IndyCars - The off-season: Series news and comment until the March 2014 kick-off


#250

+++

.
Pippa’s on the move!..(part 8)…

.
More from Machu Picchu…

.

.
.
.

.
.
.
The next morning they explored Cusco in the daylight…Stay tuned!

.
.
.
M


#251

+++

.
IMSA news…All-female super-team formed for 2019…

.
On Friday at Road Atlanta, prior to qualifying for the Petit Le Mans, Meyer Shank Racing and the Heinricher Racing team made an announcement that team principal driver Jackie Heinricher and England’s IndyCar driver Katherine Legge will together campaign the # 57 MSR Acura NSX GT3 for the 2019 season of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GTD class, with sponsorship from Caterpillar.

.
Jackie Heinricher (left) and Katherine Legge

.
.
.
Making it even bigger news is that for the four Michelin North American Endurance Cup races, Heinricher and Legge will be also get Brazilian IndyCar driver Ana Beatriz to help, and for the 24 Hours of Daytona they will ALSO get IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro on board the car, making this the first all-female quad-squad at Daytona ever.

Ana Beatriz (left) and Simona de Silvestro - added muscle

.
.
.

All four gals have experience in tin-tops. Heiricher, a US Air Force veteran and biotech firm founder, regularly competes in Lamborghini Super Trofeo while Beatriz has been driving Bazilian stock cars since leaving IndyCars. De Silvestro is a series regular in Virgin Australia Supercars and Legge was just crowned the IMSA GTD-class Vice-Champion on Saturday.

Said Heinricher, “My vision has long been to bring together a diverse team of four female drivers, some of the fastest globally, to join forces to compete together, and with the support of CAT, I get to see my long held vision become reality.”
.
.

The team is also targeting a Le Mans 24 Hours entry.
.
.
.
M


#252

+++

.
Ed Jones lands at Ed Carpenter Racing…

.
It looks like the talented 2016 Indy Lights Champion from Dubai has a ride for 2019, despite losing his Chip Ganassi Racing spot in the # 10 to Felix Rosenqvist. (see post # 193) It’s not a full season ride, as Jones will be only driving the road and street courses in the # 20 Chevrolet, while Ed Carpenter will drive all the ovals. Jones is expected to get a 3rd team car to drive at the Indy 500, however. Teammate Spencer Pigot will drive the full season in the # 21.

.
Ed Jones - Honda man no more

.
.
.
Making this all possible is a partnership with SportsCar team Scuderia Corsa, which fielded a car at the 2018 Indy 500 for Catalan Oriol Servia and damned near WON. Jones’ participation will be under the banner of ECR / Scuderia Corsa. None of this is yet confirmed but if so, this of course also means that Briton Jordan King, who was in the # 20 in 2018, is looking for a ride.

Jordan King

.
.
.
All of this should be confirmed on Wednesday…

.
.
.
UPDATE: Confirmed!!

.
.
.
M


#253

+++

.
Pippa’s on the move!..(part 9)…

.
We left Pippa and Himself smooching at Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes. (see post # 224) The next morning they began to explore Cusco, Peru…

.

.
.
.
The church Iglesia de la Compañía, built in 1571 on top of the palace of Inca ruler Huayna Capac. It was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1650:

.
.
.
continued…

.
.
.
M


#254

+++

.
Pippa’s on the move!..(part 10)…

.
The Inca statue in the Cusco Plaza de Armas. Cusco was once a capital of the Incas:

.
.
.
Your host takes a breather in the park near the Cusco Plaza de Armas

.
.
.
The next day the couple head out for their final South American destination - Lima, Peru…Stay tuned!

.
.
.
M


#255

+++

.
Indy 500 WINNER Alexander Rossi is going off-roading…

.
Andretti Autosport’s 2018 IndyCar Vice-Champion Alexander Rossi has decided to follow in the footsteps of a bunch of former IndyCar guys and will make his first attempt at desert racing at the 51st SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race in Ensenada, Baja California in Mexico. The 27-year-old Rossi will share driving duties with Jeff Proctor in the Class 7 # 709 Honda Ridgeline. Proctor WON Class 7 in the Baja 1000 in both 2015 and 2016 in his factory-supported Ridgeline race truck.

.
Alexander Rossi

.
.
.
Other Indy 500 Champions who have attempted the Baja are Parnelli Jones, Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan and Buddy Rice. Mears actually came from an off-road background to get into open-wheel racing. He and his brother Roger Mears were known in off-road circles as “the Mears Gang.” Among many, many other IndyCar guys who have made the trip into the desert are Sebastien Bourdais, Jimmy Vasser, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Paul Tracy. Parnelli Jones actually WON the Baja twice.

But the winningest IndyCar driver at Baja is Robby Gordon who, like Mears, got his start in off-road, He won seven SCORE Championships, two championships in the Mickey Thompson stadium series, three Baja 500s in 1989, 1990, and 2005, and three Baja 1000s in 1987, 1989, and 2006. He has also participated in many DAKAR Rallies, winning several stages along the way.

Robby Gordon

.

Gordon has parlayed that experience into developing a series much like the Mickey Thompson series, the Speed Energy Stadium Super Truck series, which is one of the most popular support series in the world, drawing huge crowds and loyal fans wherever they appear.

.
Stadium Super Trucks in action

.
.
.
M


#256

+++

.
Pippa’s on the move!..(part 11)…

.
As Pippa Mann and husband Robert Gue explored Lima, Peru the IndyCar driver took this 3-piece photo that goes together like this…:

.
.
.
From this…

.
.
.
…and this…

.
.
.
…and this:

.
.
.
continued…

.
.
.
M

.


#257

+++

.
Pippa’s on the move!..(part 12)…

.
More from the historic section of Lima…

.

.
.
.

.
.
.

.
.
.
Pippa and Himself decided to spend their last day of vacation in Lima’s modern district, shopping…Stay tuned!

.
.
.
M


#258

+++

.
On Wednesday, 6 IndyCar drivers held a closed aerodynamic and tire test at IMS…

.
The six drivers were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to help the series tweek the Firestone tire and aero specifications for the SuperSpeedway package of the DW12 with the new aero kit, to improve the passing performance of the car for the big ovals, like Indy, Pocono and Texas Motor Speedway. but the tweeks will likely also improve the show at Gateway and Iowa, as well, if the guys were to be believed.

The six were Will Power for Team Penske, Graham Rahal for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, Tony Kanaan for AJ Foyt Enterprises, Alexander Rossi for Andretti Autosport, Ed Carpenter for Ed Carpenter Racing and 2018 Champion Scott Dixon for Chip Ganassi Racing. The guys deliberately and precisely ran at speed in packs to see what the cars will do in race conditions. Also affecting the performance was a new track penetrant, more than a sealant, to improve the track’s ability to withstand water and winters better.

Five of the six had comments on the test and on their off-seasons:

.
.
.

.
.
.
M


#259

+++

.
On Saturday the Team USA Scholarship boys go to battle at Brands Hatch…

.
For the last week, Jake Craig and Colin Mullan - the two young Americans representing the United States at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in England - have been practicing in their patriotically-liveried Ray chassis that will be - as always - fielded by Cliff Dempsey Racing.

.
Jake Craig (left) and Colin Mullan in front of one of two Cliff Dempsey cars they will race, this weekend.

.
.
.
Craig, 20, from Mission Viejo, California, and Mullan, 16, from Danville, California have been spending a good deal of time practicing in both good and bad weather for the Festival and that included a practice race with several other competitors at Donington, this week. Jake pulled in P2 and Colin P8.

.
Jake Craig at Donington

.
.
.
First up for Saturday are the three 15-lap heat races for the large field from all over the world to be winnowed down. Jake is scheduled for Heat 2 and Colin for Heat 3. Good luck boys!

.
.
.
M


#260

+++
.
Team USA does well in the heat races at Brands Hatch…

.
The two young Americans representing the United States in the 47th annual Formula Ford Festival had very productive outings in beautiful weather today in their heat races to try to get into the Festival final.

First of the two to race was Jake Craig who qualified 3rd for Heat 2, only 0.02 seconds off pole-man Neil Maclennan, a former Scottish champion and Mazda Road to Indy Shootout participant. Craig jumped to P2 at the start and immediately went after MacLennan, but Neil was impassable. Catching up to the two soon was England’s Matt Crowley - another former champion and Mazda Road to Indy Shootout participant - and Formula Ford veteran Chris Middlehurst. Late in the race Jake got shuffled back to P4 in the 4-way battle for the lead, despite posting Fastest Lap of the race.

.
Jake Craig in the Cliff Dempsey Racing # 21 - P4 in Heat 2

.
.
.
Colin Mullan started his heat - Heat 3 - from the P4 spot. His time was the 6th fastest time of the day out of 72 cars and just 0.002 seconds off P2 Oliver White - another former champion and Mazda Road to Indy Shootout guy. Colin got a good start but was still passed by last year’s Festival champion, Joey Foster. He would not be able to get out of P5, despite having the 2nd fastest lap of the race.

.
Colin Mullan in the # 22 - P5 in Heat 3

.
.
.
Craig and Mullan hold the 4th and 5th fastest laps of the entire field for the day and their finishes in the heats put Team USA 4th in the event’s World Cup element with 80 points, just five behind leaders England One. On Sunday they will both be in the Semi-finals just before Noon. Should they advance the final will be at 5:00pm local time.

.
.
.
M


#261

+++

.
Pippa’s on the move!..(part 13)…

.
When we last left intrepid adventurists IndyCar driver Pippa Mann and husband Robert Gue - an engineer for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - the pair were exploring historic Lima, Peru. (see post # 231) The couple then vowed to spend the last day of their vacation in the more modern parts of Lima.

.
Lima’s parks…

.
.
.
…sculpture gardens….

.
.
.
…and shopping districts.

.
.
.
continued…

.
.
.
M


#262

+++

.
Pippa’s on the move!..(part 14)…

.

.
.
.

.
.
.
Pippa: "When we leave Lima this evening, I’ll always remember this city by its beautiful open public spaces - in the historic central district, San Isidro, Miraflores and Barranco! "

.
.
.
When Pippa and Himself arrived back home in Indianapolis she received great news about the near future and her racing prospects…Stay tuned!

.
.
.
M


#263

+++

.
Team USA engaged in a fierce battle on Sunday at Brands Hatch…

.
…in the 47th annual Formula Ford Festival. Team USA Scholarship drivers Jake Craig and Colin Mullan started the Semi-finals in 6th and 8th respectively and battled to 5th and 6th at the end, ensuring them both spots in the final.

.
Jake Craig (left) and Colin Mullan - Team USA

.
.
.
For the Final Jake started P9 and Colin P11. Within two laps both had moved up two spots, whereupon the red flags flew as a result of three separate on-track incidents. The race was restarted but then within a lap Jake and last year WINNER Joey Foster collided while battling for P7, putting them both in the gravel and out of the race with damage. A few laps later another red flag suspended the race. With the light fading the remainder of the contest was shortened to 8 laps.

A three-way battle for the lead developed between Ireland’s Niall Murray and England’s Oliver White - both former Mazda Road to Indy Shootout contestants - and fellow Englishman Joshua Smith, with Smith claiming a hard-fought WIN following a last-lap pass on Murray.

Colin Mulln was himself in a four way battle late in the race with England’s Matthew Cowley, Scotland’s Neil Maclennan, Ireland’s Keith Donegan - all former Mazda Road to Indy Shootout contestants - and Canada’s Guillaume Archambault with Colin emerging in P8 at the end of the race.

.
Colin Mullan overtaking Northern Ireland champion Matt Round-Garrido

.
.
.
Said Jake Craig, “Even though I had an unfortunate end to the Festival I am so happy with the amount of knowledge I gained this week. I’ve leaned so much from race craft to car setup, it’s been tremendous. I’m disappointed I couldn’t show the absolute potential of my car this weekend but I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learned here and applying it to the Walter Hayes Trophy in a couple weeks’ time.”

…and from Colin Mullan,“The race was interesting to say the least. With two red flags and lots of time under caution, I’m happy to say I kept the car in one piece. I started 11th and was able to pick up some spots with the first two starts. On the final restart, I was in seventh, staying there for a while but made some mistakes and fell back to 10th. I managed to recover some spots, and finished eighth. Although we only had eight laps to properly race, it was a great learning experience, and I feel ready for the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone.”

.
.
.
Next up for the boys is a little rest and some sight-seeing and then in two weeks they will compete in the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone - another of the great international Formula Ford annuals.

.
.
.
M


#264

+++

.
On Friday last the Kimball household was expanded by one!..

.
IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball and wife Kathleen are happy to report the arrival of Hannah Kimball - the first child of the high school sweethearts-turned old married couple. Hannah surprised the couple with an early arrival but both Hannah and Kathleen are doing fine.

.

.

.
.
.
Congrats are flowing in to the Indy-based Kimballs from all over the racing community and we certainly add ours!

.
.
.
M


#270

Indycar is stupid, but at least it’s better than NASCAR. I too can turn left.


#273

The problem with Laguna Seca is the famous corkscrew section. It’s difficult to navigate, even for a professional. Not for the weak-hearted.


#274

+++

.
Marcus Ericsson comes to get his first seat fit with SPM…

.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ latest acquisition, Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson, came to the team shops on Wednesday to get his seat fit in the # 7 Honda he will drive in the 2019 season of IndyCars and to also begin to meet the team who will shepherd his rookie season. Take a look:

.
.
.

.
.
.
Ericsson has spent the last four year driving for Sauber in Formula One and will now become a reserve driver for that team. Sauber has arguably been the least capable Formula One team in that period , not even likely to score points, much less win races, while SPM is one of the more capable IndyCar teams. It’s that chance to win races again that most attracted Ericsson to IndyCars.

.
.
.
M


#275

+++

.
Rumor du Jour - RC Enerson may be coming back to IndyCars…

.
Road to Indy ace driver RC Enerson was at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on Monday, testing a Chevrolet IndyCar for Carlin, alongside Tony Kanaan for AJ Foyt Enterprises and Alexander Rossi for Andretti Autosport. The difference is that Carlin DID NOT want anyone to know it.

.
RC Enerson

.
.
.
Enerson drove three races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and impressed the hell out of everyone with his immediate speed, though the car and the team failed to get the race results. The real trouble was that Enerson was driving for Schmidt Peterson in the Indy Lights at the start of that season and his departure from that team to drive for Coyne triggered a legal battle that has kept RC from driving, ever since. That has been resolved, which makes Enerson available again.

.
.
.
Carlin has signed Max Chilton for a 2nd season but their other driver Charlie Kimball is still in limbo, due to a reduced presence of his sponsors at Novo Nordisk. The rumor is that RC and Charlie may share the car in 2019 OR that RC may get it for the full season. Stay tuned!

.
.
.
M


#276

No way! RC Enerson? I’ve been waiting for this since 2014.