Penske, Ganassi drought highlight stats out of Long Beach

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We mentioned earlier today that top 10s in either qualifying or the race in the IZOD IndyCar Series have been spread around the grid fairly evenly. Here are some other stats of note beyond the top 10 disparity numbers:

  • Entrants from Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing (right) have been shut out of victory lane since Sonoma last year, when Ryan Briscoe won. That’s only a stretch of five races in between, but is the longest such streak since open wheel unification in 2008 (four in a row last year from Texas through Toronto was the longest).
  • Tristan Vautier took the first 10-spot grid penalty of the year. Coincidentally, his teammate Simon Pagenaud was the first victim of it last year at St. Petersburg. Long Beach last year had 12 grid penalty victims as all Chevrolet teams and a handful of Lotus runners performed unapproved engine changes.
  • Long Beach’s podium finishers from A.J. Foyt Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Dale Coyne Racing represented the first race under IndyCar sanction to not have a driver from Penske, Ganassi or Andretti since Motegi 2003. The last Champ Car race, Will Power’s Long Beach win in 2008, featured a podium made up of entrants from KV Racing Technology and the now-defunct Forsythe Pettit and Pacific Coast Motorsports teams (Franck Montagny and Mario Dominguez).
  • And, lastly, Brazil will mark the one-year anniversary of Power’s last win. Who would have thought that was possible last April?

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

SMP Racing
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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.