IndyCar notes: Rahal’s engineering change, Tagliani’s beaver costume

Leave a comment

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.  

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

Getty Images
1 Comment

Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”