Return to Austria highlights more than 35 hours of NBC/NBCSN motorsports this week

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NBC Sports Group continues its Formula One coverage this weekend with the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN, highlighting more than 35 hours of motorsports coverage across NBC and NBCSN this week. NBC’s motorsports coverage features Red Bull Global Rallycross action from Washington, D.C. on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will provide comprehensive streaming coverage of the F1 Austrian Grand Prix and Red Bull Global Rallycross from Washington, D.C.

F1 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX – SUNDAY AT 7:30 A.M. ET ON NBCSN

Formula One makes its return to Austria for the first time since 2003, and 50 years since F1 held the first World Championship Austrian Grand Prix. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) enters this week’s race looking to carry the momentum of his victory at the Canadian Grand Prix on June 8, the first win of his F1 career. Ricciardo overtook Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) with three laps remaining and held on for the checkered flag, snapping Mercedes’ six-race winning streak to open the 2014 season. Defending World Champion and Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel finished third in Montreal, notching his second podium of the campaign.

Live Austrian Grand Prix coverage begins on NBC Sports Live Extra with Practice 1 on Friday at 4 a.m. ET, followed by Practice 2, which will also air live on NBCSN at 8 a.m. ETLive Extra will stream exclusive coverage of Practice 3 on Saturday at 5 a.m. ET, prior to NBCSN’s live coverage of qualifying at 8 a.m. ET. NBCSN live race presentation airs Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET, followed by F1 Extra, NBC Sports Group’s pre- and post-race studio show, at 10 a.m. ET.

NBCSN will also air an encore presentation of the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET. In addition, NBCSN will air coverage of both GP2 races from Austria. Race 1 will be shown at 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, followed by Race 2 on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

Lead F1 announcer Leigh Diffey will call the Austrian Grand Prix, and will be joined by veteran analyst and former race car driver David Hobbs, and analyst and former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team Steve Matchett. F1 insider Will Buxton will serve as the team’s on-site reporter from the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, and will also call this week’s GP2 races.

RED BULL GLOBAL RALLYCROSS – SUNDAY AT 2 P.M. ET ON NBC

NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship continues weekend on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET from Washington, D.C. Scott Speed (Volkswagen Andretti) will look to earn his third consecutive win to start the 2014 campaign after victories in Barbados and Austin.

Veteran motorsports play-by-play announcer Tes Sewell will call the action on Sunday on-site from RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., joined by motorsports analyst Townsend Bell and reporter Kristen Kenney.

NASCAR AMERICA – WEEKDAYS AT 5 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

NASCAR AMERICA, NBCSN’s 30-minute daily show dedicated to the nation’s longstanding fascination with speed and stock car racing, airs weekdays at 5 p.m. ET. Host Rick Allen is joined by analyst and former driver Kyle Petty, and special guest and former NASCAR driver Ricky Rudd.

In addition, NBCSN will present encore presentations of Mecum Auctions and KURT BUSCH: 36. Following is this week’s motorsports coverage schedule on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra:

Date Program Time (ET) Network
Wed., June 18 NASCAR AMERICA 5 p.m. NBCSN
NASCAR: The List 6:30 p.m. NBCSN
NASCAR: The List 7 p.m. NBCSN
NASCAR: The List 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
KURT BUSCH: 36 8 p.m. NBCSN
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross – Glen Helen (Encore) 9 p.m. NBCSN
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross – Hangtown (Encore) 11 p.m. NBCSN
Thu., June 19 Motocross Highlight Series 1 a.m. NBCSN
NASCAR: The List 2 a.m. NBCSN
NASCAR: The List 2:30 a.m. NBCSN
NASCAR AMERICA 5 p.m. NBCSN
Fri., June 20 Austrian Grand Prix – Practice 1 4 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
Mecum Auctions: Kansas City (Encore) 7 a.m. NBCSN
Off The Grid: Barcelona (Encore) 7:30 a.m. NBCSN
Austrian Grand Prix – Practice 2 8 a.m. NBCSN
Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour 4 p.m. NBCSN
NASCAR AMERICA 5 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Auctions – Indianapolis (Encore) 6:30 p.m. NBCSN
/DRIVE on NBC Sports 9:30 p.m. NBCSN
Austrian Grand Prix – Practice 2 (Encore) 10:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., June 21 Pirelli World Challenge – Detroit 12 a.m. NBCSN
Austrian Grand Prix – Practice 3 5 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
Austrian Grand Prix – Qualifying 8 a.m. NBCSN
GP2 Austria – Race 1 5:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., June 22 Austrian Grand Prix – Qualifying (Encore) 1:30 a.m. NBCSN
Austrian Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Extra 10 a.m. NBCSN
Red Bull Global Rallycross – Washington, D.C. 2 p.m. NBC
Austrian Grand Prix (Encore) 2:30 p.m. NBCSN
F1 Extra (Encore) 5 p.m. NBCSN
RACER TV 5:30 p.m. NBCSN
Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour 6 p.m. NBCSN
GP2 Austria – Race 2 7 p.m. NBCSN
“1” – F1 Documentary 9 p.m. NBCSN

Justin Timberlake to play this year’s U.S. Grand Prix at COTA

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Taylor Swift playing last year’s U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin was always going to be a hard act to match, or perhaps top.

Yet COTA has pulled it off with confirmation Wednesday that Justin Timberlake will be playing on the Saturday before this year’s race, on October 21.

Timberlake will play at the conclusion of track activity on Saturday for a full show. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. CT, with more info via COTA’s website. Here’s the pertinent details:

  • The concert will take place at COTA’s Super Stage Festival Lawn, not Austin360 Amphitheater
  • Seating is general admission, first come first served
  • All holders of a Saturday ticket for USGP weekend, including the 3-day GA wristband, will have access to the show

Circuit of The Americas announced a crowd of more than 80,000 last year for T-Swift, for her first and only planned concert of the year.

Timberlake is on par from a stratospheric level as Swift is. And half the draw of the COTA weekend, it seems, is ensuring you can get concertgoers to the track as well.

This should make for a fun end-of-day on Saturday.

IMS Museum to reveal A.J. Foyt exhibit in April

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It’s been 40 years since A.J. Foyt won his fourth and final Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1977. Perfect timing, then, for a special Foyt exhibit to grace the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will premiere next month.

The release from the museum is below:

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of his record-setting fourth Indianapolis 500 win, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is proud to present a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit honoring auto racing icon A.J. Foyt, opening April 14.

A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibition, presented by ABC Supply is a limited-run celebration that traces the superstar’s rise from the dirt tracks of Texas to the pinnacle of auto racing history.

Nearly three dozen cars that Foyt drove in competition will be on display, including all four of his Indianapolis 500 winning machines, the 1961 Bowes Seal Fast Special, 1964 & 1967 Sheraton-Thompson Specials, and the 1977 Gilmore Coyote.

Photo: IMS Archives

“Everyone knows that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite track and that people wouldn’t know me if it weren’t for the Indy 500, but to have the Museum put on this exhibit there, well I feel truly honored,” said the legendary Foyt. “This exhibit will give people a chance to see my winning Indy cars but also some of the other race cars I drove and won in over the years.”

In addition to several of Foyt’s IndyCars, many incredible machines representing Foyt’s career in NASCAR, USAC and road racing will be on display, many for the first time, and visitors will also have the chance to see rare memorabilia from Foyt’s personal collection.

“Based on the stuff we shipped to Indy, I think the Museum has a lot of personal memorabilia and photos that their visitors will like seeing” Foyt said. “I haven’t seen some of the cars in many, many years so to be truthful, I’m looking forward to the exhibit too!”

“A.J. Foyt is perhaps the most iconic driver in the 108-year history of the Brickyard” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Director & Curator Ellen Bireley. “We are proud to honor this incredible champion with an exhibit of memories and memorabilia that pays tribute to one of the most diverse and successful careers in auto racing history.”

A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibition is presented by ABC Supply, with additional support from Chevrolet and Al-Fe Heat Treating. The exhibit runs until October 31.

Social roundup: Media day at Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is still more than a week away, but Media Day was in full swing on Tuesday with a number of attractions for fans and media in attendance.

That being said, it’s easier to get all the pre-advance work done before cars from six different series hit the track starting on Friday, April 7. The Long Beach IndyCar race airs on April 9 at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The day began with Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden fielding interviews with the local L.A. affiliates for NBC, Fox, and ABC before being a attending a midday luncheon. He also did various interviews with other outlets.

There were also a number of opportunities for rides around the 1.968-mile street circuit. IndyCar drivers Zach Veach and Gabby Chaves were in charge of the Verizon IndyCar Series two-seater while Scott Pruett manned driving duties in a two-seat version of his Lexus RC F GT3. Rocky Moran Sr. and Jr. also held demo rides of their own around the circuit in a Camry; James Sofronas took folks for rides in a GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Formula Drift was on hand as well, though their days were spent preparing for the event. Several cars made practice runs along Seaside Way and through turns 9, 10, and 11 of the circuit.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is slated for April 7-9, with first practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series rolling off at 1:00 p.m. local time on Friday April 7.

INDYCAR reveals next round of design for 2018 common aero kit

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After the initial renderings of the 2018 common aero kit were released in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, questions then turned to when INDYCAR would release the next round of what the future of the single kit would look like.

The date was something of a moving target, without a set time piece either just before or just after the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season began with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 12.

That being said, today marks the arrival of round two of what the new kit will look like, revealed first on IndyCar.com. The timing works well as it’s just after St. Petersburg but before Round 2, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which runs April 9 at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN to kick off the NBC Sports Group’s coverage portion of the season.

In today’s release, INDYCAR is still yet to confirm the supplier of the new common aero kit. But the car’s development remains on track to be revealed in the flesh this summer before a mid-summer testing debut.

Rendering courtesy of INDYCAR

“While this remains a work in progress, we are encouraged with where the development of the 2018 car stands,” Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations, said in the release. “The look of the car is bold, the performance data from simulations is meeting targeted goals and safety enhancements built into the design will be substantial.”

Tino Belli, INDYCAR director of aerodynamic development, explained the design process with a focus on producing more downforce from the underside of the car rather than on top, addressing driver feedback.

“We’ve been working on the aerodynamics to suit the look, rather than the other way around,” Belli said in the release.

“We’re working on creating more of the downforce from the underwing,” Belli said. “The hole in the floor (of the undertray on this year’s car) will be sealed for the road courses and short ovals, but will still be open for the superspeedways.”

While aerodynamic targets and additional safety enhancements are set to include side impact structures in the sidepods and repositioned radiators, with turbocharger inlets moving to the inside of the radiator inlet ducts, no word was given today in terms of a windscreen or other cockpit protection enhancement device which has been rumored but not officially confirmed to be part of the 2018 kit. Belli said in the release that INDYCAR has achieved “97 percent” of its goals from developing the new car’s look and efficiency.

Of note, INDYCAR announced long-term contract extensions with four key partners, Dallara, Chevrolet, Honda and Firestone, at St. Petersburg, which was great news for the series but perhaps overshadowed in the kickoff to the new season. It further pushed the development of Frye’s much-mentioned “five-year plan” for the series.

Just because the base Dallara DW12 chassis remains as the tub does not necessarily mean it will be Dallara as the common kit supplier. Dallara’s Stefano De Ponti, director of the company’s U.S. operations, did say how much it has meant to the company to be celebrating its 20th year with INDYCAR during the St. Petersburg announcement.

“Dallara came here in 1997. That has marked the Dallara presence in North American motorsports. It was an important step,” De Ponti said at St. Petersburg.

“Obviously the plant, facility, engineering center we built in Indianapolis was, for the most part of it, obviously to support our program here as a partner with IndyCar.

“I personally wish, yes, that the extension will go beyond the set extension we have so far. We would like to be very, very clear, to be trustful and a supported partner of IndyCar as a manufacturer.

“Obviously, as an engineering company, we like competition, of course. We welcome everything that IndyCar decides to do with us for the future.

“At the end of the day, we want to be, and we are committed, to work with IndyCar for the benefit of the series. That would benefit all of us.”