MPH in the superkart class.
Tomorrow, the 26th, New Castle Speedway, in Indiana, will host the inaugural Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge, benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association. The event will feature 12 corporate-sponsored teams in a two-hour race at 12:30 p.m.
AMONG the drivers will be IndyCar stars:
Marino Franchitti (substituting for Dario Franchitti)
There is no admission charge. An autograph session begins at 11:45 a.m. - This is a chance to meet your favorite driver in a relaxed setting. GO!!!
On Sunday, the 27th, most of the same drivers will be joined at New Castle by Will Power, Simona De Silvestro, Stefan Wilson and James Davison to run the tenth annual RoboPong 200, an endurance karting event that Wheldon won in 2005, the same year he captured his first Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series championship. That race, also free, begins at noon.
As I stated, most of the current series drivers got their start in karts. Karts - as small as they are - have many of the traits of the highest-performing open-wheel cars. This is a picture of a current driver in their first open-wheel ride, at 6 years old:
Who is this future IndyCar star?
Last edited by MarkyS; October 28th, 2013 at 8:58 pm."WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012
March 17th, 2017, 1:33 pm #2746
Sebring, Thursday...We have practice, we have qualifying and we have RACING!....(part 2)....
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA was DOMINATED all day by IndyCar guys. First, they had their P-2 practice session in the morning. The TOP THREE guys were, in order, Pro-Mazda alum Jake Eidson for Kelly-Moss Road & Race, Indy Lights driver Scott Hargrove for Pfaff Motorsports and P3 was MRTI-Shootout finalist Trenton Estep for JDX Racing.
IndyCar guys crowd the top spots - (left to right) Jake, Scott and Trenton
Next, they qualified for Thursday's Race 1 of the weekend. On the pole was Jake Eidson, P2 was Scott Hargrove and P3 was Trenton Estep.
Finally, they raced, and the WINNER was Scott Hargrove, while P2 went to Jake Eidson and P3 went to Trenton Estep - that's an IndyCar sweep of the day!
Scott Hargrove beats out fellow IndyCar alum Jake Eidson making his series full-season debut.
Friday, The series will have Race 2 of the weekend, with Eidson again on the pole, Hargrove in P2, Andrew Longe for Wright Motorsports in P3 and Trenton Estep in P4.
Last edited by MarkyS; March 17th, 2017 at 2:07 pm."WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012
March 17th, 2017, 1:58 pm #2747
Sebring, Thursday...We have practice, we have qualifying and we have RACING!....(part 3)....
Prototype Challenge (formerly known as Prototype Lites) also had an IndyCar guy dominate the day, as Indy Lights driver Nico Jamin was TOPS in the LMP3 class in the series' 2nd practice session. He then took the pole in the qualifying, and then dominated the race, WINNING in his first-ever race in the ANSA Motorsports # 20 Ligier JS P3 by more than 11 seconds over P2 Andres Gutierrez.
Fellow IndyCar driver Colin Thompson was not so lucky, as he spun in the race and then DNF'd with a mechanical, driving the # 14 Norma M30 for Kelly-Moss Road & Race.
Nico Jamin for ANSA in the new LMP3 class.
In the Mazda Prototype Challenge class - known as MPC - it was Kyle Masson all day long - tops in P-2 practice, tops in qualifying and tops in the race - A sweep for the Rolex 24 Race WINNER, driving today in the # 18 Elan DP02 for Performance Tech - his Rolex 24-winning team.
The interesting thing was that Masson was P4 overall, and that the older DP02 cars were well-competitive with the new LMP3 cars! On outright speed the LMP3s have it, but the little DP02 handle so well that they were all in the mix, all day. In fact, Masson ALMOST got on the overall podium in the race.
Kyle Masson shows the Elans still have it.
Masson will join Indy Lights drivers James French and Pato O'Ward in the 12 Hours on Saturday, driving the PC-class # 38 ORECA FLM09 for Performance Tech, trying to do the Florida Double - WIN Daytona and Sebring in the same year.
Florida Double? (left to right) Kyle, James and Pato
On Friday, Kyle will start the Prototype Challenge Race 2 of the weekend from P1 for the MPC class and P4 overall, while Nico Jamin will start on pole for the LMP3 class and overall.
Last edited by MarkyS; March 17th, 2017 at 2:03 pm."WE KNOW the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest." - Hillary Clinton, September 12th, 2012
March 17th, 2017, 10:21 pm #2748
Sebring, Friday, and the WeatherTech gang qualify for the 12 Hours...
Following a final practice session, all four classes of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualified for Saturday's 12 Hours of Sebring. Here were the pole-sitters, by class, starting with the Prototypes:
P class - On the pole in class and overall was Neel Jani, driving the # 13 Rebellion Racing ORECA 07 Gibson - the first pole for a 2017-spec LMP2 . Jani just beat out Christian Fittipaldi in the # 05 Action Express Cadillac DPi by a mere .095 seconds, as Christian ran out of fuel on his final lap - a real flyer that would have likely gotten him pole. Jani posted a time of 01:48.178s for a speed of 124.4mph. Co-drivers in the car with Neel will be fellow Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Nick Heidfeld.
Neel on the first pole for the newest LMP2.
PC class - It was IndyCar legacy driver Gustavo Yacaman who put the # 26 BAR1 Motorsports ORWCA FLM09 on pole, with a time of 01:53.506s for a speed of 118.6mph. Gustavo barely edged out Indy Lights driver James French, who was on;y .069 seconds in arrears in the # 38 for Performance Tech. Gustavo's fellow drivers for Bar1 will be Marc Drumwright, Chapman Ducote and USF2000 alum Colin Thompson.
Gustavo still gettin' it done
March 17th, 2017, 10:51 pm #2749
Sebring, Friday, and the WeatherTech gang qualify for the 12 Hours...(part 2)...
GTLM class - Helping to give Chip Ganassi a wonderful day, Aussie IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe took the # 67 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi to the top, with a time of 01:55.939s for a speed of 116.1mph - a new class track record. Ryan's co-drivers are Kiwi and fellow IndyCar driver Scott Dixon and Brit Richard Westbrook. It was the fact that the P2 car on the grid was the # 66 Ford GT - another Ganassi car - driven by Dirk Mueller that made Chip's day. Dirk's co-drivers are Joey Hand and IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais. This car WON the Rolex 24 at Daytona this year, and they want to do the Florida sweep - even more of a sweep for Bourdais, who just WON the GP of St. Petersburg in the IndyCars.
Ryan (right) pleases the boss, Chip Ganassi, in the middle
GTD class - Former Indy Lights Champion Tristan Vautier smashed the class track record, with a time of 01:59.738s for a speed of 112.4mph in the # 75 Mecerdes AMG GT3 for SunEnergy 1 Racing - the first pole for the Mercedes in their second-ever race in the series. Tristan beat out the P2 # 29 Monoplast-by-Land Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Pro Mazda alum Connor de Phillippe by a healthy .7 second margin. Co-drivers with Tristan will be Kenny Habul and IMSA legend Boris Said - this is a great squad.
Tristan - record-breaking time for the big Mercedes
The race is scheduled for a 10:40am EASTERN time start, and will be covered on IMSA.TV at : http://imsatv.imsa.com/
From 12:30pm to 11:00pm the race will be on Fox Sports 1
March 19th, 2017, 2:47 am #2750
Prototype Challenge Series, Race 2 - Rinse and repeat of Race 1....
On Thursday, the Prototype Challenge series saw Indy Lights driver Nico Jamin WIN the first-ever LMP3-class race, with authority, driving the # 20 Ligier JS P3 for ANSA Motorsports to an 11 second victory. Well, Nico did the SAME thing on Friday, but with a lot less distance between him and the P2-finishing car, beating IndyCar alum Colin Thompson, driving the # 14 Norma M30 LMP3 for Kelly-Moss Road & Race by a scant .665 seconds. P3 was Andres Gutierrez in the # 12 Ligier JS P3 for Performance Tech Motorsports.
Nico leads from pole in the # 20. Behind and to his right is Colin Thompson in the # 14. Two cars directly behind Nico is the # 18 Elan DP02 driven by Kyle Masson to the MPC-class WIN, eventually:
And just as it was on Thursday, It was Kyle Masson taking the Mazda Prototype Challenge (MPC class) victory, driving the # 18 Elan DP02 for Performance Tech to P1 in class and P5 overall. P2 was Brian Alder for BAR1 Motorsports, while P3 was USF2000 alum Tazio Ottis for JDC Motorsports. As on Thursday, the Elans were mixing it up with the LMP3 cars, and the finishing order showed the P3s were faster, but not appreciably faster. Driver ability had as much to do with position as car type and class.
IndyCar guys in LMP3 - P1 for Nico (left) and P2 for Colin
Kyle Masson (left) and P3 Tazio Ottis
Kyle now has one more thing to do this weekend: He has to jump into the PC-class # 38 Performance Tech ORECA FLM09 with co-drivers and Indy Lights pilots James French and Pato O'Ward and run the 12 Hours of Sebring, as the boys try to repeat their WIN at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
March 19th, 2017, 3:21 am #2751
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Race 2 - A rookie gets his first WIN....
Starting from pole, season rookie and Pro Mazda alum Jake Eidson took his first victory in only his 4th ever GT3 Cup race. Jake now has 2 P2s from his only two races, last season, and now a P2 and a WIN from this season. You cannot get this guy off a podium. P2 on Friday was Mazda Road to Indy Shootout contender Trenton Estep for JDX Racing, improving on his P3 from Thursday, while P3 on Friday was Corey Fergus for Moorespeed.
Jake Eidson and his race-winning Porsche Cup 991 for Kelly-Moss Road & Race.
Indy Lights driver Scott Hargrove for Pfaff Motorsports started P2, following his WIN on Thursday, and put in early laps trying to hunt down Eidson but was out by lap 5. Jake put in the Fastest Lap of the race, as well, so he collected max points for Race 2 and leads the series, heading next to Barber Motorsports Park in late April, in support of the IndyCars.
Estep (left) takes a P3 Thursday and a P2 Friday, while Hargrove gets a WIN and a DNF
March 19th, 2017, 11:40 pm #2752
The 12 Hours of Sebring - Two teams do the DOUBLE!....
One of the hardest things to do in SportsCar endurance racing is to do the Florida Double - WIN at both Daytona for the 24 Hours and at Sebring for the 12 Hours. It's also known as the Florida 36 Hours. This year, TWO different teams pulled off the Florida Double. The boys from Wayne Taylor Racing took their # 10 Cadillac DPi to the victory overall and in the P class at both Daytona and Sebring and the very young team from Performance Tech took their Daytona-winning # 38 ORECA FLM09 to P1 in the PC class and P5 overall.
For the # 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konika Minolta Cadillac DPi, this was a less contested WIN than the Daytona victory, with a healthy 13 second lead at the end, but it was the same guys - Christian Fittipaldi, Felipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa - in the # 5 Cadillac DPi for Action Express that were trying to hunt them down. P3 on the finish was the other Action Express Cadillac, driven by Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and IndyCar driver Mike Conway.
Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor and Brit Alex Lynn WIN the P class and overall
The Performance Tech squad creamed the competition at Daytona, winning by more than 20 laps. At Sebring their lap lead at the end was only 2 laps, but they led for more than 9 of the last hours of the event. It was Indy Lights drivers Sean Rayhall and Garett Grist and Pro Mazda alum Max Hanratty who brought the # 8 Starworks car in at P2 in class and P6 overall - all the more remarkable because the squad had been formed only a day before the race start. P3 in class was the # 26 car for BAR1 Motorsports, with Marc Drumwright, Chapman Ducote, Gustavo Yacaman (an old Indy Lights guy) and USF2000 alum Colin Thompson on board. The car was 15th overall.
The Performance Tech squad - Indy Lights drivers James French & Pato O'Ward and Kyle Masson - take P1 in PC class and P5 overall
19-year-old Kyle Masson not only WON the 12 Hours, but he also won BOTH of the Prototype Challenge races in the MPC class on Thursday and Friday - a remarkable showing for the teen. At just 17-years-old, Pato O'Ward is the youngest ever Sebring 12-Hour winner, as well as one of the two youngest Daytona winners ever.
Last edited by MarkyS; March 20th, 2017 at 2:34 am.
March 20th, 2017, 12:20 am #2753
The 12 Hours of Sebring - Two teams do the DOUBLE!....(part 2)....
In the GTLM class it was a war up to the very end, with the # 3 Corvette Racing C7.R Corvette taking the crown, just beating out the # 66 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. It was Antonio Garcia who took the Corvette home, in what he and others are describing as his best stint ever. Co-drivers were Mike Rockenfeller and Jan Magnussen. The car was P7 overall at the end. The # 66 was driven by Joey Hand at the end, with a co-drive by Dirk Mueller and IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais. Had the car finished P1 it too would have done the Florida 36 Hours. It nevertheless finished P8 overall. P3 in class was the # 62 Ferrari for Risi Competizione, driven by Tomi Vilander, James Calado and Giancarlo Fisichella. The car was another 5 seconds back in P9 overall.
Corvette WINS it's 3rd Sebring GTLM class victory in a row.
In the GTD class the WINNERS were the new guys on the block - Mercedes - as the old hands at Riley Motorsports took their new # 33 Mercedes AMG GT3 to the top spot in class and 16th, overall. The car was driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen at the end, in another hotly-contested battle to the finish. Co-drivers in the car were Ben Keating and Mario Farnbacher. Trying to catch Jeroen was Alessandro Balzan in the # 63 Ferrari for Scuderia Corsa, but he was 3 seconds back at the finish, bringing the 488 GT3 home 17th overall. Co-drivers where Christina Nielsen and Matteo Cressoni. P3 in class and 18th overall was former Indy Lights Champ Tristan Vautier, driving the # 75 Mercedes AMG GT3 for SunEnergy1 Racing. Co-drivers were Kenny Habul and Boris Said. This is Mercedes' first assault on Sebring in over 60 years, so a P1 and P3 is simply outstanding.
The familiar Riley Dodge Viper is replaced by an equally-fast and winning Mercedes AMG GT3.
Points have not yet been awarded by IMSA, but for sure, Ricky and Jordan Taylor will be leading in the P-class for both the WeatherTech series and for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup. The SAME will be the case for the PC class drivers - Kyle Masson and Indy Lights drivers James French and Pato O'Ward.
Another great 12 Hours of Sebring in the history books, and, as usual, the IndyCar contingent acquitted themselves well, with many victories and podiums, throughout the weekend. The next scheduled race will be in support of the IndyCars at Long Beach, April 7, 8 and 9. The PC class will sit that one out.
Last edited by MarkyS; March 22nd, 2017 at 3:43 am.
March 20th, 2017, 4:21 am #2754
March 20th, 2017, 4:32 am #2755
March 20th, 2017, 4:46 am #2756
Here is the last lap of the 65th iteration of the 12 Hours of Sebring....
....and the post-race interview with P-class and overall WINNERS, Ricky Taylor, Alex Lynn and Jordan Taylor:
March 20th, 2017, 4:53 am #2757
Here is the last lap of the 65th iteration of the 12 Hours of Sebring....(part 2)....
And here are the interviews with two of the GTLM-class WINNERS, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller, followed by interviews with the GTD-class WINNERS, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Mario Farnbacher and Ben Keating. Lastly, two of the PC-class WINNERS are interviewed, with Indy Lights drivers James French and Pato O'Ward:
March 20th, 2017, 11:51 pm #2758
In case you just can't get up early on Sunday mornings, and thus missed this....
...CBS Sunday Morning did a very nice piece on the great Mario Andretti, who is arguably the greatest race driver of all time. The only guy who has an equal claim has to be fellow IndyCar driver AJ Foyt, but Foyt doesn't drive cars anymore, while Mario still puts in laps up to 200 miles an hour at IMS in the IndyCar two-seater.
Take a look:
There is no greater ambassador for the entire sport of motor racing.
March 21st, 2017, 9:45 pm #2759
BIG open test at Barber Motorsports Park...The numbers are in...
All the IndyCar teams and drivers came out for a full day of testing at Barber, today - two full sessions in good weather. Ed Carpenter didn't drive the # 20, of course, but instead sent out his road-course substitute for Ed Carpenter Racing, Spencer Pigot, hot off a 12 Hours at Sebring. We had 22 cars on track, today, because Roger Penske also sent out a fifth car, driven by Juan Pablo Montoya. In the end, what we learned is that the parity between Honda and Chevy on road courses this season is essentially equal.
After two combined sessions, this was the order of speed, with times for the TOP FIVE: R denotes rookie; session for time is in ( )
P1 - Will Power, Team Penske - time of 01:07.7518s for a speed of 122.211mph (2)
P2 - Max Chilton, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:07.7591s for a speed of 122.198mph (2)
P3 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske - time of 01:07.8402s for a speed of 122.052mph (2)
P4 - Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske - time of 01:07.8406s for a speed of 122.051mph (2)
P5 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:07.9664s for a speed of 121.825mph (2)
P6 - Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport (2)
P7 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing (2)
P8 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport (2)
P9 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (2)
P10 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske (2)
P11 - Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing (1)
P12 - Helio Castroneves, Team Penske (2)
P13 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing (2)
P14 - Ed Jones (R), Dale Coyne Racing (2)
P15 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Herta (1)
P16 - Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (1)
P17 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing (2)
P18 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (2)
P19 - Conor Daly, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (2)
P20 - JR Hildebrand, Ed Carpenter Racing (2)
P21 - Carlos Munoz, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (2)
P22 - Charlie Kimball, Chip Ganassi Racing (2)
- In the last ten minutes of the day, Max Chilton stole the top spot from Josef Newgarden, but then literally on his final lap, Will Power redeemed the top spot for Team Penske, by a TINY fraction - 0.0073 seconds! He did it by using his push-to-pass on the last lap.
- The TOP SIX cars included 3 Chevys and 3 Hondas - we have parity. The difference between P1 and P22 was only 1 second - again, we have parity. The race will be TIGHT!
- NO RUST at all on Juan Pablo Montoya who hasn't been in an IndyCar since last September. He was SO CLOSE to snagging P3, at only .0004 seconds behind Newgarden. JPM also had to work with a new engineer, new mechanics and new pit crew and none of it seemed to matter to the Colombian ace, at all. To say he enjoyed the day is an understatement.
- Off-course excursions included Newgarden, Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan and Sebastien Bourdais, but no one bent anything, too badly.
- Tops in the morning session was Takuma Sato. Takuma is also loving his new situation with Andretti Autosport. The next race, at Long Beach, is the site of his lone IndyCar WIN. But at the end, it was Marco Andretti who turned in the top time for the team.
Will Power uses the button to snag P1
Last edited by MarkyS; March 22nd, 2017 at 3:47 am.
March 21st, 2017, 10:01 pm #2760
Let's take a few laps around Barber with Graham Rahal.....
...of Rahal Letterman Lanigan. Last year, Graham put on an excellent show, battling with eventual-race-WINNER Simon Pagenaud for Team Penske right down to the last few thrilling feet of real estate. On Tuesday, Graham put in the P9 time for the day in the # 15 Honda for Steak and Shake.
The visor cam puts you right into the cockpit with the Hammer: