February 2016 News
Rolex 24 at Daytona

Feb 2 - The Tudor Unites Sports Car series kicked
off 2016 with an exciting endurance race.

Scott Sharp celebrated a second win at the Rolex 24
at Daytona 20 years after his first victory in a race
that saw most of the top contenders fall apart during
the twice-around-the-clock endurance race.

Sharp’s Tequila Patron Extreme Speed Motorsports
gave Honda its first win at Daytona with a convincing
26-second margin of victory over Wayne Taylor

Pipo Derani, in his debut with the Scott Sharp-owned
team, started from the front row and jumped into an
early lead, and after the DeltaWing and Michael Shank
Racing’s early exits, ESM was virtually in a class of its
own in terms of outright speed.
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Solid drives by co-drivers Sharp, Johannes van
, plus a short stint by Ed Brown kept the car
crucially on the lead lap and ready to attack once the 22-
year-old Brazilian got back behind the wheel for his
closing triple stint.

Derani took over the lead from
Ricky Taylor with 1 hour
and 45 minutes ago, and never looked back, despite
gearbox alarms going off in the closing laps.

After the two Corvette GTLM cars got around the class
leading #912 Porsche 911 towards the end of this year's
Rolex 24 at Daytona, Corvette Racing Program Manager
Doug Fehan gave his drivers permission to race each
other. What followed was the most spectacular 15 minutes
of racing many have ever witnessed.

The #4 car, driven by
Oliver Gavin, was in the lead, but
the #3 car, driven by
Antonio Garcia was on a fresh set
of tires. Garcia chased Gavin hard, attempting NASCAR-
style drafting passes on his teammate.

With three minutes remaining, Garcia briefly passed Gavin
entering Turn 1, but ran wide, allowing Gavin to retake the

The announcers for IMSA Radio were flabbergasted:
They've never seen racing like this, especially not after 23
hours and 45 minutes of continuous, grueling racing.

Gavin  beat Garcia to the line by 0.034 seconds, the
closest class finish in the history of the Rolex 24.

Gavin shared the victory with co-drivers
Tommy Milner
and Marcel Fassler.

Earl Bamber, who drove the No. 912 Porsche enjoyed a
largely trouble-free drive to end third.

Both the No. 912 car and the polesitting No. 911 car led
the majority of the race in class between them, but the No.
911 car’s hopes were dashed with a drive line issue while
running seventh in the 19th hour.

Scuderia Corsa enjoyed a particularly strong GTLM debut
with its new No. 68 Ferrari 488 GTE, ending best of the
three new turbocharged cars, in fourth.

BMW also secured a top-five finish on the debut of its new
turbocharged car, the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M6.

The two debuting Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs,
which were expected to feature, only made headlines for
a myriad of mechanical woes. Nonetheless, both the Nos.
66 and 67 Fords made the checkered flag in seventh and
ninth in class.

All the while the GTLM madness was going on, another
battle is raging in the lower GTD class between the #44 Audi
R8 driven by
Rene Rast and the #28 Lamborghini Huracan
driven by
Fabio Babini. With less than 10 minutes of racing
left, Babini whizzed by Rast, who was trying to save fuel.

Then, with only three minutes left, Rast caught and passed
Babini who had run out of fuel.

It gives Audi its fourth endurance win in five major starts
with the new R8 LMS. The new Audi won the 24 Hours
of Nürburgring and Sepang 12 Hours last year, and the
Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai earlier this month.

Heartbreak occurred for Lamborghini, with all five of its  new
Huracán GT3s coming up short in their U.S. debut.
Overall Winner - the Patron ESM No. 2 prototype car
Corvettes Won the GT Le Mans Class
The New Ferrari finished in 4th in GTLM.
The New BMW finished in 5th in GTLM
Konrad Motorsport's New Lamborghini Huracán GT3
ran out of fuel in final minutes.
F1 Driver Joins IndyCar

Feb 2 - Former British Formula 1 driver Max Chilton
will join Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2016 IndyCar

Chilton, 24, will join drivers
Scott Dixon (who won last
year's IndyCar drivers' championship),
Tony Kanaan
and Charlie Kimball.  His #8 car was shared last year
Sebastian Saavedra and Sage Karam.

Chilton, who will drive a Chevrolet, will become the
fourth British driver in the last 24 years, after
, Mark Blundell and Justin Wilson, to join
IndyCar full-time after competing in F1 in the same

Last year, Chilton competed in 24 Hours of Le Mans
and raced in Indy Lights, winning at Iowa.

Chilton made 35 starts in F1 in 2013 and 2014.  He set a
new driver's record of 25 consecutive finishes, with 19
of them coming in his first season.

Prior to F1, he spent three seasons in GP2, winning a
pair of races.
Max Chilton
Johannes van Overbeek, Pipo Derani,  Ed Brown, Scott Sharp
Rookie Wins Daytona 500 Pole

Feb 14 - 20 y/o Chase Elliott is the youngest driver to ever
win the pole position for the Daytona 500.  

He is driving just-retired Jeff Gordon's #24 car.

His father is NASCAR star
Bill Elliott.
USF2000 To Race New Car

Feb 14 - Based around the Tatuus Formula 4 tub, the
USF-17 is the 2017 USF2000 car, and will also form the
basis of the new Pro Mazda car to arrive in 2018.

It will be unveiled at the Indy 500 in May and be on track
practicing two weeks later.

Since it will race on ovals, the car has been changed to
strengthen it's front end.  That will change the weight and
so the car will have to go through crash testing agian to be
sure and meet the FIA's standards for it's weight and speed.

The 2017 USF2000 car and 2018 Pro Mazda car will share
a platform design, but be easily distinguishable from each
other as different sidepods and aero-packages will be used.

The Pro Mazda engine will need produce 270-275hp and be
factory based and not a pure race engine.  Mazda may have
to use one of their engines from their SKYACTIV range.
2016 registration is open for the Corvette
event at the Indy Speedway June23-25,

There will be laps, auto-cross and car
show for Corvettes.

Click Here To Register
IndyCar Team Merger

Feb 18 - Andretti Autosport announced today that the
team will join forces with the 2011 Indianapolis 500
champioship team Bryan Herta Autosport via a merger
that will see Andretti field a fourth entry for the 2016
Verizon IndyCar Series season.

The No. 98 Honda will join the Andretti stable as crew
members from Bryan Herta Autosport are also welcomed
to the Andretti racing family. Herta himself will remain
involved as he takes to the timing stand, filling the role
of race strategist for the No. 98 and overall team driver
coach. The team’s fourth full-season driver will be
announced at a later date.

“Bryan is a long time friend and I was happy to watch
him build a successful Indy car team,” said
. “Bringing Bryan and his crew into the family is
a great opportunity for all parties to build an even
stronger organization. Having Bryan’s experience is a
welcome addition to the team. I’m honored to be able to
carry on what he started and look forward to a
competitive season.”
“I couldn’t be more excited about this new chapter for
Bryan Herta Autosport,” said
Bryan Herta. “Michael has
been a long time friend, and we certainly know that
Andretti Autosport was a big part of my career. When the
opportunity came together for us to strengthen our
organization and merge with one of the most successful
teams and names in the sport, it was really a no brainer.
I’m especially proud that what we’ve built with all the
employees of BHA will remain intact and become part of
the fabric of Andretti Autosport.”
It sounds like Gabby Chaves has lost his ride for this
season.  He drove for BHA last year after capturing the
Indy Lights championship in 2014.  Rumor is that an
ex-F1 driver will get his seat.  I hope it's
.  Rossi says he wants to keep a connection in F1
and hopes to return and in the meantime, is looking for
a good ride in different series.
Another IndyCar Downforce Opinion

Feb 20 - Back in November I reported how Rick Mears
thought IndyCar should get rid of the aero-downforce on
the cars except for trim tabs.  One of the reasons was
because it made the cars too easy to drive.

Penske driver
Simon Pagenaud has a different opinion.

He feels that the downforce has grown greater with the
new changes made to the aero-package for 2016.  He
thinks it will wear out some of the drivers resulting in
unsafe racing later in the race.  Pagenaud said, "Year on
year the G-force has been increasing, and now it’s
getting to a point where Popeye will be winning the race!"

Pagenaud added that drivers had been forced to modify
their driving technique in line with the increased grip.

He thinks it time to get power steering in the race cars to
help deal with this situation.
Olive Pagenaud wishes she had Popeye's forearms.
Country Music Concert the Night Before the
Indy 500

Feb 22 - Country music superstar Blake Shelton will
headline the annual Legends Day Concert on Saturday,
May 28, the day before the Indianapolis 500.

Shelton is known both for his role as a judge on the TV
show "The Voice" as well as his singing career. The
Country Music Association's 2012 "Entertainer of the
Year," Grammy nominee and five-time CMA Awards
Male Vocalist of the Year, Shelton continues to add to
his superstar status. With 16 consecutive No. 1 singles,
Shelton owns the record of successive No. 1 singles in
the modern era.

The opening acts for Shelton will be
Chris Janson and
Corey Cox.

Current IMS customers can purchase tickets now
through a pre-sale while an official on-sale date is slated
for Feb. 29 at 9 a.m.
General admission tickets for the concert are priced at
$40 and access to the Concert Pit near the front of the
stage is set for $75. All ticket information can be found
www.ims.com/blake or by calling (800) 822-INDY.

Fans with tickets for the Legends Day Concert will be
admitted free to Legends Day activities.

Admission to IMS on Legends Day will be $10 for
adults, with children 12 and under free when
accompanied by an adult.

Other featured events on Legends Day include the
annual Public Drivers' Meeting on pit road adjacent to
the Tower Terrace grandstand, autograph sessions with
the Indianapolis 500 starting field of 33 drivers and
former Indy 500 drivers and an Indianapolis 500
memorabilia show.
Cool New Race Ticket for 100th Indy 500

Feb 22 - This year’s Indy 500 ticket is made of clear

As usual, the defending Indy 500 champion (Juan Pablo
Montoya) is featured, but the souvenir-style plastic is a
first for any IMS event ticket.

So, how can you get one? If you have already renewed
or purchased your 100th Running reserved seats, you’re
guaranteed to receive the unique ticket. Or you can by
purchasing a ticket by March 31, while supplies last.
Daytona 500 Recap

Feb 22 - NASCAR got back to action this week in sunny
Daytona, Florida.

Sunday's Daytona 500 ended with the closest finish in the
race's history.

Matt Kenseth was leading on the last lap, but Denny
got a run on the outside lane and then squeezed
by, sending Kenseth back into the pack and almost out of

Martin Truex, Jr. raced Hamlin side by side to the finish
line for a photo finish. Hamlin won by a nose – .011

The 35-year-old now is in the Chase for the Sprint Cup
in his first race with new crew chief
Mike Wheeler and
finally has a 500. He finished in the top 5 here three of
the past four years.  He also won the exhibition race here
last weekend.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his famed car “Amelia” went
for a spin off Turn 4 with 31 laps to go and went nose-
first into the inside wall, ruining his day. Earnhardt had
led early but lost his track position during pit stops and
had to fight all race to regain it. Just when Earnhardt
was making moves – he had just sailed past Hamlin and
Joey Logano – Earnhardt got loose and lost control of
his car.

For a race that has occasionally been plagued by rain,
Sunday’s 58th running of the Daytona 500 took place
under ideal conditions. There was a vibrant atmosphere
with Daytona’s renovated grandstands (including a sold-
out crowd of more than 101,000)
Denny Hamlin Celebrates Daytona 500 Victory
Toyotas vie for the win.
IndyCar Gets New V.P.

Feb 22 - IndyCar announced veteran racing engineer Bill
has been named Vice President of Competition,
Race Engineering.

Pappas will be responsible for all engineering and technical
operations, including chassis and engine development,
safety enhancements and aerodynamic initiatives. In
addition, he will manage relationships with chassis and
engine suppliers.

Pappas has worked with many IndyCar teams in the past.  
Pappas, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering
from Purdue University, helped guide
Juan Montoya to
his first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race win in 2000 with Chip

Pappas is replacing
Will Phillips, Vice President of
Technology, who will be leaving IndyCar in March.
"Being able to join the IndyCar team is a great
opportunity," said Pappas. "I hope my racing experience
and perspective can be utilized to enhance an already
great level of competition."