As I've stated on these pages before, I am a semi-casual racing fan. Meaning I watch NASCAR and IndyCar and F1 and IMSA here and there, I know most of the big-name drivers, and I understand the basic rules and such for each series, but I don't watch every race or know every driver. I do tend to watch more races this time of year since baseball hasn't yet revved up (oddly matched pun fully intended).
Honda has decided to leave Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season to allegedly focus on electric and fuel-cell development. The company has said F1 hybrid combustion engines didn’t mesh with its plan of realizing “carbon neutrality by 2050” and has opted to leave Red Bull and AlphaTauri in a difficult spot moving forward. They’ll both need to find a replacement engine supplier before the 2022 season while Honda decides where it might make a better environmental impact — settling on IndyCar.
Less than a full weekend after vowing to abandon F1, Honda doubled down on Indy by agreeing to a multi-year extension to continue supplying motors until at least 2023. In fact, Honda Performance Development (HPD) is actively working on a 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid unit, aimed at roughly 900 horsepower, for the sport’s next generation of cars. While we’re pleased to see any manufacturer maintaining its commitment to motorsports, the decision seems at odds with Honda’s plan to pull out of Formula 1 — which has likewise acknowledged a desire to become carbon neutral. Like Indy, F1 is also planning on using hybrid combustion engines for the foreseeable future.
Okay, that’s a NASCAR line, but it applies here.
Roger Penske never ran the Indianapolis 500 during his racing career, but as owner of Team Penske, his drivers racked up 18 victories on the famed banked oval. Now, it appears the 82-year-old Penske will soon call the track his own.
Monday morning brought news that Penske will announce the purchase of both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar series from Hulman & Co.
There was no shortage of motorsport action this past weekend, from Indy cars in Toronto to machines of all sort being flung (and flinging themselves) up Lord March’s driveway at Goodwood.
With NASCAR currently suffering through a valley of attention, the thought popped to mind: what’s your preferred type of motorsport?
Former and current drivers have called on IndyCar officials to review safety equipment in place after racer Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries suffered Sunday at Pocono Raceway, Reuters is reporting.
Wilson was struck in the head by debris from a car that crashed ahead of him, driven by Sage Karam. The incident was similar to accidents in other race series with open cockpits; Felipe Massa was hit by debris in Hungary in 2009 and required surgery, James Hinchcliffe was struck in the head in 2014, which caused a concussion. Wilson’s death was the first for IndyCar since Dan Wheldon was killed in 2011.
“Safety is not one of those things that because you have a clear record for a certain amount of time that you stop doing development,” former race driver Eddie Cheever told ESPN.
Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries sustained Sunday, when a piece of another crashed race car struck him. He was 37.
His family released a short statement thanking well-wishers and fans for their support after the crash. Wilson was a native of Sheffield, England and lived in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and two daughters.
“Justin was a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers.”
Wilson was an advocate for track safety, not only for the racers but also for the spectators.
On Sunday, I watched a fantastic car race. Unfortunately, based on the shots of the crowd, I might have been among very few who did.
The INDYCAR (are we still capitalizing it?) Pocono 500 had everything a race fan could want: upwards of thirty lead changes, some spectacularly competitive and aggressive racing (including one restart where the drivers went seven wide), and a tight points race where the season championship would be greatly affected by the outcome. Unfortunately, there was also a spectacular crash that has one racer battling for his life.
Meanwhile, the race had far fewer fans in attendance than the 30,000 that Indy officials said that they would need in order for Pocono to be on the race schedule in 2016.
I am completely at a loss to think of another sport that tests man and machine as much as motorsport. Maybe bobsledding? Nah, scratch that.
Automakers have a history of testing their latest and greatest at road courses, ovals and street circuits all over the world. Some of the best technological innovations have come directly from racing. But, is that still the case? Is racing still the test bed it used to be for what we see on our cars a decade from now? And does it still help automakers capture the hearts and minds of the car-buying public?
How would you like to get insider access all weekend long to a major motorsports event, complete with a catered lunch every day, a commemorative shirt, hat and lapel pin, free parking and an invitation to a gala post-race party, all for just fifteen bucks? Well, the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix still needs about 100 volunteers to make up the balance of the approximately 1,100 volunteers who make the race possible. Okay, so technically it’s not just $15, you also have to agree to work one 8 hour shift each day of the three day event, but it still seems to be a great bargain and a terrific way to get an inside look at big league racing, in this case back-to-back Indycar races, a race in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, a Pirelli World Challenge Series race and the first appearance at the CDBIGP of Robbie Gordon’s SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks Series.
Public funding of stadiums, arenas and other privately promoted sports events is a financially dubious proposition for taxpayers, at least according to some critics of the phenomenon. I tend to agree. If an event isn’t sustainable on its own it’s not a good business deal. So I’m not that broken up about the fact that the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama has withdrawn his request for the city to cut a four year, $1.2 million deal with promoter Zoom Motorsports to at least partially underwrite the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama races scheduled to be run at Birmingham’s Barber Motorsports Park. The mayor decided not to go forward with the deal after the Birmingham city council was deadlocked on the issue. A majority of the council was in favor of supporting the race with money and in-kind services, but the mayor and the council president have sparred over particulars of the deal, like the length of the proposed contract. In addition, Councilman Steven Hoyt, a backer of “diversity” initiatives, inflamed the debate with his comments about race from the council dais, implying that blacks have no interest in motorsports.
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