Racing News (4049)
Racing News from around the World
Scuderia Corsa has a winning history on Belle Isle that they would like to continue having captured the GT-Daytona class victory in last year's TUDOR Championship race. Starting from seventh on the grid, the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia would end up winning the race due to strong driving and pit stop strategy.
This year, drivers Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell are currently second in the GT-Daytona drivers' championship, one point out of the championship lead. Ferrari leads the GT-Daytona manufacturer's championship while Scuderia Corsa is third in the team championship, and Saturday afternoon's 100-minute race will provide them the opportunity to jump into the championship lead.
In the team's World Challenge trailer, drivers Duncan Ende and Martin Fuentes are aiming to continue with the strong results that both have recently enjoyed. Ende recently scored his best finish of the season, 10th, at Barber Motorsports Park while Fuentes, who scored the GT-A class victory at Barber, is currently third in the GT-A championship standings a mere three points behind the championship leader. Both drivers will take part in a pair of 50-minute sprint races.
This weekend will mark the first time that Scuderia Corsa's IMSA and World Challenge teams will compete alongside each other on the same weekend
"It is going to be a very busy weekend for us," said Giacomo Mattioli, Scuderia Corsa team owner. "Detroit is a very challenging circuit that is very bumpy and hard to pass on. Our victory here last year required everyone - the drivers and the crew - to be aggressive and to do a complete team effort. I think we'll see the same kind of approach from our team again in Detroit in the TUDOR Championship race and I'm confident that Bill and Townsend will be battling for the win and continue their momentum in the championship.
"In the World Challenge races, I am looking forward to see Duncan and Martin compete this weekend. Martin is in a strong position in the championship, being only three points behind the GT-A class leader. Duncan had a really strong race at Long Beach, another street circuit, before he was taken out by another competitor. This could be a very strong weekend for our World Challenge drivers."
Sweedler, Bell, and the rest of the Scuderia Corsa team will leave Detroit to take part in the LeMans Official Test. Sweedler and Bell will be joined by Jeff Segal at this year's 24 Hours of LeMans as they compete in the no. 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia in the GT-Am class.
The 100-minute IMSA TUDOR Championship race in Detroit will go green on Saturday, May 30 and will be shown live on FOX Sports 2 at 12:00 PM ET and then rebroadcast at 2:00 PM ET on FOX Sports 1.
The first race of the Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader will be shown on Saturday, May 30 at world-challengetv.com at 9:45 AM ET. The second race will be shown on Sunday, May 31 at 12:00 PM ET on CBS Sports Network and streamed live on world-challengetv.com.
Most recently seen behind the wheel of Andretti’s Rolling Stones-themed Indianapolis 500 entry, Wilson hopes to use his diverse racing background as he expands his motorsport portfolio.
“I’m looking forward to making my Formula E debut with Andretti,” said Wilson. “I’ve been following the Championship from the start, and it is a very interesting formula. I appreciate Michael (Andretti) giving me this opportunity. I know there is a lot to learn, but I am excited about this new challenge and looking forward to the Moscow ePrix weekend already!”
The Briton displayed a great talent for racing and won titles in karting and formula cars on his way to the top of the racing ladder when he ultimately progressed to the Formula 1 World Championship. The 36-year-old saw a successful career in CART from 2004-2007 in which he scored four wins and 15 podiums to finish runner-up in the championship in both 2006 and 2007.
Since joining the IndyCar Series in 2008, the driver from Sheffield, England has been very impressive in street and road course events. He claimed IndyCar victories at Detroit in 2008 and Watkins Glen in 2009 – giving Dale Coyne Racing the team’s first IndyCar win. Wilson has also shown continued strength on oval circuits and won at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012.
Andretti Formula-E Team enters the ninth round of competition sixth place in the FIA Formula-E Team Championship with 88 points. The inaugural Moscow ePrix is set to go green June 4 with Live Stream available worldwide. For information about the Andretti Formula-E team, visit AndrettiAutosport.com, and stay up to date on Twitter via @AndrettiFE.
But neither his fellow officials at the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) nor the drivers and teams he oversees as race director for the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda seem to mind.
"I probably go beyond my spot sometimes because I will go up and give a guy a pointer if I see something he may be able to do better with," Forbes-Robinson said. "Whether he decides to go ahead and do it is up to him, but I'm going to do it anyways because I want to see these guys do well."
They listen. How could they not?
Southern California native Forbes-Robinson became race director for the IMSA Development Series this season with a sparkling driving resume that almost needs sunglasses to read.
He earned more than 50 major-league victories during his driving career, which has spanned five decades. He has won major championships, with the 1982 Trans-Am title and 1999 American Le Mans Series Prototype titles on his record. He co-drove to victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 1997 and 1999. He finished second in the GTP class in the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans. He has raced in NASCAR, Super Vee, IMSA, GRAND-AM, ALMS, Trans-Am and countless other series. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2006.
When it comes to driving sports cars, EFR has done it all.
His journey into serving as an official was unconventional. The friendly, affable Forbes-Robinson tried to serve as a driver coach a few times during his illustrious driving career, but it didn't suit him. He preferred the low-key approach of offering a tip here, a suggestion there.
Sanctioning bodies noticed his deft touch and universal respect in sports car paddocks throughout North America. GRAND-AM hired Forbes-Robinson as a driver advisor for the 2013 season, a job he continued for IMSA and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014. He worked with drivers and was available as a sounding board of vast experience in Race Control for stewards.
When he walked into Race Control in 2013, it was the first time Forbes-Robinson ever entered that nerve center at a race event despite starting his driving career in 1969. His clean, fair racing standards as a driver never caused trouble with stewards.
"I'd never been in Race Control until two years ago; instead, they would come and find me and hit me," Forbes-Robinson said, joking with a hearty laugh. "Actually, I can't remember having issues which I was called to the stewards for."
IMSA officials then approached Forbes-Robinson to take the next step as an official, to serve as race director for Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda this season. It seemed to be a perfect fit. EFR had vast experience as a driver in prototype machinery, and he was a trusted voice respected by all in the IMSA paddock.
Still, the humble, self-effacing Forbes-Robinson had doubts. But IMSA officials Beaux Barfield, Paul Walter and Randy Hembrey - all current or former race directors - convinced Forbes-Robinson he was more than capable for the job.
"I said I'll give it a try, and you guys can punt me any time you want because this is all new to me, and I'm going to do the best I can," Forbes-Robinson said.
Forbes-Robinson admits his biggest adjustment is looking at the series, its teams and competitors as an official instead of as a racer, his familiar role for decades. For example, drivers tend to only study the portions of the rulebook that pertain to racetrack conduct, leaving other details to team managers. But EFR has worked hard this year to study all aspects of series rules, competition and technical, for his new job.
And there's probably no one in the IMSA paddock who understands the drivers' perspective of a racing situation better than Forbes-Robinson.
"When somebody tells you here's what they did and they've seen, I have an understanding and a feel for what they're seeing in the car, and I can either agree with them or decide not to agree with them because of the fact I've been there before," Forbes-Robinson said. "I think it helps me understand the things the drivers are seeing and doing.
"The guys I've worked with, the drivers and the teams, are really good people who are trying to do well all the time."
That commitment to the sport and its people continues to motivate Forbes-Robinson, 71, in his new role at a time in his life when many of his driving peers have retired.
"It is a big challenge, and frankly more than I thought it was at first," Forbes-Robinson said. "I've got a lot of stuff I can do at home, but if I wasn't busy all the time, I wouldn't know what I would do. I want to stay busy. I want to be doing things. If I can help somewhere and help the people in Lites, it's good for me.
"I hope I can give a little bit of input and make this Lites car, which is a fabulous car, better. Right now I'm hoping I can make a difference and help out."
Rounds 5 and 6 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season are scheduled for June 25-27 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York.
The all-electric FIA Formula E Championship has announced that leading European payment provider Visa Europe will become the official title sponsor of its final two rounds (10 and 11) in London, held at Battersea Park on 27 and 28 June.
Following on from the recent announcement that Visa Europe would be the official payment services partner for the Monaco, Berlin and London races, this announcement sees the culmination of the season become the ‘2015 FIA Formula E Visa London ePrix’.
Visa Europe will continue its focus on putting fans at the heart of the race with exciting content for fans, both online and at the races.
As part of the activation, Visa Europe has introduced the Visa Fastest Lap. This trophy will be awarded to the drivers who post the fastest lap times at both London races. In the lead up to these, UK fans will have a chance to get involved in a sweepstake to predict the time of the fastest lap with great prizes to be won.
In addition, Visa Europe will be continuing the action away from the Battersea Park track where they will be showcasing a range of interactive activities within the eVillage – Formula E’s dedicated fan zone.
Mark Antipof, Chief Officer, Sales and Marketing at Visa Europe said: “At Visa Europe we see this truly collaborative partnership with Formula E as a chance to project our shared passion for innovation. Increasing our current support of this evolutionary sport through the UK finale race is the perfect opportunity to enhance our commitment and engage with fans by putting them at the heart of the action.”
Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, added: “We’re delighted to be announcing the next stage in our partnership with Visa Europe and for them to become the title sponsor of our climatic London events. Like Formula E, Visa is focused on putting fans at the heart of the race and we’re sure their innovative approach will help us produce a fantastic event and a great spectacle for the British public.”
Formula E is a new FIA single-seater championship and the world's first fully electric racing series. It sees ten teams competing, at speeds of up to 140 mph, in 10 of the world's leading cities including Monaco, Berlin and London. The 10 teams, each with two drivers, race on bespoke city-centre circuits creating a unique and exciting series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans.
The No. 38 ORECA FLM09 machine will take to the streets of Belle Isle in Detroit on May 29-30 with the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The team comes to Detroit off its second straight third-place finish, in early May at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
James French once again will be behind the wheel of the team's car. Joining French as co-driver will be James Vance, who returns to Performance Tech for the first time since the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
This will be French's first race on a street circuit. But he helped the team finish third during his first trip to Mazda Raceway, therefore Performance Tech hopes for another solid performance from French.
Team Principal Brent O'Neill is looking forward to returning to a street course. The team's last street course appearance was in 2013 at the Grand Prix of Baltimore, where the team won the PC class.
"Detroit is a much different place than any other track we've been to," O'Neill said. "It's not like any other street course. But I'm happy to be going to Detroit this year, to be a part of the big show.
"Like at any street course, the trick here is to stay on course and not crash. We're on a roll right now. We want to keep it going. We took James French to Watkins Glen for testing. I think we've got him going in a good direction. We should be ready for this race."
The team will host sponsor Ric-Man Detroit Inc., a construction company. Former Prototype Lites driver Danny Mancini, from Detroit, owns the corporation and will bring many of his employees for a day of excitement at the track.
"We're excited to have Danny Mancini out," O'Neill said. "He's a great sponsor and a great driver. We always enjoy having him out to our races. We're excited to see him bring out the women and men that work for him. We look forward to having a pretty big cheering section."
The race weekend begins with practice at 8:45 a.m. (ET) Friday, May 29, with qualifying later in the day at 5:10 p.m. The 100-minute race starts at 12:05 p.m. Saturday, May 30 and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 2 beginning at noon. Fans can also follow the race by visiting scoring.imsa.com or following on Twitter with updates from @IMSALive.
In addition for the chance to see the stars of the show "Street Outlaws" - Doc, Dominator, Derek and Monza - for two nights, on Saturday, June 6, Box and No Box Gambler's Races have been added with a total purse of over $3,000.
"We just keep adding to the excitement for this event," said MIR VP and GM Pam Kendrick. "Not only will fans get to see their favorite street racers take to the track to compete in a controlled, safe environment but our local racers will get a nice tune-up for the next day's bracket race and chance to win some extra money on Saturday."
On Saturday June 6, with the purchase of the $20 tech card each racer receives a free entry into either the Box or No Box Gambler's Race. Payout to the winner in each race will be $1,000 with $500 to the runner-up, $75 to the semifinal losers and $50 to the drivers knocked out in the quarters. There will be a $30 buyback for first and second round.
"We'll still have the open Test N Tune and $100 street car ET bounty on Friday and Saturday nights," Kendrick said. "These Gambler's Races will give each night of this Outlaws event its own identity. Friday will be more relaxed and Saturday we'll get down to some intense competition all the way around."
Admission on June 5 and 6 will be $20 for racers and spectators with children 12 and under free. Gates open at 6 p.m. each night. The Street Outlaws will race three times each night with free autograph sessions scheduled throughout each evening.
The weekend schedule will be rounded out with a Summit Bracket Racing Series presented by COMP Cams points race on Sunday, June 7.
Bill McAnally Racing has started the 2015 season strong, winning two of the first four races, and hopes to keep the momentum rolling as the series returns to the 3/8-mile oval it last visited in 1993.
Brandon McReynolds is coming off a major victory with a win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway on May 16. McReynolds, driver of the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, is 10th in the championship standings. The 24-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina, is in his second full season of competing in the series.
Chris Eggleston, meanwhile, drove the No. 99 NAPA Filters/H2O Fire Protection Toyota to victory last month at Irwindale (California) Speedway. Eggleston of Erie, Colorado, is second in the championship standings – just four points out of first – as he competes in his freshman season in the series.
“We’ve had a great start to the season overall,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “I’m proud of the way both of these teams have pulled together and worked hard to be successful. This is a very important season as we celebrate BMR’s 25th anniversary with NAPA as a partner.
“We anticipate a large turnout of NAPA fans on Saturday from the NAPA AUTO PARTS stores of Jerry Ross Sr. and Jerry Ross Jr. in Anderson, Red Bluff and Redding – along with NAPA fans from the NAPA AUTO PARTS stores of Bart Riebe in Chico and Paradise,” he said. “In addition, NAPA Filters will be bringing some store owners and shop owners to the event.”
Although BMR has had a strong start to the season, McAnally has been around the series long enough to know the importance of continuing to work hard.
“There’s a lot of tough competition in the series, with talented young drivers,” he said. “We know it’s still early in the season and we need to stay after it to have a good year.”
Festivities for the weekend kick off at midday on Friday with a special visit by BMR to the Anderson NAPA AUTO PARTS store. It will include the NAPA transporter, with the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota and the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota. Drivers Brandon McReynolds and Chris Eggleston will be there to greet fans and sign autographs.
That will be followed at 1 p.m. by a parade of the colorful NASCAR team haulers traveling from East Street to the track.
The historic track hosts the NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 each year.
Nick Drake, driver of the Bill McAnally Racing No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, got his first taste of the track known as “The Madhouse” as a rookie a year ago. The action on the track and the fans who pack the grandstands both stand out from that first experience, Drake said.
“It’s pretty wild,” said the 19-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina. “Last year was my first time there. They pack the place with as many people as they can fit in there. They’re pretty crazy.”
Competing on a tight, flat quarter-mile oval, meanwhile, can take its toll on man and machine – in terms of crumpled fenders and short tempers. Drivers and crew chiefs say avoiding trouble is critical to getting a good finish.
“If you can stay out of trouble, you should get a good finish,” Drake said. “That’s the tough part, not getting into trouble or getting into someone else’s mess. That’s the key for everyone. And if you do get into a little trouble, you want it to be early in the race so you have time to work your way back to the front.”
Drake knows from experience. He was in third on the last lap last year when he got spun by contact from behind. Nevertheless, he salvaged a 10th-place finish.
This year, he hopes to avoid such trouble.
“We’ll see how it plays out,” Drake said. “It’s a long race there.”
Drake is sixth in the championship standings, with two top-10 finishes in four starts this season.
• INDYCAR officials have fined the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing entry $10,000 ($5,000 suspended) and the entrant was placed on a six-race probation for violating Rules 184.108.40.206 (unsafe release) and 220.127.116.11 (contact with personnel) of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook;
• INDYCAR officials have fined Gabby Chaves, driver of the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport entry, $10,000 ($5,000 suspended) and placed him on a six-race probation for violating Rule 18.104.22.168 (contact with personnel);
• INDYCAR officials have fined the No. 2 Team Penske entry $500 for violating Rule 22.214.171.124 (contact with pit equipment, running over an air hose);
• INDYCAR officials have fined the No. 4 KV Racing Technology entry $500 for violating Rule 126.96.36.199 (contact with a competitor's pit equipment, running over the air hose of the No. 17 entry);
• INDYCAR officials have fined a crew member of the No. 28 Andretti Autosport entry $500 for violating Rule 188.8.131.52(c) (personal safety equipment, deadman not wearing gloves).
In addition, INDYCAR announced manufacturers championship points adjustments following the Indianapolis 500:
• Honda received a bonus of 40 engine manufacturer points for attaining the life cycle minimum on four of its engines. According to Rule 10.6.4.2 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook, any engine that reaches a lifespan of 2,500 miles will receive 10 bonus points for its manufacturer. Honda engines for the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises, No. 27 Andretti Autosport, No. 28 Andretti Autosport and No. 41 A.J. Foyt Enterprises entries all reached at least 2,500 miles. Honda had also received a bonus of 20 engine manufacturer points following the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 for attaining the life cycle minimum on two of its engines, the Nos. 5 and 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entries.
• Honda received a deduction of 80 points for engines that did not reach their life cycle at the Indianapolis 500. According to Rule 10.6.4.3, 20 points will be deducted for an engine that fails to reach its 2,500-mile life cycle. Engines in the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing, No. 41 A.J. Foyt Enterprises and No. 43 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entries did not reach their life cycle minimum before being changed out. Honda had also received a deduction of 40 points following the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 for two of its engines not reaching the life cycle minimum before being changed out, the Nos. 18 and 19 Dale Coyne Racing entries.
Following the adjustments, Chevrolet has 588 manufacturer points and Honda has 553.
Members may contest the imposition of penalties pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.