lat nelson lb 04174896

lat nelson lb 04174896For all the concerned IndyCar fans that Long Beach could be snapped up by Liberty Media and return to Formula 1, Kevin Kalkhoven has a message: relax.

"We haven't heard from anyone in F1 or negotiated with anyone in F1, but it's really not practical for us," said Kalkhoven, who co-owns the iconic street race's rights along with Gerald Forsythe and has a contract through 2018 with IndyCar.

"The real issue is that, together with the tens of millions of dollars for physical reconstruction of the circuit, paddock and pits, plus the tens of millions of dollars for the sanction fee – I believe COTA pays $25 million and Texas taxpayers subsidize that – the cost of the race would make the entrance fees for the L.A. families prohibitive. Together with the fact that they would never be allowed to be in the paddock and the costs of the Paddock Club would be $2,000-$3,000 per person, this would hardly be a 'thanks' to all the race fans who have made this event so successful.

"Would we talk to Formula 1? Sure. But I think everyone is pretty happy with the IndyCar race and it's not going anywhere."

Preparing for it's 43rd running on April 7-9, Long Beach began as a Formula 5000 race and switched to F1 from 1976-'83 before founder Chris Pook shocked Bernie Ecclestone and replaced F1 with CART Indy cars for 1984.

Attendance sagged during the Champ Car/Indy Racing League war when Kalkhoven and Forsythe got the rights to Long Beach and most of the top teams had defected to the IRL. But after Kalkhoven unified open-wheel racing with Tony George in 2008, the longest-running street race in the world next to Monaco has made a strong comeback in recent years and is easily IndyCar's pride and joy after Indianapolis.

kalkhoven"Last year was the biggest crowd Long Beach has had in some 20 years, 186,000 over three days, and this year's ticket sales are up," said the 73-year-old Australian (pictured) who announced last week that he was shutting down KV Racing after 14 years. "It's a good race but it's a great event and it's become part of IndyCar's heritage."

Still sponsored by Toyota (despite the fact it has no engine competing in the IndyCar race), this year's non-stop weekend of action consists of IMSA sports cars, SST races, drifting and vintage Can-Am cars are replacing the celebrity race.

"Wait until people hear those 1,000-horsepower motors coming down Lakeshore," said Kalkhoven, who also owns Cosworth which is positioned to badge an Indy engine if a third manufacturer can be secured.

He's enjoying his winter in Florida but plans to be at Long Beach and possibly Indianapolis.

"I enjoyed most of the last 14 years, met a lot of good people and winning Indy (in 2013 with Tony Kanaan) was the pinnacle. There's a photo of me sitting all alone in the timing stand while everyone was celebrating and I was staring at the scoring tower as if to say: 'We won? We really won?'"

aa2017IMSARoar MarshallPruett Jan6 016ACO sporting director Vincent Beaumesnil has offered a series of opinions ranging from praise to derision for IMSA's new Daytona Prototype international formula during a recent interview on French radio station RMC.

Beaumesnil, along with his counterparts at the FIA World Endurance Championship, established the new 2017 LMP2 rules package that will see the WEC use spec cars and engines without auto manufacturer involvement. Working with the ACO and FIA, IMSA collaborated on a second set of 2017 LMP2 rules to create the manufacturer-friendly DPi formula which launched with considerable success in January at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

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IMSA's DPi plans were met with immediate interest from Cadillac, Mazda, and eventually Nissan formed the third pillar to field multiple entries during DPi's debut season. IMSA's decision to stray from the spec LMP2 formula will also be rewarded by at least one more major auto manufacturer before the end of the year as Honda is preparing a new DPi program in partnership with Team Penske.

Initially embraced by the ACO for participation in its famed 24 Hours of Le Mans event, the inclusion of DPis was ultimately rejected by the French sanctioning body. Only spec LMP2s will be invited to race at the great endurance event, and with a diminished LMP1 grid after the loss of Audi at the end of 2016, the ACO and FIA will have just two manufacturers left – Porsche and Toyota – in its marquee class.

Filtered through the newfound popularity experienced by IMSA's top-tier prototypes, the ACO's disinterest in the DPi formula, and a defensive stance in relation to the decline in LMP1 manufacturer participation, Beaumesnil's answers are more easily understood.

"DPIs are a product which has been conceived [and] designed for the U.S. market," he told RMC. "Could it fit in Le Mans? It is hard for me to answer that question as DPi is so specific to the US market. It is an attractive formula as related costs are moderate: You take an LMP2 chassis and you add an engine which is produced somewhat extensively... it is not technology which is as pushed [or] cutting edge as what we have over here in LMP1."

VincentBeaumesnil LATThe Frenchman (pictured) also believes American sports car fans are less inclined to care about racecar technology.

"Also, in the U.S., I believe [DPi] is more about marketing," he continued. "You put a Cadillac sticker on the windshield ... Also, U.S. Fans are perhaps a little less interested than the Le Mans fans with what is happening underneath the bonnet of the car. The Le Mans OEMs with whom we talk [and] work [with] in Europe have a presence which is justified by bringing in new technology."

Faced with increasingly unsustainable costs for manufacturers to participate in LMP1, Beaumesnil says adopting IMSA's DPi regulations is not the answer to the problem.

"This has an unfortunate impact on costs – something we are looking at and something we are aiming at reducing – but looking on the other end at adopting the extreme solution of the DPI is not really a solution we dream of here."

Renault unveil LATRenault is targeting fifth place in the constructors' championship in 2017 and admits the unknown of Honda prevented the French manufacturer from aiming higher.

The new Renault was launched in London on Tuesday, with Renault Sport president Jerome Stoll making clear the team's target of fifth place for the coming season. Managing director Cyril Abiteboul admits the top three teams of 2016 will likely continue to lead the way but believes Renault has a chance to be best of the rest.

 

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"I expect Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, in no particular order – even if I have a preferred order – to be at the front," Abiteboul said. "Then I would expect ... it's a big unknown for us what Honda will have done in terms of engine development because I am sure McLaren is capable of producing a very decent car, in particular with such a dramatic change to the aero regulations.

 

"Then I think it will be interesting to see the mix. We should be fighting against Williams, Force India, Toro Rosso. We have the same power unit as Toro Rosso, they have two very good drivers, they are very well established, so we believe that we should be fighting against these type of teams."

Asked by RACER if the target of fifth place is because he is unsure what Honda will do and what could lead to McLaren leapfrogging the midfield, Abiteboul replied: "Yeah, you discovered me! Exactly. My cover is blown now!

"No, absolutely. It's that sort of thing when you're thinking about your target, you are not really thinking about who is behind, you're thinking about who is ahead. We know Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull will be ahead. The question is McLaren, Renault, I have my view on Williams.

"I think this season will also really be an arms race. I really feel for the teams who are under-resourced because clearly when I see this car that we are presenting today is not the car that will test in Barcelona and the car in Barcelona is not the car that will race in Melbourne. Race by race we've got an introduction of new parts.

"Frankly, I have been in a small team [Caterham], you know that it was not super successful, but I really feel for those teams that will have to keep that resource, the regulations will be very difficult for small teams. I think most of the car build budget for Force India will be gone by now just to cope with the new regulations. So that is something that we are also taking into account. With the level of resources that we have we should be easily capable of beating teams like Haas, like Force India and so on and so forth."

 

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cantrell daytona17 7612Coming off its domination of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Cadillac's DPi-V.R prototypes have received a number of changes to its Balance of Performance figures aimed at slowing the cars during this week's IMSA test at Sebring International Raceway.

Those modifications, along with changes made to other models in three of the four WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes, will be evaluated prior to solidifying the BoP for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring held on March 18.

IMSA has taken power away from the Cadillacs with a decrease in airflow to its 6.2-liter V8 engines (-1.5mm total through its two air restrictors), and taken seven liters of fuel capacity from its fuel tank (now 68L). The refueling process has also been slowed with a decrease in fuel flow (-2.5mm to the fuel hose restrictor).

Within Prototype, the two turbocharged DPis from Mazda and Nissan also received power reductions for the test through decreased boost tables. Smaller fuel capacity changes were made to four models as the WEC-spec Riley/Multimatic Mk 30 (+2.5L), Ligier JS P217 (+0.5L) and ORECA 07 (+0.5L) received increases for their Gibson V8-powered cars. The Nissan Onroak DPi lost capacity (-2.0L).

All prototypes will run in high-downforce "sprint" aero configuration at Sebring (and for the rest of the season) after using the low-downforce "Le Mans" package for Daytona.

m6 daytonaIn GT Le Mans, BMW's twin-turbo V8 M6 will test with a weight reduction (-10kg), more fuel capacity (+2L) faster refueling (+3.5mm), and boost increases throughout its rev range. Porsche 911 RSRs will also sample faster refueling (+4.5mm) during the visit to Sebring.

And finally, in GT Daytona, weight, power, capacity or flow alterations were made to four of the nine manufacturers.

Acura's NSX GT3 will run at a lower weight (-20kg) while the Ferrari 488 GT3 and Lexus RC F GT3 will carry more ballast (+10kg). Boost has been taken from Ferrari's twin-turbo V8 while the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (+1mm total across both restrictors) and the Lexus RC F GT3 (+2mm total across both restrictors) will have more power available at the test.

Fuel capacities and refueling speeds also improved for Lamborghini (+1.0L, +0.5mm) and Lexus (+2L, +2.0mm).

The two two-day test, comprised of 34 cars on the 3.7-mile circuit, begins Thursday, Feb. 23.

 X4I9914Renault became the third team to show its 2017 Formula 1 car, the RS17, in France on Tuesday, along with officially introducing race drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer, and test driver Sergei Sorotkin.

"The RS17 is the first car which Enstone and Viry [Renault's UK and French F1 bases] have been able to plan and develop from the outset and we're satisfied by the fruits of this interaction," said Renault Sport president Jerome Stoll, who added that the team expects a significant improvement on the results of its first season back as an official constructor, in which it finished ninth:

"For 2017, our performance targets are clear. We want to take a definite, tangible step forward in performance and results. Fifth position in the Constructors' Championship is our goal."

renault2

The car features a predominantly yellow and black livery, which is somewhat of a hybrid of the all-black testing livery run in 2016 before the team opted for a yellow car throughout the season, There is also branding from new partners BP and Castrol, with Renault changing fuel and lubricant supplier this year.

The RS17 is Renault's first car to be fully developed by the French manufacturer, with last year's chassis being hastily adapted to take a Renault power unit following its takeover of Lotus in December 2015.

 X4I9930While warning a number of the parts on the launch car will have changed by pre-season testing, managing director Cyril Abiteboul believes the new regulations have provided the team with an opportunity to close the gap to the front-runners quicker than would have been possible with stability in the rules.

"We will know for sure in Melbourne, we need to remain a bit patient," Abiteboul said of whether Renault can catch up in 2017. "But frankly, yes, it looks very positive news for us and for Formula 1, and if things are good for Formula 1 then it's good at the end of the day for all of its teams, including ourselves.

"As far as we are concerned of where we stand in our journey in Formula 1, in our mid-term plan, we definitely see that as a positive. It's a reset, everyone had to start from a clean sheet of paper, it has allowed us to adapt our investment with what we did with the regulations. We see that as an opportunity to accelerate the catch up of the midfield, and also accelerate the reduction of the deficit to the bigger teams. Let me be honest, the big teams will remain the big teams and ahead. But for us, we see that, overall, as an opportunity."

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image 4Ricardo Juncos has officially confirmed his plans to enter the Verizon IndyCar Series with the Juncos Racing team starting in May at the 101st Indianapolis 500. As RACER revealed last week, the Argentinian purchased two cars from KV Racing with the intent of adding an IndyCar program to his championship-winning Mazda Road to Indy effort.

"I am so happy to officially announce our participation in the Verizon IndyCar Series," Juncos said. "This is a dream come true for me and my team. It's been only two months since our grand opening of the new Juncos Technical Center, which was a huge moment for us. Now we are becoming a new team in the Verizon IndyCar Series and will run in 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,' the Indianapolis 500. This is definitely one of the biggest moments in my life."

image 5The KV team, which shut down its operation after more than a decade in the sport, has pledged its support for Juncos Racing's Indy 500 debut. One seat is known to be filled, and as of last week, Juncos was searching for a second funded driver to complete the program.

"It's always hard to identify the right moment and right time to make a big move and make big decisions in motor racing, but I am confident the timing is right and that we will succeed as we did in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series," Juncos said. "I want to thank (IndyCar CEO) Mark Miles and (IndyCar competition president) Jay Frye from the Verizon IndyCar Series for all of their help and confidence they have had in me and my team.

"I also want to thank Kevin Kalkhoven from KV Racing Technology. He has been extremely helpful during this transition and, with his continued support and help with all of his experience in racing, we are confident going into this next level. Thank you to my family and my team for giving me massive support throughout the years, and to all of the fans, thank you!."

Juncos Racing's drivers and engine partner will be announced at a later date. Both Dallara DW12s were purchased with Chevy superspeedway aero kits.

Juncos Racing Film from ProRacingGroup on Vimeo.

SauberC36Ferrari Front Low MidResSauber has launched its 2017 car – the Ferrari-powered C36 – and a revised livery ahead of pre-season testing next week.

While Williams became the first team to release a rendering of its car on Friday, Sauber’s is the first of the 2017 designs to be seen in the flesh. The new car was launched online on Monday morning and will run during a filming day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this week.C5GomQnWcAEMAAV.jpg large

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The C36 shows the impact of the new regulations with a wider and angled front wing, lower and swept-back rear wing, while a shark fin is used on the engine cover. The car will be powered by a year-old Ferrari power unit, with Sauber in its last year of its power unit deal before a likely switch to a new supplier.

Technical director Jorg Zander says Sauber has been able to take advantage of a known quantity in terms of the power unit, saying last year’s Ferrari is “a tried and tested system with higher durability to begin with.

"Being able to get started early and defining the engine environment was an advantage because the team was familiar with the engine and the transmission as well as the cooling requirements the engine entailed," Zander added.

The car will be driven by Marcus Ericsson and Mercedes youngster Pascal Wehrlein this season, though Wehrlein will miss at least the first test with a back injury. Ferrari third driver Antonio Giovinazzi is set to replace the German in Barcelona next week.

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Daytona67The headline in The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin said it all: "All of Dixie Mourns Andretti Victory."

Fifty years ago the hottest thing in open wheel racing left the stock car fraternity in his wake with a stunning, if not demoralizing, victory in NASCAR's Holy Grail.

Mario Daytona Win Newspaper"It was very satisfying, no question, because obviously stock cars weren't my specialty," said Mario Andretti reflecting on his 1967 Daytona 500 triumph. "It would have been like Richard Petty coming to Indy and winning on our turf.

"It was a sense of pride for me and, quite honestly, it gets bigger every year because drivers just don't jump around to different disciplines like we did back then."

Andretti's rookie run at Daytona the year before for Smokey Yunick was hardly memorable as he started 39th and crashed out on lap 31. But in '67 he returned with a first-cabin ride on the Holmon-Moody team with Ford backing and NASCAR star Fred Lorenzen as his teammate.

"I didn't have much of an engine in qualifying, so I ran a really low spoiler and you had to race with the setup you qualified with," he continued. "I had a good relationship with Ford so I complained to some folks in Detroit and got a good engine for the race."

Starting 12th, he stormed into the lead by lap 23 and locked horns with David Pearson and Lorenzen (pictured chasing Andretti, top) for the rest of the afternoon. But his very low-downforce setup caused him to run loose on the high-banked track and all the experts waited on the crash.

"I don't think I turned left all day," he said with a laugh. "I had to run high and I had to try and lead because the thing was really loose if I followed anybody. I was pinching it and smoking the right-rear tire going into Turn 1 and let the car run up the hill.

"I knew what I was doing but I think if confused my competition because I was always going for the lead. I had a great time racing with Pearson before he dropped out."

Parnelli Jones knew a thing or two about stock cars and all about USAC's multi-talented Andretti.

"Some of the drivers and officials said Mario was dangerous and was going to crash driving a car so loose," said Jones, who scored four NASCAR wins during his illustrious career. "What they didn't know was that loose was the fast way around Daytona and that Mario had great car control."

The 27-year-old wunderkind led 120 of the 200 laps – including the final 33 – but it wasn't without a little political drama. He came in leading on his final pit stop on lap 163 but went out second behind Lorenzen after a very "slow" stop.

"It was intentional, for sure – they left me up on the jack until Freddie was almost in Turn 1 and I was furious," he continued. "I mean, I get it – he was the golden boy of NASCAR at that time and they had a lot more interest in him winning than me.

"But I got back up to speed and caught him in a couple laps and that was that."

Jones still shakes his head at what transpired that day. "I don't think I've ever seen a team not wanting its driver to win and they tried to keep the win from Mario. But he just out-drove them and won it on his own – with no help needed.

"Open-wheel racing knew he was a keeper and after that NASCAR knew it too."

The 76-year-old legend from Nazareth, Pa. will be in Daytona as the honorary race official next weekend and still cherishes the accomplishment that made him the only driver to ever win the Indy 500, F1 championship and Daytona 500.

"I hadn't won Indy yet so at that time it was arguably the biggest win of my career," said the 1969 Indy victor. "It was special then and it still is today."

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