Alonso reminds Ferrari 2013 comes first

1 Comment

Fernando Alonso does not want his Ferrari team being distracted from this year’s championship campaign by the need to prepare for next year’s new engine rules.

The scale of the changes set to hit F1 next year have been described as a “tsunami” by one technical director. Ferrari aren’t the only team who have a separate part of their team dedicated to working on the 2014 car and engine.

But Alonso, who begins his fourth season at Ferrari this year, is anxious that the team doesn’t get preoccupied with the 2014 car too soon.

“You cannot test anything on the 2013 car that will be useful for the 2014 season,” he pointed out. “You cannot use Fridays to test the turbo, so you will need to continue working on the 2013 season.”

Alonso said the only circumstances Ferrari might switch their focus to 2014 early is if they have a poor start to the season – something he does not want to think about:

“It will be difficult to come to the middle part of the season and give up,” he said. “That will only happen if you are 50 or 60 points behind the leader.”

“That is something we don’t wish to contemplate, and if we do come to that point then it will be better to concentrate on 2014.”

The decision when to halt work on the 2013 car and switch all efforts to 2014 is one all the teams will have to grapple with. But it’s especially crucial for Ferrari as one of F1’s two chassis-and-engine manufacturers.

Mercedes, the only other team in this position, clearly see 2014 as an opportunity to make gains and have already shown off a version of their new V6 engine.

IMSA: CJ Wilson Racing to enter WeatherTech Championship

Photo courtesy of IMSA
Leave a comment

CJ Wilson Racing, a championship winning team in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, is set to join the ranks of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team will make its IMSA debut during testing this week at Sebring International Raceway and will campaign an Acura NSX GT3 in the GT Daytona class.

Marc Miller and Till Bechtolsheimer are scheduled to handle the driving duties during the Sebring test, and a third driver, to be named at a later date, will join them for their debut race at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17.

“As a young kid watching IMSA races, it was always my dream to race in the premier sports car series,” said team owner and former MLB all-star pitcher Wilson. “It looks like I still have some time before I race in (the) WeatherTech (Championship, as a driver) but I’m happy for Marc and Till to take on the toughest track in the country in the NSX.”

Wilson continued, “We have been aiming to get into this paddock for years but now the real fight begins to see what we can do against the much more experienced teams. So, we felt like, hey, if we’re going to go in and spend X-amount of dollars, maybe we’re better off spending that in GTD, getting our feet wet, and taking a real run at this and being where we want to be, which is having a chance to compete with the best teams in the Western Hemisphere.”
In addition to Sebring, the team will contest the other two rounds of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup – the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the Motul Petit Le Mans – with plans to add additional events, as team manager Andris Laivins explained.
“Right now, the plan is to run the remainder of the Patrón NAEC, and hopefully add on a couple other rounds as we go,” Laivins detailed. “Last fall, as we approached Thanksgiving, it became clear that putting a proper effort on track for the Roar and Daytona was going to be tough, and the last thing you want to do is show up to the biggest race of the year unprepared, so we made the tough choice to sit it out and keep working.”
CJ Wilson Racing’s IMSA efforts date back to 2010, when the team debuted in the Mazda MX-5 Cup as well as what is now called the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The team went on to win a championship in 2015, in the Street Tuner class of the Continental Tire Challenge.
The team currently fields Porsches in the Continental Tire Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class. Wilson himself has also been an IMSA competitor as a driver, most recently competing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series last year.