Teams looking for Gen-6 knowledge in Vegas test

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Las Vegas Motor Speedway will open up one day early for an Sprint Cup Open Test session tomorrow, giving drivers and teams an opportunity to learn more about the Generation 6 cars.

The lighter, sleeker Gen-6 cars – which were designed to improve the racing products on intermediate tracks such as LVMS – continue to be a riddle for everyone in the garage. So far, the new cars have put on two relatively subpar shows at Daytona and Phoenix (with Denny Hamlin being particularly pointed in his comments on the subject after the latter race), but at the same time, the learning process remains ongoing.

That, as well as 1.5-mile tracks like LVMS making up the bulk of the calendar, makes Thursday’s test so important for the teams.

“It will help us a ton,” Stewart-Haas Racing crew chief Steve Addington said to NASCAR.com after last weekend’s event at Phoenix. “It’s just learning. It’s going to take us a few races, I think. The Las Vegas test will help (but) it won’t tell us what will happen when we get 43 cars out there again.

“We need to try to get some time to run with a couple of cars and see…how it affects the car on the mile-and-a-half tracks. We’ve got teammates; we can get out there with three cars and see what it does to the cars. We’ve got to use that.”

Teams were able to gain some initial knowledge on the Gen-6 cars at another 1.5-mile oval, Charlotte Motor Speedway, this past January.

As for tomorrow’s test at Vegas, it is expected to run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PT, and the session will be free and open to the public.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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