Viso posts strong rebound in St. Pete

1 Comment

EJ Viso rebounded from a difficult start to his St. Petersburg weekend to score a top-10 finish, nearly a top-five, in his first start with Andretti Autosport.

Viso, who is in his sixth IndyCar season but first under the Team Venezuela/Andretti/HVM banner, had something break on the car in Saturday morning practice that sent him into the wall and left the team scrambling to repair the car.

“We screwed him up on Saturday,” said Viso’s team principal Michael Andretti. “We made the mistake with something in the practice, and then also in qualifying it was a mistake on his car. He didn’t deserve to be where he was on the grid.”

But from 22nd on the grid, Viso methodically worked forward and edged past Justin Wilson late in the going for seventh, and nearly eclipsed Scott Dixon and Simona de Silvestro on the last lap.

It flew under the radar in the face of teammates James Hinchcliffe winning and Marco Andretti scoring a surprise podium finish, but was no less of an accomplishment.

“He kept his head today and drove a really good race,” Michael Andretti said. “I saw a very smart race. He was very aggressive, and there’s times where maybe the ‘old Viso’ would have kept going there, but he was backing off, really used his head and drove a good race.”

Viso, understandably, appreciated his team’s resiliency throughout the weekend and was one of the stars of the race.

“I am extremely happy finishing seventh after a very difficult beginning of the weekend with so many mechanical issues in the practice and qualifying,” Viso said. “It’s been tough to survive and make it to here, but the team did a great job to get me a very competitive car and give me all the tools to stay battling in the field.”

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

SMP Racing
Leave a comment

SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.