The IZOD IndyCar Series is in the midst of a needed – if perhaps ill-timed – break after a stretch of nine races in nine weekends, with only one off weekend (June 28-30) in-between the end of May and July 12-14 in Toronto.
So while news is at a bit of a crawl, there’s still a few other tidbits to note:
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has made a not unexpected engineering change to Graham Rahal’s No. 15 Dallara-Honda. Gerry Hughes has been reassigned to be the team’s Head of Development, with ex-Dragon Racing hand Neil Fife stepping in as Rahal’s new engineer. The team has also added Mitch Davis as crew chief to prepare both Rahal’s and James Jakes’ entries. Jakes will continue with engineer Eddie Jones. Both teams have struggled to nail the setup this season, with only sporadic leading pace and results.
Alex Tagliani in a beaver suit? Believe it. The affable Canadian of Barracuda Racing will don a beaver costume and ride around the Indiana State Fair on a tricycle after a two-week online charity fundraiser versus Scott Dixon. Tagliani raised nearly for $6,000 Anaphyaxis Canada, an organization that helps people with life-threatening allergies, in the Power of 2 initiative. He was second to Dixon’s $7,036, which was raised for two groups that focus on cancer-stricken young people (CanTeen and Teens Living with Cancer). More details here from the official IndyCar website.
WIX Filters will join the joint DRR – SH Global Rallycross effort at the 2013 X Games in Los Angeles. The program was announced in June but driver and car details have yet to be determined for the IndyCar team that’s currently on hiatus from full-time participation.
Scuderia Ferrari has taken the wraps off its 2017 chassis as the launch week continues for this year’s Formula 1 cars.
Despite the loss of technical director James Allison to Mercedes and after going through an underwhelming, winless 2016 season – at least by Ferrari standards – the team looks for a bounce back this year to coincide with the new regulations.
The renamed SF70H, which follows on last year’s SF16-H, was revealed online in a quick video without any buildup or dialogue from any of the key team stakeholders.
Noticeable on this car is the shark fin element, again with a winglet on the top of it.
The launch is the first of two today, with McLaren’s reveal of the MCL32 coming in a couple hours.
It seems to be the winter of all-stars from other racing disciplines testing in IndyCar.
Today Ricky Taylor joined the list of those stars from the closed-top sports car or touring car world on the winter IndyCar test list, with a one-off guest test for Team Penske in defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud’s No. 1 PPG Chevrolet.
The older of two Taylor brothers, who completed a star turn at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona en route to delivering the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R an overall win with brother Jordan, Max Angelelli and Jeff Gordon, made his maiden laps at the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course.
Chevrolet and General Motors extended the test offer to Ricky Taylor for this opportunity. Fittingly for Pagenaud, it’s the second time in not even a year he’s given up his seat to another member of either the GM or Penske family; Brad Keselowski made a similar out-of-nowhere one-off test at Road America last year.
“Every driver dreams to be an Indy car driver,” Taylor said, via IndyCar.com. It can’t hurt to be involved with (Team Penske); there are no negatives to that. To get to know all the guys and get to drive the car and get an actual feel for it in a low-pressure environment is a great opportunity for me. Even if it doesn’t lead to anything, it’s a big learning opportunity.”
With Ricky Taylor completing this test and with Robert Wickens and Pipo Derani set to test next week at Sebring’s short course, there’s been a sudden series of additional interest in the final few runs before the IndyCar season opens on March 12.
And with Ricky Taylor in Homestead today, it was left to Jordan Taylor and the Konica Minolta team’s new third driver, Englishman Alex Lynn, to run solo today as part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship February test at Sebring’s full course. Lynn will make his U.S. race debut in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, to be held March 18. Ricky Taylor will be back at Sebring for the second day of the IMSA test, held Friday.
2016 GP3 Series runner-up Alexander Albon has announced that he will move into GP2 for 2017 with ART Grand Prix, completing the team’s line-up.
Albon, 20, finished second behind Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc in GP3 last year with ART, racking up four race wins through his rookie campaign.
The Thai youngster will now continue with ART in GP2, partnering McLaren youngster Nobuharu Matsushita through 2017.
“I am really excited to be working with ART Grand Prix for a second year. I learnt a huge amount last year and we have become one big close family,” Albon said.
“Moving up to the GP2 series is an important step in anyone’s career and I am extremely fortunate to be with a top team who already understand me.
“There’s a lot to learn coming from GP3, and the experience and method of working at ART Grand Prix is the reason they have won so many titles. I hope I will continue to proudly wear Thailand’s colours and those of my faithful Thai partners.
“I look forward to the new challenge and cannot wait for the season to begin!”
The new GP2 season will begin in Bahrain on April 15.