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Bourdais surprised with qualifying result at BarberSun, 23 Apr 2017 14:39:46 GMT<p><strong>Sebastien Bourdais has explained how he was surprised to even progress to the second round of qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, with the Frenchman continuing to struggle around the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>Despite leading the championship after a productive start to the 2017 season, Bourdais has failed to trouble the top of the order throughout the weekend so far.</p> <p>After progressing to the second round of qualifying Bourdais continued to struggle and eventually elected to conserve his alternate red sticker Firestone tyres for the race, as he was out-qualified by rookie team-mate Ed Jones.</p> <p>&quot;We made some major changes to the car but they didn&#39;t work,&rdquo; explained Bourdais, who won the season-opener at St. Petersburg.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;There&#39;s something missing and we&#39;re just not quite understanding what it is.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Quite truthfully to make it into the fast 12 was a big surprise with the understeer we had.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Using another set of reds didn&#39;t feel like the right thing to do to maybe get a better lap time, so we kept a new set for tomorrow and used the same reds we ran in round one.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We figured it was best to swallow the pill today and hope for a better day tomorrow with two brand new sets of Firestone reds.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;re scratching our heads but we&#39;ll keep working and see what we can do.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>Prior to the weekend Bourdais stipulated that he would not let his lead in the championship detract from his preparations for the race weekend.</p> <p>Due to his success at St. Petersburg and Long Beach the four-time champion is 19 points clear of James Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>&ldquo;As I&#39;ve said before, some weekends we&#39;ll get it and some weekends we won&#39;t, but we&#39;ll keep on trying and not give up,&rdquo; concluded Bourdais.</p> Power secures Barber pole as Penske dominates qualifyingSat, 22 Apr 2017 21:43:27 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has secured pole position for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, as Penske once again dominated proceedings to create a 1-2-3 lock-out at the top.</strong></p> <p>Despite ominous cloud cover throughout the day the rain managed to hold off for the all-important qualifying session, allowing a dry session to be completed around the Barber Motorsports Park.</p> <p>Although Honda-powered cars ended their respective groups fastest in the first round of qualifying, it was Penske who shone during round two and the all-important Firestone Fast Six as Chevrolet-power once again shone in qualifying.</p> <p>Power will start the 90-lap race alongside team-mate and Long Beach pole winner Helio Castroneves, after the Brazilian racer completed a late improvement to rise ahead of reigning champion Simon Pagenaud.</p> <p>The Frenchman will still start the race from P3, after making a slight mistake on his final lap and running wide on the exit of Turn 5.</p> <p>Scott Dixon ended qualifying as the fastest Honda-powered driver in fourth, with the four-time champion unable to question Penske&rsquo;s authority at the top despite ending his group fastest in round one.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay and Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe complete the third row of the grid, with all three Honda-powered cars opting to complete just one flying lap in the Firestone Fast Six.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden was the only Penske driver unable to progress into the Firestone Fast Six, with the 2015 Barber race winner forced to settle for seventh.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin&rsquo;s competitiveness continued throughout qualifying, with the Russian racer set to start from P8, alongside Chip Ganassi Racing&rsquo;s Max Chilton.</p> <p>The former Formula 1 racer steadily improved throughout the day, after a troubled start to the weekend which resulted in a spin in practice two on Friday.</p> <p>Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan rounded out the top ten, just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing&rsquo;s Ed Jones.</p> <p>The rookie, who has finished the opening two races in the top ten, has continued to look impressive and managed to out-qualify championship leader Sebastian Bourdais who was forced to settle for a lowly P12.</p> <p>However, the four-time champion is no stranger to rising through the order.&nbsp;</p> <p>Both in St. Petersburg and Long Beach Bourdais rose through the order to finish in the top two, and will be looking at such silver linings after qualifying at Barber.</p> Power leads Penske 1-2-3 in final practice at BarberSat, 22 Apr 2017 17:02:15 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has led a Penske 1-2-3 in practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, as preparations intensify ahead of qualifying later in the day.</strong></p> <p>Despite the threat of rain lingering over the picturesque Barber Motorsports Park, the final session got underway in dry and overcast conditions.</p> <p>Chevrolet&rsquo;s competitive start to the weekend continued with renewed gusto during the 45-minute session, with Power ending proceedings ahead of Penske team-mate&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin prevented the final Penske of Simon Pagenaud from creating a top four lock-out, with the Russian racer ending the session P4 ahead of the reigning champion.</p> <p>Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe enjoyed an improved session in comparison to practice on Friday, initially running as high as P2 during the middle of the session before settling for P6 once the Penske drivers began improving.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon was seventh fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing, despite producing the initial benchmark at the start of the session.</p> <p>Marco Andretti managed to remain relatively competitive throughout the final session, coming home only just behind Dixon in P8.</p> <p>Graham Rahal and Max Chilton rounded out the top ten, with both drivers seeking improvements following a tough start to their respective weekends.</p> <p>The session ran relatively incident-free with no red flag delays, however Ryan Hunter-Reay managed a minor spin at Turn 14 after running rather wide onto the dirt and subsequently losing control of his Andretti Autosport machine.</p> <p>Further down the order rookie Zach Veach managed to lift himself off the bottom of the classification for the first time, eventually ending the session P20 ahead of Conor Daly who suffered a mechanical issue during the early stages of the session.</p> <p>Although Penske look strong at the top of the order, lower temperatures in comparison to Friday and the chance of rain later in the day could potentially ruin their fun around the Barber Motorsports Park.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Power ‘excited’ ahead of qualifying for Alabama GPSat, 22 Apr 2017 12:55:58 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has expressed excitement ahead of qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, after Penske enjoyed a productive day of practice.</strong></p> <p>While many drivers struggled significantly with setup and balance issues, including championship leader Sebastien Bourdais and Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe, the Penske drivers wasted no time in rising to the top of the classification.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the opening practice session reigning champion Simon Pagenaud managed to end proceedings fastest as the Chevrolet-powered Penske team locked-out the top four positions.</p> <p>Although Marco Andretti managed to disrupt Penske&rsquo;s dominance in the second practice session, the outfit were still extremely competitive will Power, Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves all just behind Andretti.</p> <p>&quot;I&#39;m pretty excited about qualifying at Barber after the two practice sessions,&rdquo; enthused Power, who has won the race on two occasions.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We had podium finishes in both sessions and we&#39;re feeling strong.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The Chevy has performed really well and we think we have the machine to help us make a strong showing in qualifying.&rdquo;</p> <p>Despite Chevrolet&rsquo;s recent lack of success on race day this season, the manufacturer has still secured pole position with Penske at the opening two race weekends at St. Petersburg and Long Beach.</p> <p>With Chevrolet and Penske in particular looking likely to be a strong contender for pole position once again, the big question is whether they can translate such one-lap dominance into race victory.</p> <p>Although Penske were the fastest Chevrolet-powered team during practice, other Chevrolet-powered teams such as A.J. Foyt Racing were also encouraged after the two sessions.</p> <p>&quot;We made a lot of progress compared to the test,&rdquo; explained Carlos Munoz, who ended both sessions just outside the top ten.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We are much more competitive.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone is really close to each other in the lap times but I feel really competitive.&quot;</p> conditions result in setup issues during Barber practiceSat, 22 Apr 2017 11:41:23 GMT<p><strong>A number of drivers were held back with their setup during the opening two practice sessions for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama around the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>Although the entire field took part in an open test at the venue back in March, the warmer conditions experienced during practice created many headaches up and down the paddock.</p> <p>During the two sessions there were three red flag delays, all for minor mistakes. However, almost half of the field reported issues with regards to grip levels and their setup after the day&rsquo;s action.</p> <p>Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe could only manage P8 and P16 respectively in the first two practice sessions of the weekend, reporting balance issues in particular during the second session.</p> <p>&quot;Pretty rough day for us to be honest,&rdquo; explained Hinchcliffe.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We just seemed to miss the balance, especially in the afternoon as the track got hotter.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&#39;t think we maximised our new tyre runs, but the balance was never exactly where the crew wanted it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We certainly have our work cut out for us because the field is very close, as it always is, and being a couple tenths off is going to put you a few rows back.&rdquo;</p> <p>Even Chip Ganassi Racing struggled somewhat throughout the day, with four-time champion Scott Dixon ending practice one off the pace in P10.</p> <p>Meanwhile Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan seemed to struggle even more, ending the two sessions P18 and P11 respectively.</p> <p>&quot;We really struggled out there to find grip,&rdquo; said Kanaan.</p> <p>&ldquo;It didn&#39;t help that it was so much hotter today than it was when we tested here a month ago.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m definitely not happy with where we were, but I&#39;m feeling good about the direction we need to go to get the car quick for qualifying.&rdquo;</p> <p>Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais was one of the many drivers who also struggled during practice, causing one of the three red flag delays across the two sessions.</p> <p>In practice one the Frenchman ran wide at Turn 1 and collected an advertising board, before stopping at Turn 5 to allow the Holmatro safety team to remove it from the front of the car.</p> <p>&quot;It was a tough day,&rdquo; lamented Bourdais, who sits 19 points clear at the top of the championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s something I&#39;m not putting my finger on and I&#39;m struggling to understand and explain what the car is doing.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I just seem to have a tough time to make sense of everything.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a weird day.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ominously the Chevrolet-powered Penske cars enjoyed a productive day of track action, with Simon Pagenaud ending the first session fastest overall.</p> Andretti fastest in action-packed second practice at BarberFri, 21 Apr 2017 21:30:04 GMT<p><strong>Marco Andretti has ended the second practice session ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama fastest, after an action-packed afternoon at the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>Despite the threat of showers later in the day, the session took place in dry and overcast conditions, with the drivers once again wasting no time in taking to the scenic track.</p> <p>Andretti&rsquo;s overall fastest lap time was completed during the latter stages of the session, enabling the Honda-powered racer to end proceedings just ahead of Penske&rsquo;s Will Power.</p> <p>The Australian racer spent the majority of the session at the sharp end of the order, trading places at the top with Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud who eventually ended the session P3.</p> <p>The reigning champion finished practice one earlier in the day fastest overall, and was eager to continue with his preparations for the weekend ahead.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was fourth for Penske, with the Chevrolet-powered cars looking extremely competitive after the first two practice sessions.</p> <p>After the opening two races of the season Honda has had the initial advantage, with the Chevrolet-powered teams understandably keen for a change of fortune at Barber.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon managed to improve on his pace from practice one, ending the session P5 after initially sitting at the top during the early stages.</p> <p>Charlie Kimball and Mikhail Aleshin were sixth and seventh respectively, ahead of Josef Newgarden in the Penske.</p> <p>Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais could only manage P9 for Dale Coyne Racing, ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay who rounded out the top ten.</p> <p>The 2012 champion was lucky to escape with minimal front-wing damage during the latter stages of the session, after he ran extensively wide at Turn 2 and lightly tapped the barrier.</p> <p>However, Hunter-Reay&rsquo;s mistake did not result in a red flag delay. The same cannot be said for Max Chilton and rookie Ed Jones.</p> <p>Only several minutes into the session Chilton spun at Turn 14, importantly avoiding the barrier but stalling and therefore requiring assistance.</p> <p>Meanwhile Jones was involved in a similar mishap at Turn 5, spinning and stalling to create a momentary red flag delay.</p> Pagenaud sets the pace at Barber in FP1Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:55:56 GMT<p><strong>Simon Pagenaud has set the pace after the opening practice session ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>After proceedings at the picturesque circuit were delayed by an hour due to necessary repairs to an ARMCO barrier, the entire field were understandably quick to begin their preparations for the weekend ahead.</p> <p>Pagenaud eventually ended the session ahead of Penske team-mate&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden and Will Power, the latter completing his fastest time in the final seconds of the session.&nbsp;</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was forced to settle for P4 after Power&rsquo;s late improvement, with Chevrolet locking out the top four positions.</p> <p>After a strong start to the season for Honda, the Chevrolet-powered teams will be naturally eager to return to the top come race day.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi was the highest classified Honda-powered driver in fifth position, with the former Formula 1 racer still hunting for his second race victory in IndyCar.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay came home P6 for Andretti Autosport, just ahead of Graham Rahal.&nbsp;</p> <p>Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe was eighth for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, ending the session ahead of championship leader Sebastien Bourdais.</p> <p>The Frenchman, who sits 19 points clear of Hinchcliffe in the drivers&rsquo; championship, created the only red flag delay in comical fashion after he ran wide at Turn 1 and collected an advertising board.</p> <p>After stopping to allow the Holmatro safety team to remove the advertising board, Bourdais managed to limp back to the pits.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon rounded out the top ten for Chip Ganassi Racing, after a quiet start to the weekend.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Barber Motorsports Park is one of the few circuits Dixon is yet to win at on the IndyCar calendar, and he will be looking to improve as the weekend continues in a bid to be able to fight for victory.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin finished just outside the top ten in P11, after initially producing the benchmark during the early stages of the session before a spin at Turn 2.</p> <p>Meanwhile rookie Zach Veach ended the session 21st and last, over a second behind Max Chilton in P20.</p> Alonso to make IndyCar test debut on May 3Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:08:27 GMT<p><strong>Fernando Alonso will get his Indy 500 preparations underway on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, only three days after the Russian Grand Prix.</strong></p> <p>Although practice for the coveted event does not officially start until the May 15 with the rookie orientation programme, Alonso has been offered a chance to acclimatise to oval racing.</p> <p>Unlike fellow Indianapolis 500 rookies Zach Veach, Ed Jones and Jack Harvey, the double Formula 1 world champion has never competed on ovals or been behind the wheel of an Indy car.</p> <p>Alonso will have a very busy month of May, as he will need to return to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12-14, before then immediately flying back to Indianapolis for the first official practice session.</p> Bourdais remaining focused ahead of Alabama GPWed, 19 Apr 2017 14:14:15 GMT<p><strong>Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais is remaining focused ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, with the Frenchman currently sat 19 points ahead of Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe in the drivers&rsquo; championship.</strong></p> <p>The four-time champion started his 2017 campaign in fine form by securing victory at the season-opener at St. Petersburg, before rising up through the order once again to finish on the podium at Long Beach.</p> <p>&quot;I think being in the championship lead is a great story more than anything else, but it doesn&#39;t change anything in our preparation,&rdquo; explained Bourdais, who has never finished higher than eighth at Barber.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;re preparing like any other race, at a track that I very much enjoy driving at and where the gap between the cars is like at Long Beach - very, very, very close.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;We had a bit of a difficult test at Barber last month where we weren&#39;t very happy with the car and what we tried didn&#39;t quite work.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;However, we then had a great test at Sonoma that allowed us to try some items for Barber, and we can&#39;t wait to finally try those and see how they work out.&quot;</p> <p>Meanwhile Dale Coyne Racing team-mate Ed Jones is expecting a tough weekend around the Barber Motorsports Park, with the rookie hoping to call upon his Indy Lights knowledge to assist him.</p> <p>So far Jones has impressed many within the IndyCar paddock, finishing within the top ten at both St. Petersburg and Long Beach.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s a perfect start to the season with two top-10 finishes,&rdquo; explained the Dubai-born British racer.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s good to have a lot of momentum for the team and myself going forward.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Barber will be the first track that we go to that we&#39;ve actually tested at recently. Obviously, everyone else has also done that, but it gives us more knowledge going in.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think it&#39;s going to be tough. The circuit is one of the hardest on the calendar both physically and technically. There&#39;s a lot of long-duration corners and corners that require a lot of confidence.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think my Indy Lights experience should help a lot, at least for track knowledge in certain places like Barber and just in general.&rdquo;</p> Veach to replace injured J. R. Hildebrand at BarberTue, 18 Apr 2017 19:01:41 GMT<p>Zach Veach will make his IndyCar debut at this weekend&rsquo;s third round of the season at the Barber Motorsports Park, after J. R. Hildebrand was ruled out through injury.</p> <p>Indy Lights graduate Veach was set to make his debut with Foyt at next month&rsquo;s Indianapolis 500, but has now been drafted in by Ed Carpenter Racing to deputise for Hildebrand.</p> <p>Hildebrand sustained a broken bone in his left hand in a last-lap collision with Mikhail Aleshin at the preceding Long Beach round, and has been advised to rest in order to prevent potential further damage.</p> <p>Veach previously tested for ECR at Sonoma last summer and will now link up with Spencer Pigot for this weekend&rsquo;s event at Barber.</p> <p>&ldquo;My heart goes out to him as I suffered a broken hand a couple years ago and I wouldn&rsquo;t wish that upon anyone,&rdquo; Veach said of Hildebrand.</p> <p>&ldquo;This isn&rsquo;t how any driver wants to get his first race but with that said, I&rsquo;m extremely thankful for the opportunity to sub for JR.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ed (Carpenter) gave me my first chance to test an Indy car a few months ago. It&rsquo;s going to be very special for me to be back in that same car representing Fuzzy&rsquo;s Vodka at Barber.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to be a lot to take in in a short amount of time, but I&rsquo;m really excited to do the best I can for the team.&rdquo;</p> Andretti expects Fernando Alonso to easily adapt to oval racingSat, 15 Apr 2017 13:44:55 GMT<p><strong>Motorsport legend Mario Andretti firmly believes double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will easily adapt to oval racing when the Spaniard begins preparing for the 101st Indianapolis 500 in May.</strong></p> <p>In a decision which shocked the motorsport community, Alonso has decided to miss the Monaco Grand Prix in favour of competing in the Indianapolis 500.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Spaniard will join forces with current F1 team McLaren, engine supplier Honda and full-time IndyCar outfit Andretti Autosport.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think he&rsquo;s going to adapt to this style of racing, I suspect he&rsquo;s going to be right there, top 10 or top 12 for most of the race and then toward the end he&rsquo;ll be really finding his way,&rdquo; explained Andretti in an interview with <i></i>.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think he&rsquo;s got a great opportunity to go home very happy.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s face it, it&rsquo;s adapting to ovals, not the cars themselves, that we&nbsp;need to think about here.</p> <p>&ldquo;A driver in a race car is looking for a feel, and the best drivers &ndash; and Fernando is one of the very, very best &ndash; will always find it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It may not be his regular environment, but a top driver will find a way to relate to any true race car.&rdquo;</p> <p>Oval racing in America is a distinctly different form of motorsport in comparison to conventional circuit racing in Europe and the rest of the world.</p> <p>On ovals drivers compete at constant high speeds in excess of 220mph, therefore greatly exacerbating any mistakes made during races which usually consist of 200 laps or more.</p> <p>&ldquo;At Indianapolis like nowhere else he&rsquo;s ever raced, it&rsquo;s going to be constant high speed, and that can be brutal,&rdquo; continued Andretti.</p> <p>&ldquo;The slightest mistake is magnified at 225mph.</p> <p>&ldquo;And the other thing to remind him is not to overcorrect.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Road-racing specialists have a tendency to overcorrect on ovals &ndash; we&rsquo;ve seen many examples in IndyCar in the past.</p> <p>&ldquo;If you feel yourself losing the back end, you almost have to let it go.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;If you put on too much opposite lock and the car then grips and follows its front wheels, you&rsquo;re going head-on into the wall.&rdquo;</p> Dixon tops open test at newly configured Texas Motor SpeedwayThu, 13 Apr 2017 18:26:12 GMT<p><strong>Scott Dixon has ended the open test at the newly configured Texas Motor Speedway fastest, amid preparations for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 race in June.</strong></p> <p>During the off-season the 1.5-mile oval underwent an extensive multi-million dollar refit, with the entire track surface repaved and Turns 1 and 2 both widened and re-profiled down to 20 degrees from 24 degrees.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the banking at Turns 3 and 4 remains at 24 degrees.</p> <p>The main aim of the open test was to allow teams to acquire a perfect aero configuration for the race in June, with drivers purposefully running side-by-side and on high fuel levels to simulate race conditions.</p> <p>Four-time champion Dixon ended both sessions fastest throughout the day, ending the combined classification ahead of 2016 race winner Graham Rahal with a speed of 221.974mph.</p> <p>Dixon completed the test in Charlie Kimball&rsquo;s No. 83 Chip Ganassi car after seven Honda-powered cars, including Dixon&rsquo;s No. 9 car, were withdrawn from the event as a precaution after arriving at the track with a higher mileage to their engines.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is hard coming to a place for the first time,&rdquo; explained Dixon, who won at Texas in 2008 and 2015.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It is probably 20 degrees cooler than when we come back down the road, so you try to take in a lot of information and make the best decisions for something that will work for everyone.&rdquo;</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud was impressed with the changes to the track, ending the day third overall in the combined classification.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a different layout, for sure,&rdquo; said Pagenaud.&quot;The radius of Turn 1 is different, the exit of Turn 2 is as well. It definitely helps promote the side-by-side racing.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The tarmac is really smooth. The bumps are all gone. It&rsquo;s just about us learning how to make the tyres work best with the race track.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Texas Open Test Combined Classification</strong></a></p> not ruling out further IndyCar involvementWed, 12 Apr 2017 14:49:55 GMT<p><strong>McLaren is not ruling out further involvement in the Verizon IndyCar Series, following the surprise announcement that double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso would compete in the 101st Indianapolis 500 with the team.</strong></p> <p>It will mark McLaren&rsquo;s return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time in 38 years, with the Woking-based outfit set to work alongside engine supplier Honda and full-time IndyCar outfit Andretti Autosport.</p> <p>This will mean Alonso will miss the coveted Monaco Grand Prix, a race the Spaniard has won on two occasions.</p> <p>Although Alonso is only scheduled to compete in one IndyCar race this season, McLaren&rsquo;s Executive Committee Principal Mansour Ojjeh has hinted that the team could well return once again in the near future.</p> <p>&ldquo;The Indy 500 is the only IndyCar race we&rsquo;ll be entering this year, but we may possibly repeat that in years to come and it&rsquo;s just possible that we may even run a full-works McLaren IndyCar operation at some point in the future.&nbsp;We&rsquo;ll see,&rdquo;&nbsp;explained Ojjeh.</p> <p>McLaren made their Indianapolis 500 debut way back in 1970, securing pole position the following year before eventually winning the race in 1974 and 1975 with Johnny Rutherford.</p> <p>&ldquo;Equally, we may potentially enter the Le Mans 24 Hours again some time &ndash; we won it outright in 1995 with our iconic McLaren F1 GTR &ndash; but to be clear we have absolutely no definite plans to do so at this stage,&rdquo; continued Ojjeh.</p> <p>Should McLaren opt to return to Le Mans, Alonso could certainly be considered a likely candidate for the drive.</p> <p>The Spaniard is undoubtedly aiming to become only the second driver in the history of motor sport to win the Triple Crown, a feat currently only ever achieved by Graham Hill&nbsp;</p> <p>It includes winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours.</p> Alonso/McLaren tie-up a 'tremendous opportunity'Wed, 12 Apr 2017 11:57:39 GMT<p>Andretti Autosport boss Michael Andretti has labelled its tie-up with McLaren and Honda as a &quot;tremendous opportunity,&quot; following the news that Fernando Alonso will race at this year&#39;s Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>Alonso will compete in a one-car McLaren team during next month&#39;s event, which will be run by Andretti and powered by Honda.</p> <p>It brings Andretti&#39;s IndyCar operation to six cars, fielding Alonso alongside regulars Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato, the Herta-affiliated Alexander Rossi, last year&#39;s winner, and newcomer Jack Harvey.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a great honour to partner with McLaren for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 and to bring Fernando into one of our Andretti Autosport Hondas,&quot; said Andretti.</p> <p>&quot;I want to thank Zak [Brown], Honda and McLaren for this tremendous opportunity. We&#39;ve been working very closely in the planning of this new partnership and I believe we&#39;ve laid the foundation for a successful month of May.</p> <p>&quot;We&#39;re looking forward to giving Fernando an effort in reaching one of his biggest career goals of winning the Indy 500.&quot;</p> <p>Andretti also believes that Alonso will also quickly get up to speed in his new surroundings.</p> <p>&ldquo;Fernando&rsquo;s lack of experience on super-speedways is not of concern to me,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;I do believe that the Indianapolis 500 is one of the best places for a rookie to start because there is the opportunity for so much practice time on the track - and, as we have demonstrated, it can be won by a rookie.</p> <p>&quot;Fernando is a great talent and I have full confidence that he will represent very strongly for McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport.</p> <p>&ldquo;Fernando&rsquo;s addition to the team takes our stable of entries to six, working in a cooperative effort. This sharing of experience and knowledge is what makes Andretti Autosport stand out and gives us that extra competitive edge.&quot;</p> Bourdais already looking ahead to championship battleTue, 11 Apr 2017 17:49:29 GMT<p><strong>Four-time IndyCar champion Sebastien Bourdais has admitted he is already looking ahead to a potential championship battle in 2017, after a sensational start to the season for the Frenchman.</strong></p> <p>Despite starting from last position at the season opener at St. Petersburg, Bourdais took advantage of a full course caution to scythe through the order and secure a famous victory.</p> <p>Next time out around the iconic Long Beach street course Bourdais enjoyed further success, crossing the finish line second behind eventual race winner James Hinchcliffe and only just ahead of the Penske of Josef Newgarden.</p> <p>After the first two rounds of the season Bourdais sits atop the drivers&rsquo; championship on 93 points, a whole 19 points ahead of Hinchcliffe.&nbsp;</p> <p>This season Bourdais rejoined Dale Coyne Racing, a team which started out in IndyCar racing back in 1984 but had to wait until 2009 for their first victory with the late Justin Wilson at Watkins Glen.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was kind of thinking about the championship a little bit out there!&rdquo; admitted Bourdais after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&#39;t know that we&#39;re a contender but we&#39;ll find out.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;ll have stayed up there for two races so that&#39;s not too bad.&rdquo;</p> <p>Although Bourdais was ultimately unable to replicate the successes of St. Petersburg at Long Beach and was forced to settle for second position, the Frenchman thoroughly enjoyed the race and offered full congratulations to race winner Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>It was Hinchcliffe&rsquo;s first victory since his life-threatening accident during practice for the 2015 Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>&quot;That was an incredible race,&rdquo; continued Bourdais.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;At the beginning, somebody lost an end-plate or something.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It flew by, I dodged it in the car, it went really close and it ripped off the whole left side off the rear wing and rear pod and that&#39;s why we came in so early.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It gave us a couple of laps to save fuel, but we played to our strengths.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;James (Hinchcliffe) really deserved that one.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;He looked very comfortable and quick up front and I didn&#39;t really have the balance at the end to go challenge him so I just managed for second place.&rdquo;</p> Newgarden praises varying strategies at Long BeachTue, 11 Apr 2017 16:20:48 GMT<p>Josef Newgarden has praised the varying strategies used during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, stating that the mixed up nature of the race made it much more fun than last year&rsquo;s event.</p> <p>This year the race was extended by five laps in a bid to make drivers opt for different strategies from one another, after last season&rsquo;s event went caution-free for only the fourth time in history with practically the entire field on identical strategies.</p> <p>Eventual race winner James Hinchcliffe completed a two-stop strategy along with Ryan Hunter-Reay, while initial race leader Scott Dixon and Newgarden committed to three-stop strategies which ultimately failed to pay off.</p> <p>However, Newgarden thoroughly enjoyed the 85-lap race and still managed to reach the chequered flag in third position, only just behind championship leader and St. Petersburg race winner Sebastien Bourdais.</p> <p>&quot;I think it got a lot more mixed up with the strategy,&rdquo; enthused Newgarden, who has moved to Penske for 2017.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Dixon and me were on something different than the front guys.</p> <p>&ldquo;I thought that added a dynamic that was more fun than last year.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone was on the same strategy last year, which let the race play out to not much action, unfortunately.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;This year was a lot more mixed up. I did way more passing than I&#39;ve done in the past couple years.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I thought it was an exciting race.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;For us on Team Penske, it was a good day. We had a strong car underneath us all day.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Our strategy didn&#39;t play out with that last yellow. It just allowed everyone to catch up on fuel a little bit.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We were on the same strategy at the end fuel-wise.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Our strategy of trying to run those guys down at the end and be fast wasn&#39;t really able to play out, which is unfortunate, but that&#39;s how racing goes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;You have to choose one strategy and hope it plays out for you.&rdquo;</p> Kimball blames Will Power for opening lap shunt at Long BeachTue, 11 Apr 2017 15:41:56 GMT<p>Charlie Kimball has blamed Will Power for their opening lap shunt at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.</p> <p>Despite a relatively competitive qualifying session which saw Kimball start the race from seventh, the Chip Ganassi racer immediately failed to capitalise after making light contact with Tony Kanaan on the run down to Turn 1.</p> <p>Kimball&rsquo;s poor start to the race continued through Turns 2 and 3 as he found himself under strong pressure from the Penske of Power.</p> <p>Eventually the duo&rsquo;s battle ended with contact as they tried to negotiate Turn 4 side-by-side, with Kimball leaving Power absolutely no room.&nbsp;</p> <p>The resulting contact shunted Kimball heavily into the wall, forcing him into retirement despite being able to limp back to the pits.</p> <p>&quot;To say I am frustrated with how today&#39;s race went is an understatement,&rdquo; explained Kimball after the race.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I thought I was clear of the 12 [Power] but I obviously wasn&#39;t. He turned me and put me in the wall pretty heavy.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I am really disappointed for the guys - they worked so hard to get the car to a good place.</p> <p>&ldquo;The No. 83 Honda was fast and I thought we had a lot of potential for a solid result.&rdquo;</p> <p>While Kimball was forced to retire from the race with significant damage to rear of his car, Power miraculously managed to return to the pits for a new front-wing before continuing to eventually finish a respectable P13.</p> <p>&quot;It was a tough day for the No. 12 Chevy,&rdquo; said Power, who struggled in qualifying and started from P9.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were caught up in an incident early in the race and I feel like it really ruined my day.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was an awful situation to be put in since we had nowhere to go when we made contact with the wall.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Still, we battled. I&#39;m really proud of my guys for working as hard as they did to try and come back from the incident.&rdquo;</p> Race highlights from IndyCar's trip to Long BeachTue, 11 Apr 2017 10:33:30 GMT<p>Watch highlights from last weekend&#39;s Grand Prix of Long Beach, with James Hinchcliffe storming to victory at the second round of the 2017 IndyCar season.</p> Chaves to make Indy 500 return with new team Harding RacingMon, 10 Apr 2017 16:15:43 GMT<p><strong>Gabby Chaves will make a return to IndyCar at the 101st Indianapolis 500 in May with brand new team Harding Racing, with the Colombian racer set to compete in the No. 88 Chevrolet-powered machine.</strong></p> <p>The 2014 Indy Lights champion made his IndyCar debut with Bryan Herta Autosport in 2015, earning Rookie of the Year with a personal best finish of ninth in race two at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.</p> <p>The new team has been created by a technical allegiance between Mike Harding of Harding Group and Dennis Reinbold of Dreyer &amp; Reinbold Racing</p> <p>Despite pulling out of full-time competition after the 2013 Indianapolis 500, Dreyer &amp; Reinbold Racing has still returned to the Brickyard each year since and aim to do so once again this season with Sage Karam.</p> <p>Harding Racing has appointed Larry Curry as their team manager and competition director, while Chaves will benefit greatly from the experience of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr., who will serve as the team&rsquo;s driving instructor.</p> <p>&quot;I&#39;m extremely delighted to have the opportunity to get to challenge for my third Indy 500,&quot; enthused Chaves.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I am very excited to be joining a new team with our new owner, Mike Harding, and everyone involved, including Larry Curry, who has been instrumental in getting the team together and guiding it.</p> <p>&quot;I have complete faith and confidence that our engine partner Chevy will give us the best package and support to give our Harding Racing machine a chance to challenge for the win.</p> <p>&rdquo;I&#39;ve had good races at IMS, although the result has never come together.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;But I think this is the year that I really have to put it together to get the result.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;That&#39;s my main focus, and I definitely think I&#39;m going to have one of the best programs out there among those focused on Indy only.&rdquo;</p> Hunter-Reay left frustrated after mechanical woes at Long BeachMon, 10 Apr 2017 15:41:40 GMT<p><strong>Ryan Hunter-Reay has been left frustrated after a late retirement from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, after the 2012 champion was struck with an electrical issue while hunting down eventual race winner James Hinchcliffe.</strong></p> <p>The Andretti Autosport racer had been very competitive throughout the 85-lap race, leading 28 laps altogether before losing that advantage to Hinchcliffe during their final round of pit-stops.</p> <p>When it became apparent the battle for victory would be between Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay after Scott Dixon committed to a three-stop strategy, the Florida-born racer quickly began reeling in race leader Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>However, Hunter-Reay&rsquo;s chances of a showdown for victory against Hinchcliffe were scuppered when an electrical fault struck his car on Lap 80.</p> <p>&quot;We had a good showing today, but I don&#39;t know what happened,&rdquo; explained Hunter-Reay, who won at Long Beach in 2010.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was something electrical. I tried cycling the car a few times and it didn&#39;t fire.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Then, once we had sat (in the run-off) for a few moments, we tried flipping a few switches and it fired back up again but it was too late to rejoin the race.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It really hurts when it&#39;s that close to the end and I was closing on (Hinchcliffe); we were going to have a good showdown there at the end.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;That&#39;s why this sport can be so rewarding and so cruel, there&#39;s nothing you can do.&rdquo;</p> <p>It was a day to forget for the entire Andretti Autosport team, with all four cars retiring due to mechanical issues.</p> <p>Marco Andretti was the first to retire with a sensor issue, before Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato also came to a standstill on track.&nbsp;</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Rossi was adamant he had a chance of securing his second victory in the series, after running towards the front of the pack throughout the majority of the race.</p> <p>&quot;I thought we had a really good shot at winning,&rdquo; insisted Rossi, who qualified a career best fifth.</p> <p>&ldquo;The pace of the car was really good all day and we were able to recover from a little bit of a tricky pit stop sequence on the first stop, so it&#39;s unfortunate because the car was awesome.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;ll just have to fight back at Barber.&rdquo;</p> Hildebrand suffers broken hand after Long Beach shuntMon, 10 Apr 2017 15:04:30 GMT<p><strong>J.R. Hildebrand has broken a bone in his left hand following a last lap incident with Mikhail Aleshin in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.</strong></p> <p>Although Hildebrand had no more push-to-pass applications remaining, the Californian-born racer went to take the inside line as the duo approached the braking zone for Turn 1.</p> <p>Meanwhile Aleshin defended his position just enough for there to be contact, resulting in Hildebrand making contact with the Russian and running straight on into the run-off area.&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite retiring from the race Hildebrand was still officially classified 11th, one position ahead of Aleshin who managed to continue circulating albeit with damage to the rear of his car.</p> <p>&ldquo;At the end of the race, we all were bunched back up because of that last yellow,&rdquo; explained Hildebrand.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;On the last lap, I was making a move on Aleshin and I could tell he was struggling.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I was out of push-to-pass so I was trying to make a proper, full-out pass down the front straightaway.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;He had been starting to move over, not a major blocking manoeuvre but enough to assert his line.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;He hit the brake a lot earlier than I was expecting and I ended up running into the back of him.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;In doing so, it ripped the steering wheel from my hand and I ended up tweaking it. Hopefully I can get back to it before the next race.&rdquo;</p> <p>So far Hildebrand has not been cleared to return to the series, and according to INDYCAR medical director Geoffrey Billows will be re-evaluated in the next few days.</p> <p>Aleshin initially finished the race tenth but was penalised afterwards by race officials and demoted to P12, one position behind Hildebrand.</p> <p>Earlier in the race the Russian racer made contact with Tony Kanaan and damaged his front-wing.</p> <p>It was the second race in succession Aleshin had had an altercation with the Brazilian, after the duo&rsquo;s contact at St. Petersburg resulted in the controversial second caution period.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything was going as planned and the strategy was perfect until I got together with Kanaan where I broke my front wing and I lost my pace,&rdquo; said Aleshin.</p> <p>&ldquo;I felt like I could hold my position. Then, obviously Hildebrand crashed into my rear and destroyed my chance to make the top 10.&rdquo;</p> Hinchcliffe storms to victory in strategic Long Beach Grand PrixSun, 09 Apr 2017 23:04:17 GMT<p><strong>James Hinchcliffe has stormed to victory after a highly strategic Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, holding onto the lead during a caution-filled end to the 85-lap race.</strong></p> <p>The Canadian racer assumed the lead of the race after the final round of pit-stops, rejoining the action ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay after staying out on track for one extra lap before making his final stop.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon led the early stages of the race after pole sitter Helio Castroneves suffered a torrid start, with the IndyCar veteran plummeting immediately down the order.</p> <p>Although Dixon looked imperious in the lead during the early stages of the race, the Chip Ganassi racer committed to a three-stop strategy while eventual race winner Hinchcliffe remained on a two-stop strategy.</p> <p>Sebastien Bourdais came home a very impressive second for Dale Coyne Racing, despite starting the race from way back in P12.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Frenchman took full advantage of an early caution period following an incident between Charlie Kimball and Will Power to make an early pit-stop, similar to his strategy at the season-opener at St. Petersburg.</p> <p>From then on Bourdais managed to slowly rise up through the order as the front runners were forced to make their stops under green flag conditions.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden finished third for Penske, ending the race as the highest finishing Chevrolet-powered driver.&nbsp;</p> <p>Throughout the race Newgarden ran consistently at the front of the order, and took advantage of several late retirements from Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay to rise up even further and cross the line just under a second behind Bourdais.</p> <p>Dixon could only manage fourth for Chip Ganassi Racing, after finding himself unable to find a way back to the front after making his final stop.&nbsp;</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud enjoyed a terrific race to come home fifth, despite starting from 21st and last after receiving a penalty during qualifying.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Frenchman wasted no time in scything through the order during the early stages of the race, rising up to tenth by Lap 10.</p> <p>Rookie Ed Jones was once again impressive, ending the race sixth ahead of Carlos Munoz and Spencer Pigot.</p> <p>Pole man Castroneves failed to improve after his dreadful start, eventually coming home ninth ahead of Graham Rahal.&nbsp;</p> <p>On the opening lap Power and Kimball came together at Turn 4. While Kimball was forced into retirement Power miraculously managed to continue and eventually ended the race P13.</p> <p>Andretti Autosport suffered a race to forget, with all four drivers retiring with mechanical issues.</p> <p>Marco Andretti was the first to retire on Lap 16, before both Takuma Sato, Rossi and Hunter-Reay retired during the latter stages of the race.</p> racer Jack Harvey joins Andretti Autosport for Indy 500Sun, 09 Apr 2017 17:58:23 GMT<p>Britain&#39;s Jack Harvey will join reigning champions Andretti Autosport for this year&#39;s running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.</p> <p>Harvey, a former GP3 driver and two-time Indy Lights runner-up, will drive the #50 Honda during the 101st running of the event which was won by Alexander Rossi driving for the same team last year.</p> <p>The 23-year-old is no stranger to the circuit, having won there twice in 2015 during the&nbsp;Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Freedom 100 in the secondary category. However the Indy 500 presents his first opportunity to drive an IndyCar at the famous oval.</p> <p>&quot;Jack is a rising talent in open-wheel racing,&quot;&nbsp;commented Andretti Autosport&rsquo;s Michael Andretti. &quot;He&rsquo;s had an impressive career in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder and the British F3 series and we&rsquo;re really pleased to be able to give him a shot in an Indy car at this year&rsquo;s Indy 500.&quot;</p> <p>Harvey added:&nbsp;&quot;The Indy 500 is easily the biggest race I have entered in my career so far. It is one of the most iconic races in the world and I feel extremely privileged to be taking part in it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;To have the opportunity to do this with one of the best teams on the grid - a team that has won two of the last three races there &ndash; is more than I could have dreamed of.&nbsp; We have been working incredibly hard over the last 18 months to make this happen and it&rsquo;s hard to put into words what this means to me.</p> <p>&quot;I want to thank the whole Andretti Autosport team for this opportunity. Despite living in the States for the past two years, it is still an incredible feeling to have so much support from back in the UK.&nbsp;Finally, this wouldn&rsquo;t be possible without the support of AutoNation, so I am very grateful for them helping me put this together.</p> <p>&quot;I also want to make a special mention of my Uncle who sadly passed away suddenly in February. He was one of my biggest supporters, and would have been so happy to see me fulfill this dream.&nbsp;I will be racing for him on the 28th May.&quot;</p> Castroneves secures third successive Long Beach poleSun, 09 Apr 2017 00:04:32 GMT<p><strong>IndyCar veteran Helio Castroneves has secured pole position for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, his third in succession around the Californian street course, after an action-packed qualifying session.</strong></p> <p>Despite being the only Chevrolet-powered driver to progress to the Firestone Fast Six, the Brazilian racer took the fight to the Honda-powered cars, eventually qualifying ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing&rsquo;s Scott Dixon by +0.1869s.</p> <p>Dixon, who ended the opening and final practice sessions fastest throughout the weekend, was a strong contender for pole position.&nbsp;</p> <p>The second row of the grid will consist of 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe, who managed to qualify just ahead of reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi.</p> <p>The former Formula 1 racer has been competitive all weekend, and will start the race from the third row of the grid alongside RLL Racing&rsquo;s Graham Rahal.</p> <p>The qualifying session ran relatively incident-free, with the major talking point occurring during the first round of qualifying.</p> <p>After slowing down significantly at Turn 11 to try and build up a gap between himself and team-mate Will Power, reigning champion Simon Pagenaud blocked eventual pole winner Castroneves.</p> <p>Although Pagenaud eventually ended his group&rsquo;s first round segment fastest with what was initially a new lap record, INDYCAR officials quickly penalised the Frenchman for his blocking of team-mate Castroneves.&nbsp;</p> <p>This led to Pagenaud&rsquo;s two timed laps being deleted, and saw the Penske racer suddenly eliminated from any further progression and therefore resigned to 21st and last on the grid.</p> <p>In the second round of qualifying Charle Kimball was unable to progress any further, and will therefore start the race from seventh alongside the Penske of Josef Newgarden.</p> <p>One of the shock exits of round two was Will Power, who is normally a strong contender for pole position at every race weekend.</p> <p>Apart from topping second practice earlier in the weekend Power has been relatively uncompetitive alongside the rest of the field and will start ninth alongside Marco Andretti.</p> <p>Rookie Ed Jones managed to qualify an impressive 13th for Dale Coyne Racing, and will start the 85-lap race just behind team-mate and St. Petersburg race winner Sebastien Bourdais.</p> Dixon pips Ryan Hunter-Reay in Long Beach final practiceSat, 08 Apr 2017 18:54:48 GMT<p><strong>Scott Dixon ended the third and final practice session just ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, in what was a busy session around the iconic Long Beach street course.</strong></p> <p>Due to overnight rain, the circuit had lost some of its grip from the previous day, presenting the 21 drivers with tricky conditions as they aimed to finalise their preparations ahead of qualifying.</p> <p>Four-time champion Dixon only managed to end the session 0.0002s ahead of Hunter-Reay, with both drivers trading the top spot with a whole host of other drivers throughout the 45 minutes of track action.</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud was the fastest Chevrolet-powered car in third position for Penske, ahead of James Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>Initially Hinchcliffe was fastest overall, only for a suspected gearbox issue to materialise on his car, forcing him to slow drastically and eventually stop his car in one of the vast run-off areas around the circuit.</p> <p>Former Long Beach race winner Takuma Sato was fifth fastest, following on from his competitive pace in practice earlier in the weekend.&nbsp;</p> <p>Graham Rahal was one of the drivers who produced the initial benchmark at the start of the session, but could only manage seventh overall, ahead of the Penske duo of Will Power and Josef Newgarden.</p> <p>Sebastien Bourdais endured a tough final practice for Dale Coyne Racing, ending proceedings ninth overall after making minor contact with the wall at Turn 2 during the early stages of the session.</p> <p>The Frenchman&rsquo;s incident caused the only red flag delay, and he was lucky to escape with minimal front-wing damage.</p> <p>Alexander Rossi rounded out the top 10, ahead of veteran Helio Castroneves and Charlie Kimball. The reigning Indianapolis 500 champion has been competitive all weekend, and will be looking to remain so heading into qualifying.</p> <p>Further down the order veteran Tony Kanaan could only manage five laps on his way to 15th overall, after being plagued by electrical issues throughout the majority of the session.</p> <p>Meanwhile Marco Andretti and Max Chilton also struggled somewhat, ending final practice 17th and 19th respectively.</p> Andretti: We need to convert this pace into resultsSat, 08 Apr 2017 11:27:37 GMT<p><strong>Marco Andretti has emphasised the need for his team to convert his early pace around the Long Beach street course into a competitive result, especially after his frustrating start to the 2017 season last time out at St. Petersburg.</strong></p> <p>Although Andretti managed to eventually finish seventh in the season opener, he struggled somewhat during the all-important qualifying session despite showing promising pace in practice and only managed to qualify 15th.</p> <p>During practice two for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Andretti succeeded in showing off the true pace of his Honda-powered Andretti Autosport machine, ending the session a mighty second overall behind the Penske of Will Power.</p> <p>&quot;The car is on edge, but I think that&#39;s where we need to be to be quick,&rdquo; explained Andretti, who has only ever won twice in his IndyCar career.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I like the predictability of the car. I felt like I could drive it to the limit, which is important to be able to wring it out in qualifying.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m pleased with the pace and the pace we had all through testing, so it&#39;s good to keep the pace here and back it up.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We really need to convert this pace into results, and I really think we can.&rdquo;</p> <p>Andretti Autosport team-mate and 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay is also confident that he can excel during qualifying for the 85-lap race, however improvements need to be made overnight after a far from perfect start to his weekend.</p> <p>&quot;We seemed to overstep it a little that session, just got a little bit too aggressive with the car,&rdquo; said Hunter-Reay.</p> <p>&ldquo;I almost felt like in that session it was starting to drive me, I just couldn&#39;t attack it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We just need to make some changes and I have faith that if we make the right ones, we can get the car in the front row.&rdquo;</p> Power fastest in Long Beach practice two as Chevrolet bounce backFri, 07 Apr 2017 22:11:00 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has ended the second practice session ahead of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach fastest for Penske, after yet another action-packed session around the iconic street course.</strong></p> <p>As soon as the session got underway many drivers wasted no time in taking to the track, with numerous spills and thrills once again occurring throughout the session as the drivers continued with their preparations for the 85-lap race.</p> <p>Marco Andretti came home second fastest for Andretti Autosport, splitting the Penske&rsquo;s of Power and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud in third.&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite ending practice one slightly off the pace to rivals Honda, Chevrolet managed to bounce back in the second practice session as the alternate red sticker tyres were unveiled as practically all of the drivers began focusing their attention on qualifying preparations.</p> <p>Former Long Beach race winner Takuma Sato ended proceedings fourth fastest, with the Japanese racer initially sitting atop the timing sheets during the early stages of the session.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top five ahead of veteran Helio Castroneves, with St. Petersburg race winner Sebastien Bourdais keeping close to the sharp end of the order in seventh position.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon could only manage eighth fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing, after ending the opening practice session of the weekend fastest earlier in the day.</p> <p>J.R. Hildebrand and James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top ten, with the latter enduring several minor mistakes throughout the 45 minute session.&nbsp;</p> <p>Hinchcliffe locked-up and ran straight on at both Turns 1 and 8 throughout the session, albeit safely managing to rejoin the action without requiring any assistance from the marshals.</p> <p>The same could not be said for veteran Tony Kanaan, who locked-up heavily into Turn 1 during the latter stages of the session and&nbsp;stalled his car, causing a very brief red flag delay.</p> <p>Kanaan eventually ended proceedings 13th fastest overall, behind Graham Rahal and reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi.</p> Lights star Zach Veach completes A.J. Foyt Racing’s Indy 500 line-upFri, 07 Apr 2017 20:22:03 GMT<p><strong>Indy Lights star Zach Veach has completed A.J. Foyt Racing&rsquo;s Indianapolis 500 line-up, with the 22-year-old scheduled to race the team&rsquo;s third car alongside Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly.</strong></p> <p>Veach joined the Road to Indy ladder series at the early age of 15 with Andretti Autosport in the U.S. F2000 National Championship, and has since successfully graduated to IndyCar&rsquo;s official feeder series.</p> <p>Throughout three years in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport and Belardi Auto Racing, Veach has racked up five pole positions and six victories, ending the 2014 season third overall in the drivers&rsquo; championship, a personal high for the Ohio-born racer.</p> <p>&ldquo;To compete in the Indianapolis 500 is a dream I&rsquo;ve had since I was four years old, so when the opportunity came about to join A.J. Foyt Racing I was ecstatic,&rdquo; enthused Veach.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;A lot of great people helped me to follow my dream, so I&rsquo;m thrilled to be part of this program.</p> <p>&ldquo;Coming to Indy with A.J. Foyt&rsquo;s team is very special to me. I am counting the days to when I can take my first laps in the Chevrolet around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at speed!&rdquo;</p> <p>This year is A.J. Foyt&rsquo;s 60th as a participant in the Indianapolis 500 and the 40th anniversary of his then record-setting fourth victory at the Brickyard.</p> <p>In memory of the monumental milestone Veach will run the No. 40 on his Chevrolet-powered car, and will get his first taste of track action in the Rookie Orientation Program on May 15th.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think Zach has the talent and determination it takes to make it in this sport,&rdquo; explained A.J. Foyt.</p> <p>&ldquo;I like his attitude and I&rsquo;m looking forward to working with him.&rdquo;</p> Dixon fastest ahead of Helio Castroneves in practice one at Long BeachFri, 07 Apr 2017 18:06:21 GMT<p><strong>Scott Dixon finished the opening practice session of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing, after a frantic opening 45 minutes of track action around the iconic Californian street course.</strong></p> <p>Despite topping the time sheets, the four-time champion was one of many drivers to make a minor mistake around the bumpy street course, running straight on at Turn 1 during the closing seconds of the session.</p> <p>Veteran Helio Castroneves completed a late lap to slot into second for Penske, offering hope for the Chevrolet-powered cars after Honda comfortably dominated proceedings at the sharp end of the order.&nbsp;</p> <p>St. Petersburg race&nbsp;winner Sebastien Bourdais ended the session third fastest for Dale Coyne Racing, with the Frenchman&rsquo;s competitive start to the 2017 season looking set to continue.</p> <p>Bourdais sat at the top of the timings for a brief moment during the early stages of the session, and is hunting for his first back-to-back victory in 10 years.&nbsp;</p> <p>James Hinchcliffe and the Chevrolet-powered Penske of Will Power rounded out the top five, ahead of reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay was seventh for Andretti Autosport, ahead of Tony Kanaan. The Brazilian veteran initially set the pace at the start of the session, despite making a brief error and running straight on at Turn 8.</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud was the third and final Chevrolet-powered car to finish in the top 10, ending the session ninth overall. Mikhail Aleshin rounded out the top 10, with the Russian racer one of the many drivers to make an off-track excursion throughout the session.</p> <p>Further down the order British racer Max Chilton ended proceedings 21st and last after a frustrating start to his weekend, with the former Formula 1 racer hindered by a suspected electrical fault.</p> Rahal expects five extra laps to enhance Long Beach raceThu, 06 Apr 2017 16:14:19 GMT<p><strong>Graham Rahal is expecting the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to potentially feature alternate strategies and see the drivers push a lot harder, with this year&rsquo;s race scheduled for 85 laps instead of 80.</strong></p> <p>This change in the lap count is the first since 2013, when the event was actually shortened from 85 to 80 laps and was won by Japanese racer Takuma Sato.</p> <p>Historically speaking the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach has had a varied lap count, with the Formula 1 race back in the 1970s and 1980s between 75 and 80 laps long.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, when the event became an IndyCar race in 1984, the lap count increased to between a high of 112 laps in 1984 and a low of 74 laps in 2006.&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite only a small amount of laps being added to the race, Rahal is adamant that it could spark an entirely different mentality from some teams and drivers when it comes to planning race strategies.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I think that is going to make it a lot better for the fans,&rdquo; enthused Rahal, who has never won at Long Beach.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;You are going to see guys pushing a lot harder because if it&#39;s green like last year, there is no way anybody will make it on fuel [on two stops].&rdquo;</p> <p>Last season the race ran completely caution-free for only the fourth time in history, with eventual series champion Simon Pagenaud securing victory for Team Penske.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;You might see some different strategies because it&#39;s probably going to be firmly a three-stopper, so you will stick to that and have pretty big [pit] windows and see drivers try to pit at different times.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It should make it a lot more exciting for everyone.&rdquo;</p> 2017 Grand Prix of Long Beach previewWed, 05 Apr 2017 23:16:40 GMT<p>A highlight on the motorsport calendar since its inception in 1975, the Grand Prix of Long Beach is set to be a weekend to remember for both Sportscar &amp; IndyCar fans alike. Mobil 1 The Grid caught up with IndyCar&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and Spencer Pigot, as well as IMSA and Corvette Racing&rsquo;s Oliver Gavin, to find out more.</p> releases more renders of proposed 2018 carSat, 01 Apr 2017 21:52:49 GMT<p>IndyCar <a href="">earlier this week released</a> a refined render of its proposed new 2018 car, featuring&nbsp;the universal aerodynamic bodywork kit, and has now released a clearer side shot as well as an overhead render.</p> <p>The renders are only a concept at this stage and require further work before a final design is settled upon.</p> <p>The universal kit will attach to the Dallara IR-12 chassis and be used by all competitors in 2018.The aim of the new kit is to create a bolder, more traditional-looking Indy car that produces most of its downforce from underneath to promote more passing opportunities, while at the same time adding numerous safety enhancements.</p> <p>Scale model testing of the universal kit is ongoing, with the first on-track car testing expected by mid-summer. INDYCAR will continue providing updates throughout the process.</p> <p><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/03-31-Rendering-2018Car-SideView-NoOverlay-HIRES.jpg" width="800" /></p> unveils new render of 2018 bodywork kitWed, 29 Mar 2017 14:24:59 GMT<p>IndyCar officials have released an updated image of the universal aerodynamic bodywork kit that will be used by all competitors in the 2018 campaign.</p> <p>Concept images were published in January and this has now been refined; once again, there will be two configurations: one for superspeedway ovals, and another for road/street courses/short ovals.</p> <p>IndyCar is hopeful that the new bodywork kits, which will cover the Dallara IR-12 chassis used since 2012, will be available for testing from the summer.</p> <p>&ldquo;While this remains a work in progress, we are encouraged with where the development of the 2018 car stands,&rdquo; said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The look of the car is bold, the performance data from simulations is meeting targeted goals and safety enhancements built into the design will be substantial.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="556" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/new-2018-car-rendering-march2017-hires_720.jpg" width="720" /></p> <p>Among the changes for the 2018-specification car will be lower engine covers, while the rear wing and front wing main plane are smaller, with the rear wing for the road course/short oval package lower and wider.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been working on the aerodynamics to suit the look, rather than the other way around,&rdquo; said IndyCar Director of Aerodynamic Development Tino Belli.</p> <p>A key component of the new car is for it to generate most of its downforce from underneath instead of on top. This will improve racing and passing opportunities by decreasing the turbulent air that the Indy car leaves in its wake.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re working on creating more of the downforce from the underwing. The hole in the floor (of the undertray on this year&rsquo;s car) will be sealed for the road courses and short ovals, but will still be open for the superspeedways.&rdquo;</p> Mann secures Indy 500 return with Dale Coyne RacingTue, 28 Mar 2017 18:51:02 GMT<p><strong>Pippa Mann has secured a return to the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing, which will see the British racer compete in her sixth race around the coveted 2.5-mile oval.</strong></p> <p>During the month of May Mann will compete in the #63 Honda-powered machine, the same number she has used throughout her career with Dale Coyne Racing.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m very happy to be rejoining Dale Coyne Racing for my fifth consecutive year with the team at the 101st Indy 500,&rdquo; explained Mann, who also competed at the ABC Supply 500 last season at Pocono.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Dale has invested heavily in the team over the winter, and it&rsquo;s an exciting time to be part of his organisation.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m looking forward to working with the same familiar faces from my 2016 campaign, like my race engineer Rob Ridgely, as well as working with the new members of the team, including my new team-mates Sebastien [Bourdais] and Ed [Jones].&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m thrilled to be getting back on the race track this May for my sixth Greatest Spectacle in Racing.&rdquo;</p> <p>Once again Mann will raise awareness for the Get Involved Campaign alongside her racing program, which this year will see her link up with Auction Cause and Susan G. Komen which will run an eBay auction for charity throughout the month of May.</p> <p>So far Mann will be the only women to compete in IndyCar this season, a stat she has held in the series since Simona de Silvestro&rsquo;s brief return with Andretti Autosport in 2015.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s always a pleasure to have Pippa on board for the Indy 500 and to help promote the Get Involved Campaign, raising funds for Susan G. Komen,&rdquo; said team owner Dale Coyne.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Pippa works hard every year to put together this program and to race in the Indy 500.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;With her perseverance and enthusiasm for our sport, it&rsquo;s only fitting that we continue this relationship that started five years ago.&rdquo;</p> Power edges Max Chilton in competitive open Barber testWed, 22 Mar 2017 15:23:16 GMT<p><strong>Will Power ended the open IndyCar test at Barber Motorsports Park fastest for Team Penske on Tuesday, edging ex-F1 driver Max Chilton to the top spot after a very competitive day of track action.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The duo were separated at the top by only +0.0073 seconds after a whole day of testing, which saw the top 14 drivers on the combined classification across the two sessions split by less than half a second.&nbsp;</p> <p>This comes after a highly competitive start to the 2017 season several weeks earlier around the streets of St. Petersburg, where Honda offered a firm challenge to rivals Chevrolet throughout the weekend.</p> <p>Power&rsquo;s overall fastest lap was completed just as the chequered flag fell, after a frenetic end to the day&rsquo;s action due to four late red flags and the activation of push-to-pass in the final hour.</p> <p>&quot;It just shows how tight it is between Honda and Chevy now,&quot; explained Power, who won at Barber in 2011 and 2012.</p> <p>&rdquo;It&#39;s tough, man. We just went through a bunch of stuff [during the test day] to see what it does and I think we got some good answers here.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we&#39;ve got a good car for here, I feel good about my setup.&quot;</p> <p>Former Barber race winner Josef Newgarden ended the day third fastest for Penske, ahead of the man he replaced at the iconic outfit for the new season Juan Pablo Montoya.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Columbian veteran will return to the action for the two Indianapolis races in May, and despite not turning a wheel since the last race of the season last year in September, he was immediately on the pace in the No. 22 Chevrolet-powered car.</p> <p>Andretti Autosport drivers Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato rounded out the top six, with the latter ending the three-hour first session fastest earlier in the day.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon could only manage seventh fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing, ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal.&nbsp;</p> <p>Reigning champion and 2016 Barber race winner Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top ten for Penske.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Frenchman was one of many drivers who managed to improve upon his time in the second session, but was still unable to trouble the likes of Power, Newgarden or Montoya.</p> <p>Veterans Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves ended the day just outside the top ten in 11th and 12th, with Kanaan in particular unable to improve during the second session of the day.&nbsp;</p> <p>Although the first session was incident-free, the second session was interrupted by four red flags. The first was caused by simultaneous incidents when Charlie Kimball stopped at Turn 6 and Newgarden made contact with the barrier at Turn 1.</p> <p>The second and third cautions were due to track inspections, while the fourth and final red flag was caused by Kanaan who also made contact with the barrier at Turn 1.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Barber Open Test Combined Classification</strong></a></p> Alexander Rossi visor cam at Barber Motorsports ParkWed, 22 Mar 2017 12:35:41 GMT<p>Ride onboard with 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi with IndyCar&rsquo;s visor cam during testing at the Barber Motorsports Park.</p> Extended St. Petersburg IndyCar race highlightsTue, 14 Mar 2017 17:44:15 GMT<p id="eow-description">Watch extended highlights from the IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.</p> Dixon questions ‘mysterious caution’ during St. Petersburg raceMon, 13 Mar 2017 15:52:46 GMT<p><strong>Ganassi&#39;s Scott Dixon has questioned the &ldquo;mysterious&rdquo; second caution period during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which ultimately influenced the race&#39;s final classification.</strong></p> <p>The caution enabled eventual victory S&eacute;bastien Bourdais, along with other drivers who started towards the back of the grid, to gain a tactical advantage.</p> <p>On Lap 26 of the race the second and final full course caution was caused when Mikhail Aleshin made light contact with the rear of Tony Kanaan&rsquo;s Ganassi at Turn 4.&nbsp;</p> <p>Although both drivers managed to continue racing, slight damage was caused to the rear of Kanaan&rsquo;s car and debris was scattered on the track, albeit off the racing line.&nbsp;</p> <p>At this stage of the race half of the field had already completed their first pit stops under green flag conditions, leaving the leading pack to make their first stops during the caution period, losing track position as a result.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the likes of Simon Pagenaud and Bourdais opted not to pit, and were therefore able to vault up the order, where they remained for the remainder of the race.</p> <p>&quot;It started off a little bit rough,&rdquo; explained Dixon, who started on the front row of the grid alongside Penske&#39;s Will Power.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We lost a spot at the start and then there was the mysterious caution.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a bit strange <span style="font-size:11.0pt;line-height:107%; font-family:&quot;Calibri&quot;,sans-serif;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language:EN-GB;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">&ndash; </span> I don&#39;t know why they were yellow for such a small piece of debris that wasn&#39;t even on the racing line.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;That pretty much put us in the toilet right there.&rdquo;</p> <p>Although Dixon was visibly annoyed with the decision to call a full course caution, the four-time champion still managed to fight his way back through the order to finish third.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We passed a lot of cars both on strategy and on-track,&rdquo; continued Dixon.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It wasn&#39;t the day we had hoped for obviously but it was better than a lot of other results we&#39;ve had here over the years.&rdquo;</p> Bourdais left 'speechless' after St. Petersburg victoryMon, 13 Mar 2017 13:25:07 GMT<p><strong>S&eacute;bastien Bourdais says he has been left &ldquo;speechless&rdquo; by his victory in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, after the four-time champion completed a masterful drive from 21st and last on the grid.</strong></p> <p>After his team opted not to pit during the second caution period, caused after a collision between Tony Kanaan and Mikhail Aleshin, Dale Coyne driver Bourdais soon found himself in second position, behind reigning champion Simon Pagenaud.</p> <p>Shortly after the restart Bourdais lunged up the inside of Pagenaud for the lead of the race, and from that moment onwards didn&rsquo;t look back on his way to victory lane for the first time since Detroit last season.</p> <p>&quot;Honestly, I&#39;m a little speechless,&quot; enthused Bourdais, who lives in St. Petersburg. &quot;We had a miserable day [in qualifying] and that was all me, and we turned it into a great day.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Once you&#39;re in the lead here, it&#39;s difficult to lose it unless you throw it away, so I sure tried not to do that again.&rdquo;</p> <p>During the 2003 ChampCar race Bourdais took pole and led during the early stages of the race, before losing the lead in the first round of pit-stops and then making contact with the wall, which scuppered his chances of victory around the Florida street course.</p> <p>&ldquo;I caught myself thinking about 2003, when obviously we started the opposite,&rdquo; continued Bourdais.</p> <p>&ldquo;We dominated the weekend, were on pole, cleared the field, then all hell broke loose.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I found myself tapping the wall in Turn 8 and threw it away. It was kind of redemption day here.&rdquo;</p> <p>Fellow countryman and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud also took advantage of the second caution period to rise up through the order, eventually finishing second and creating the first ever 1-2 finish for French drivers in the history of IndyCar.</p> <p>&ldquo;Bourdais was untouchable,&rdquo; explained Pagenaud. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a French 1-2. I&#39;m very happy for him.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;With Dale Coyne and Honda, they&#39;ve shown a lot of strength. It&rsquo;s fantastic for them.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I wish it was P1 for me, P2 for him. Next time maybe. I&rsquo;m very happy for second. We started second last year as well. Hopefully it&#39;s our good luck charm.&quot;</p> Bourdais completes memorable victory from the back at St. PetersburgSun, 12 Mar 2017 19:00:41 GMT<p><strong>S&eacute;bastien Bourdais secured a memorable victory at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, completing a sensational drive from last on the grid to victory lane at the first round of the 2017 IndyCar season.</strong></p> <p>After a big incident at the final hairpin during qualifying, the four-time champion was forced to start from the back of the grid, having failed to set a timed lap before his shunt.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, a masterful strategy call from his Dale Coyne Racing team enabled him to pit under green flag conditions during the early segment of the race, before a full course caution forced the top six to lose out and pit under caution.</p> <p>Although reigning champion Simon Pagenaud restarted the race in the lead, Bourdais soon stormed up the inside of his fellow compatriot at Turn 1 and from that moment onwards never looked back on his way to the top step of the podium.</p> <p>Pagenaud ended the 110-lap race a distant second for Penske, on a day where the iconic outfit was struck with poor luck around the Florida street course.&nbsp;</p> <p>Team-mate and pole sitter Will Power lost the lead after the first caution period to James Hinchcliffe, having initially maintained his advantage at the start, before his afternoon went from bad to worse.&nbsp;</p> <p>First the 2014 champion was forced to make an unscheduled pit-stop due to a slow puncture, before running over a piece of his pit crew&rsquo;s equipment upon exiting the pit-lane. This led to a drive-through penalty from race officials, ruining his chances of victory.</p> <p>Towards the latter stages of the race Power did manage to fight his way back up towards the top of the order, though a mechanical issue struck his car.&nbsp;</p> <p>This left him circulating the track with a severe power disadvantage, forcing race officials to take action once again and issue him with the black flag.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon came home an important third for Chip Ganassi Racing, after being tipped by many to be in strong contention for race victory. After also dropping down the order due to pitting under caution, Dixon slowly fought his way back through the field.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay ended the race a very impressive fourth, despite peeling off into the pits as the rest of the field took the green flag at the start. Hunter-Reay returned to the pits several times during the early stages of the race for system checks and setup alterations but managed to make up ground in the latter stages of the race.</p> <p>Takuma Sato rounded out the top five, after a strong race for the former Formula 1 racer, having run as high as fourth, on a weekend in which he set the fifth-fastest time during qualifying.</p> <p>H&eacute;lio Castroneves and Marco Andretti ended the race sixth and seventh respectively, after starting alongside each other towards the back of the grid following a far from successful qualifying session.&nbsp;</p> <p>Josef Newgarden, Hinchcliffe and rookie Ed Jones rounded out the top ten, with reigning IndyLights champion Jones raising many eyebrows during his maiden race after benefiting from the second caution and muscling his way ahead of Andretti at Turn 1 to run as high as third.</p> <p>Spencer Pigot and Carlos Munoz were the only other retirements from the race, both due to mechanical issues arising on their cars.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mu&ntilde;oz&nbsp;in particular was involved in a first lap altercation with Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball, with the Colombian racer never fully recovering from the incident.</p> for Chip Ganassi Racing despite missing out on pole at St. PetersburgSun, 12 Mar 2017 00:39:50 GMT<p><strong>There is a sense of optimism within the four-car Chip Ganassi Racing outfit after qualifying for the 2017 season opener in St. Petersburg, even though Penske and Chevrolet still managed to grab the all-important pole position.</strong></p> <p>All weekend Honda and Chip Ganassi Racing have been surprising many with strong pace in comparison to rival teams running Chevrolet power, most notably Penske.&nbsp;</p> <p>Although Penske and Chevrolet still managed to secure pole pole position at the hands of Will Power, all four drivers including veterans of the sport Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan are remaining extremely optimistic of their chances in the 110-lap race.</p> <p>Dixon in particular will line-up alongside Power on the front row of the grid, and has placed the blame of not usurping the 2014 champion on himself.</p> <p>&quot;That was just on me unfortunately,&rdquo; admitted the four-time champion, who has never won around the Florida street course.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We have a super fast car and should have been on pole. I just messed up a little on my fastest lap.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m obviously disappointed, but the team has four fast cars. We&#39;re working together great with Honda and I can&#39;t wait to start the race tomorrow.&rdquo;</p> <p>Series veteran Kanaan, who is embarking upon his 20th season in IndyCar racing this year, echoes his team-mate&rsquo;s views on how well the Chip Ganassi team is working together with Honda.</p> <p>The outfit switched to the Japanese manufacturer in the off-season, leaving only Penske, A.J. Foyt Enterprises and Ed Carpenter Racing running Chevrolet engines.</p> <p>&quot;When I walked in Scott was saying how well he thinks we&#39;re all working together and I completely agree,&rdquo; explained Kanaan after qualifying.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think the engineers did a great job over the winter when we switched over to Honda.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We spent a lot of time focusing on the areas that we didn&#39;t think were good last year and I just think we came into this season better prepared.&rdquo;</p> <p>A big surprise throughout the weekend so far has been former Formula 1 racer Max Chilton, who seems content as he begins his second season in IndyCar with Chip Ganassi Racing.</p> <p>Although he ultimately failed to progress into the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying, Chilton has been on fine form throughout the weekend so far, ending the final practice session fourth.</p> <p>&quot;I was happy with the car and felt I really got everything out of myself,&rdquo; said Chilton after qualifying seventh. &ldquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I knew coming into qualifying that we had a fast car for sure. We hit traffic and didn&#39;t get through and that was frustrating obviously.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we could have been fourth in the second segment and advanced, but that&#39;s the way it goes sometimes, and we can fight with a good car tomorrow which I&#39;m excited about.&rdquo;</p> results for Penske after qualifying at St. PetersburgSat, 11 Mar 2017 23:57:30 GMT<p><strong>Despite Will Power&rsquo;s tremendous ride to pole position for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, there was an sense of mixed emotions within the Team Penske garage after a topsy-turvy qualifying session for the four-car outfit.</strong></p> <p>With Power and Josef Newgarden comfortably progressing to the Firestone Fast Six, reigning champion Simon Pagenaud and veteran Helio Castroneves were both eliminated after only the first round of qualifying.</p> <p>This therefore leaves a sizeable gap between Power and Newgarden in first and fourth respectively to Pagenaud and Castroneves who will line up 14th and 16th.</p> <p>&quot;We&#39;re certainly disappointed, but that doesn&#39;t mean we&#39;re going to pack up and go home,&rdquo; explained reigning champion Pagenaud.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The team and I will go to work and figure out how we can improve. They are the best in the business.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We have our work cut out for us, but once the race starts, all sorts of things can happen.&rdquo;</p> <p>Castroneves is also feeling optimistic ahead of the 110-lap race, one which the Brazilian veteran has won multiple times throughout his long career.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We didn&#39;t miss by much, but that&#39;s how close it is in this series,&rdquo; commented Castroneves on how close he was to progressing into the next round in qualifying.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Fortunately, I have the Chevy guys behind me and I have all the confidence in the world that they can give me a car to go to the front.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Anything can happen. We came up a little short, but I think we have a great race car.&rdquo;</p> <p>Although big names such as Pagenaud, Castroneves and Marco Andretti were eliminated during the early stages of qualifying, Power still managed to uphold the Team Penske and Chevrolet honour as he stormed to his seventh pole around the Florida street course.</p> <p>Throughout the weekend Honda had shown renewed pace in comparison to that of Chevrolet, with Scott Dixon in particular looking like the man to beat for pole position.</p> <p>But Power showed that the battle at the top between the two manufacturers could well be a fascinating affair in 2017 as he pipped Dixon and Honda to pole by just +0.1579 seconds.</p> <p>&ldquo;Taking the risk on just doing one lap was good for me, I definitely had a bit more meat on the tyres in the last round,&rdquo; explained Power.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We worked on the car too. Made a bit of a wrong setup change for the last round, and kind of just made it, and went back and did something else. So yeah, very happy to be on pole. It&#39;s a really tight competition.&rdquo;</p> Power storms to St. Petersburg IndyCar pole Sat, 11 Mar 2017 21:34:35 GMT<p>Will Power has secured pole position for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the opening round of the 2017 IndyCar season.</p> <p>The 2014 champion was one of only two Chevrolet-powered cars to progress to the all-important Firestone Fast Six session in qualifying, such has been the dominance of Honda power so far this weekend.</p> <p>The Penske racer will line-up alongside four-time champion Scott Dixon on the front row of the grid, with the Chip Ganassi racer looking competitive as always after ending both practice one and two fastest.</p> <p>James Hinchcliffe will line-up third for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, alongside Josef Newgarden who completed a switch from Ed Carpenter Racing to Penske in the off-season.&nbsp;</p> <p>Takuma Sato was impressive on his way to fifth on the grid, despite making heavy contact with the barriers earlier in the weekend. The Japanese racer has gone well around the streets of St. Petersburg before, taking pole position back in 2014.&nbsp;</p> <p>Veteran Tony Kanaan rounded out the top six for Chip Ganassi Racing, after making a mistake in the final minutes of qualifying which rendered him unable to challenge the likes of team-mate Dixon or the Penske of Power.</p> <p>Former Formula 1 racer Max Chilton performed well for Chip Ganassi Racing, just missing out on a place in the Firestone Fast Six. The Briton will line-up seventh on the grid, alongside fellow former F1 racer Alexander Rossi.</p> <p>The reigning Indianapolis 500 champion has also looked exceptionally strong throughout the weekend, despite only being in his second full season in IndyCar.&nbsp;</p> <p>Charlie Kimball and Graham Rahal rounded out the top ten, ahead of Carlos Munoz and 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.</p> <p>Reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud was unable to challenge the sharp end of the order, with the Frenchman failing to progress to the second round of qualifying. He will line-up 14th on the grid.</p> <p>Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves also endured a far from successful session, with the veteran also unable to make his way out of the first round of qualifying and therefore lining up a lowly 16th on the grid.&nbsp;</p> <p>Further down the grid rookie Ed Jones will line-up 18th for Dale Coyne Racing. The reigning IndyLights champion has looked relatively comfortable throughout the weekend so far, avoiding any on track skirmishes.</p> <p>The same cannot be said for four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais, who misjudged his braking for the final hairpin and ran straight on into the retaining tyre barrier.</p> <p>Although his car was not severely damaged, Bourdais was prevented from continuing due to causing a red flag delay and therefore lines up 21st and last on the grid.</p> Dixon remains fastest in St. Petersburg final practiceSat, 11 Mar 2017 17:10:09 GMT<p>Chip Ganassi&rsquo;s Scott Dixon finished the third practice session ahead of IndyCar&rsquo;s season-opener in St. Petersburg at the top of the timesheets.</p> <p>The New Zealander set the pace in Friday&rsquo;s second practice and remained the driver to beat in the final session, ahead of qualifying.</p> <p>Dixon led a Honda 1-6 in practice three, with a 1:01.624 leaving him just 0.042 seconds clear of Schmidt Peterson&rsquo;s James Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>The 2013 St. Petersburg winner was the first driver of the weekend to break into the 1:01s but dropped behind Dixon in the final third of the session.</p> <p>2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi was third, with ex-F1 racer Max Chilton and S&eacute;bastien Bourdais &ndash; who made an improvement in the closing stages &ndash; rounding out the top five.</p> <p>Practice one pacesetter Marco Andretti ended the session sixth, with Penske&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden the top Chevrolet driver in seventh.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan and Will Power &ndash; recovering from his practice one crash on Friday &ndash; completed the top 10.</p> <p>2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud was 11<sup>th</sup>, with H&eacute;lio Castroneves down in 15<sup>th</sup> in the final Penske car.</p> <p>Takuma Sato returned to action after his practice two crash but finished a lowly 17<sup>th</sup> for Andretti. &nbsp;</p> Dixon leads second St. Petersburg IndyCar practiceFri, 10 Mar 2017 21:09:29 GMT<p><strong>Scott Dixon continued Honda&#39;s impressive start to the St. Petersburg IndyCar weekend by leading second practice for the Firestone Grand Prix on Friday afternoon.</strong></p> <p>Andretti Autosport&#39;s Marco Andretti headed up a Honda-powered 1-2-3-4 in FP1, but it was Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing which led the way in second practice as drivers continued to dial in around the street circuit.</p> <p>Dixon posted a fastest lap time of 1:02.5591 during FP2 to finish two-tenths of a second clear of Penske&#39;s Will Power at the top of the timesheets. Power was the sole Chevrolet-powered driver to end the session in the top five.</p> <p>Dixon&#39;s Ganassi teammates Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball finished the session third and fourth respectively, with Dale Coyne Racing&#39;s Sebastien Bourdais rounding out the top five.</p> <p>The session offered an important warning shot from Ganassi, which made the switch to Honda engines and aerokits over the winter after a multi-year stint with Chevrolet.</p> <p>It was not a trouble-free session for those under Honda power, though, as Andretti&#39;s Takuma Sato crashed out early on after a brake issue at the final corner caused him to career into the barrier. The Japanese driver was unable to get back out, leaving him at the foot of the timesheets without a flying lap to his name.</p> <p>Running in St. Petersburg resumes on Saturday with final practice and qualifying ahead of Sunday&#39;s race.</p>, Honda extend engine supply Verizon IndyCar Series contractsFri, 10 Mar 2017 18:24:20 GMT<p><b>The Verizon IndyCar Series has announced that engine partners Chevrolet and Honda have both signed multi-year extensions to their current supply deals, following in the footsteps of Dallara and Firestone.</b></p> <p>INDYCAR announced earlier this year that chassis partner Dallara and tyre supplier Firestone had extended their commitments to the series, with today&#39;s announcement solidifying the series&#39; links with its four major partners.</p> <p>&quot;This is a unique moment in the recent history of the Verizon IndyCar Series,&quot; said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations. &quot;To have all of our major manufacturers locked in with us for the foreseeable future points to the fact that they all have bought into the vision for the Verizon IndyCar Series. It&#39;s another sign of the positive momentum we continue to build as we grow this sport into the next decade.&quot;</p> <p>INDYCAR officials confirmed at a press conference in St. Petersburg ahead of Sunday&#39;s season-opener that plans for the technical specifications for next year&#39;s cars will be released before the Long Beach race in April, having debuted the initial renderings of the new-look designs in January at the North America International Auto Show.</p> <p>Chiefs from both Honda and Chevrolet also said that they would welcome a third manufacturer entering IndyCar in the near future and were happy to support any efforts to join the series, with Frye outlining an aim to bring in a new OEM by 2020.</p> <p><em>More to follow...</em></p> Andretti quickest, Will Power crashes in St. Petersburg first practiceFri, 10 Mar 2017 18:24:02 GMT<p>Andretti driver Marco Andretti put in the best time in first practice for the IndyCar season-opener at St. Petersburg, as Penske&rsquo;s Will Power crashed.</p> <p>Last year&rsquo;s St. Petersburg polesitter Power brought out the red flag in the early stages after hitting the wall at Turn 10.</p> <p>He had managed just three laps before losing the rear of his car and crashing. The session was stopped but Power managed to return to the pits for repairs and return to the track.</p> <p>Once restarted, Andretti went quickest with a 1:03.755 and remained unchallenged by the end of the 45-minute session.</p> <p>He beat Chip Ganassi&rsquo;s Tony Kanaan by less than one tenth of a second, with his team-mate Scott Dixon third.</p> <p>James Hinchcliffe was fourth, with 2016 champion Simon Pagenaud fifth and Graham Rahal putting in a late improvement to jump up to sixth.</p> <p>H&eacute;lio Castroneves, Charlie Kimball, Ryan Hunter-Reay and former F1 racer Max Chilton completed the top 10.</p> <p>Power got back out on track and ended the session 11<sup>th</sup>, ahead of 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, while new Penske recruit Josef Newgarden was a low-key 15<sup>th</sup>.</p> Howard to make Indy 500 comeback with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Tony Stewart FoundationTue, 07 Mar 2017 11:19:32 GMT<p><strong>British racing driver Jay Howard will join the grid for the 101st Indianapolis 500 in May after being confirmed in Schmidt Peterson Motorsports&#39; third seat through the Tony Stewart Foundation.</strong></p> <p>Three-time NASCAR Cup champion Stewart announced last month that his foundation would be forming &#39;Team One Cure&#39; to back a third SPM Honda entry for the 2017 Indy 500.</p> <p>On Monday, Howard was confirmed as the driver for the #77 entry, having last made an IndyCar appearance at the 2011 Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway and one previous start at the 500 the same year, where he retired early on.</p> <p>&quot;I can&rsquo;t begin to tell you how honoured I am to have this opportunity,&rdquo; said Howard. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not one to give up on a dream and I have every bit of determination to make this a successful effort for Tony, Team One Cure and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m in the best condition both mentally and physically, and my race craft is on point. We will be more than ready when IMS opens for practice this May.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We are pleased to have Jay competing with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports once again,&rdquo; Schmidt Peterson Motorsports co-owner Sam Schmidt added.</p> <p>&ldquo;Given our impressive winning record together in the past, we have high expectations for the 101st Indy 500. Jay is extremely talented in the car as well as being a great advocate for the Team One Cure initiative.&quot;</p> IndyCar drivers look forward to the streets of St PetersburgTue, 07 Mar 2017 11:16:33 GMT<p>With the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series kicking off on the streets of St. Petersburg this weekend, Mobil 1 The Grid caught up with the drivers taking the field. James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Alexander Rossi, Ed Jones and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud all feature.</p> Wickens gets IndyCar test, James Hinchcliffe to try out DTM carThu, 23 Feb 2017 16:17:48 GMT<p><strong>DTM&#39;s Robert Wickens and IndyCar&#39;s James Hinchcliffe have announced that they will swap rides in the next few weeks and test each other&#39;s cars.</strong></p> <p>Wickens and Hinchcliffe have known each other for many years, both hailing from Canada, and have previously floated the idea of one day trying out the other&#39;s race car.</p> <p>Wickens races for Mercedes in DTM, having made the move away from single-seaters in 2012, while Hinchcliffe has been involved in IndyCar since 2011, taking pole for last year&#39;s Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>On Thursday, the drivers confirmed that they had struck an agreement to try out each other&#39;s cars, with Wickens set for his maiden IndyCar test on February 28 at a private test with the Schimdt Peterson Motorsports team at Sebring.</p> <p>Hinchcliffe will then get a chance to sample Wickens&#39; DTM car at&nbsp;Vallelunga Circuit in Italy on March 17, five days after the opening round of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season at St. Petersburg.</p> <p>&quot;This whole thing is something that Robbie and I have joked about for a long time because, frankly, we weren&#39;t sure it was ever going to happen,&quot; Hinchcliffe said.</p> <p>&quot;We both had an interest in kind of sharing our series with each other, and we kept talking about it. We decided we were going to try and take a swing at it, talked to all parties involved and amazingly it all worked out.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s just a cool story; you&#39;ve got two kids that grew up racing go-karts in Ontario. Fast forward a decade and a half, and here we are both professional racing drivers. To be able to get to do this, and share it with each other, is going to be awesome.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;James and I have been friends for years and this ride swap is something we&#39;ve wanted to do for a long time,&quot; Wickens added.</p> <p>&quot;We&#39;ve seen some other drivers do it in the past - Formula One and NASCAR and all that - and we thought it would be a cool opportunity to do with DTM and INDYCAR.</p> <p>&quot;It wasn&#39;t easy planning it and making everything work, but I&#39;m really looking forward to the opportunity of driving his car. Everything aligned and here we are.&quot;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> Racing confirms plans to enter Indianapolis 500 in 2017Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:07:29 GMT<p><strong>Juncos Racing has announced that it plans to enter the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2017 after purchasing equipment from the now-defunct KV Racing operation.</strong></p> <p>Juncos currently races in both Indy Lights and the Pro Mazda Championship, both of which feature on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder that helps young drivers move up to the Verizon IndyCar Series.</p> <p>Having worked with drivers such as Conor Daly and Spencer Pigot on their way up to IndyCar, Juncos is now set to make the move itself after confirming its plans to enter the Indy 500 earlier this week.</p> <p>&quot;I am so happy to officially announce our participation in the Verizon IndyCar Series,&rdquo; said team owner Ricardo Juncos. &ldquo;This is a dream come true for me and my team.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;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 &lsquo;The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,&rsquo; the Indianapolis 500. This is definitely one of the biggest moments in my life.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;INDYCAR has been fortunate to have many drivers graduate from the Mazda Road to Indy program to the Verizon IndyCar Series, and those drivers have done a phenomenal job over the years,&rdquo; added INDYCAR president of competition and operations Jay Frye.</p> <p>&ldquo;Another goal of the Mazda Road to Indy program is to graduate teams and INDYCAR is working hard to help create opportunities for those teams to move up to the Verizon IndyCar Series. Ricardo and Juncos Racing have a great history of success, and we are proud to have them become a part of the Verizon IndyCar Series.&quot;</p> <p>Juncos is yet to confirm how many cars it plans to run or which manufacturer it will work with, although a report from<i>&nbsp;Trackside Online</i>&nbsp;claims that Indy Lights racer Kyle Kaiser is in the frame to take a seat for the 500, with the team also hoping to offer a second seat to interested drivers.</p> <p>The 101st Indianapolis 500 will take place on May 28.</p> Racing confirms closure, will support Juncos Racing's IndyCar bidThu, 16 Feb 2017 18:59:57 GMT<p><strong>KV Racing Technology co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser have confirmed that the team has closed and will now support Juncos Racing&#39;s bid to move into the Verizon IndyCar Series in the near future.</strong></p> <p>The roots of KV Racing can be traced back to 2003 when it operated as PK Racing in ChampCar,&nbsp;and it once enjoyed a three-car effort in IndyCar from 2010 to 2012.</p> <p>KV Racing&nbsp;only entered one full-season car in IndyCar last year, linking up with Sebastien Bourdais late in the off-season, but following the Frenchman&#39;s move to Dale Coyne Racing for 2017, the team has been struggling to secure enough backing to race this year.</p> <p>On Thursday, Kalkhoven and Vasser issued a statement thanking fans for their support and confirming the closure of the team, with its equipment being sold to Juncos Racing ahead of its planned move into IndyCar in the near future.</p> <p>&quot;I want to thank all those who have written to express their appreciation of the efforts of KV Racing Technology during the last 14 years,&quot; Kalkoven said. &quot;However as I approach 73, I feel I can no longer give the team the effort and support it and the team members deserve.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have really enjoyed my time in the series, helping with reunification and of course winning the greatest spectacle in racing: the Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is my firm belief that the series is on a major upswing under the leadership of Mark Miles and Jay Frye and has a bright future. I remain committed to help in any way I can, particularly in encouraging new owners and sponsors. In particular Ricardo Juncos, to whom we will be offering our support.</p> <p>&ldquo;To all the fans who follow the series, and cheered for KVRT, my heartfelt thanks and please spread the good word about the fantastic sport we have.&quot;</p> <p>Vasser added: &ldquo;First and foremost I want to thank all the fans who have supported the team over the years. I also want to thank Kevin Kalkhoven for giving me the special and unique opportunity to transition from a driver to a team owner while I was still driving.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am very proud to have been a part of this team and I will always cherish all the great people and drivers we worked side-by-side with to achieve our successes.</p> <p>&ldquo;It has been a journey of many ups and downs, but I will always remember winning the 2013 Indy 500. IndyCar racing has been a part of my life for 25 years, it is in my soul and it will be interesting to see where it takes me from here.&quot;</p> Graham Rahal visor cam at Phoenix IndyCar testSun, 12 Feb 2017 15:13:24 GMT<p><strong>Watch onboard footage from the Phoenix Raceway IndyCar test via visor cam, as Graham Rahal completes hot laps at the wheel of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car.</strong></p> Hildebrand fastest on final day of Phoenix IndyCar testSun, 12 Feb 2017 12:16:48 GMT<p><strong>Ed Carpenter Racing&rsquo;s JR Hildebrand set the pace on the second and final day of IndyCar&rsquo;s Phoenix Raceway test, despite a crash in the evening session.</strong></p> <p>Hildebrand, returning to IndyCar full-time in 2017, put in the fastest ever lap at the circuit with the help of a tow, setting a 19.0401s &ndash; averaging 193.234mph &ndash; in the afternoon session.</p> <p>His record-breaking time proved to be unbeatable in the evening running, although the American&rsquo;s session came to an abrupt end in the final half an hour after a crash at Turn 4.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;d certainly rather be quick than not and we felt good about the laps we&#39;ve been putting in,&quot; Hildebrand said on his best time.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were running at a really good time of day. The conditions tailed off a little after we ran our time.&rdquo;</p> <p>His boss Ed Carpenter was second fastest overall on day two with a 19.1223s lap, just ahead of day one pace-setter Josef Newgarden and his Penske team-mates H&eacute;lio Castroneves and Will Power.</p> <p>The quickest Honda-powered driver was Mikhail Aleshin in sixth, ahead of Tony Kanaan, defending champion Simon Pagenaud, S&eacute;bastien Bourdais - who suffered a late scare after clashing wheels with Newgarden - and James Hinchcliffe.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/16C_9648-1.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay put in the best time of the evening session, but it only proved good enough for 12th in the overall times from day two.</p> <p>His Andretti team-mates Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato suffered difficult days. 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Rossi crashed in the first five minutes of the day at Turn 2.</p> <p>He was 21st in the final order, with Sato down in 16th after also backing his car into the wall at the second corner. Graham Rahal also crashed in the evening session at Turn 1 and ended the day 13th.</p> Newgarden leads opening day of Phoenix IndyCar testSat, 11 Feb 2017 11:34:47 GMT<p><strong>Josef Newgarden made an impressive start to life with Penske in the Verizon IndyCar Series by topping the opening day of collective pre-season testing at Phoenix International Raceway.</strong></p> <p>Newgarden has replaced Juan Pablo Montoya at Penske for 2017 after two breakout years with Ed Carpenter Racing in which he claimed three victories, and finished fourth in last year&#39;s drivers&#39; standings.</p> <p>The 2011 Indy Lights champion turned in a fastest lap of 19.3511s during the afternoon session on Friday, finishing 0.01 seconds clear of former teammate and&nbsp;boss Ed Carpenter in the overall standings.</p> <p>&quot;I think we had a pretty good start to today,&rdquo; Newgarden said. &ldquo;The car was really great off the truck, so we didn&rsquo;t have to do too much. We just got into our program and had a pretty easy start.&rdquo;</p> <p>Marco Andretti slotted into third place at the end of the day after leading the night-time session for Andretti Autosport, finishing one-tenth of a second behind Newgarden. Graham Rahal ended up fourth-fastest ahead of 2013 series champion Will Power, while Newgarden&#39;s ECR replacement, JR Hildebrand, finished sixth overall.</p> <p>The running was interrupted by a number of caution periods, albeit mainly for track inspections, with the only car issue affecting A. J. Foyt&#39;s Conor Daly after a leak on his engine.</p> <p>Testing continues at Phoenix on Saturday with another six hours of running.</p> tweaks weekend schedules, push-to-pass and tyre rulesTue, 07 Feb 2017 09:59:43 GMT<p><strong>INDYCAR has confirmed a number of rule tweaks ahead of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, as well as making amendments to the weekend schedule for various rounds.</strong></p> <p>The most notable rule tweak relates to IndyCar&#39;s push-to-pass (P2P) power boost system. Drivers were previously afforded a defined number of P2P uses&nbsp;during each street and road course race, but will now have 150 seconds of usage for events in St. Petersburg, Detroit and Sonoma. This will increase to 200 seconds for the remaining road/street courses on the calendar.</p> <p>P2P has been modified so that drivers can now disengage midway through its usage to save time. However, P2P will no longer be available at the start of a race or on restarts, with the exception of a restart commencing with two laps remaining.</p> <p>INDYCAR also confirmed that Firestone will bring an additional set of its red-sidewall softer compound tyres to road and street course events. Each car must return one set of either primary or alternate tyres following each of the first two&nbsp;practice sessions on a race weekend.</p> <p>Some minor changes have been made to race weekend schedules for the events at Phoenix, Gateway, Indianapolis (GP) and Detroit. For the oval events at Phoenix and Gateway, qualifying will now be held on the same day as the race, while the on-track action for the Indianapolis GP shifts to Friday and Saturday only.</p> <p>Detroit&#39;s qualifying format has been tweaked, with the method used for its Sunday race in previous years - splitting in the field for two groups to form the grid - now being used also for the Saturday event. Previously, the Saturday grid had been formed by using IndyCar&#39;s usual knockout system for road and street course races.</p> <p>Finally, practice start times for road and street course events have now been standardised. FP1 will start at 11am local time, with FP2 following at 3pm.</p> <p>&quot;INDYCAR consulted with our various stakeholders - teams, drivers, event promoters - to refine the weekend schedules and generate the most value and excitement for everyone,&quot; said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations. &quot;These changes are subtle but will enhance the race weekend experience for everyone involved, most particularly our fans.&quot;</p> Karam confirmed for Indy 500 return with Dreyer & Reinbold RacingThu, 02 Feb 2017 14:35:20 GMT<p><strong>Dreyer &amp; Reinbold Racing has confirmed that Sage Karam will once again drive its single-car entry for the Indianapolis 500 in 2017.</strong></p> <p>Karam, 21, won the Indy Lights title back in 2013 before making his first Indy 500 appearance with Dreyer &amp; Reinbold the following year.</p> <p>Karam featured for Chip Ganassi Racing at all but four races in 2015, but lost his seat to Max Chilton for 2016.&nbsp;A one-off appearance for Dreyer &amp; Reinbold followed at the 500, with Karam rising as high as fourth before contact sent him out of the race on lap 92.</p> <p>The American turned his attention to sportscar racing, securing a drive with Lexus&rsquo; new programme in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with his first start coming at the Rolex 24 last weekend.</p> <p>Karam will balance his Lexus commitments with a fourth entry to the Indianapolis 500, with his return confirmed on Thursday.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really excited to be back with Dennis [Reinbold]&nbsp;and the Dreyer &amp; Reinbold Racing team for the Indianapolis 500 this May,&rdquo; Karam said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Trying to win the 500 as a one-off team is certainly a big challenge, but I&rsquo;m confident in this team and their ability to field a race car that can win this race.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll be working with the same engineers and the same pit crew from the last two races at Indy with DRR and I trust that we can build upon that continuity and ride that momentum to the double checkers and into Victory Lane.&rdquo;</p> Kanaan gets 7-Eleven sponsorship for select IndyCar eventsWed, 01 Feb 2017 11:08:56 GMT<p><strong>Tony Kanaan will reunite with former sponsor 7-Eleven for select rounds of the 2017 IndyCar Series, Chip Ganassi Racing has confirmed.</strong></p> <p>Kanaan became synonymous with the colours of the American convenience store chain during the 2000s, winning the 2004 title in the #11 7-Eleven Honda for Andretti Green Racing.</p> <p>Kanaan will continue to partner with NTT Data as his primary sponsor for 2017, but 7-Eleven will also grace his car for the races at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Indianapolis and Texas.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s an unbelievable feeling to be back in the 7-Eleven family. 7-Eleven was my home for most of my career in INDYCAR and they were with me for 14 out of my 17 wins,&rdquo; Kanaan said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s definitely special to have them with me to celebrate my 20th INDYCAR season and I&rsquo;m looking forward to getting them to victory circle again like we did many times in the past.</p> <p>&ldquo;The 7-Eleven car was a staple in the IndyCar Series for years and most of my fans still come to me and talk about how great of a run we had together. It&rsquo;s natural for me to be excited that we are reuniting forces now at Ganassi.&rdquo;</p> <p>Kanaan will link back up with Honda for the 2017 season following Ganassi&rsquo;s move away from Chevrolet engine supply.</p> stays in IndyCar with Schmidt Peterson MotorsportsWed, 01 Feb 2017 10:53:20 GMT<p><strong>Mikhail Aleshin will continue to compete for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in IndyCar this year, alongside James Hinchcliffe, the team confirmed on Wednesday.</strong></p> <p>Aleshin made his bow in the championship with the team in 2014 and returned to a full-time drive last year after missing the bulk of the 2015 campaign.</p> <p>Aleshin matched his career-best result by finishing second at Pocono, having taken his maiden pole position at the same event, and placed 15<sup>th</sup> overall in the standings.</p> <p>&ldquo;Thanks to both the SMP Racing program and our American team, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, I am to keep fighting for even better results this season in IndyCar,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;With the Russian flag on my car, and with James and the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew, I will push hard to bring more poles and hopefully victories in 2017.&rdquo;</p> <p>&quot;We are thrilled to have Mikhail back for 2017,&quot; said co-owner Sam Schmidt said.</p> <p>&ldquo;We know he is capable of winning races and competing for the championship. This also means we have maintained continuity across drivers, engineering and team member staffing, which is critical for success.&quot;</p> International Raceway announces plans for $178 million track upgradeTue, 31 Jan 2017 20:50:14 GMT<p><strong>Phoenix International Raceway has announced plans for a $178 million redevelopment programme to be completed by November 2018.</strong></p> <p>Phoenix returned to the IndyCar calendar in 2016 after 11 years away in an April slot, and also hosts a number of NASCAR events including the Monster Energy Cup and its support series.</p> <p>Officials from Phoenix announced on Monday plans for a significant modernisation and redevelopment of the track that would also see the start/finish line be relocated to the straight prior&nbsp;to the current dogleg Turn 2.</p> <p>&quot;When our project is completed, we will have a venue that delivers amazing fan experiences to go along with our reputation for great racing action,&rdquo;&nbsp;Phoenix International&nbsp;Raceway president Bryan R. Sperber said.</p> <p>&ldquo;By shifting the start/finish line to Phoenix Raceway&rsquo;s famed dogleg, fans will be perfectly positioned to watch one of the most exciting turns in motorsports. We are confident the Phoenix Raceway Project powered by DC Solar will put racing in Arizona in a whole new and exciting light.&quot;</p> <p>Besides the relocation of the start/finish line, the redevelopment plans include the creation of a kids fans zone, a new pedestrian tunnel and a new grandstand with&nbsp;seating areas that offer wi-fi connectivity.</p> <p>&quot;This is a great day for ISC and Phoenix Raceway, but more importantly, for racing fans in the state of Arizona and around the world,&rdquo; Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation, the track&#39;s parent company.</p> <p>&ldquo;A project of this magnitude is monumental for our company as we get to work enhancing the experience of the great fans who love to watch our races in Phoenix and enjoy this beautiful area.</p> <p>&ldquo;Having Phoenix Raceway within our prestigious stable of venues always has been a tremendous asset and source of pride for us. We are thrilled to create a best-in-class facility in Phoenix, and we&rsquo;re confident it will grow the fan base here and further serve as a destination track for motorsports fans everywhere.&quot;</p> <p>Phoenix also confirmed that it will host IndyCar in 2018 on the&nbsp;April 13-14 weekend, with the renovations set to be completed in time for the 2019 edition of the grand prix.</p> AUTO PARTS to sponsor Alexander Rossi for seven IndyCar events in 2017Wed, 18 Jan 2017 22:47:51 GMT<p><strong>NAPA AUTO PARTS will&nbsp;team up with Andetti-Herta Autosport driver Alexander Rossi for seven events through the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season following their successful partnership last year.</strong></p> <p>Ex-Manor Formula 1 racer Rossi made his IndyCar debut in 2016, claiming a famous victory at the 100th Indianapolis 500 behind the wheel of Andretti&#39;s #98 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda in May.</p> <p>Rossi also raced with NAPA sponsorship for the double header round in Detroit one week after his success at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.</p> <p>On Wednesday, NAPA confirmed that it would be returning to sponsor Rossi in 2017, joining the American for seven events including the Indy 500 at the end of May.</p> <p>&quot;Confirming NAPA AUTO PARTS is the perfect way for us to start off 2017,&rdquo; Rossi said.&nbsp;&quot;NAPA is one of the most recognized brands in the U.S., and with over 6,000 stores, they touch every corner of our nation.</p> <p>&quot;In 2016, we had historic success together in the Verizon IndyCar Series, however there is still much more to accomplish. I&rsquo;m proud to have NAPA back on board the No. 98 and am motivated to carry our momentum together through 2017.&rdquo;</p> <p>&quot;NAPA is a storied, American brand and I couldn&rsquo;t be more proud to announce our partnership is continuing,&rdquo; added Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were pleased to have previously announced that Alexander will be returning for the full season, and now to be able to confirm that NAPA is back on board &ndash; what a great way for us to start 2017.</p> <p>&quot;Our relationship with NAPA came together quickly during our Month of May program last year, and it wasn&rsquo;t long before the partnership was written into history books. We can&rsquo;t wait to add a few more pages to history together.&rdquo;</p> <p>NAPA will also sponsor Rossi for rounds at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Indianapolis GP, Road America, Watkins Glen and Sonoma.</p> announces new multi-year Firestone contractTue, 17 Jan 2017 18:27:59 GMT<p><strong>The IndyCar series has announced a new multi-year contract extension with long-time tyre supplier Firestone.</strong></p> <p>The deal between IndyCar and Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BATO) means the Firestone brand continues to be the exclusive tyre supplier of the series.</p> <p>Firestone has been the sole provider of tyres for IndyCar since 2000 and has a long history in American open-wheel racing, with Alexander Rossi&rsquo;s 2016 Indianapolis 500 win being the tyre supplier&rsquo;s 67<sup>th</sup>.</p> <p>&quot;Firestone is part of the fabric of IndyCar and its commitment to evolving performance, innovation and safety in the Verizon IndyCar Series has been remarkable,&quot; Jay Frye, IndyCar president of competition and operations, said.</p> <p>&quot;The Firestone brand has been part of our sport for more than 100 years and continues to be an integral partner in the growth of IndyCar on and off the racetrack.&quot;</p> <p>A variety of changes have been introduced for the 2017 season when it comes to the Firestone tyres, with more sets being allocated per event.</p> <p>One set of the alternative (red-sidewall) tyre now has to be used in Friday practice at all street and road courses.</p> <p>The new IndyCar season kicks off on March 12 at St. Peterburg.</p> Foyt Racing confirms switch to Chevrolet power Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:31:26 GMT<p><strong>The AJ Foyt Racing team has announced it is switching to Chevrolet power and aero kits for the 2017 IndyCar season.</strong></p> <p>A move from Honda to Chevrolet engines has been rumoured for some time, but the news has finally become official after the team&rsquo;s announcement on Tuesday.</p> <p>It marks the first time since 2005 that Foyt&#39;s team has used Chevrolet power, having run Honda engines for 11 consecutive seasons.</p> <p>Chevrolet returned to IndyCar as an engine supplier in 2012. Foyt&#39;s switch had been expected in the aftermath of Ganassi&rsquo;s change from Chevrolet to Honda for 2017.</p> <p>Foyt will field Conor Daly and Carlos <span>Mu&ntilde;oz </span> this season; both drove with Honda engines in 2016, so will get their first taste of Chevrolet&rsquo;s power unit at the private Sebring test later this month.</p> <p>&quot;I am looking forward to what will be a new chapter for us that involves returning to an old friend in Chevrolet,&quot; Larry Foyt, team president, said.</p> <p>&quot;There are a lot of changes happening within our team this off-season and I won&rsquo;t minimize the challenges, but I see a lot of potential with our plan.&quot;</p> <p>Team owner, the legendary racing driver and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, added: &quot;I&rsquo;m glad to be back with Chevy. I&rsquo;ve had a lot of success with them in the past and I&rsquo;m looking forward to more success in the future.&quot;</p> Pigot returns to ECR for IndyCar street/road course eventsTue, 17 Jan 2017 15:11:48 GMT<p><strong>Spencer Pigot will return to the IndyCar Series in 2017 with Ed Carpenter Racing, joining the team for the 11 road and street course events on this year&rsquo;s calendar.</strong></p> <p>Pigot, 23, made his IndyCar debut last March with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at St. Petersburg, coming off the back of his Indy Lights title victory the previous year.</p> <p>After making three starts for RLL, including a run to 25th in the Indianapolis 500, Pigot joined Ed Carpenter Racing for the remaining street and road course races in 2016, with a best finish of seventh at Mid-Ohio.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Ed Carpenter Racing confirmed that Pigot would be returning for 2017, racing in the No. 20 car that will be manned by team owner Ed Carpenter for the oval rounds.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m very excited to be staying with Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2017 season,&quot; Pigot said.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a great feeling to know that I have a secure ride for all of the road and street course races so we can start preparing for the season now.</p> <p>&quot;I learned a lot in my rookie year and I&rsquo;m looking forward to the opportunity to build on that experience.</p> <p>&quot;I know I have the team around me to fight at the front and that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;ll be trying to do in 2017.&quot;</p> <p>ECR will field two cars through the 2017 campaign, with JR Hildebrand replacing Josef Newgarden in the full-season No. 21 entry following the American&#39;s move to Penske.</p> <p>The new IndyCar season will begin on March 12 with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.</p> hopeful of adding third manufacturer by 2019Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:41:03 GMT<p><strong>INDYCAR&rsquo;s President of competition and operations Jay Frye is hopeful of adding a third manufacturer to the IndyCar Series by 2019 as part of the championship&rsquo;s five-year growth plan.</strong></p> <p>IndyCar currently works with two manufacturers, Chevrolet and Honda, who supply engines and aerokits for the teams to use with the spec Dallara DW-12 chassis.</p> <p>A third OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] has not been present in the series since Lotus departed at the end of the 2012 season, but Frye is hopeful of bringing another major brand&nbsp;on board in the near future as part of IndyCar&rsquo;s five-year plan.</p> <p>&ldquo;When we talk about this five-year plan, one of our targeted goals is to recruit another OEM to come into INDYCAR,&rdquo; Frye said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our five-year plan, part of that was predicated on the wishes of OEMs or prospective OEMs, so what we think we&#39;ve done by coming up with this five-year plan with the universal kit is we&#39;ve eliminated some huddles for other OEMs to come in.</p> <p>&quot;Our two current partners are great, Chevrolet and Honda, and they have completely signed off on this program. They&#39;re participating in it. They&#39;re going to be part of the testing program.</p> <p>&quot;But simultaneously we also ran these ideas by other OEMs that aren&#39;t currently in the IndyCar Series because it would have not been very smart on our behalf to come up with this great five-year plan and then take it out to different OEMs and them be like, we don&#39;t want to do that, either.&rdquo;</p> <p>When asked for a timescale for a new manufacturer to join the series, Frye pointed to 2019 as being the most likely season for a third entry.</p> <p>&ldquo;&#39;18 would be a stretch. &#39;19 would be possible,&quot; he commented. &quot;But again, if somebody wanted to come in then we would do everything we could to accelerate it as quickly as we could.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Again, we have two great partners now with Chevrolet and Honda. There&#39;s a lot of things that would have to happen. There would have to be a lot of collaboration as part of that. They understand, and Chevy and Honda have been great.</p> <p>&quot;They understand it&#39;s important to the series and the league to have a third or fourth partner, and they&#39;re very actively participating in it with us.&rdquo;</p> unveils concept designs for 2018 aerokitsThu, 12 Jan 2017 18:54:38 GMT<p><strong>The IndyCar series has unveiled a series of initial concept designs for how the aerokits may look for the 2018 season.</strong></p> <p>IndyCar&rsquo;s president of competition and operations, Jay Frye, revealed the drawings at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.</p> <p>It hints at the basic direction of next year&rsquo;s aerokits, following the news of a contract extension for chassis manufacturer Dallara.</p> <p>IndyCar says further updates will be released at the 2017 pre-season test in Pheonix from the 10-11 February.</p> <p>The goal is to have a display car made and on show for the Indianapolis 500 in May, with the aim of testing in the summer months.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="600" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/01-12-NEW-2018-CAR-CONCEPT-SKETCHES-HIRES.jpg" width="750" /></p> <p>2017 is the third and final season of IndyCar&rsquo;s manufacturer-produced aerokits, with Honda and Chevrolet going head-to-head.</p> <p>The 2018 aerokit will be universal but there will be some development allowed in strictly controlled areas. &nbsp;</p> extends Dallara chassis contact through to 2020Thu, 12 Jan 2017 18:36:51 GMT<p><strong>The IndyCar series has announced a multi-year contract extension with chassis manufacturer Dallara through to the 2020 season.</strong></p> <p>The Italian company started working with IndyCar in 1997 and confirmed a new deal at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.</p> <p>Dallara will continue to supply IndyCar with driver safety cells through to the 2020 season, with the up-coming campaign marking its 20-year anniversary in US-based single-seater racing.</p> <p>&ldquo;Dallara&#39;s continued participation in our sport provides IndyCar and our competitors a tremendous amount of confidence,&rdquo; said IndyCar president of competition and operations, Jay Frye.</p> <p>&ldquo;Dallara has been an instrumental partner in the Verizon IndyCar Series for 20 years and we are excited to extend our relationship with them.&rdquo;</p> <p>Dallara president Giampaolo Dallara added: &ldquo;The signature of this contract is a natural extension of an intensive working relationship that has been continuing since 1997.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are pleased to continue to contribute to the great success that this series deserves.&rdquo;</p> <p>The new 2017 IndyCar season begins in St/ Petersburg on the 12 March.</p> Chaves joins line-up for 2017 Race of ChampionsSat, 17 Dec 2016 14:32:41 GMT<p><strong>IndyCar driver and 2014 Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves has been announced as part of Team Colombia at next year&rsquo;s Race of Champions.</strong></p> <p>The 23-year-old will partner former F1 driver and fellow IndyCar racer Juan Pablo Montoya for the Nations Cup competition in Miami on the 22 January.</p> <p>Having claimed the Indy Lights title, Chaves picked up Rookie of the Year in IndyCar in 2015 and raced seven times in the series for Dale Coyne Racing this year.</p> <p>He joins the line-up for the next Race of Champions event, that includes big names like Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg.</p> <p>Fellow IndyCar racers Montoya, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan and Alexander Rossi will also be in action and more drivers are expected to be announced ahead of the January event.</p> <p>The RoC takes place at Miami&rsquo;s Marlins Park over two days, with the individual competition on Saturday 21 January and the main Nations Cup event on the following day.</p> Chilton confirmed at Ganassi for second IndyCar seasonThu, 08 Dec 2016 12:44:57 GMT<p><strong>Former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton will remain in the IndyCar series with the Chip Ganassi team for a second season.</strong></p> <p>The British racer made his debut this year with Ganassi, scoring a best finish of seventh place in Phoenix.</p> <p>He picked up a best qualifying position of fourth at Iowa. Chilton finished his rookie IndyCar season in 19<sup>th</sup> place in the championship.</p> <p>Chilton made 35 race starts in F1 with the Marussia team during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.</p> <p>Following a solid first season in IndyCar, he has now been announced as Ganassi alongside an unchanged line-up of Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we were able to build a solid foundation in my rookie year in the Verizon IndyCar Series with the support of Gallagher and the team,&rdquo; Chilton said.</p> <p>&ldquo;The learning curve is very steep here and the field is separated by just a few seconds from top to bottom with really talented teams and drivers, which makes the competition incredibly close.</p> <p>&ldquo;Having a year of experience now to adapt to the car and learn all of the courses on the schedule is huge for us.</p> <p>&ldquo;Chip and [sponsor] Gallagher give us everything we need to be competitive and go out to contend for wins, so I&rsquo;m optimistic for the direction of the No. 8 Gallagher team heading into next season.&rdquo;</p> Servia to race in 2017 Indy 500 with Rahal Letterman LaniganWed, 07 Dec 2016 17:54:40 GMT<p><strong>Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has signed Oriol Servia for the 2017 Indianapolis 500, the team has announced.</strong></p> <p>There is the possibility of Servia making more outings for the RLL squad through the 2017 IndyCar season.</p> <p>It will be the Spaniard&rsquo;s ninth Indy 500 and fourth with the RLL team, following drives in 2009, 2014 and 2015.</p> <p>His best finish at the Indy 500 so far has been fourth place with Dreyer &amp; Reinbold in 2012, which followed his best starting position of third for Newman/Haas Racing in 2011.</p> <p>Servia finished 12<sup>th</sup> in last year&rsquo;s race. He has made 195 starts in CART, Champ Car and IndyCar since his rookie season in 2000.</p> <p>Alongside Indy 500 starts, he also recently competed in Formula E, racing in the first four rounds of the all-electric championship in 2014 for Dragon Racing.</p> Sato confirmed at Andretti Autosport for 2017 IndyCar seasonSun, 04 Dec 2016 19:12:02 GMT<p><strong>Andretti Autosport has confirmed the arrival of Takuma Sato for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, replacing Carlos Munoz.</strong></p> <p>Sato made his IndyCar debut back in 2010 with KV Racing before moving to A. J. Foyt Enterprises for 2013, where he won just his third race with the team at Long Beach.</p> <p>After a disappointing 2016 campaign that yielded just two top-five finishes, Sato parted company with Foyt at the end of the year, making way for Munoz and Conor Daly to join the team.</p> <p>The Honda-backed racer has now landed Munoz&#39;s old seat at Andretti, completing the four-car line-up for the American marque in 2017.</p> <p>&quot;I am extremely excited that we were able to work out a deal with Michael [Andretti] and Andretti Autosport,&rdquo; Sato said.</p> <p>&ldquo;With Honda an integral part of Andretti Autosport, it seemed like a great fit. The team has proven year after year that they are ultracompetitive on all types of circuits.</p> <p>&quot;Particularly the speed that team has shown in recent years at the Indy 500 were just incredible. I am also very impressed on how aggressively they have addressed their needs for 2017, and am really looking forward to working with my new environment and can&rsquo;t wait to get started.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I think joining the team will be a new and positive opportunity for Takuma,&rdquo; Andretti added. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not yet had the chance to be part of a larger team where the drivers collaborate; our four drivers and team of engineers working together has bred success for us in the past and has helped many drivers develop on track.</p> <p>&quot;Takuma has strong racing experience and we are looking forward to providing a team atmosphere where he can continue to grow, develop and be successful.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sato will race alongside Ryan Hunter-Reay and&nbsp;Marco Andretti at Andretti Autosport next year, with Alexander Rossi also featuring under the Andretti umbrella with Bryan Herta Autosport.</p> Daly, Carlos Munoz secure 2017 IndyCar seats with A. J. FoytTue, 15 Nov 2016 16:25:36 GMT<p><strong>Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz will join A. J. Foyt Enterprises for the 2017 IndyCar season, as confirmed by the team on Tuesday.</strong></p> <p>Following an underwhelming season in 2016 that yielded just two top-five finishes, the previous line-up of Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth has been overhauled ahead of the new season.</p> <p>Daly, 23, joins following his first full year in IndyCar with Dale Coyne Racing, where he produced a number of stand-out drives including a charge to second in Detroit.</p> <p>The former GP2 driver made his IndyCar debut with Foyt back in 2013 at the Indy 500, and has remained in contact with team boss and American open-wheel racing legend A. J. Foyt ever since.</p> <p>&quot;They gave me such an opportunity to get into the Verizon IndyCar Series,&rdquo; Daly said. &ldquo;They took a chance on me when Takuma couldn&rsquo;t get into the country for a test, they tested me.</p> <p>&quot;After that, they hired me to drive in the Indy 500. They paid me to drive when I was 21 and coming out of Indy Lights. It was a really cool programme to be a part of. They gave me my first taste and ever since then I&rsquo;ve had a really good relationship with them.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m certainly a very, very different driver compared to 2013. I&rsquo;m certainly much more ready to jump in and deliver. Thankfully, Dale Coyne gave me an opportunity to get my foot in the door and here we are. We make the progression to another team.</p> <p>&quot;Hopefully we can be here for a good amount of time. I&rsquo;d like to be with this team for more than a year. You have to take it as it comes day by day, but I&rsquo;m excited to at least get back to work and have a deal done sooner rather than later.&quot;</p> <p>Munoz, 24, spent three full seasons in IndyCar with Andretti Autosport and is a two-time Indianapolis 500 runner-up, and is relishing the chance to race with Foyt in 2017.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a new chapter in my life. I&rsquo;m really honored to be on this team,&rdquo; Munoz said. &ldquo;There were a lot of options and I know a lot of drivers called [team president]&nbsp;Larry Foyt. I think the best teammate is Conor. First, he&rsquo;s American. Fans really like him and he&rsquo;s a really good driver. He has experience.</p> <p>&ldquo;INDYCAR needs a change in generations and it&rsquo;s starting right now. We are both young and we are both really fast drivers, so I think it&rsquo;s a great combination for the team.&quot;</p> Lights champion Ed Jones joins Dale Coyne Racing in IndyCar for 2017Mon, 14 Nov 2016 22:05:54 GMT<p><strong>Dale Coyne Racing has signed 2016 Indy Lights champion Ed Jones, completing its IndyCar line-up for next year.</strong></p> <p>Jones, 21, made the move over to America in 2015 with Carlin in Indy Lights, finishing his debut season third in the final standings before winning the title in 2016.</p> <p>Along with the title, the Briton secured the Mazda Road to Indy scholarship that guaranteed him a place on the grid for at least three races, including the Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>However, Jones is set to complete the full season with Dale Coyne Racing, partnering&nbsp;Sebastien Bourdais following his move from KVSH Racing, with the deal being announced on Monday.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m hugely excited about stepping up to the Verizon IndyCar Series next year with Dale Coyne Racing,&rdquo; Jones said. &ldquo;To reach an agreement as early as we have done is great news as it gives me plenty of time to settle into the team and get to know everybody properly so we can prepare as well as possible for the season ahead.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> &ldquo;IndyCar has been my goal ever since I left Europe to come and race in America, and it&rsquo;s crazy to think I&rsquo;ll be joining the grid just two years after moving stateside.</p> <p>&quot;Together with my management team and sponsors, I&rsquo;ve worked so hard for this opportunity and I fully intend to grab it by the scruff of the neck and make the most of it.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 500 winner Alexander Rossi joins Race of Champions line-upMon, 07 Nov 2016 15:43:10 GMT<p><strong>2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi has joined the driver line-up for next January&rsquo;s Race of Champions in Miami.</strong></p> <p>The IndyCar driver has been confirmed alongside Red Bull Global Rallycross champion and former Formula 1 driver Scott Speed.</p> <p>Rossi claimed victory at the 100th&nbsp;running of the Indy 500 at his first attempt, driving for Andretti-Herta.</p> <p>The American finished 11th&nbsp;in this year&rsquo;s IndyCar standings, after his Indy 500 win and five further top 10 finishes. He picked up Rookie of the Year for 2016.</p> <p>He joins fellow Indy 500 winners Tony Kanaan, Juan-Pablo Montoya and Ryan Hunter-Reay on the driver line-up, alongside NASCAR champion Kurt Busch and GRC champion Speed.</p> <p>Other racers already confirmed include four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, F1 race winner Felipe Massa, World Rallycross champion Petter Solberg and Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen.</p> <p>This year&rsquo;s Race of Champions takes place in Miami, USA, from the 21-22 January 2017.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m honoured to be invited to race in this year&rsquo;s Race Of Champions,&rdquo; Rossi said. &ldquo;ROC is so well respected in motor sport, bringing together the best drivers from around the world and across every series.</p> <p>&ldquo;This international event is always ultra-competitive and I&rsquo;m looking forward to the competition and the very first US race venue in Miami.</p> <p>&ldquo;It will also be great to race with my Andretti Autosport team-mate, Ryan Hunter-Reay. I can assure you, neither of us will be holding back.&rdquo;</p> Hildebrand to return to IndyCar full-time in 2017 with Ed Carpenter RacingFri, 04 Nov 2016 14:42:03 GMT<p><strong>Ed Carpenter Racing has announced that JR Hildebrand will return to IndyCar full-time for the 2017 season, replacing Josef Newgarden in the #21 car following his move to Penske.</strong></p> <p>Hildebrand, 28, raced full-time with Panther Racing in IndyCar in 2010 and 2011, recording a best finish of second at the 2011 Indianapolis 500, and has worked with Ed Carpenter Racing through the month of May for the past three years.</p> <p>Hildebrand finished sixth in the 2016 Indy 500, and has also completed extensive testing for the team through 2016, but will now step up to a full-time race seat for next year.</p> <p>&quot;Honestly, I just couldn&rsquo;t be more ready to get started!&quot;&nbsp;Hildebrand said.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been close to, but still outside of, this role for long enough to really understand and embrace the opportunity to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time.&rdquo;</p> <p>&quot;The relationship I&rsquo;ve had with Ed Carpenter and ECR has honed my determination to get back in the seat because of how confident I feel in what we could do together. Now, I&rsquo;m here to make it happen. I feel like I&rsquo;ve got something to prove and can&rsquo;t think of a better place to do it.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We first started talking about this in 2013 and the timing has just now worked to give JR an opportunity to show what he can do with a full-time ride,&quot; team owner Ed Carpenter added.</p> <p>&quot;The job that he has done for the team each time we have put him in a car the past three years has proven to us that he is the right man for the job.</p> <p>&ldquo;Whether it has been his role with the team during the past three 500s or the testing he has done for us over the past two years, he consistently shows he deserves a full-time opportunity.&nbsp;I am confident that JR will shine in the 21 car and that ECR will continue to post the results we have grown to expect.&quot;</p> <p>Carpenter will return to the #20 ECR car for the six oval races in 2017, but the team is yet to decide on whether it will also retain the second entry for the street and road course events.</p> Pablo Montoya to compete in 2017 Indianapolis 500 with PenskeTue, 01 Nov 2016 14:59:08 GMT<p><strong>Juan Pablo Montoya has accepted an offer to compete in the&nbsp;Indianapolis 500 with Penske on a one-race deal, having been dropped from the team&#39;s line-up in favour of Josef Newgarden.</strong></p> <p>The Colombian will not compete in the IndyCar Series next year after being replaced by Newgarden, but has accepted an offer to race a fifth Penske entry during the next edition of the Indianapolis 500, team president Tim Cindric confirmed to <em>Autosport.</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I&#39;m pleasantly surprised that he took the Indy-only offer,&quot; commented Cindric. &quot;We were really honest with each other about what our different goals were and for a period it didn&#39;t align but I think this is a good situation for both of us.</p> <p>&quot;His first reaction was he wanted to run a full season with someone. He didn&#39;t want to leave the team but wanted to see what else was out there.</p> <p>&quot;At the end of last week he told me the best opportunity was to run Indy with Team Penske so if the offer still stood that is what he wanted to do.&quot;</p> <p>The addition of a fifth car sees Montoya line-up against&nbsp;Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Newgarden in what will be Penske&#39;s biggest Indy 500 line-up ever.</p> Bourdais back at Dale Coyne Racing for 2017 IndyCar seasonWed, 12 Oct 2016 17:46:25 GMT<p><strong>Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais will return to Dale Coyne Racing for the 2017 IndyCar season.</strong></p> <p>The French driver competed for Dale Coyne after heading back to single seater racing in North America in 2011, after his stint at the Toro Rosso Formula 1 team.</p> <p>He completed a partial programme with Dale Coyne, scoring several top 10 finishes before moving to Dragon Racing.</p> <p>For the last three seasons he has been driving for KVSH Racing, taking the team to four victories &ndash; winning once in 2014, twice in 2015 and once this year.</p> <p>Bourdais will now return to Dale Coyne for next year&rsquo;s IndyCar campaign. His running will start next week with a tyre test at Gateway Motorsports Park.</p> <p>&ldquo;Back in 2011, Dale was the one who gave me the opportunity to come back to IndyCar, and I&rsquo;m looking forward to a very exciting second stint with his team,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Thanks to Dale&rsquo;s leadership and unconditional commitment to the series, we have been able to assemble a great group of guys, including Olivier Boisson, my race engineer for the last three years, as well as my former lead engineer from the Newman/Haas Racing days, Craig Hampson.</p> <p>&ldquo;The addition of these two great minds and friends, to Dale Coyne Racing&rsquo;s existing group, will undoubtedly give me a great chance at running up front with a competitive car.</p> <p>&ldquo;I would like to thank Chevy and KVSH Racing for their support and trust in me over the last few years.</p> <p>&ldquo;Now, a new chapter has begun and it would not have been possible without Honda&rsquo;s commitment to our effort.&rdquo;</p> Kanaan to stay at Chip Ganassi for 2017 IndyCar seasonWed, 12 Oct 2016 08:56:56 GMT<p><strong>Tony Kanaan has re-signed with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2017 IndyCar season alongside team sponsor NTT Data.</strong></p> <p>This will be Kanaan&#39;s fourth season with the outfit and his first racing with Honda power following the <a href="">announcement that Ganassi will switch from Chevrolet</a> next year.</p> <p>&quot;We are very happy to re-sign Tony to drive the No. 10 for us, but are just as pleased to bring a great partner like NTT DATA back to the team,&quot; commented Chip Ganassi.</p> <p>&quot;Tony has played a strong role as one of the leaders of this team both on and off the track and we feel fortunate to have him back. NTT DATA has proved to be a fantastic partner in many different aspects of our organization.</p> <p>&quot;They are not only on our cars but they have also used their technological expertise to help in numerous other aspects of the race team.&nbsp;They have been with us for the last four years and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with them for years to come.&quot;</p> <p>The 2004&nbsp;IndyCar champion and 2013 Indy 500 winner added: &quot;I&rsquo;m thrilled to be back with Chip and NTT DATA &ndash; it&rsquo;s been one of the most rewarding partnerships of my career. It&rsquo;s been great having a partner in NTT DATA that is so committed to making our on-track performance as strong as it can be and I think it&rsquo;s really shown in our growth together over the last few years.</p> <p>&quot;Our 2016 season was strong, but our results didn&rsquo;t always reflect our performance and we definitely have some unfinished business heading into 2017.&quot;</p> Ganassi changes to Honda power for 2017 IndyCar seasonFri, 07 Oct 2016 20:01:25 GMT<p><strong>Chip Ganassi Racing has announced that it will switch from Chevrolet to Honda power for the 2017 IndyCar season.</strong></p> <p>The team last raced with Honda engines in 2013, before moving to Chevrolet for the next three IndyCar seasons.</p> <p>Chip Ganassi won four CART titles with Honda between 1996 and 1999, before adding four more to their tally in the IndyCar series from 2008 to 2011.</p> <p>Most recently, the team won the championship with Scott Dixon in 2013, before making the move to Chevrolet power.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had a long and successful relationship with Honda over the years and we look forward to getting it back on track,&rdquo; said team owner Chip Ganassi.</p> <p>&ldquo;I feel a little like I am going home after having previously spent 12 years with them. Much of our organization&rsquo;s success has been with Honda power in our cars, so we are all very excited.&rdquo;</p> <p>The team ran Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton this season, with all four looking set to remain Ganassi.</p> confirmed at Penske for 2017 IndyCar seasonWed, 05 Oct 2016 18:12:00 GMT<p><strong>IndyCar race winner Josef Newgarden will join Team Penske for the 2017 season, replacing Juan Pablo Montoya.</strong></p> <p>Last week Ed Carpenter Racing confirmed he would not remain at the team for a third season, after scoring three victories with ECR.</p> <p>Newgarden enjoyed a successful fifth full IndyCar season, finishing a career-best fourth and the highest placed non-Penske driver.</p> <p>Since ECR announced his departure, speculation has picked up pace over his 2017 plans and he was linked to a Penske seat.</p> <p>Now the team has revealed Newgarden will join Penske for next year, joining Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Helio Castroneves, and will drive the No.2 car.</p> <p>&ldquo;For any open-wheel racer &ndash; or any racecar driver in general &ndash; Team Penske is a dream job,&rdquo; he said on the team switch.</p> <p>&ldquo;Roger Penske is a legend in the motorsports community and his team has done just about everything they&rsquo;ve ever set out to do.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I look forward to working with all of Team Penske&rsquo;s great partners. To get an opportunity to work with Simon (Pagenaud), Will (Power) and Helio (Castroneves), along with the rest of the team, will just help make me a better driver.&rdquo;</p> Rossi to remain at Andretti for 2017 IndyCar seasonMon, 03 Oct 2016 19:53:18 GMT<p><strong>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi will remain at Andretti Autosport for the 2017 IndyCar season.</strong></p> <p>Having previously focused on racing in Europe in the GP2 series, Rossi made his IndyCar debut at the start of this season with Andretti.</p> <p>The American went on to win the Indy 500 and scored five further top 10 finishes, ending the year 11th&nbsp;in the drivers&rsquo; standings.</p> <p>Rossi was also named Rookie of the Year for 2016 in the IndyCar series. He has been retained for next year, with the entry being run as a joint programme between Andretti and Bryan Herta.</p> <p>&ldquo;What an incredible eight months this has been,&rdquo; Rossi said. &ldquo;From getting the opportunity to join the IndyCar Series in February, to winning the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May and now re-signing with Andretti Autosport.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am incredibly proud and grateful to be able to have the opportunity to work with a team of this caliber as we chase after more race wins and continue to make our mark in this amazing championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;I want to thank Michael [Andretti], JF [Thormann], Bryan [Herta] and Honda for the faith and trust they have in me to put the Andretti name at the front.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have a lot of work ahead of us and we are already completely focused on being back at the sharp end of the grid where we belong.&rdquo;</p> Carpenter Racing confirms Newgarden departure for 2017Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:17:33 GMT<p><strong>Ed Carpenter Racing has announced that Josef Newgarden will not be returning to the team for the 2017 IndyCar season.</strong></p> <p>This year marked his fifth full season racing in IndyCar, finishing a career-best fourth in the 2016 drivers&#39; standings.</p> <p>Newgarden has scored three race wins for the team over the last two seasons but it&#39;s been announced he will not return to ECR.</p> <p>&ldquo;While it&rsquo;s disappointing that Josef will not be returning, it&rsquo;s also not a total surprise after all of the speculation the past few weeks,&rdquo; team owner Ed Carpenter said in a statement.</p> <p>&ldquo;I wish Josef the best in his future endeavours, but also remain focused on ECR&rsquo;s continued success.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are positioned well moving into 2017 and I have total confidence that we will continue to deliver the high level of performance we expect as a team.&rdquo;</p> <p>ECR says it is now evaluating its options for the team for next season&rsquo;s driver line-up.</p> <p>Newgarden was the team&rsquo;s only full-time driver in 2016, with the team running Spencer Pigot seven times, J.R. Hildebrand twice and owner Carpenter five times.</p> Highlights of the 2016 IndyCar finale at SonomaTue, 20 Sep 2016 12:01:34 GMT<p><strong>Watch race highlights from the final round of the 2016 IndyCar season at Sonoma as Penske&rsquo;s Simon Pagenaud sweeps to victory and the drivers&rsquo; championship.</strong></p> Pagenaud claims IndyCar title with Sonoma victory as Power hits troubleMon, 19 Sep 2016 01:52:32 GMT<p><strong>Simon Pagenaud claimed his maiden Verizon IndyCar Series title on Sunday with victory at Sonoma Raceway as title rival and teammate Will Power hit trouble before half-distance.</strong></p> <p>Pagenaud entered Sunday&#39;s title showdown with a 44-point lead over Power in the drivers&#39; championship after taking pole, and managed to retain his lead at the start.</p> <p>Power moved up from fourth to third at Turn 1 before jumping Penske teammate Helio Castroneves by getting the undercut at the first round of pit stops, leaving only Pagenaud ahead.</p> <p>Pagenaud was unfazed by having his title rival behind, opening up an eight-second buffer in the lead-up to the second round of stops.</p> <p>Just before Penske planned to bring the race leader in, the title race took a decisive twist when Power began to slow coming out of Turn 7, as an&nbsp;issue with the clutch control unit reduced him to a crawl on-track.</p> <p>Power was able to return to the pits under a full course caution, losing seven laps on the leaders at the Penske crew tried to correct the issue on his car.</p> <p>While the Australian was able to get back out on-track, the damage had already been done, leaving Pagenaud to ease to his fifth win of the season and claim his maiden IndyCar series title.</p> <p>The championship success comes in Pagenaud&#39;s second season with Penske and fifth full campaign in IndyCar, having previously been named as the series&#39; Rookie of the Year back in 2012.</p> <p>A three-stop strategy combined with some late fuel saving saw Pagenaud cross the line just one second clear of Graham Rahal, who carved into the Frenchman&#39;s lead through the final stint but was unable to pass for the lead.</p> <p>Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the podium in what looks set to have been his final race for Penske ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay,&nbsp;while Alexander Rossi sealed the Rookie of the Year award by finishing fifth after running low on fuel on the last lap.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden finished the race sixth after fending off Helio Castroneves in the final stages, the Brazilian unsuccessfully trying to pull off a four-stop strategy. Marco Andretti enjoyed his best run in recent times to P8, with Charlie Kimball and Sebastien Bourdais rounding out the top 10.</p> Hunter-Reay signs IndyCar extension with Andretti until 2020Sun, 18 Sep 2016 21:12:36 GMT<p><strong>Ryan Hunter-Reay will remain with Andretti Autosport in the Verizon IndyCar Series until to the end of the 2020 season after a new deal was announced on Sunday.</strong></p> <p>Hunter-Reay has raced with Andretti in IndyCar since 2010, winning the series title in 2012 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2014, as well as claiming at least one victory in each season he has raced for the team so far.</p> <p>On Sunday ahead of the 2016 season finale at Sonoma, Andretti announced that Hunter-Reay had put pen to paper on a new four-year deal, taking him to the end of 2020.</p> <p>Hunter-Reay&#39;s previous contract had been due to expire at the end of 2017, leading to speculation that he could be set to move to either Penske or Chip Ganassi Racing.</p> <p>The deal will see Hunter-Reay retain the DHL sponsorship that has adorned his car since 2011 until the end of the contract, entrenching the partnership as one of the longest-running and most iconic in IndyCar&#39;s modern era.</p> <p>&ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t be happier about this announcement and the opportunity to continue with Andretti Autosport as an ambassador for DHL,&rdquo; Hunter-Reay said.</p> <p>&ldquo;These next four years will take us to nearly a decade-long relationship with DHL and a full 11 years with the team. We&rsquo;ve won 13 races together, the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Championship and we&rsquo;re going to do a lot more together.</p> <p>&quot;Over the years we have become more of a family than just a team and sponsor. I&rsquo;m proud to represent this group and this brand and am looking forward to the milestones yet to come.&quot;</p> Pagenaud on pole for IndyCar title decider at SonomaSun, 18 Sep 2016 10:30:11 GMT<p><strong>Simon Pagenaud boosted his hopes of a maiden Verizon IndyCar Series title by claiming pole position for Sunday&#39;s championship showdown at Sonoma Raceway.</strong></p> <p>Pagenaud headed up a Penske sweep of the top four positions in qualifying, breaking teammate and title rival Will Power&#39;s existing track record from 2015 before taking his seventh pole of the year with a lap of 1:16.2565. Power could only manage fourth place on the grid behind Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya.</p> <p>Pagenaud extended his lead over Power to 44 points after picking up the bonu&nbsp;points for pole, putting him in a strong position ahead of Sunday&#39;s race.</p> <p>&quot;It feels great. Most importantly up until now there was no thinking about the race, no thinking about the outcome. It was all about raw speed,&quot; Pagenaud said.</p> <p>&quot;We had good balance on the car. The first lap, put the red Firestone tyres on. I went on the radio and said, &#39;Wow, this is going to be good.&#39; We were able to replicate the lap time every time.</p> <p>&quot;Unbelievable that we could actually replicate the lap time in the Firestone Fast Six with used tires. Certainly I did everything I could by challenging every high-speed corners that I could. I was on the edge, but it was a really good lap.</p> <p>&quot;Super proud of these guys. The guys on the No. 22 team, seven poles this season, four wins. No matter what happens tomorrow, it&#39;s been an incredible season.&quot;</p> <p>2014 IndyCar champion Power admitted that his hopes of a second title now rest on an unpredictable race at Sonoma.</p> <p>&quot;That&#39;s all I could do in qualifying, that was everything I had and the car had,&quot; Power said. &quot;It&#39;s a long race. I think it&#39;s going to be a race of degradation. It&#39;s going to be really interesting the way the tyres go.</p> <p>&quot;Last thing we need now is a straightforward race because Simon will be tough to beat if that&#39;s the case. Honestly, I need to win the race to win the championship, and he has to have a bad day.&quot;</p> <p>Graham Rahal was the best non-Penske in fifth place for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, while Ryan Hunter-Reay made good on Andretti&#39;s impressive practice pace to qualify sixth. Outgoing champion Scott Dixon will start from seventh at Sonoma ahead of Alexander Rossi and Sebastien Bourdais, while Josef Newgarden rounded out the top 10.</p> <p><u><strong>2016 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma - Starting Grid</strong></u></p> <p>1. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:16.2565 (112.594)<br /> 2. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:16.4134 (112.362)<br /> 3. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 01:16.5400 (112.177)<br /> 4. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:16.6659 (111.992)<br /> 5. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:16.7149 (111.921)<br /> 6. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:16.9132 (111.632)<br /> 7. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 01:16.5700 (112.133)<br /> 8. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:16.5840 (112.112)<br /> 9. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 01:16.6115 (112.072)<br /> 10. (21) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:16.8142 (111.776)<br /> 11. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 01:16.8909 (111.665)<br /> 12. (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:16.9627 (111.561)<br /> 13. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 01:16.9481 (111.582)<br /> 14. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:16.9288 (111.610)<br /> 15. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:16.9661 (111.556)<br /> 16. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 01:17.0314 (111.461)<br /> 17. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 01:17.0823 (111.387)<br /> 18. (8) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:17.1310 (111.317)<br /> 19. (20) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 01:17.3052 (111.066)<br /> 20. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:17.1926 (111.228)<br /> 21. (18) Conor Daly, Honda, 01:17.6771 (110.535)<br /> 22. (19) RC Enerson, Honda, 01:17.3264 (111.036)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> gets aero kit development freeze for 2017, universal aero kits for '18Thu, 15 Sep 2016 10:47:38 GMT<p><strong>INDYCAR has announced a freeze on aero kit development for manufacturers Honda and Chevrolet ahead of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, before introducing&nbsp;universal aero kits for 2018.</strong></p> <p>Aero kits were first introduced to IndyCar in 2015, with Honda and Chevrolet supplying one specification&nbsp;for road courses, street tracks and short ovals, and a second for superspeedways.</p> <p>Ahead of this weekend&#39;s season finale at Sonoma, INDYCAR confirmed that aero kit development had been frozen with immediate effect after discussions with the series&#39; manufacturers, the hope being the move will spark further interest from OEMs.</p> <p>&quot;Today&#39;s announcement follows an extended dialogue with Chevrolet, Honda, our teams and stakeholders - this decision focused on what is best for the future of the Verizon IndyCar Series,&quot; said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations.</p> <p>&quot;This is an integral component to INDYCAR&#39;s long-term plan to continue to produce the highest quality of on-track competition while also positioning ourselves to add additional engine manufacturers.</p> <p>&quot;The 2018 car is a tremendous opportunity for INDYCAR and the design collaboration is already underway.&nbsp;The goal of the universal car is to be great-looking, less aero dependent, have more potential for mechanical grip/downforce and to incorporate all the latest safety enhancements.&quot;</p> Jones seals Indy Lights title, will get at least three IndyCar starts in 2017Mon, 12 Sep 2016 19:44:10 GMT<p><strong>Ed Jones is poised to enter at least three IndyCar races in 2017 after winning the Indy Lights series title on Sunday at Laguna Seca and a $1 million Mazda scholarship.</strong></p> <p>Jones entered the double-header weekend at Laguna Seca trailing title rival Santiago Urrutia by a single point before a second-place finish on Saturday saw him move seven points clear.</p> <p>Jones started Sunday&#39;s season finale from pole position, but lost the lead when Zach Veach swept through at Turn 3. Jones bailed out of defending his position, only to lose three more places.</p> <p>With Urrutia running second and Jones P5, the title rivals were tied on points as the laps counted down. If neither changed position, Urrutia would win the title on countback.</p> <p>Veach dominated the race to cross the line first ahead of Urrutia and Kyle Kaiser, but further back, Jones had been given the chance to make the title-winning move. Carlin teammate Felix Serralles opted to ease off on the final lap and allow the Briton to pass, leaving Jones to finish fourth and seal the title by two points.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s an incredible feeling right now. It&rsquo;s really a dream come true to know that I&rsquo;ll be driving an Indy car next year,&quot; Jones said.</p> <p>&quot;There&rsquo;s been so much hard work and we really deserve this championship. It&rsquo;s only the second year in America for myself and for the Carlin team, so to win this means so much.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m so happy to have this opportunity and to be able to show what I&rsquo;m made of.&quot;</p> <p>With the $1 million Mazda scholarship, Jones is ensured an entry to at least three IndyCar races in 2017 including the Indianapolis 500.</p> announces new testing restrictions for 2017 seasonFri, 09 Sep 2016 11:36:33 GMT<p><strong>IndyCar has announced new testing restrictions for the 2017 season, as it looks to cut costs for teams.</strong></p> <p>Four open tests will take place next year, with IndyCar teams also permitted one extra day of running between April 11 and September 17.</p> <p>The window for pre-season testing begins on October 3, with each IndyCar outfit permitted three test days between then and April 6 2017.</p> <p>The four open tests will take place at Phoenix from February 10-11, Barber Motorsports Park on March 21, Gateway on May 2 and at Sonoma on September 14, the same week as the 2017 finale.</p> <p>Meanwhile teams can earn extra test days by running a rookie driver (up to four additional days of testing) for the season, a current Indy Lights driver (one day) or running an Indy Lights team alongside its IndyCar one (one day).</p> <p>Any new teams entering the series will be allowed up to four additional days of testing, while tyre testing will take place at the request of Firestone &ndash; with any tyre tests limited to two days, with no more than two teams participating</p> <p>Chevrolet and Honda engine testing is limited to two days for each manufacturer in the off-season window.</p> <p>The number of tests for IndyCar teams in 2017 has come down in a bid to reduce costs, with more private test events on offer this year.</p> <p>&ldquo;We collaborated with all of our teams on the 2017 testing regulations with the goal of minimising the amount of in-season testing,&quot; said IndyCar president of competition and operations, Jay Frye.</p> <p>&ldquo;The majority of testing will take place at a series of open tests, which have been strategically routed to coincide with our race schedule.</p> <p>&ldquo;As we finalised our regulations, the focus was on making our test schedule more efficient and minimising the overall demands on the crews during the year.&rdquo;</p> Power cleared to race in IndyCar season finale after Watkins Glen crashWed, 07 Sep 2016 15:14:58 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has received medical clearance to race in the IndyCar season finale at Sonoma on September 18 after passing the concussion testing protocol on Tuesday.</strong></p> <p>Power&#39;s hopes of a second IndyCar Series title were dented following a clash with Charlie Kimball in Sunday&#39;s race at Watkins Glen, allowing Penske teammate and title rival Simon Pagenaud to extend his points lead.</p> <p>Power was taken to the medical centre at Watkins Glen following the incident where he was checked and released, but was not cleared to drive again after showing concussion-like symptoms. Power was forced to miss the first race of the season in St. Petersburg for the same reason.</p> <p>On Tuesday, INDYCAR issued a statement confirming that Power had now been cleared to race after undergoing tests at the University of Miami.</p> <p>&quot;Verizon IndyCar Series driver Will Power has been cleared to resume driving by Dr. Geoffrey Billows, INDYCAR medical director, after the Team Penske driver successfully passed concussion testing protocol today,&quot; the statement reads.</p> <p>&quot;Power was assessed today at the University of Miami&nbsp;Concussion Center under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Olvey, retired director of the Neuro-Critical Care Unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami who also served for 25 years as director of medical affairs with Championship Auto Racing Teams.</p> <p>&quot;During his examination, Power passed both the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and Vestibular/Ocular-Motor Screening (VOMS) exams.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Will is doing fine,&quot; Dr. Olvey said. &quot;He flew down to the University of Miami Concussion Center early this morning and we conducted two sophisticated tests to determine if he&#39;d suffered a concussion over the weekend, and he passed both of them with no issue whatsoever.&quot;</p> <p>Power will fight with Pagenaud for the title at Sonoma on September 18, knowing he realistically has to win the race to stand any chance of winning the championship.</p> Highlights of the 2016 IndyCar race at Watkins GlenMon, 05 Sep 2016 21:36:48 GMT<p><strong>Watch race highlights from the 2016 IndyCar race at Watkins Glen, which was won by Chip Ganassi Racing&rsquo;s Scott Dixon &ndash; his fourth victory at the track.</strong></p> Dixon dominates for fourth Watkins Glen IndyCar victorySun, 04 Sep 2016 22:07:44 GMT<p><strong>Scott Dixon picked up his fourth IndyCar victory at Watkins Glen International on Sunday with a masterclass in both outright pace and fuel saving to leave the field trailing in his wake.</strong></p> <p>Dixon dominated practice at Watkins Glen before taking pole position on Saturday after edging out Will Power in the Fast Six shootout, and managed to hold his lead on the run down to Turn 1.</p> <p>Dixon opened up a healthy buffer to Power behind before perfectly timing his first pit stop, coming in just before a full course yellow was called following a tyre blow-out for Mikhail Aleshin.</p> <p>Dixon was able to pull away from the pack thanks to Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Max Chilton running second and holding the field back, ensuring his teammate could make up the time lost under the caution.</p> <p>The title race took a twist on lap 40 when Power crashed out of the race following a clash with Charlie Kimball. Power entered the Watkins Glen weekend trailing Penske teammate and title rival Simon Pagenaud by 28 points in the standings, with both dropping outside of the top 10 under the first caution period.</p> <p>Coming up the hill from Turn 4 and towards the Bus Stop chicane, Power tried to defend his position from Kimball, only to push the Ganassi driver onto the grass. Kimball bounced across the grass and into Power, sending him into the wall and out of the race. Although Power was checked and released from the medical centre, INDYCAR medical officials have not yet cleared him to race after showing concussion-like symptoms.</p> <p>The majority of the field dived into the pits under the caution to make a final pit stop, although with 18 laps to run until the chequered flag, the fuel numbers were tight. Most started to lift and coast early in the final stint, but Dixon simply pushed on at the front.</p> <p>After completing the final few laps almost two seconds quicker each time than his rivals,&nbsp;Dixon crossed the line to score his second win of the season and fourth at Watkins Glen, finishing 16 seconds clear.</p> <p>The final lap saw a litany of drivers run short on fuel, allowing Josef Newgarden to pounce and finish second for Ed Carpenter Racing. Helio Castroneves completed the podium for Penske ahead of Conor Daly, who claimed an impressive fourth-place finish for Dale Coyne Racing.</p> <p>Sebastien Bourdais crossed the line fifth for KVSH Racing and even gave James Hinchcliffe a lift to the pit lane after the Canadian&#39;s car conked out before the final corner, having run second just moments earlier. Kimball survived a frenetic race to finish sixth.</p> <p>Pagenaud ended up seventh, meaning he heads into the final double points round at Sonoma with a 43-point advantage over Power. As a result, a fourth-place finish at the California venue will be enough to clinch him a maiden IndyCar title.</p> <p>Alexander Rossi was unable to repeat his Indy 500 fuel save escapades, finishing eighth, while RC Enerson made a huge impression in just his second IndyCar race to finish ninth ahead of Max Chilton.</p> Dixon takes pole, new lap record in Watkins Glen IndyCar qualifyingSat, 03 Sep 2016 21:25:17 GMT<p><strong>Scott Dixon stormed to his second pole position of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a new lap record at Watkins Glen during qualifying on Saturday afternoon.</strong></p> <p>Dixon saw off a challenge from IndyCar drivers&#39; title fighter Will Power late on in the Fast Six shootout to take pole, recording a fastest lap time of 1:22.5259.</p> <p>Power was left to settle for second place for the start of the race, finishing four-hundredths of a second down, but was fortunate to qualify so highly after initially missing out on a place in the final stage of qualifying.</p> <p>Penske driver Power had initially been eliminated in the second leg of qualifying after finishing seventh, only for Mikhail Aleshin to lose his two fastest laps for blocking Juan Pablo Montoya, handing the Australian a reprieve.</p> <p>Power had originally been set to sit out the final session alongside championship leader and teammate Simon Pagenaud, who missed out on the Fast Six for the first time in 2016. The Frenchman will start seventh on Sunday.</p> <p>Sebastien Bourdais qualified third for KVSH Racing ahead of Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan, while Max Chilton enjoyed his best qualifying run on a road course to date, finishing sixth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Onboard IndyCar lap of Watkins GlenSat, 03 Sep 2016 11:10:53 GMT<p><strong>Ride onboard with Ed Carpenter Racing&#39;s Spencer Pigot as he tackles the Watkins Glen circuit, which returns to the IndyCar calendar after a five-year break.</strong></p> becomes exclusive brake supplier to IndyCar from 2017Fri, 02 Sep 2016 19:13:17 GMT<p><strong>Performance Friction Corporation has been named as IndyCar&#39;s exclusive brake supplier from the 2017 season, replacing Brembo.</strong></p> <p>Following a successful test earlier&nbsp;this year, PFC and INDYCAR signed a multi-year agreement starting next season, expanding on&nbsp;the supplier&#39;s current commitments in the Mazda Road to Indy support series.</p> <p>&quot;Earlier this season the majority of our teams tested the PFC brake package and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive,&quot; INDYCAR president of competition and operations Jay Frye said.</p> <p>&quot;PFC has a long history of building outstanding performance products that we expect to be a great benefit to the competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series.&nbsp;We&#39;re excited to kick off this partnership with PFC and appreciate all their efforts and commitment to INDYCAR.&quot;</p> <p>PFC president Nina Burgoon added: &quot;INDYCAR has always been close to our hearts at PFC.&nbsp;We are excited and honored that this long-awaited partnership is now a reality. PFC is committed to providing the best-performing package for the car and is thankful for the opportunity INDYCAR has given us to exceed their expectations.&quot;</p> leads the way in IndyCar first practice at Watkins GlenFri, 02 Sep 2016 18:05:18 GMT<p><strong>Chip Ganassi Racing&rsquo;s Scott Dixon set the pace in opening practice for IndyCar&rsquo;s return to the Watkins Glen circuit.</strong></p> <p>The reigning IndyCar champion put in a 1m24.128 to go fastest in the 55-minute session, which was extended by 10 minutes due to a red flag.</p> <p>The stoppage was caused by a crash for Conor Daly at Turn 6 after hitting water on a kerb from overnight rain.</p> <p>Sebastien Bourdais finished three tenths behind Dixon in second place, with Will Power and Tony Kanaan next up.</p> <p>Firestone 600 winner Graham Rahal was fifth, with Penske&rsquo;s Juan Pablo Montoya and Ed Carpenter Racing&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden next.</p> <p>Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi rounded out the top 10 in practice one.</p> <p>Charlie Kimball, Max Chilton, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato were classified in positions 11 to 14, ahead of James Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>Spencer Pigot, sporting a new livery for the final two races of the 2016 season with branding from Samsung, was 16<sup>th</sup>.</p> <p>Rookie RC Enerson, Mikhal Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth, Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz were next on the timesheets. Daly managed just four laps and finished 22<sup>nd</sup>.</p> Chilton to race with James Hunt tribute helmet design at Watkins GlenThu, 01 Sep 2016 22:10:52 GMT<p><strong>Max Chilton will pay tribute to 1976 Formula 1 world champion James Hunt this weekend with a special helmet design for IndyCar&#39;s return to Watkins Glen.</strong></p> <p>Ex-F1 driver Chilton joined Chip Ganassi Racing at the beginning of the 2016 season after finishing fifth in Indy Lights last year. The Briton has recorded a best result of P7 so far in IndyCar.</p> <p>For the penultimate race of the season at Watkins Glen, Chilton will race with a helmet design that pays tribute to Hunt, running a similar colour scheme and with Chilton&#39;s name in bold print on either side.</p> <p>Hunt won the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in 1976 during his championship year, beating Jody Scheckter and fierce rival Niki Lauda.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Big thanks to the &quot;James Hunt Foundation&quot; for allowing me to do this helmet!<br /> 🎨 = <a href="">@JasonFowlerJLF</a><br /> 📸 = <a href="">@mike_levitt</a><br /> 🇬🇧 <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; M A X Chilton (@maxchilton) <a href="">September 1, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>&nbsp;</p> Enerson confirmed at Dale Coyne Racing for final two IndyCar racesThu, 01 Sep 2016 17:39:05 GMT<p><strong>RC Enerson will compete for Dale Coyne Racing in the final two IndyCar races of the 2016 season at Watkins Glen and Sonoma.</strong></p> <p>The American driver made his IndyCar debut with the team at Mid-Ohio, finishing the race in 19th&nbsp;place, and will race alongside Conor Daly.</p> <p>He spent 2015 competing in Indy Lights, finishing fourth in the championship, and raced in the series at the start of this year.</p> <p>Enerson impressed on his IndyCar debut but ran out of fuel coming into the pits, dropping one lap down and eventually crossing the line 19th&nbsp;overall.</p> <p>He is looking forward to competing in the final two rounds of the IndyCar season and is looking to build on the progress made on his debut weekend.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we have a good weekend ahead of us,&rdquo; he said. &quot;We were really quick in testing; we seem to have pretty good cars.</p> <p>&ldquo;We still need to work a little bit more, but we should be able to dial in the car in practice before qualifying and that should put us in a pretty good spot.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m just looking forward to getting back in the car. I think the track layout is pretty cool, it has a bit of a Mid-Ohio taste to it almost because of all the elevation changes and a lot of high-speed, flowing corners.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think my objective for the weekend is pretty much the same thing as Mid-Ohio, to pull as much experience as I can from this and do my best and see what kind of result I can bring home.&rdquo;</p> Hinchcliffe's car fails post-race IndyCar checks in TexasThu, 01 Sep 2016 17:19:57 GMT<p><strong>James Hinchcliffe&rsquo;s car failed post-race checks after the Firestone 600 in Texas, with his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team picking up penalties.</strong></p> <p>His IndyCar entry was found to be in violation of rule of the IndyCar rules, relating to domed skid wear.</p> <p>Schmidt Peterson Motorsports was handed a $20,000 fine and both the team and Hinchcliffe were docked 25 points for the regulations breach.</p> <p>Hinchcliffe was beaten by just 0.008 seconds by Graham Rahal to the Firestone 600 victory, in the rescheduled race.</p> <p>&ldquo;In our post-race analysis this week it was determined the skid plate on the No. 5 entry was worn and in violation of our rules,&quot; said IndyCar president of competition and operations, Jay Frye.</p> <p>&quot;This was both a performance advantage and a safety concern, as the domed portion of the skid had been ground down to the point it would have been ineffective.&quot;</p> <p>The points deduction drops Hinchcliffe one spot to ninth in the IndyCar championship, with two rounds left to go.</p> Firestone 600 IndyCar race highlightsMon, 29 Aug 2016 11:24:48 GMT<p><strong>Watch race highlights from the postponed Firestone 600. The first part of the race took place in June before rain caused it to be rescheduled. The remainder of the Texas race took place on Saturday night, with Graham Rahal just beating James Hinchcliffe to victory after a thrilling final five laps. </strong></p>