Pippa Mann confirmed for Indy 500 return with Susan G. Komen partnership

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A very cool story here – Pippa Mann will be returning to the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing, in a partnership with the Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization.

The “pink presser” to reveal the pink No. 63 Honda took place Thursday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mann will seek to make her third Indianapolis 500 start, having also made the field in 2011 with Conquest Racing in her Verizon IndyCar Series debut and with Coyne last year.

From Opening Day at IMS through Race Day, Mann’s car, helmet, firesuit and more will be turned pink, in an effort to raise awareness and serve as a reminder to IndyCar fans about the importance of being informed about breast cancer and taking action for their own breast health. In addition, for every lap of the speedway that Mann’s Indycar completes throughout the month of May, fans and supporters will have the opportunity to pledge an amount via the website, from which all donations will go directly to Komen to fund breast cancer research, education and outreach programs.

“Millions of people will see Pippa’s pink car and gear, bringing awareness about this very serious disease,” Komen President and CEO Judy Salerno, M.D., M.S, said in a release. “We’re so appreciative of Pippa’s commitment to her fans, and racing fans everywhere, and, especially, to the fight against breast cancer.”

Speaking about the partnership, Mann said: “This entire project started with the idea of simply taking my red crash helmet, and turning it pink to support the cause, and it has grown into something fairly amazing in a very short space of time. My Indianapolis 500 this year is no longer about me. This pink car will be out on track representing Komen, representing the survivors, and remembering those who sadly did not win their hard fought battles against breast cancer. To have been a part of creating this opportunity for Susan G. Komen at the Indianapolis 500, and to now be a part of actually making this happen, is something I am incredibly proud of.”

The pledge site – which can be accessed at www.racewithpippa.com – will be available from today, through midnight on Race Day, Sunday, May 25.

Mann will have her former engineer from 2011, Brandon Fry, leading the effort in a reunion.

It’s going to be a good story and also ensures there will be at least one female driver in the field once more – the last year there wasn’t one was in 1999. Mann has spent the year as lead analyst on IMS Radio Network’s IndyCar coverage, alongside Paul Page.

The identity of Coyne’s second car for the ‘500, the season-long No. 18 Honda, is still to be determined.

Ferrari, Mercedes launch 2018 F1 cars

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The title combatants from the 2017 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season both launched their 2018 challengers earlier on Thursday, with Scuderia Ferrari revealing the SF71H and Mercedes AMG Petronas revealing the W09.

For Ferrari, the SF71H represents an evolution of last year’s SF70H, which helped produce Ferrari’s best season in several years.

They presented a strong challenge to Mercedes for the championship, even leading the way at various points, with Sebastian Vettel recording five wins along the way. But, mechanical failures and crashes hampered their efforts late in the season, and they settled for second in the driver’s championship (with Vettel) and the constructor’s championship.

Entering 2018, the team is emphasizing the importance of building momentum with every race to ultimately secure their first constructor’s crown since 2008 and their first driver’s crown since 2007.

“There are no challenges actually. There are no challenges in the plural. There is just one challenge, which is the final challenge,” asserted team principal Maurizio Arrivabene. So that’s work that you build and you don’t build that work in one or two races. We’ve seen over the last few years, in the last championships, that you work race by race, and you always try to do the best you can.”

Technical director Mattia Binotto detailed some of the updates on the 2018 car, such as an new power unit and new suspension designs in anticipation of new tire constructions.

“We worked a lot on the power unit, we worked on its reliability and performance. We worked on the packaging, on suspensions in the rear axle because there will be new tires the following season, so we also tried to design the car to accommodate the new tires,” he explained.

Binotto added, “In regards to aerodynamics, we maintained our concept of having the inlets on the radiators, and everybody’s copying that, but we tried to make an additional step forward and what we showed today is not the same element of last year, but it is something more developed.”

Mercedes, meanwhile, will look to take it’s fifth consecutive driver’s and constructor’s championships with the W09. The team even took the car to the track for its launch, conducting a filming day at Silverstone Circuit.

“It is always a very exciting time because what has been designed is coming together and coming alive,”  team principal Toto Wolff said during the launch.

Despite facing challenges with last year’s car, the W08, the team elected to follow a similar design concept with the aerodynamics to improve on the car’s strengths while simultaneously addressing its weak points.

“We like some of the character traits from our diva,” Wolf quipped. “The W08 was the fastest car on the grid, scoring the highest number of pole positions and winning the most races last year. So we were careful not to lose the car’s many strengths just to overcome the difficulties.”

Both Ferrari and Mercedes are expected to slug it out again for the 2018 driver’s and constructor’s championships.

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