January 2021 News
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Drivers in the Rolex 24 at Daytona

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's first
race of 2021 is at the end of this month -
Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Teams show up a week ahead of time and test over Friday
and Saturday - those sessions are called the “Roar Before
the Rolex 24”  (It sort of rhymes...)

This is the sportcar series' premier race and their only 24-
hour race.  It attracts other teams and drivers too.

IndyCar comes drivers Simon Pagenaud, Colton
Herta, Alex Rossi, Rinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves,
Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson and Jimmie Johnson.

Dixon and Ericsson will race for Chip Ganassi's team, as
they do in IndyCar.  Their new IndyCar teammate,
Johnson, is teaming up with Simon Pagenaud from Team
Penske to race for Action Express.  This will be Johnson's
8th, Pagenaud's 7th, Dixon's 18th, and Ericsson's first
Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chase Elliott, AJ Almendinger and Austin Dillon from
Nascar will be racing too.

Other great drivers appearing include Kevin Magnussen
from Formula 1 and Juan Montoya, who is also entered in
this year's Indy 500.

This will be the 59th running of the race, which began in
The 24-hour endurance race is ran on Daytona's 3.56-mile
road course which uses much of the facility's tri-oval,
including the steep banking.
2019 Rolex 24
A Car Race With No Drivers

Jan 11 - IMS announced last year that a driverless auto race would take place at the
Speedway this year.

College teams will compete using Indy Light Dallara chassis.  

The qualifying path for the teams consists of:
Round 1 – Write a paper explaining how they will turn a car into a robot.

Round 2 – Create a video showing how they’ve modified a vehicle to drive by itself, or,
they can compete in a self-driving go-kart race at IMS.

Round 3 – The teams will create game code and compete against each other in a simulated
computer race, with $150k in prize money.

Round 4 – The finalists get to test their race cars at IMS, perhaps during Indy 500 week.

After that, they will race at the Indy Speedway for
twenty laps on Oct 23 of this year.  

$1 million goes to the winner, 2nd place receives a quarter mill and third place wins $50k.

I found no mention of how many teams will compete.

It will be the fastest autonomous car race and I imagine many race fans will be interested
in seeing what happens.  Supposedly, the project was created to aid in the development of
driver aids for future street cars.  I think it's just a publicity stunt.
Marco Andretti Quits Full-Time IndyCar

Jan 15 -   Marco Andretti, the 2020 Indianapolis 500 Pole
Sitter, to refocus racing career, stepping away from full-
time IndyCar competition for the 2021 season.

However, the third-generation racer is set to race in the
105th Running of Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.

Andretti will assist Andretti Autosport with pre-season
testing and development, including the Jan. 19 Sebring test
"Upon careful thought over the past couple of months, I have made the decision to make some changes to my racing activities
and focus for 2021. I recently shared this decision and the changes that I want to make with my Dad and have spoken at length
with him about it. I appreciate his openness and for allowing me the flexibility to map out my own course going forward.

"I am fortunate to be in a position at Andretti Autosport to run the full INDYCAR season if I want to. But, instead, I have
decided to change up my direction somewhat – to reset – to do something a little different - look at everything fresh and see
where that takes me. And, to me, now seems like the appropriate time to do that.

"I definitely am going to keep driving. I still have a deep passion for it and have unfinished business to take care of and some
boxes that I want to check before I consider retiring as a driver.

"First and foremost, I remain very hungry to win the Indy 500. It is our biggest stage and the place that I feel I bring the most
to the table as a driver. I’ve come close there and am in the mix there it seems each year. Winning the pole there last year was
awesome but that isn’t enough - I know that a victory there is in my future so we’ll try to get that done in the coming years.
As such, I have committed to and am looking forward to running the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport this year. In addition to
being squarely focused on the Indy 500, I might also take a look at running some other races on the INDYCAR schedule as the
season progresses, in order to remain “car fit.” I have also offered to help the team with some testing and other activities along
the way. And, I may look at different opportunities in all of motorsports.

"My involvement in my Andretti Autosport entry will continue.

"I also want to do some sports car racing - maybe even get the chance to do IMSA events with my cousin Jarett, which would
be a lot of fun for me. I’ll be looking into other sports car opportunities as well in the coming months and welcome discussions
in that regard. Marquee events like the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, and Le Mans would be on that list for sure.  

"I am excited for what the future holds for me both on and off the track and, again, am grateful to Dad and Andretti Autosport
for allowing me the freedom to change things around as I’d like and to proceed forward a little differently this upcoming season."
New Team for Indy 500

Jan 19 - Beth Paretta is forming a team to compete at the
Indy 500 this year.  She plans to hire women to fill roles in
the new Paretta Autosport.

Simona De Silvestro has been announced as their driver.  
The 32-year-old from Switzerland competed in IndyCar for
four season, 2010-2014 and came back to race in the Indy
500, St Pete and Louisiana in 2015.

With technical support from Team Penske, their car will
be powered by Chevrolet.

"One day soon we hope to have a woman’s face on the
Borg-Warner Trophy,” Paretta said.
Simona De Silvestro
Beth Paretta
NBCSN Being Phased Out

Jan 23 -  News came out Friday that NBC was going to
shut down their NBC Sports Network at the end of 2021.  
While they stated that their NBCSN NASCAR program-
ming would be moved to their USA cable channel later
this year, no news was offered on what would become of
IndyCar or IMSA races that the Sports Network carries.
Currently, NBCSN broadcasts eight of the 17 IndyCar
races, the remainder to be broadcast by NBC.

IndyCar stated they were aware of this development and
planned to discuss 2022 broadcast arrangements later this

Last year, most of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar
Championship races were broadcast on NBCSN, so they
will have to work a new broadcast deal for next year
IndyCar GOLD Pass Programming Has

Jan 25 -  Last year, IndyCar practices and the Road to Indy
races, which include Indy Lights, could be watched on
NBCSN GOLD streaming service, which required a $55/
year subscription.

Those broadcasts are now being moved to NBC's Peacock
Premium channel, another streaming service.  It can be
watched for free by subscribers to Xfinity X1 or COX.
Otherwise the price is $5/month; $10 for commercial free.
F1 Race Weekend Changes

Jan 29 - Formula 1 are changing some of the times for race
weekend activities.

The two 90-minute Friday practice sessions are being
shortened to 60-minutes each.

Race start time will now be at the top of the hour, instead
of 10 past.
Rolex 24 Hour Race at Daytona

Jan 31 - Wayne Taylor Racing won its third consecutive
Rolex 24 at Daytona, tying the record held by Chip
Ganassi Racing, its chief challenger for the victory

Filipe Albuquerque brought the No. 10 Acura of WTR to
the checkered flag ahead of
Kamui Kobayashi in the No.
48 Ally Cadillac, followed by
Harry Tincknell in the No.
55 Mazda and
Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 60 Acura
of Meyer Shank Racing.

It was the fourth Rolex 24 victory in five years and fifth
overall for Wayne Taylor Racing which is one shy of
Ganassi’s record of six overall victories. Ganassi was the
first team to win three consecutive in 2006-08. It also was
Acura’s first Rolex 24 victory.

After mounting a serious challenge on Albuquerque for
the victory during the final stint,
Renger van der Zande
finished fifth in the No. 01 Ganassi Cadillac because of a
blown right-rear tire with 8 minutes remaining, the second
tire failure for the car in the last three hours on the
3.56-mile road course.

Albuquerque’s lead was closed to less than a 10th of a
second on a furious charge with 15 minutes remaining by
van der Zande, who won the past two Rolex 24s with
Wayne Taylor Racing but was fired after the 2021 season
as the team switched from Cadillac to Acura.

Albuquerque, a native of Portugal, took over the wheel
with about 90 minutes remaining from
Ricky Taylor.
Indianapolis 500 winners
Helio Castroneves and Alex
were the team’s other co-drivers.

Taylor, Castroneves and Rossi came to WTR after being
teamed the last three seasons on the Acura of Team
Penske (which closed its team after 2020), making
Albuquerque a newcomer who acquitted himself well.
Kobayahsi, who was teamed with seven-time NASCAR
Jimmie Johnson, was trying to become the
first driver in Rolex 24 history to win the overall title in
each of his first three starts in the IMSA WeatherTech
SportsCar Championship season opener.

It was the third runner-up overall finish in the Rolex 24
for Johnson, who also finished second in 2005 and ’08.

The race turned into a dogfight with two and a half hours
remaining when
Scott Dixon had a right-rear tire failure
exiting Turn 6 (but was fortunate to avoid any damage).
The yellow flag stacked up the field for a frenzied restart
with the top four cars still running within a second for five
laps after the green.

The lead changed hands several times over the final two
hours as Albuquerque and van der Zande took turns at the
front with Tincknell and Kobayashi in hot pursuit.

In his Rolex 24 debut, defending Cup Series champion
Chase Elliott finished ninth overall (sixth in the DPi class)
as part of the No. 31 team, which lost 22 laps after
suffering a broken gear with about five hours remaining.

Elliott figured he was done at that point after taking two
turns in the car, but he got back in after the repairs were
made. He was pleased to finish strong after a
disappointing opening run Saturday night.

So did Johnson, who had to watch his team fight to the
finish.  He promised he would return to the Rolex 24.

Other class winners:

—LMP2: The No. 18 of Era Motorsport

—GTLM: The No. 3 C8.R of Corvette Racing

—GTD: The No. 57 Mercedes of Winward Racing

—LMP3: The No. 74 Riley Motorsports, which includes
IndyCar veterans
Spencer Pigot and Oliver Askew.
Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves, Alex Rossi & Filipe Albuquerque and their DPi Winning Acura
Era Motorsports Winning LMP2
Winwood Racings GT Daytona Winning Mercedes
Riley Motorsports Winning LMP3
Corvette Racing's Winning GT Le Mans