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IndyCar outlines 2018 testing parameters

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INDYCAR has outlined its testing parameters for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, which will see the racing debut of the new 2018 Dallara universal aero kit.

As chronicled this week, manufacturer testing began on Tuesday at Sebring International Raceway’s short course. Team testing with the new car begins in January 2018.

The full release is below.

INDYCAR is providing ample time for manufacturers and teams to learn the new universal aero kit during offseason testing, with the sanctioning body for the Verizon IndyCar Series announcing testing guidelines for the 2018 season.

The testing regulations, developed in cooperation with series teams and manufacturers, have been distributed to INDYCAR stakeholders and are split into offseason and in-season testing categories.

The offseason testing window began Monday and runs through March 29, 2018. The in-season testing window runs from March 30-Sept. 16, 2018.

Team testing highlights

 Each Verizon IndyCar Series entrant is permitted five team test days – three in the offseason window and two during the in-season window. The offseason window for team testing begins Jan. 8, 2018, allowing time for teams to receive and prepare the Dallara universal aero kits to be used by all Verizon IndyCar Series competitors in 2018.

•  Teams with rookie drivers are permitted an additional three days of testing – one offseason and two in season.

 Any full-season Verizon IndyCar Series team is granted one additional offseason day to test a current approved Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires driver. Also, entrants operating full-season teams in both the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights are granted an additional in-season test day to be used between May 12 and Sept. 16, 2018.

 Teams new to the series in 2018 are permitted two additional test days – one in the offseason window and one in season.

Manufacturer testing highlights

•  Engine manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda are each granted five days through Dec. 17to conduct testing with the universal aero kit. No more than two cars are permitted for a manufacturer at each aero kit test and the manufacturer is not required to allow its other teams or the competing manufacturer to attend. INDYCAR has stipulated one of the aero kit test days for each manufacturer: Chevrolet will test at Phoenix Raceway on Oct. 17 and Honda at Texas Motor Speedway on Oct. 23.

•  Each engine manufacturer may conduct two days of offseason engine testing (through March 29, 2018) and must permit any team using its engines to attend the test, even if a team is not invited by the manufacturer as an engine test team. Teams attending an engine test will not be charged a team test day, but each team is limited to attending one engine manufacturer test day. Teams of the opposing manufacturer may also participate in the test, but those teams will be charged a team test day.

•  Tire manufacturer Firestone is allotted four tire test days – two in the offseason and two in season – utilizing two teams at each test. All teams, including those providing a tire test car, may be approved by INDYCAR to have one car participate in team testing to run concurrently with the tire test. Teams will not be charged a team test day for participating in any tire test day.

Other testing regulations highlights

 Four days have been designated for open tests in 2018, with all Leaders Circle entrants required to participate unless approved by INDYCAR. The open test dates and tracks are: Feb. 9-10, Phoenix Raceway; March 20, Barber Motorsports Park; and March 27, Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

•  Testing blackout windows are: Nov. 20-27, 2017Dec. 16, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018; and within seven days of the start of any on-track activity for a race event (i.e., if the first practice of a race weekend is on a Friday, testing must be completed by the Thursday of the week prior). The exceptions to the blackout windows are for open tests and on Sept. 11-12, 2018.

•  Teams and manufacturers may test at any Verizon IndyCar Series race location in the United States except street courses. Other approved tracks for testing are: Auto Club Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Circuit of the Americas, Homestead-Miami Speedway (oval and road course), Kentucky Speedway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Sebring International Raceway.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.