NASCAR: Goodyear says higher speeds contributed to Tony Stewart’s test crash at Indy

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Goodyear said that “increased, sustained speed” over a 20-lap run led to his crash during this week’s tire test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Tony was approaching the end of a very strong 20-lap run, with his lap times as much as a second faster than what has become the norm at Indianapolis at that point of a run,” said Goodyear racing director Greg Stucker in a statement.

“It appears that increased, sustained speed over that run generated a significant amount of heat, which eventually caused the right-front to go down.  Those are the conditions we have to consider in making the right decisions for the race.”

Stewart did talk with NASCAR medical personnel after the crash, which took place during a part of the test that was closed to the media. However, he was OK afterwards.

The statement says that Goodyear will continue to talk to teams before coming up with a final recommendation on tires for the Brickyard 400 at Indy next month.

However, Goodyear general manager of worldwide racing Stu Grant has told Motor Racing Network that a different, harder left-side tire will be used for the Brickyard to address what happened with Stewart – who was running the 2013 tire combination on both the left and right sides at the time of his crash.

Grant told MRN’s Dustin Long that by running a harder tire on the left side, the car will slow down and help save the right-side tires.

“We’re going to stay with the 2013 right-side tire for this year because we know that that compound rubbers in the race track,’’ he added.

“Wear and rubbering in that race track is a big deal as you know from 2008. We were able to run a gas (run) on the right side tires. We’re confident that our wear is going to be OK.’’

In addition to releasing their findings on the Stewart test crash, Goodyear announced that it would run the same left-side tire from 2013 at Chicagoland as well as the right-side “multi-zone” tire that was ran earlier this year at Texas.

Also, Kentucky is likely to feature the same left/right tire combination as last year following a confirmation test. More tire tests are slated for Richmond in early July and Homestead-Miami in late August.

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.