IMS road course construction complete

2 Comments

The $5 million reconfiguration project at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course was completed on Tuesday, revealed by IMS president Doug Boles and IndyCar team co-owner Sarah Fisher of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. The end of the 63-day project mirrored the time it took to build the historic track initially, in 1909.

Of course, times are different now and what once was hallowed ground for IndyCars only on the oval is now a site of multiple races a year – including the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the IMS road course next May 10.

The project recap:

  • Track width of 46 feet throughout, and 50 on the front straight.
  • Front straight length of 2,869 feet (0.543 of a mile), back straight now 2,503 (0.474).
  • 63 days to complete project from Sept. 18 through Nov. 19.
  • 70 construction crew, combining for approximately 35,000 man hours over 708 total day hours
  • 40 pieces of heavy equipment
  • 20,000 tons of asphalt from 1,000 dump truck loads
  • 16.2 acres paved
  • Project crew includes: Milestone Contractors LP; Indy Earthworks, Inc; IMS Engineering; Heritage Research Group; Fastrac Solutions, Inc.

Hunter-Reay tops fractured second practice at Mid-Ohio

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Ryan Hunter-Reay paced a rather stop-start second 45-minute practice session for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Honda Indy 200 (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, CNBC).

The driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda from Andretti Autosport posted a best time of 1:04.2961 around the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Drivers and teams couldn’t really get in much of a rhythm as a brief spritz interrupted running during the session. There were no red flags during the session.

Josef Newgarden was second ahead of Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi. It makes for a variety-laden top-five with three teams (Andretti, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing) with both manufacturers (three Hondas, two Chevrolets) in the top five.

No one had any issues on-track during the session other than Will Power running on-and-off at the Keyhole, Turn 2.

Times are below.

Hamilton: ‘Super-tight’ between Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull in Hungary

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton is braced for a tough fight in his bid for a sixth Formula 1 victory in Hungary after Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari ended Friday’s practice running evenly-matched for pace.

Daniel Ricciardo led Red Bull to the top of the timesheets in both FP1 and FP2, but with just half a second separating the top six drivers in the second session, there is still plenty to play for at the Hungaroring.

Hamilton wound up fifth in FP2, but feels there is still the pace in the Mercedes W08 car to bounce back on Saturday and continue his stunning Hungaroring record.

“It wasn’t the easiest start to the weekend, with the conditions very gusty. We end the day in fifth but there’s clearly good pace in the car,” Hamilton said.

“It’s super tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves at the top of the leaderboard, so it’s looking like it will be an exciting weekend. That should be good for the fans.

“There’s some more work to do overnight to fine-tune the balance to get the car just where we want it and I believe the pace is in there.

“We just need to unlock it ahead of qualifying because every tenth is going to be crucial with three teams in the mix.”

Mid-Ohio returns to IMSA schedule in May 2018

Getty Images
1 Comment

LEXINGTON, Ohio – The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will make its return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar in 2018, marking the first time Mid-Ohio has been part of an IMSA calendar since the 2014 merger that brought together the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series.

Mid-Ohio’s return to the calendar will occur in May 4-6, 2018, and will serve as the venerable Lexington, Ohio permanent road course’s kickoff to its new season.

It’s been since 2013 when GRAND-AM last competed there and 2012 when ALMS did, and from 2007 through 2012 ALMS was always on the same weekend as the Verizon IndyCar Series raced at the track.

More to follow…

Acura moving ahead to solidify NSX GT3 customers in 2018

Photo: Acura
Leave a comment

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Acura Motorsports is moving ahead with plans to get its first NSX GT3 customers to race in North America, as well as worldwide, following Thursday’s formal confirmation of the manufacturer announcing it will sell the NSX GT3.

The two teams who have developed and run the car this year, Michael Shank Racing (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class) and RealTime Racing (Pirelli World Challenge GT class) had team principals Shank and Peter Cunningham on hand today at Mid-Ohio to describe the work they’ve done in the process of getting the car ready for customers in 2018.

Shank highlighted the customer service performed by Honda Performance Development when he ran a Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 prototype in IMSA in 2015 and 2016.

The media availability this morning at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course stopped short of confirming both teams will continue their own programs with the NSX GT3 next year, which would be customer-based and not factory as they are this year. That being said, both teams are working with Acura and HPD as they develop their 2018 programs.

Steve Eriksen, vice president and COO, Honda Performance Development, updated the production process in terms of getting NSX GT3s delivered to prospective customers.

“The production timeline and development was moved forward well ahead of Thursday’s announcement,” Eriksen told NBC Sports.

“That was done on purpose; the production was done well in advance to respond quickly when we get inquiries. The goal now is to move from interested parties to serious parties.”

Eriksen confirmed all four existing chassis, plus spares, run by Shank and RealTime this year are owned by HPD. It will be up to HPD to determine the path forward for those chassis after the respective seasons conclude.

For IMSA, the season finale is at Petit Le Mans on October 7 at Road Atlanta, and PWC’s last event of the year is a week later with the eight-hour SRO Intercontinental Challenge on October 15 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey.

Today’s media availability came a day after Acura confirmed the car will be available for sale worldwide at a price of €465,000 ($545,000).

This occurs after a year where there’s been more than 50,000-miles of on-track development between the two teams.

Shank has already delivered the car its first two wins in its inaugural season of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition. The Pataskala, Ohio-based team is working to figure out its 2018 plans, with Shank preferring to focus on his sports car component first before adding any potential IndyCar program.

Here’s slightly more info about that from the release:

The NSX GT3 is eligible to race in more than two dozen FIA-sanctioned racing series around the world, including:

  • The Pirelli World Challenge and WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series in North America
  • The Blancpain GT Series and 24 Hours Nurburgring in Europe
  • The Blancpain GT Series Asia and GT Asia Series
  • The Super GT GT300 class in Japan
  • The Australian GT Championship
  • The Intercontinental GT Challenge

Additional options and complete customer support, including parts and service, training and engineering services are available.  Orders for the NSX GT3 are being taken now by HPD, responsible for sales in North America, at AcuraClientRacing.com.  JAS Motorsport is responsible for NSX GT3 sales in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, excluding Japan.  MUGEN is responsible for sales in Japan.