In one of Tuesday’s segments on NASCAR AMERICA, Jeff Burton and former crew chief Frank Stoddard talk about fans enjoying when racers show emotion, including the Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears altercation after this past Saturday’s Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.
Daniel de Jong will remain in the GP2 Series for the 2016 season with MP Motorsport after deciding against a move into the LMP2 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
De Jong made his GP2 debut back in 2012 with Rapax and has since raced for MP Motorsport, scoring six points over the past three years.
The Dutchman admitted that he did consider his future in the series after 2015, but ultimately decided against a move into LMP2 despite enjoying a successful test.
“Last year, we began looking at what the future holds for us. We looked into LMP2 pretty seriously, and I did a test that really pleased me,” de Jong said.
“But then I saw the WEC prototypes and GP2 race on the same weekend in Bahrain, and I thought: GP2 is such an amazing category, with cars battling throughout the entire field.
“That’s why I decided to stay in this hugely competitive championship for one more year before a possible switch to prototype racing.”
De Jong will race alongside 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 champion Oliver Rowland at MP this year, a prospect that the GP2 veteran is relishing.
“With Oliver as a teammate, we have a fantastic year ahead of us,” de Jong said. “He is so good and extremely motivated, and we’ve known each other for a long time.
“Everyone in the team is buzzing with enthusiasm and that feels really great.”
Renault development driver Carmen Jorda has laughed off an accusation from former GP2 driver Marco Sørensen that she was 12 seconds per lap slower than him in the Lotus simulator.
Jorda joined Lotus in a development role in 2015 after spending three seasons in GP3, where she finished in a highest position of 13th and failed to score a point in 46 attempts.
Jorda is yet to drive a Formula 1 car, but completed work for Lotus in its simulator during 2015.
Sørensen formerly enjoyed ties with Lotus before turning his attention away from single-seaters and moving into endurance racing with Aston Martin Racing.
In an interview with Danish publication Ekstra Bladet, Sørensen said that Jorda received favoritism within the team despite being as much as 12 seconds per lap slower than him in the simulator.
“She was 12 seconds slower than me in the simulator,” Sorensen claimed. “Still, she ran away with all the rewards.
“I have spent at least 60 days in the simulator in the past two years working on the development of the Formula 1 car, as Kevin Magnussen has done at McLaren.
“So I felt so violated that it finally became too much, so I just had to stop.”
Jorda responded by taking to Twitter and laughing off the claims, posting in both English and Spanish: “12 seconds faster? I’ve been laughing at that for 12 hours!” The English tweet has since been deleted.
Jorda also spoke about Sørensen’s comments in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS, saying: “I honestly don’t know who he is. I haven’t ever seen him in Enstone. Last year he was not part of the team.
“Last year in the simulator I used to be more or less within a second of [Romain] Grosjean.
“If you trust Sørensen’s numbers – if someone was 11 seconds up on Romain, I’m sure that all the F1 teams on the grid would sign them.”
Glenn McGee’s a name you might hear down the road as he progresses through the Mazda Road to 24 program, having won the shootout to compete in the Mazda MX-5 Cup this season after advancing in from iRacing.
He’s now joined the Jonathan Jorge Racing Development (JJRD) driver development program for the year. A full release on that is below, along with a video of his shootout win.
JJ Racing Development (JJRD), an industry leader in coaching and driver development services among the junior and pro-levels of motorsports, has selected professional gamer turned professional race car driver, Glenn McGee to join their 2016 driver development program. In addition to JJRD’s full coaching services, designed to prepare drivers for the demands of a professional racing career, JJRD’s team of drivers will also benefit from the expert instructors, advanced modern formula race cars, and seat-time at North America’s premiere tracks, provided by the Lucas Oil School of Racing.
With the intent to identify and develop elite drivers, JJRD scouts for those whom demonstrate the raw ingredients to succeed in motorsports and works to successfully transition them into the pro-ranks; instilling the racing techniques, physical, social, and mental tools required to climb the motorsports ladder. Elite talents, scouted and retained within JJRD’s Driver Development program include current Indy Lights driver/winner, R.C. Enerson; Mazda Prototype driver, Tristan Nunez; and Indy Driver, Spencer Pigot.
McGee’s induction into the program is unique and offers an equally unique challenge to JJRD in that he will be the first of their drivers transitioning from virtual-to-reality. McGee recently went from being the fastest virtual Mazda driver in world competition (through motorsport simulation software, iRacing.com) to earning an invite and eventually winning the 2015 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout against real-life Mazda club racing champions; taking home a $100,000 Mazda scholarship and pro-seat in the 2016 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, Presented by BFGoodrich Tires.
Part of JJRD’s program will be designed around helping the young driver successfully move from the virtual world to a real pro-racing career, while complimenting Mazda’s own driver development plans for McGee.
“We are committed to guiding talented drivers towards reaching their full-potential and are proud of what our drivers have achieved,” said JJRD’s Jonatan Jorge. “We’ve helped successfully guide drivers to the top of both the Mazda Road to Indy and Mazda Road to 24 ladder systems; evidenced by JJRD development drivers RC Enerson, Spencer Pigot and Tristian Nunez, and we think we can do the same with McGee,” Jorge continued “He has shown he has raw speed and a lot of the attributes that we look for when identifying these promising talents for the future and we are excited to invest in a driver from such a unique background. With our support, it will be interesting to see what a top simulation driver can do in the real world”
“I’m really honored to be a part of JJRD’s team which has already produced great drivers,” said McGee. “This is a big year for me as I navigate from being a pro sim-driver on iRacing.com to becoming a full fledged professional racing driver,” “There is an extraordinary amount to learn, but JJRD specializes in nurturing drivers from the start of their career and has proven that their methods work. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together!”
McGee begins his program in earnest with JJRD and the Lucas Oil School of Racing where he’ll gain valuable seat time and instruction; working closely with staff on learning in-depth knowledge of advanced racing techniques, speed, racecraft, strategies, chassis setup, and the myriad of mental tools required to grow into a world-class professional driver. Open to drivers who complete the 2-Day course, McGee will also be attending the schools winter racing series, the Lucas Oil Formula Car Series, to further supplement his training with JJRD.‘
There’s a lot of things that occur at a Verizon IndyCar Series race weekend behind-the-scenes but are intriguing and crucial elements of what makes the traveling road show tick.
IndyCar Ministry is one of those elements.
Although it’s not directly affiliated with INDYCAR (series sanctioning body), the ministry serves as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit non-denominational Christian organization that ministers to IndyCar plus the three series on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000.
The organization went through a leadership change this offseason with Chaplain David Storvick taking over as full Director of the ministry, following the resignation of past Chaplain Bob Hillis. Storvick was interim director prior to losing the interim tag, and had served as primary Chaplain for the Mazda Road to Indy series.
Storvick, a Purdue engineering graduate, had been a crew member going back to the early 2000s and began helping Hillis once the Mazda Road to Indy schedules grew and expanded. He later received his Masters’ in seminary at Cincinnati Christian, and has been traveling full-time since 2008.
The ministry’s mission is to be there for support for those who need it at the track, whether they’re drivers, crew members or other key stakeholders on a weekend.
“We work to make ourselves available,” Storvick told NBC Sports. “At track, obviously we’re there, in whatever situation for drivers, crew and their family,. We try to be a spiritual help to family in (tough) situations.
“After a tragedy or when something like that happens, there’s lots of what I would call ‘impromptu counseling.’ Getting people to understand what happened in those situations. For us to have the privilege, it is a privilege, and we take it very seriously. We try to do it as effectively as possible.”
The offseason for IndyCar Ministry sees the group do a bit of fundraising, through phone calls and emails to help secure funding for the following year, while continuing to raise awareness. Monthly newsletters also come out.
“It feels like a race team,” Storvick said. “We have to raise enough funding to do what we do to get to the track. It’s always a constant.
“But INDYCAR does allow us to use its logo and places for us. We’re not supported by them per se; financially, we’re solely on God’s provision, through individual and corporate donations.”
There are a lot of programs IndyCar Ministry completes on a weekend, which Storvick outlined.
“For a race weekend, there’s a lot of preparation that goes into it,” Storvick said.
“There’s a chapel service and there’s a message prepared. We make a point to offer prayer to every driver before every race in every series.
“You’d see it on the false grid for Mazda Road to Indy races, but I’ll come through to every driver, in all four series, at driver introductions, if the driver wants to pray before introduced, we will. IndyCar will do not just drivers, but also teams. But there’s a lot of activity on a race day, from our standpoint, to chapel, to prayer.
“And then obviously there’s a lot of people we work with on a regular basis. Sometimes we have those sessions at the track. We do other services as well, such as weddings or funerals that obviously requires extra planning.
“It’s about building relationships with people, sharing the hope of Christ with them, and taking it to next level.”