Noted racetrack designer Alan Wilson answers critics of New Orleans IndyCar race in 2015

3 Comments

When officials of NOLA Motorsports Park announced Monday that they were prepared to begin hosting an annual IndyCar race starting in 2015, there was a great deal of positive feedback and excitement in New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and the IndyCar world over the news.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu were especially jubilant that competitive professional auto racing will return to the Crescent City for the first time since sports cars raced through downtown and the Superdome in 1995.

Unfortunately, and honestly quite surprisingly given the caliber of NOLAMP’s chief designer, there were a number of critics who questioned the move, particularly those who feel NOLAMP’s design and layout is not conducive to hosting an IndyCar race.

Alan Wilson, the designer of NOLAMP, Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park and Barber Motorsports Park just outside Birmingham, Ala., where IndyCar had a fantastic race two weeks ago, really took those criticisms to heart.

In fact, Wilson took the rather unusual step of writing an op-ed column for Racer magazine’s Racer.com, essentially quantifying why the critics were so wrong with their comments.

“Needless to say the announcement has brought forth the usual critics, complainers and know-everythings, which is very unfortunate because the preponderance of critics of IndyCar like these over the years has done nothing but hurt the series,” Wilson wrote on Racer.com. “While I have had absolutely nothing to do with the plan to bring IndyCar to NOLA, and have no idea what ‘upgrades’ are planned by either IndyCar or NOLA itself, I would like to clarify a few things.”

One of the most respected racetrack designers in the world, Wilson didn’t need to justify his design of NOLAMP to anyone.

But we’re kind of glad he did because we were cheering Wilson more and more with each paragraph of his op-ed that we read.

Even if you’re not an IndyCar fan, you owe it to yourself to click here and read Wilson’s fascinating and from-the-heart tome.

To Wilson for doing what he did, we have just one word: Bravo!

And to those who criticized Wilson and NOLAMP, we’re sorry you’re so short-sighted and narrow-minded. Check back with us in about five years when the NOLAMP race becomes one of the most popular on the IndyCar circuit, and we’ll see who was wrong in the first place.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

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.”