It’s hard not to feel for Michel Jourdain Jr. this Monday. Jourdain was the only driver who failed to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500, as he battled an ill-handling car all week for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Jourdain is one of the nicest, most genuine people in the IndyCar community, and he has been a great friend for many of the veterans from his full-time years spent in CART from 1996 through 2004.
He won twice in the 2003 CART series, driving for Bobby Rahal, and finished third in the championship, ahead of such luminaries as Sebastien Bourdais, Alex Tagliani, Oriol Servia, Jimmy Vasser, and then-rookie and current IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Indy has bitten some of open-wheel racing’s most successful drivers in qualifying. Just since 2008, the year of open-wheel unification, race winners in CART or the IRL who have failed to qualify include Hunter-Reay, Mike Conway and Patrick Carpentier (2011), Paul Tracy and Jaques Lazier (2010), Tagliani and Buddy Lazier (2009) and Mario Dominguez and Max Papis (2008).
It was no surprise, then, that tweets of support flowed in for Jourdain throughout Sunday and into Monday from the veterans who raced against Jourdain in his full-time years and a year ago at Indy, when he made a comeback to the 500 after a 16-year hiatus.
Dario Franchitti (@dariofranchitti): Please spare a though for our friend @MichelJourdain who through no fault of his own missed the race toady.. Feel bad for him and his team
Sebastien Bourdais (@BourdaisonTrack): @MichelJourdain I feel for you bud. You didn’t deserve that. I hope to see you around soon and back next year.
Scott Dixon (@scottdixon9): @dariofranchitti @MichelJourdain feel really bummed for ya mate! Your a top man!
Ryan Hunter-Reay (@ryanhunterreay): Feeling for @MichelJourdain, keep your head up buddy. Not much you could’ve done. You’re only as fast as the horse you’re riding.
Graham Rahal (@grahamrahal): Good day for us, bad day for our team. Feeling for @MichelJourdain. His car simply wasnt right. I drove it w/ my setup and it was terrible.
Jimmy Vasser (@jimmyvasser): Well said RT @dariofranchitti: Please spare a though for our friend @MichelJourdain who through no fault of his own missed the race toady..
As the countdown to the beginning of Formula 1 pre-season testing in Barcelona continues, McLaren has followed Ferrari’s lead by releasing an audio snippet of its 2016 car being fired up for the first time.
McLaren enters the new year hoping to bounce back from a miserable 2015 campaign that was marred by struggles with its Honda power unit, limiting drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button to just 27 points across the course of the season.
The crew at Woking has been working tirelessly over the winter to get the new car, the MP4-31, ready for the new season, and everything now appears set for the first pre-season test in Barcelona.
On Sunday, McLaren released a short audio snippet of the car being fired up at its base ahead of its official unveil on February 21.
Veteran NHRA Funny Car driver Gary Densham has been hurtling down drag strips for more than 30 years.
Saturday, the 69-year-old Densham had the best day of his career — and one of the worst, at the same time.
The Southern California native was making a qualifying run during the season-opening Circle K Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.
The good news for Densham: he ran a career-best 4.050 seconds in his Dodge Charger, qualifying 11th in the 16-car field for Sunday’s eliminations.
The bad news: the parachutes on his Funny Car failed to deploy and Densham ran head-on into a catchfence at the end of Auto Club Raceway’s short runoff area. While Densham’s car was destroyed, he walked away uninjured.
And that’s the best news of all.
Check out the video and then some tweets about the incident and the day, including visits by former IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and Tommy Lee of rock group Motley Crue:
Haas Formula 1 Team has confirmed its running order for the upcoming pre-season test sessions in Barcelona, Spain.
NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas’ new F1 team will grace the grid in 2016 after two years of preparation, with the covers being taken off its car on the morning of the first test on February 22 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Romain Grosjean will be the first driver to head out on-track in a Haas F1 car, completing all of the running on February 22.
Teammate Esteban Gutierrez will then get his first taste of the car the following day, with the two drivers then alternating duties for the final two days of the opening test.
Gutierrez will enjoy both of the first two days of running at the second test (March 1-2) before handing back over to Grosjean for days three and four in Barcelona.
“The first thing for the test is to get the car to run and to work well from there. Hopefully, we can get a lot of mileage,” Grosjean said.
“This is a new team, so we need to get everyone to work together, all the engineers, mechanics and the drivers. We need to get as much data and knowledge as we can.
“It’s important to get the reliability sorted as early as possible because we don’t get much testing and we’re going straight to Melbourne.”
Haas F1 Team driver line-up for first Barcelona test (February 22-25)
Monday February 22: Grosjean
Tuesday February 23: Gutiérrez
Wednesday February 24: Grosjean
Thursday February 25: Gutiérrez
Haas F1 Team driver line-up for second Barcelona test (March 1-4)
Tuesday March 1: Gutiérrez
Wednesday March 2: Gutiérrez
Thursday March 3: Grosjean
Friday March 4: Grosjean
Romain Grosjean felt pleased with his first simulator run in the new Haas Formula 1 car ahead of its on-track debut in Barcelona on February 22.
NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will take his F1 operation onto the grid this season after two years of preparation, with Grosjean joining ex-Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez at the team for its maiden campaign.
Ahead of the car’s first on-track run at the beginning of pre-season testing in Spain later this month, Grosjean has completed some laps in it using a simulator, and reported that the initial feedback was positive.
“The impressions were quite good, even if in the beginning it was necessary to resolve a lot of small technical problems such as turbo lag, the energy recovered under braking, etc,” Grosjean told L’Equipe.
“The morning was spent doing this. But once everything was settled we had the opportunity to run extensively in the afternoon.
“I think the car’s baseline appears to be good. We now know the simulator corresponds to the windtunnel, but the differences with what we find in reality are sometimes huge – at Lotus for example, the car changed dramatically between track and simulator.”
Haas will lift the covers off its first F1 car on Monday 22 February ahead of the initial on-track running later that day.