Schmidt camp continues drive toward IndyCar success

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Every IZOD IndyCar Series team has to maintain a never-ending pursuit of victory. The strong level of competition throughout the series demands it, and team owner Sam Schmidt understands how much of a boost it can be to defeat such a stout field of rivals.

“Winning is the ultimate goal here — second place is just the first loser,” Schmidt says in a Honda Racing online video that focused on his team’s efforts last weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

“The competition level is so high that when you do win, it’s just the ultimate accomplishment. Because you know you’ve beat the best drivers and the best teams in the world…It really takes a team effort to get it done. To win at this level takes extreme commitment, training, dedication, hard work, and, I’d say most of all, it takes courage.”

The first episode of Honda’s “Inside the Indy Challenge” also touches on how Schmidt’s drivers, Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier, have made their way to the top level of American open-wheel racing. You can check out the full clip here.

WATCH: Red Bull F1 team completes pit stop in zero gravity

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The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.

With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.

Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.

With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.

“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!

“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”

Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.

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