Wolff unconcerned by lack of racing

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Susie Wolff is unconcerned by her lack of competitive racing this season as she focuses on testing duties for Williams F1 Team.

Over the years, many drivers have stagnated whilst in the test driver role, but Wolff defended her decision to quit German touring car series DTM at the end of last season.

“I’m so focused on my work with Williams that there really isn’t the capacity to do anything else,” Wolff explained to Richland F1. “I’m the kind of person who when I do something, I do it to the best of my ability.”

Wolff was also pleased to being playing a part in the development of the FW35, in a support role to full time drivers Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas.

“I have quite a lot on my shoulders and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of the team. The aero testing is important work and there isn’t anyone else apart from the race drivers who can do that work, so I feel quite a responsibility helping the people at Grove who are building those cars that I’ve got my part in the process right as well.”

At the beginning of the season, Wolff set herself the target of securing her FIA superlicense during 2013, but these plans have been shelved for the time being.

“At the start of the season the guys are very focused on getting back to where we should be, so nobody is really interested in talking about what we’re going to be doing in the mid-year tests yet. There’s a lot more important work to be done. I’ve got two aero tests lined up to do so that’ll be the next focus.”

Williams will be working hard behind the scenes to rectify their poor start to the season, and it is likely that Wolff will be playing a big part in this. If she can secure her superlicense in the near future, it may not be long until Formula One has a full time female driver on the grid.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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