Sarah Fisher looking ahead to two-car program at Sonoma

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According to former driver and current IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Sarah Fisher, she has wanted to expand her Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing outfit to two cars “from day one.”

She’s hopeful that the next race on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule at Sonoma Raceway (Aug. 25) will help her figure out how to make it happen.

For the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, SFHR will field a second car for the American Le Mans Series’ all-time wins leader, Lucas Luhr, alongside their full-time regular, Josef Newgarden (pictured).

Luhr’s program for Sonoma is a collaboration between the team and partner RW Motorsports, as well as Muscle Milk, which backs Luhr in the ALMS.

“For us, [Sonoma] is one more of those weekends to explore what is it going to take – what do we need when we align it and make it happen,” Fisher said Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where the IndyCars are preparing for tomorrow’s Honda Indy 200 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

“It’s really an exploratory venture for us as well as satisfying what we need to do for [RW owner] Steve Weirich and RW Motorsports. Certainly, having two cars is very valuable, especially with the changing metrics, changing tires, changing things that are ever-evolving in our sport.”

Luhr’s car owner in the ALMS, Greg Pickett, will also be part of SFHR’s group at Sonoma. Pickett has assembled one of the top teams in sports car racing but may be looking at a potential jump to the open-wheel ranks as ALMS and GRAND-AM prepare to merge at season’s end.

Fisher said on Saturday that she admires Pickett and his team’s accomplishments, and that SFHR is excited to have him see what IndyCar has to offer.

“For me, it’s having him on board supporting it, more from a sponsorship standpoint – the ability to give him a headset and see what IndyCar is all about, rather than coming as a race fan,” she said. “He has an interest in what IndyCar does, what the [IZOD] IndyCar Series is overall and who knows where it will go. It’s exploratory on that end as well.

“We’re just really happy to see more and more partners and more and more people have an interest in our sport. We feel a responsibility to expand the [IZOD] IndyCar Series as owners.”

Watch tomorrow’s Honda Indy 200 from Mid-Ohio online and on your mobile device.

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

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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.”