Photo courtesy Arrow/Sam Project

IndyCar team owner Sam Schmidt to once again take part in iRacing Race of Champions

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Former IndyCar driver turned team owner Sam Schmidt will once again take place in the iRacing Pro Race of Champions, which will run Wednesday evening online at Phoenix International Raceway.

The host facility is CXC Simulations in Los Angeles; both iRacing and CXC will donate $2,500 for the winner, $1000 for second and $500 for third to the Justin Wilson Children’s Fund in the name of each driver.

It will be the second consecutive year Schmidt has taken place in the online race, which is entering its sixth year of competition.

Due to the physical challenges he has from paralysis, Schmidt, co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, will be the only driver in the field of 24 to be allowed to use driving aids provided by one of his team’s sponsors, Arrow Electronics.

According to a release, Schmidt will have technology similar to that seen in the semi-autonomous Arrow Chevrolet Corvette #SAMcar that Schmidt has driven in the past.

“Schmidt and this particular simulator will be outfitted with reflective infrared sensors and cameras to control the steering, as well as a pressure sensor located inside the driver’s mouth that detects acceleration and braking with the use of his breath,” the release said.

Schmidt qualified 25th and finished 17th in last year’s race at Watkins Glen.

“I’m very much looking forward to this event,” Schmidt said in a statement. “Last year I had no idea what to expect given I have very little simulator experience, but I was pleased to not qualify dead last (I left that honor to Ron Capps) and ran the entire event in spite of getting punted on the first lap.

“Now, we are going to one of my all-time favorite circuits in PIR and racing on the oval, which should level the playing ground somewhat. I still wish they would do an event with everyone utilizing the Arrow head controls, but maybe down the road. I’m just ecstatic to be in the same event with this list of incredible talent.”

Among other race car drivers that will take place include Rubens Barrichello, Oriol Servia, Alex Gurney, Patrick Long and Will Power.

Gurney, Long and Servia are among those who will be present at the CXC facility in L.A. Others include Townsend Bell, Matt Halliday, Tommy Kendall and Michael Lewis.

The green flag drops at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Wednesday, and fans can watch the 50-lap event on iRacing.com.

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F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.