Image106Cockpit screens are among the many small details that add up to a Formula 1 car's complex aerodynamic makeup, and with the shift towards vortex generators on the Mercedes cars piloted by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, the team has found another advantage over its rivals.

GP Tours Logo

RACER's Formula 1 coverage is presented by Grand Prix Tours. Feel the power and the glory of Grand Prix racing now via Grand Prix Tours' Pick 8 competition.


Image104Go inside the front wing updates McLaren produced for the Honda-powered MP4/31 to help Fernando Alonso earn a fifth-place finish at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas.

GP Tours Logo

RACER's Formula 1 coverage is presented by Grand Prix Tours. Feel the power and the glory of Grand Prix racing now via Grand Prix Tours' Pick 8 competition.


FPW16D41DIS 2489WeatherTech Racing is expected to return to IMSA's WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a new entrant and manufacturer.

Owned by WeatherTech founder David MacNeil, the team is said to be preparing for a full-season GTD program with his son Cooper MacNeil piloting a Mercedes-AMG GT3.

It's also believed WeatherTech Racing would switch from Porsche specialist Alex Job Racing to Riley Motorsports, which will field a number of Mercedes-AMG GT3s starting in 2017. Reached for comment, a WeatherTech Racing representative told RACER, "It's that time of year where everything is being evaluated." Job told RACER, "As far as the WeatherTech program, I really don't know at this time," and a call to Riley went unreturned.


Related Stories

{loadposition legends}

MacNeil's homecoming would follow a brief departure where the WeatherTech Racing/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R effort was pulled from GTD ahead of the VIR round in August. The team then announced it would embark on a two-race outing in the Pirelli World Challenge series.

In PWC, Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette represented the WeatherTech/AJR team at Sonoma Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the GT class, and MacNeil went on to win the GT-A category in Monterey. The two drivers also shared a Porsche to compete in PWC's short-form SprintX endurance events and came close to winning the season finale before a late mechanical failure intervened.

MacNeil's GTD exit heavily attributed to Balance of Performance concerns made for an ugly split with IMSA at the time, but a positive resolution appears to have been found.

Although formal confirmation of the works-affiliated Riley/Mercedes-AMG GT3 program has yet to be made, longtime Riley customer Ben Keating is known to be moving from his familiar Riley-run Dodge Viper to the German coupe in 2017, and more of the V8-powered cars are expected to land on the GTD grid.

In light of the possible GTD split with WeatherTech Racing, Job's championship-winning team would be in a position to welcome new GTD customers to the fold. IMSA's short offseason starts its transition towards official testing in November and the running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January is now less than 100 days away.

41BK9871Mikhail Aleshin is headed back for his third season with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and his second as teammate to James Hinchcliffe.

The Russian ace, who carries home sponsorship from SMP Racing, was one of the revelations during the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship, having returned from a year out of the series after his sponsorship payments were blocked by sanctions between the U.S. and Russia.

"We're solid with him," SPM co-owner Sam Schmidt told RACER. "We're trying to finalize some sponsorship for the program because it's not a fully-subsidized program through SMP, but that's nothing negative, and we want to continue all the good things we've established with Mikhail."

Aleshin finished 15th in the championship, two places behind Hinchcliffe, and demonstrated a particular aptitude for ovals, where he recorded two of his three best finishes. He finished second at Pocono after leading 87 laps and earning his first IndyCar pole, placed fifth at Iowa, and with his extensive road racing background, Schmidt believes Aleshin is ready to become the full package. The key to helping both drivers move up in the standings in 2017, he says, is stability.

"If you look at the statistics, Mikhail was about the fastest qualifying Honda driver in the last half of the season, and if it wasn't for one or two brainfarts on our part, he would have ended the season with one or two wins," Schmidt said.

"We just want to clean up a few things and maintain driver continuity and personnel continuity. We think he's ready to build off of a good year, and with a stable foundation around him, we're confident in what he's capable of achieving."

LAT levitt bmp 24750Legendary Porsche entrant Alex Job is waiting to see what the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will look like for his Florida-based team.

Alex Job Racing fielded two entries for a pair of clients last year as WeatherTech Racing's No. 22 Porsche 911 GT3 R and Team Seattle/Heart of Racing's No. 23 Porsche 911 GT3 R represented AJR, but with the potential loss of the No. 22 and budgetary cutbacks on the No. 23, Job says he's in wait-and-see mode.

"Right now I really don't know; I'm on hold at the moment until I get decisions," Job told RACER. "On the Team Seattle side, the gentleman who has been funding the program has taken a step back so we're challenged to find additional budget. But we certainly want to continue running that program."

The combination of Alex Riberas and Mario Farnbacher made the No. 23 Porsche a threat at many GT Daytona rounds. A win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was the high mark for the effort in 2016, but once Balance of Performance changes made the 911 GT3 R less competitive at a number of races during the summer, the No. 23 fell to fifth in the standings.

The No. 22 WeatherTech Racing entry curtailed its season ahead of the event at VIR after citing concerns over the BoP applied to the 911 GT3 R, and while the David MacNeil-owned program appears to be returning to IMSA in 2017, AJR might not be involved.

"As far as the WeatherTech program, I really don't know at this time," Job said. "It's a difficult time at the moment. For the last three years with both programs, AJR has been blessed to have the strength of both customers, and with WeatherTech specifically, we've been blessed to have them for six years. I'm hoping that commitments will continue, but at this point, we're not sure."

16C 5831 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.



2016 Best result: 5th (IMS road course; Indianapolis 500)
2016 Championship position: 9th (433 points)

Kimball equaled his career-best championship finish this year: ninth. Is there more to come?

MILLER: There could be, because surprising people appears to be Charlie's forte. He wasn't rated by many when he joined IndyCar and had that field-filler look the first two seasons before scoring his victory at Mid-Ohio. Qualifying can still be hit or miss (except at Mid-Ohio, where he's always quick), but the guy always seems to go forward in the races. And those charges (16th to fifth at Indy 500, 16th to sixth at Texas and 14th to sixth at Watkins Glen), and keeping his nose relatively clean, are what propelled him into the Top 10. Getting higher than ninth might be a stretch - but maybe not.

PRUETT: It's something I've started to wonder as well. Chuck has two ninth-place finishes in six seasons, he's made progress - steady progress - since Dario Franchitti transitioned into his role as coach and analyst, and with a couple of years of intensive effort, Kimball has become a reliable performer. Eleven finishes inside the top 10 last season tells us this is true, but what we don't know is if there's significant speed still waiting to be unearthed.

Did he make the sort of progress that you'd expect from a guy in his sixth season with the same team?

2016INDYWK39977MILLER: Absolutely. He almost won the pole at the Indy GP, but what's most noticeable about "Charlie Murphy" is his aggression: Hans Solo outside the car, and Darth Vader when the shield goes down. He no longer gets pushed around, and fights hard for every position.

PRUETT: He did. Kimball was a much better oval driver in his first three or four seasons, and was less of a factor on the road and street races that dominate the schedule. Not only has that dynamic been changing in recent years, but he used 2016 to prove that on race day, he's capable of being in the mix somewhere between fifth and ninth at the finish.
Chuck is a hard charger, and that's not something we observed in his formative years with Ganassi. His next big area of growth is to improve his qualifying performances. Yes, it's great that he doesn't sit idle once the green flag waves, but eight of his 11 road/street course starts were from 10th or worse, and four were from 13th or lower on the grid. If he can make big gains on Saturdays, his Sundays should be much easier.

He ruffled a few feathers over the course of the season for some of his conduct on-track. Was that justified, or did Charlie generally remain within the realms of healthy aggression?

MILLER: Juan Pablo Montoya says he hates running with Charlie, and even Rick Mears was critical after his contact with Will Power at The Glen, so having that kind of royalty throwing down on you is never wanted. And maybe Kimball gets a little too ambitious at times, but so does just about everyone else who amounted to anything. He's made some bodacious passes in the past couple seasons, and it's clearly a case of his getting more and more confident.

PRUETT: Meh. There was some scapegoating involved in at least one instance, but I wouldn't argue that Charlie tends to own the road he's on a little more than some of his rivals. As long as he doesn't make a habit of knocking others off track, this is a non-issue

His maiden win at Mid-Ohio was three years and 56 races ago. Did you see anything during 2016 to suggest that win number two is on the horizon?

MILLER: He's been a factor at Indy the past two Mays (third and fifth), and one of the quickest cars at the end, so that would seem like his best bet, although he'd be a title contender if the series ran every race at Mid-Ohio. But another win isn't the long shot it seemed like in 2013.

PRUETT: In a straight fight where fuel strategy and attrition doesn't come into play, no. Mid-Ohio was awesome to see, but it was a byproduct of great strategy and timing. Until Kimball starts putting Dixon, Power, Pagenaud, Newgarden, Rahal, and a few others in his rearview mirrors on sheer pace, wins aren't a serious consideration without wonky circumstances entering the equation.

Would having a more experienced hand in the No.8 car have been of any benefit?

MILLER: Naw. He's had Dario, Dixie and T.K. to lean on, and that's more than enough help.


 9SG8399 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
Tony Kanaan

Red Bull Formula 1 team principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen "got himself confused" in the build-up to the pit blunder that sparked his United States Grand Prix downfall.

Verstappen was running a comfortable fourth at Circuit of The Americas, and was in the hunt for a podium when he made an unscheduled second pit stop at the end of lap 26.

Related Stories

{loadposition legends}
With the pit crew unaware, Verstappen lost nearly 13 seconds, and when asked what happened over the radio, he replied: "I thought you boxed me. Sorry."

Three laps later, the 19-year-old was forced to retire with a gearbox failure.

"He thought he heard a call the previous lap but got himself confused," Horner said. "It's something that is totally unusual. He just arrived in the pitlane and said, 'I'm in the pitlane!' We're not very good at fitting tires when we don't know he's coming in."

Asked what he thought Verstappen heard, Horner said: "He hadn't heard anything on that lap, so it was basically the previous lap. He had been told to push, which was to close the gap to Nico [R,osberg] because we were going to try for the undercut on him."

However Horner said even that could not have been construed as an instruction to pit.

"It was the lap before, so he would've driven past the pits," he said. "It came from nowhere.

"It's a shame a shame for him because his race was very strong. He put a great move on Kimi [Raikkonen], and up until lap 25 it was going well, but ultimately it came to nothing because of the DNF."

Verstappen's failure played into the hands of Mercedes and compromised his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who was on target for second place behind Lewis Hamilton.

When Verstappen finally pulled off track after touring for most of a lap, Mercedes brought both drivers in for their second stops on lap 31 during the ensuing virtual safety car period.

Ricciardo had already made his second stop six laps earlier, and was jumped by Rosberg, who went on to finish second.

"It's a case of what could've been," Horner surmised. "If things had gone right, we would've had track position to Nico, who would've fitted the softer tire on lap 36 or 37. Then we would've had a pace advantage and he would've had to fight for second place on track instead of being gifted it through the virtual safety car.

"With a possible chance of the undercut on Nico with Max, that meant Nico would have had to have passed both cars, albeit with a tire advantage."


Originally on

Anderson LeDuc CC 1581 RSJABOVE: RJ Anderson (left) and Kyle Leduc.

It's a long-standing tradition in short course off road, the end-of-year, we're-done-with-these-trucks-for-a-few-months, Pro 2 vs. Pro 4 bash. The Lucas Oil Challenge Cup has a history of wild races, but once this one got started – which took a few tries – the 2016 edition went flag to flag without a caution.

The Pro 4 trucks, about two seconds quicker on a 35- to 37-second lap track, were slated to start 15 seconds in arrears. Some drivers that had a choice of either a Pro 4 or Pro 2 truck made their choice before qualifying, such as Carl Renezeder who had already chosen his Pro 4. Rob MacCachren, however, qualified both trucks, putting both at the top of the time sheets before going with the Pro 4. It's usually a good choice, as the Pro 4s can choose different lines when passing the Pro 2s, but it's one he may be questioning for the offseason because of the way the race played out.

That left Brian Deegan atop the Pro 2 time sheets, followed by Saturday Pro 2 winner RJ Anderson, who would start on pole thanks to a two-position inversion. MacCachren was starting alongside Eric Barron at the front of the Pro 4 field, with Renezeder and Saturday Pro 4 winner (and champion) Kyle LeDuc in the second row.

When the green flag waved for the Pro 2s, the Pro 4s were in between Turns 2 and 3. MacCachren over-rotated in Turn 3, catching up Barron and LeDuc, and Greg Adler and Bradley Morris also got tangled together, bringing out the caution and setting up a full restart.

On the second attempt, Renezeder and Barron got into each other, leading to a second full restart. On both of the attempts, RJ Anderson jumped to the head of the Pro 2s while MacCachren led the Pro 4 field. On the third attempt, however, It was Barron who took command of the Pro 4s as they set about chasing down the Pro 2s.

MacCachren fell to third, with LeDuc chasing Barron. Anderson was leading the Pro 2s, pursued by Deegan's now-bodyless truck until something expired and Deegan was out. Right as the Pro 4s started catching the back of the Pro 2 field, LeDuc found his way past Barron and set about slicing through the Pro 2 field toward the front.

That's exactly what he did, getting up to Anderson with four laps left. It wasn't a pretty pass – perhaps in part because Anderson lost radio communication with his spotter early in the race – but LeDuc got the Monster Energy/Toyo Tires truck to the front and never looked back.

"Coming into the right-hander," said Anderson, "I thought, 'I hear motor. I hope it's a Pro 4, so I'm going down low.' We had some fireworks down in Turn 1 – we got stuck together, I'm glad we got separated. I had no idea how many laps were left; I was going to hold him off as long as I could. But there was no way I was going to fight off Kyle and the four-wheel drive."

Anderson finished second, the top Pro 2 in his Rockstar Energy/Polaris RAZR truck, ahead of Jeremy McGrath, who was third overall. LeDuc scored his third Challenge Cup win, to add to his fourth Pro 4 championship he secured by winning Saturday's race. Despite having to pass 11 racers to get to the front, he said the toughest competitor was the track itself, which had been reconfigured prior to the weekend.

LeDuc CC trophy 4182 RSJ"Every corner it could rip your tire off, it could flip you over," LeDuc (left) said. "I bicycled in the back in Turn 2 behind RJ; I biked it on the infield. I committed like crazy on some of these corners that did not want me to...and it didn't pay me back, it didn't bite me. I did what I could to be smart, haul ass and stay safe. I got up to RJ with three or four laps to go; I could have passed him cleaner, but we got it done. Just epic!"

The other Challenge Cup races were rather tame in comparison. Jerett Brooks, despite finishing second to Brandon Arthur in three races this season at Wild Horse Pass, got out front of the Pro Lite field immediately in his Rigid Industries/Bilstein Shock Absorbers Nissan and stayed there, adding a Challenge Cup win to his championship.

"I got an early lead and just kind of got in my groove," he said. "I knew I wanted to win this, and I knew I needed that $10,000. I pushed hard the whole time. The truck was dialed, and I don't think I made any mistakes, which was good for me."

Sterling Cling (below) had a similar race for the Pro Buggy win in his Cling's Aerospace/ Alumi Craft. He was followed home by Garret George and Kevin McCullough. Nathan Barry won the Mod Kart Challenge Cup race.

Cling ProBuggy 4140 RSJ

Follow Racer

Subscribe to Racer

Get the best of direct to your inbox!

Video: The Speed Issue

The Speed Issue of RACER is on sale now. Click here for more information.

Race Cars For Sale


Great Race Day 9 with Andy Bell.

See more than 50 On Board videos.

Honda Racing / HPD Videos

Tom O'Gorman won the Pirelli World Challenge TCB class with his Honda Fit.