SLA7344Kevin Magnussen has ruled out a move to IndyCar in 2017, although he admits that he is keeping his options open in case he is unable to find a way to remain in F1.

Renault's option on the Dane is understood to have passed, leaving him free to look elsewhere for next year, although he remains hopeful of staying on with the team alongside Nico Hulkenberg, who will move across from Force India.

One of Magnussen's options was to follow in Alexander Rossi's footsteps by moving from F1 into IndyCar with Andretti Autosport. Asked by RACER whether he would be open to the move, the 24-year-old said that he is in contact with the team, but insisted that IndyCar is not on his horizon for next year.

"I went [to Andretti Autosport] at the beginning of 2015; I went to Indianapolis to visit them and talk to them," he said. "I talk to the guys there because I like them, and I support them, and I follow IndyCar, but there is nothing serious going on, and I don't intend to be in IndyCar next year."


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Several F1 seats remain open for next year, including the one at Force India that will be vacated by Hulkenberg. Magnussen admitted that he is casting a wide net, but insists that remaining with Renault is his priority.

"There are options; there are seats available, and we're talking to all of the options," he said. "There's no reason not to talk to people. But it's no more than talking. I want to be here next year, I hope I will be, and I feel I should be. And that's my target. I'm trying as much as I can to let other people do the work in the background and then I need to do my job on the track.

"Whatever I've been through over the last few years, it has been tough, and right now it's tough again. But I feel like it's worth it. I think this team is a place where I can eventually, in future fight for world championships. So the tough times at the moment will be worth it if it works out. There's no reason to give up. It's probably tougher than it should be, but I'm sure it will be worth it."

Prior to his season with Renault, Magnussen raced with McLaren in 2014 before being demoted to test/reserve driver for 2015, and dropped altogether before the end of the season. He tested a Mercedes DTM car and Porsche's LMP1 over the winter before landing the Renault seat, and said that he is being more aggressive in pursuing opportunities this time around to avoid being left stranded.

"One of the mistakes I did with McLaren was to not talk with anyone else because I thought I had the seat, and I had strong indications from them that I did have the seat," he said. "So I didn't feel like I needed to talk to anyone else.

"This year I've learned from that mistake and I've tried to make sure that I won't be in the situation that I can't race anything. So for sure I'm in a better position than I was back then."

 R3I9637Nico Rosberg set the pace in second practice for Formula 1's United States Grand Prix, but Daniel Ricciardo resisted Lewis Hamilton and prevented a Mercedes one-two.

In a reversal of form from the morning session, championship leader Rosberg lapped nearly three tenths quicker than F1 title rival Hamilton during their qualifying simulations on the super-soft Pirelli tire. But Ricciardo sprang a surprise by splitting the pair with a 1m37.552s effort that placed his Red Bull within two tenths of a second of the leading Mercedes.

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Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest for Ferrari, over half a second adrift of Hamilton. Max Verstappen was fifth in the second Red Bull, while Force India pair Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, and McLaren-Honda duo Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, all lapped faster than Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari, which rounded out the top 10.

Raikkonen complained about the handling of the rear end of his Ferrari, and went off during his qualifying simulation, so had to rely on a second effort completed on the same set of tires, which was only fractionally quicker than he managed on the soft compound early in the session.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was the last man to lap below 1m39s, ending up 11th quickest in the underpowered Toro Rosso.

Kevin Magnussen and Felipe Nasr also impressed, lapping 12th and 13th quickest for Renault and Sauber, respectively. That put them clear of Williams pairing Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, who were split by the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

Haas endured another difficult session at its home race, with Romain Grosjean only 18th fastest and teammate Esteban Gutierrez 20th, behind Esteban Ocon's Manor, which recovered well after an early spin into the gravel at Turn 17. Grosjean complained that he could "barely drive the car," struggling particularly with the front end of his Haas.

Marcus Ericsson was 21st, over a second slower than teammate Nasr, while Pascal Wehrlein ended up slowest of all runners, complaining of too much understeer in his Manor. He returned to the track later and set improved times in the first and second sectors, but failed to complete the lap on each occasion so remained rooted to the bottom of the times.

There was a brief red flag interruption just as the higher fuel long runs began, so marshals could clear some debris that fell from one of the Haas cars through the high-speed esses.

Gutierrez's car appeared to shed more bits later on through the same section of the circuit, something that also occurred during a troubled morning session for the Haas team.


1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.358ss 1m37.358s 33
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m37.552ss 0.194s 33
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.649ss 0.291s 32
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m38.178ss 0.820s 35
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m38.258ss 0.900s 27
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m38.508ss 1.150s 32
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m38.568ss 1.210s 31
8 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m38.713ss 1.355s 29
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m38.801ss 1.443s 30
10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m38.865ss 1.507s 31
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m38.971ss 1.613s 31
12 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m39.159ss 1.801s 23
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m39.189ss 1.831s 28
14 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m39.197ss 1.839s 34
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m39.202ss 1.844s 36
16 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m39.281ss 1.923s 30
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m39.455ss 2.097s 34
18 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m39.554ss 2.196s 24
19 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 1m40.086ss 2.728s 27
20 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m40.114ss 2.756s 26
21 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m40.219ss 2.861s 28
22 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m41.131ss 3.773s 31


Originally on

JGS 6686 1Just when you thought that the Verizon IndyCar Series had run out of ways to surprise, 2016 came along. The championship was won by a guy who looked all at sea 12 months earlier, his closest rival didn't even participate in the first race, and the winner of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 was a recent F1 refugee who apparently figured out how to make a car work without fuel.

Twenty-four drivers made at least three starts during the 2016 season, and each one is a story. Join RACER each day as we retrace their journeys.



Preseason hopes: "Do my best and being aware that I did whatever I could regardless of the result, because sometimes the results don’t come.

2016 Best result: 2nd (Road America)
2016 Championship position: 7th (461 points)

Kanaan didn’t win a race, but he was consistent enough to finish just seven points behind two-time 2016 race-winner Scott Dixon. Is he becoming Ganassi’s answer to Helio Castroneves?

PRUETT: That’s a great way of putting it, but I’m sure it would piss TK off. Kanaan’s consistency is great to see after a few too many up and down seasons with midfield teams prior to landing with Ganassi, and I don’t expect it to change. The only area he’ll want to split from his old friend is the winless streak that dates back to Fontana 2014.

MILLER: Like his Brazilian buddy, it's been a couple of years since TK made it to victory lane but they're both still plenty competitive. Five times in the Fast Six is a good indicator of pace as well, and Ganassi was second tier to Penske everywhere, so he did a good job as Dixon's wingman.

Could he have gotten any more out of his season?

16C 1885 1PRUETT: Of course. The Ganassi team was a distant No. 2 to Penske, and trailed behind Ed Carpenter Racing, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the standings, but that shouldn’t be seen as an excuse for Dixon to be the only CGR entry to win last season. The Kiwi took both of Ganassi’s wins, and if there’s someone to put another victory on the board, Kanaan’s the guy. We know Dixon had most of the bad luck fall his way, but even when he was out of contention, I don’t recall many races where TK was in a strong position to win. If Road America went five more laps, the conversation would be different - but it wasn’t, so it isn’t.

The frustrating part is it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was missing. Known as one of the elite race-day performers in the series, TK earned his reputation as a passing machine by turning poor-ish qualifying positions into strong finishes. What we found last season was a bit different. His qualifying performances were quite good at most events, but in the race, there wasn’t a lot of forward progress.

He started inside the top 10 in 11 of 16 races. He made the Firestone Fast Six in six of 11 road/street course events. Altogether, through all 16 races, his average starting position was 8.8. The problem was TK’s average finishing position was also 8.8. It’s easier for a fast driver to pick off the tail-enders from a lowly starting position than to start fifth and motor past the four psychos leading the field.

Now that TK is starting in the thick of the championship contenders, finding a way to advance on the road and street courses is the obvious puzzle to solve.

MILLER: He needed one more of lap of green at Road America and he'd have run down Will Power (who was saving fuel) for the victory. He lost the thriller in Texas by a car length (he finished third), and who knows what would have happened if Indy (he ran fourth) was a shootout instead of an economy run?

It’s hard to see how much scope there is for Kanaan to get faster, but were there any signs in 2016 to suggest that his performance has started to go in the other direction?

MILLER: Not at all. As mentioned, qualifying on a street or road course is more about the driver than ovals and, other than a couple of misses at St. Pete and Mid-Ohio, TK was right in the mix, and especially impressive at Elkhart Lake. And you know he's still going to be a factor at Indianapolis.

PRUETT: We saw - and he admitted - things had reached a plateau, which is why his friend Dario Franchitti stepped in to help find behaviors and habits to change that would deliver results. TK’s motivation to improve and be the best version of himself has never waned, and with his recent effort to find some of the fractions of time that were missing in the braking zones and on corner exit, I think we’ll see a faster driver next year - at the age of 42.

16C 9536 1


Mikhail Aleshin
Marco Andretti
Sebastien Bourdais

Ed Carpenter
Helio Castroneves
Gabby Chaves
Max Chilton
Conor Daly
Scott Dixon
RC Enerson
Luca Filippi
James Hinchcliffe
Ryan Hunter-Reay

ParkerChase 8159 RSJSome of the Pirelli World Challenge's star drivers on the track aren't old enough to drive on the street

When Nate Stacy won his first GTS race at Sonoma Raceway in his Roush Performance Road Racing Ford Boss 302 (bottom of page) with Parker Chase in the Performance Motorsports Ginetta (above) second, it marked perhaps the youngest top two in World Challenge history. Stacy is 16, just old enough to get a license to drive on the street. Chase is 15, so he can't even drive home from the track. There are others – 15-year-old Henry Morse races in Touring Car B (below) and won two races this season; even in GT there are several drivers who can't spray champagne yet, such as 18-year-old Austin Cindric.

HenryMorse 8379 RSJThe GTS win at Sonoma wasn't Stacy's first World Challenge win, either – he won in TCB at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park two years ago at 14. And further proving that these young drivers aren't just getting lucky once in a while, Stacy had eight podium finishes, divided equally between second and third, and ended up second in the GTS points. Chase was fourth in the points and named Rookie of the Year in the GTS class.

There was a time not so long ago that a driver under 18 couldn't even get a competition license to race in SCCA competition. But, like in many sports, they're starting younger and younger, and often coming in with more experience than some of their older counterparts thanks to karting.

"I was the youngest driver in SCCA history at the time to get a license, and that was in 1971," says Dorsey Schroeder, the 1989 Trans-Am champion who now serves as race director for Pirelli World Challenge. "You look at the kids nowadays that are 16 and they've come out of karting, they're coming with experience, and it's proven a pretty good thing so far."

Not everyone is always welcoming at first, though, notes Stacy. "I think I've even told other drivers that are younger, 'Be ready for discrimination, because the moment you mess up – even if it's not your fault – if you're involved in contact, everyone's going to say, 'He's too young.' Luckily, when I started, we had really good drivers in TCB, probably the strongest field there ever was. We came in when everyone was really strong, everyone was giving each other respect. I was only once ever in one incident in TCB, and I got turned into, which bounced me into another car."

Winning, of course, brings some respect. But even before that, the younger drivers have found that it's possible to earn the respect of the other drivers if you race cleanly.

thumbnail NateStacy podium 8462 RSJ"What happens is if you get the respect of the other drivers, once you do that, they start defending you," says Stacy (right).

Racers of every age are prone to overexuberance, youthful or otherwise. That's where Schroeder comes in:

"I have seen, during the course of the year, these drivers get into trouble," he notes. "At the beginning of the year, there were some tense moments for them. At one point, after they got some confidence, they were over-driving the car. I had to sit down with some of them – and their mothers and fathers – and say, 'Look, it's all good, but right now you're doing yourself a disservice. You're driving too hard  you need to go back to the basics.' Everybody's guilty of that at some point in time. They responded perfectly and we haven't had another problem. I knew they'd be good; they showed talent right away."

Some race series are even talking about allowing drivers as young as 13, but Schroeder admits he has some concerns about that. Still, with racers starting in karting at ever younger ages, they're ready for cars sooner and sooner, so the trend toward more younger drivers isn't likely to slow down.

"I think I've proven everyone wrong and they've gotten used to it," says Stacy. "I feel I've opened the door for Parker and the others to come in, because they have time to come in and they're going to give them a chance. I've proven that it can be done. I think I've helped the cause, but I don't think it's done yet; it can go farther. Everyone is open minded about age."

NateStacy 8369 RSJ

Jolyon Palmer is not sure Renault appreciates the effort he and teammate Kevin Magnussen have put in with a "difficult" Formula 1 car this season.

Nico Hulkenberg will join the Enstone-based outfit from Force India next season, leaving Palmer and Magnussen to fight over one seat.

The Renault duo have had an upturn in form in the last three races, with Magnussen taking a point in Singapore, Palmer scoring his first in Malaysia and both showing well last time out in Japan to finish 14th and 12th respectively. But Palmer does not think Renault is giving them the credit they deserve, highlighted by the fact at least one of them will lose their seat.

"Do I think they appreciate everything we've done? I'm not sure," he said. "Kevin has done some great races as well and he's proven in 2014 [with McLaren] what he can do in a good car.

"He finished second in his first race, he out-qualified Jenson [Button] over the course of the year. Now two years on we're both struggling because the car is not really there.

"Neither of us probably have not got the credit we deserve in a difficult car. And that's spurred on by the fact that one of us will be replaced.

"The car has been tricky and we've both done well, with mistakes but at certain points we've been doing a good job."

Palmer said the Hulkenberg announcement was "not a big shock" because he knew in Japan "something was going to happen."

He reiterated he wants to stay at Renault, but conceded he will have to look elsewhere given there is only one seat left.

"Nothing changes from my point of view," he said. "One seat, two drivers in the team that want to stay, but I'm just going to keep showing what I can do.

"The Force India seat has been closed until last week, so that's now a good option because the car is pretty quick, but the main focus is doing a good job here. Definitely I want to stay with Renault but I need to look somewhere else as well because someone is going to be disappointed [when Renault chooses Hulkenberg's 2017 teammate].

"If an opportunity comes up elsewhere then it's up to me to decide if it worth waiting here or going somewhere else. I'd rather find out sooner rather than later."


Originally on

Jenson Button believes Formula 1 should consider switching to shorter races to appeal to a younger audience.

The 2009 world champion accepts hardcore Formula 1 fans would not approve of such a change, but he thinks it is one of the ideas that should be considered because attention spans are getting shorter.

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"There will always be the diehard fans that have watched Formula 1 for 10, 20 years and will watch a whole grand prix, but that's not who we're after," said Button ahead of this weekend's U.S. Grand Prix. "It's the younger fans we need to appeal to, to try and attract them to something for an hour and a half is very difficult.

"People have a short attention span. We're like kids  we can't sit down and do one thing for so long, we have to move on and do something else. I can't sit in front of the TV for an hour and a half and watch a film  I have to be active.

"It's a tough one because Formula 1 is Formula 1, and changing that is a shame because that's the way it has always been. But we need to move with the times if we want the sport to be relevant."

Button said while he can appreciate an interesting F1 race even if it is uneventful, he understands why grands prix are sometimes considered boring.

"When I watch Formula 1, I see a race that's exciting," he said. "Other people might look at it and say, 'Well there are a few overtaking moves, but in an hour and a half there is 10 minutes of action!'

"That's why I find it exciting, because when those moves happen it's amazing that driver has put everything on the line. But 10 minutes of action in an hour and a half is not enough for most people, and I can understand that.

"Short races, short sports are on the up. For example, people love sprint track and field because it's a short burst of energy.

"I've never watched a Tour de France stage [in cycling, which goes on for several hours], but I've recorded a Tour de France stage and watched the last 10 minutes.

"F1 needs to attract a younger audience, but how you go about doing that is a lot more difficult."


Originally on

LAT cobb 160917 Sonoma 02544Will Power had no idea what was wrong with him when he flew into St. Petersburg for the opening race of the IndyCar season back in March. All he knew was that he felt like crap.

"It was a strange set of circumstances," he recalls. "When I turned up at St. Pete on the Thursday it looked like I had the mumps – my glands were out past my ears. You can probably find pictures of me on the pitstand, looking like I'm really fat. Then on the Friday night, when I was seeing double..."

He didn't feel any better the following day, and while the paddock swirled with chatter about what was ailing the 2014 series champion, Team Penske was focused on a more immediate question of whether he should even be in a race suit. It was a situation that was revisited on a session-by-session basis.

power2"I wasn't even sure if I could get in the car [for qualifying]," he says. "Tim Cindric said, 'Just go out, and if you don't feel it, come in.' As it turned out, I only did a total of four laps. Went out, did a lap, pitted, went out, did a lap, pitted, went out, did two laps, done."

Power qualified the car on pole, although those final couple of laps would be his last for the weekend: following another medical evaluation he was ruled out of the race.

Oriol Servia took over the No. 12 for Sunday, leaving Power to focus on trying to figure out why his body felt so terrible. Superficially, the symptoms – headache, vertigo, poor concentration – pointed to a concussion. There was even a smoking gun: Power had hit the wall during practice on Friday (below). But by that Monday, tests at the University of Miami had ruled concussion out, and blame temporarily shifted to an inner ear infection.

lat abbott StPete 0316 1072In a series as close as IndyCar, that St. Pete weekend should have stood as a terminal setback for one of the series' perennial title contenders. Winning the championship is hard enough without giving the rest of the field a one-race head start. And Pagenaud turned the screw even tighter by opening his own season with three wins and two second places from the first five races. Power managed just two top-fives during the same period.

Virtually nothing from the first third of Power's year can be found anywhere in the IndyCar title contender playbook, so the fact that he was able to overcome his health problems, reverse the slide, and emerge as Pagenaud's greatest threat at the end of the season stands as one of IndyCar 2016's great achievements. It's also the reason he was so comfortable with his bridesmaid status at the end of the Sonoma race.

"I've had much more frustrating ends to seasons than this, I can promise you," Power said immediately after Pagenaud secured the title.

power3It's easy to see his point: four wins and second in the standings is absolutely more than he'd expected a few months earlier. The struggles at St. Pete were part of a broader fatigue problem that he'd been battling with before the season began, and even after he returned to the cockpit, the first few races were simply about trying to summon enough energy to drive the car. In that respect the DW12, which demands that its drivers muscle around a big, heavy pile of downforce without the benefit of power steering, was about the last thing that Power needed to be dealing with.

"At Phoenix [where he finished third], I was able to just sink into the car because it was all one direction, so I was able to conserve some energy at the beginning of that race," Power says.

"But for those first few races after St. Pete, I wasn't trying to do anything special or really trying to chase the points lead. I just thought, 'OK we're at a pretty big points deficit already,' and just went about trying to survive in the races and get to the finish."

Power had started feeling unwell during the winter, and while the underlying cause is still being investigated, the first symptoms emerged when he dived into an intense training program while still recovering from jetlag after a trip to Australia. His lack of conditioning through the opening races was not the result of too much sofa time. He simply couldn't train.

St. Petersburg was the nadir, but he says that he spent much of the first half of the season just trying to get through race weekends one session at a time.

"I can race with a broken hand, a broken anything," he says. "But dealing with having zero's the worst. If I had the choice of having zero energy and feeling like crap, or racing with a broken arm or something, I'll take having something broken every time. I raced at Toronto with a broken thumb the year before, and you just mentally switch it off. I remember that in practice it hurt like hell, but as soon as it got to qualifying I'd just switched it off. It didn't register. Until you stop, and then you've got a sore thumb.

"But the energy thing...when you don't have any energy you can't think right; you can't do anything. You're absolutely at the mercy of your body. "

power4Power says that he didn't even begin to consider the championship until the Indy road course. By then he'd made some progress up the table to seventh, although he still went into the weekend with less than half of Pagenaud's points total.

"The Indy road course was the first time when I thought, 'All right, I'm going to have to get a good result here if I want to be in this championship,'" he says. "And that absolutely didn't work out..."

A mistake in qualifying relegated Power to 10th on the grid, and prompting him to roll the dice and start on Firestone's harder-compound blacks. His misery was completed with a spin that dropped him to the rear of the field, setting him up for a self-described "horrible day."

Fitness was still an issue at that point, too. Power says that the Indy road course weekend was the first this year when he rolled out for the first practice session feeling something like his regular self, but by race day he was once again flagging badly.

"At the start of the Indy road course weekend I felt good," he says. "I really did. In practice I felt good, I think I felt good in qualifying, and then in the warm-up I was just so exhausted ... I remember thinking, 'How am I going to finish this race?' I was back to square one.

"And then by lap 15 ... oh my God, it was hard. I was absolutely toast. And that was running at the back of the field, mind you. Running at the back is much harder, physically, because you're constantly having to catch the car in turbulent air. When I finally got clean air, I definitely used less energy."

lat galstad dgp 0616 1096While that race was another write-off from the season-revival standpoint, the freedom to drive the car unshackled by fatigue during the opening part of the weekend was his silver lining. Power continued making tiny adjustments to his everyday life as he worked toward reclaiming his old form – a tweak to his workout regime here; a change to his nutrition plan there, a bit of extra recovery whenever time allowed – and finally, he began to see progress. Although he continued to experience varying symptoms all the way through to Sonoma, he had things sufficiently under control, he finally started to feel like he was on his game once he got to the other side of the Indy 500.

"Detroit was [the first time] where it was, 'OK, I'm feeling pretty good here,'" he says. "I was chasing the leaders down in the first race and the first time [this year] where I really felt, 'Wow, I can push here, keep with these guys, go a lap longer,' or whatever I needed to do.

"I obviously didn't have the fitness that I had the previous year, just because I wasn't able to work out. But as the year went on I was able to get car fitness, and the best thing that happened was those two weeks off before Pocono. That gave me a chance to get out, get a bit of exercise, do some cycling, and that actually felt really good."

power5Power is accustomed to being a part of the championship conversation right from the opening race but this time, his early season struggles cast him in the unfamiliar role of pursuer. And while his battle to understand and solve his flagging energy was complicated enough, he also had to find an answer to Pagenaud's early run of form.

"I remember thinking that having my own streak like the one that Simon had would be the only way I'd ever get back into the championship," he says. "And then I actually did."

In fact, Power's golden patch was slightly better than his teammate's, in that he was able to stretch his second-or-better streak to six races between Sunday at Detroit and Pocono. And while he was making something out of nothing, his cause was further helped by Pagenaud entering a minor mid-season slump.

"At first I wasn't worried [about Power]", Pagenaud said after the season was over. "But at Toronto he started to become a problem".

The Australian won at Detroit (Sunday), Road America, Toronto and Pocono, and felt that he should have added Mid-Ohio to the list as well.

"I kicked myself over the restart at Mid-Ohio," he says. "It was such a bad mistake when you know you've got the win in your hands; to be asleep on a restart and not absolutely on it. I never should have gotten into the situation of having to battle [eventual winner Pagenaud] like that.

lat lepage 160731 mido 2413

"But it was just a fantastic streak. It really was. Very good strategy calls, and running up at the front to take advantage of it ... it got us right back in there."

Power's good fortune didn't last. A Charlie Kimball-assisted crash at Watkins Glen was a huge setback on the championship front, and also put him back into the medical spotlight when he was forced to undergo evaluation for another suspected concussion. Despite renewed speculation over whether he'd be cleared to race at Sonoma, he says that he was never in doubt that he'd be on the grid for the finale.

"It was just a routine thing," he says. "One of the medical people – it wasn't even one of the IndyCar medical people – said, 'We saw you on the camera and you looked wobbly, so you're going to have to do a SCAT test.' And then I did the SCAT test and didn't pass it, for whatever reason. It's hard, once you get out of a racecar, to be balanced anyway."

power 6Power arrived at Sonoma needing a perfect weekend, and some sort of catastrophe to strike Pagenaud's side of the garage. As history now records, he didn't get either of them: Pagenaud qualified on pole and was untouchable in the race, and Power was torpedoed by a gearbox problem. Afterward, though, he was cheerily fatalistic about the outcome.

"When it's your year to win a championship, it's your year," he said. "It was just Simon's year through and through. Everything fell well for him. He did the things he needed to do – this weekend he got pole, led the laps, made it as difficult as possible for me. He just did a great job."

And that's it. None of the regret that has colored some of Power's other championship near-misses. No off-season riddled with sleepless nights spent replaying that one moment during that one race where he might have done something differently. (Although with a baby on the way, sleepless nights will feature heavily during his winter regardless).

Power faced two major rivals this year: his own body, and Pagenaud. He mostly overcame the former, and came close enough to overcoming the latter to cause a few anxious moments in Camp Simon. What could a fully healthy Power have achieved this year? In 2017, we might find out.

PBIR by OnroakMore LMP3 cars have been sold for the relaunched IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda series that will debut next year. Its new PC1 class, which will use LMP3 cars powered by spec V8 engines, stoked particular interest when it was announced at Road America in August.

(UPDATE: RACER learned on Friday that a class name change has been made, effective immediately. "PC1" will be replaced by the international standard, LMP3. Another name change will happen for the cars in the second-tier L1 class. L1s were set to run in "PC2" in 2017, but IMSA has now replaced it with "MPC" -- Mazda Prototype Challenge.)

Thanks to a recent open test held by Onroak Automotive at Florida's Palm Beach International Raceway with its Ligier JS P3 model that was run by Tequila Patron ESM, additional purchases have been made.

"Onroak sponsored a test drive of our P3 at PBIR where we had ESM provide some technical support and transport and had Guy Cosmo there a nice driver coach," Ligier's Ethan Bregman told RACER. "We have one car that we own and use in the States as a test car, and we cycled eight drivers through it were able to and talk about our plans."

As many as five new sales for the JS P3 could come as a result of the PBIR outing.

"It went exceptionally well," Bregman continued. "The first driver got in at 9 a.m. and bought one by 9:30. We had six potential customers, two signed contracts on the spot, the first one has a teammate who has one and they convinced a buddy to get a third. So there were three sold at the test and two more drivers have expressed interest in buying cars, so it could be five from that test alone."


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After the success of the PBIR test, Onroak's American arm will make the test car available to teams with an interest in sampling the product before buying.

"This test was pretty heavily subsidized by us, so what we're doing now is making our demo car available to qualified teams for a small rental fee and mileage rate to do their own customer evaluations," Bregman said. "They can pick up the car and create their own test days to demonstrate their abilities and show the ability of the car. We have three of those opportunities available in the coming months."

Bregman also credited IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda series manager Randy Hembrey for coming to the test to support the class and answer any questions teams or drivers had regarding P3.

"Randy came up to meet with the drivers to talk about the P3 class and it was really good for us," he said. "All, except for one driver, were from outside IMSA, which is important for growth. It made a great impact to have their series director there."

2017 will see IMSA's WeatherTech SportsCar Championship PC class complete its final season as the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda LMP3s hit the track for the first time. At the end of 2017, the PC class will be removed from the WeatherTech Championship roster, leaving three top-tier categories, as the LMP3s become IMSA's sole entry-level prototype class, albeit at the support series level in IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda.

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