NEWGARDEN ALLUDES TO FUTURE NASCAR ENDEAVOURS
Josef Newgarden headed to New York’s Finger Lakes region to take in the Cheez It 355, NASCAR’s race at Watkin’s Glen. Newgarden bemoaned the perceived infringing on one’s territory when drivers from NASCAR and IndyCar look to sample the other’s series. He went on to say he hopes the climate changes and it becomes acceptable to run IndyCar one weekend and NASCAR the next. Despite refusing to give names, Newgarden thinks half a dozen or so NASCAR drivers may look to do The Double between next year’s Indy 500 and Coca Cola 600.
FORD RETURNING TO INDYCAR
Chock this one to pure speculation, but a motorsport-centric Twitter handle (followed by some of IndyCar’s most prolific journalists) stirred the proverbial pot this week after alluding to Ford’s return to open-wheel racing. The rumor holds additional validity as it were linked to Chip Ganassi Racing who spearheaded Ford’s return to LeMans earlier this year. No details accompanied the speculative remarks aside from hypothesizing the return might come in 2018.
MANY 2017 DATES CONFIRMED
While the Verizon IndyCar Series has yet to release its official schedule for next year, many of its support series have announced theirs– and the dates fill some of the unknowns. Few surprises emerged with confirmed dates at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Barber, Indianapolis, Detroit, Road America, Iowa, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, and Sonoma. Their dates all build on 2016’s template, establishing date continuity within a schedule typically fraught with fluctuation. One item of note focuses on the date at St. Petersburg which moves up March 12, alluding to an earlier start to the 2017 season.
ROSSI MULLING OPTIONS FOR 2017
This year’s Indy 500 winner, Alexander Rossi, appears to be a hot commodity heading into the offseason. The young American serves as reserve driver for the backmarker Manor F1 Team in conjunction with his full time role as the pilot of Bryan Herta/Andretti Autosport IndyCar. Prior to his Indy win, Rossi made it clear his goal focused on a race seat on the F1 grid. His options for 2017 remain a question mark with an offer from Manor, a renewal from Andretti, and options among other teams in IndyCar and in F1. Rossi refused to divulge which other F1 team expressed interest.
CARLIN MAY MOVE UP FOR 2017
Carlin Racing’s move to Indy Lights brought increased interest from some of Europe’s prospects looking at IndyCar as viable career options. The European-based team typically competes in F1 development and the team now aims to move up to the Verizon IndyCar Series. Team owner, Trevor Carlin, implied the team’s path remains on track for a hopeful debut in 2017 but distanced himself from confirmation of such an entry. The team, who’s competed in Indy Lights, GP2, and GP3 among others, would not field an entry for former driver Max Chilton– at least not immediately. Carlin said he hoped to fill one of the seats (once they become a reality) with a Carlin graduate but not necessarily one of their current Indy Lights drivers.
2017 IMSA SCHEDULE
IMSA has released the details for its 2017 season schedule. The largely unchanged season features a date-swap between Circuit of the Americas and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, meaning the dual WEC/IMSA ‘Lone Star Le Mans’ will be held for the final time this year in September. President and COO of IMSA, Scott Atherton, is proud to have utilized the same tracks since the 2015 season in a calendar that boasts cemented date equity. The announcement came at Road America during the first publicly-open state of the series conference hosted by the sanctioning body.
FUTURE IMSA CLASS STRUCTURE
IMSA revealed plans to integrate SRO-based GT4 spec into its GS class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series, a move that mirrors Pirelli World Challenge’s adoption of the regulations in its own GTS class. Also announced was the integration of FIA LMP3-spec vehicles to the series in a standalone series now called the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda, the next evolution of the Mazda Prototype Lites presented by Cooper Tire seres. The new series will feature LMP3 machinery from six different manufacturers in the PC1 class and the current Elan DP02 chassis as the PC2 class. The series will debut in 2018 and marks the final season of LMPC-category competition in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
AUDI BELIEVES IT COULD BUILD HYDROGEN LMP1 RACER
Autosport reports that Audi head of road car technical development, Stefan Kirsch, said that the German make could potentially build a hydrogen powered LMP1 race car. The announcement comes after the FIA and ACO revealed that they are working on potentially introducing the alternative fuel source into the ruleset. Before Audi would commit to such a technology in their race cars, they would need to continue development on their production vehicle. The head of Audi Sport, Wolfgang Ullrich admitted that there are no current developments with the race team to make a hydrogen-power Le Mans prototype.
FIA URGED TO RESOLVE FE/WEC CLASH
Last weekend the FIA announced the date for next year’s WEC event at the Nurburgring and it conflicts with Forumula E’s double header at Montreal. With a variety of drivers in each series racing both, the schedule conflict would force drivers into having to make a terrible decision, Formula E team Abt Audi Sport and Audi Sports LMP1 driver, Lucas di Grassi. The driver mentioned that a number of competitors have expressed concern to the WEC in hopes they will find a solution before the provisional schedule is approved at the World Motor Sports Council.
LIGER’S FIRST SHAKEDOWN
The 2017-spec LMP2 competitor developed by Liger, the JS P217, will take to testing later this summer, reports Endurance-Info. The Gibson engine, a spec power plant used in the 2017 regulations for global LMP2 specification, has been delivered and will be installed within the next couple of weeks. The manufacturer expects to hit the track with the first shakedown in early September.
PIRELLI CONFIRMED AS TIRE SUPPLIER FOR ELECTRIC GT CHAMPIONSHIP
The newly formed, all-Tesla entered electric racing series, Electric GT Championship, has announced a technical partnership with Pirelli to supply tires for the inaugural 2017 season. This makes EGT to be the first electric series to use multiple compounds of tire makeup. Pirelli will supply both dry slicks and wet tires to the series next year.