McLaren’s “Tooned” animated series returns

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McLaren may not be having the greatest of seasons on the track, but that hasn’t stopped them from bringing its animated series “Tooned” around for a second run – which began around the recent British Grand Prix with the clip above.

Created in partnership with Framestore Animation, “Tooned” first debuted in 2012 as a series of shorts that aired during Formula One television coverage in the United Kingdom. Last year’s first run focused on Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton getting into mischief and causing all sorts of headaches for the team’s head of engineering, Professor M (voiced by British comedian/actor Alexander Armstrong).

Along the way, key McLaren figures such as Mika Hakkinen and Ron Dennis dropped in, and the final episode of Series One even managed to cleverly write off Hamilton (who was in the process of making his way to Mercedes) and bring in the team’s newest pilot, Mexican rising star Sergio Perez.

But Series Two is giving the self-contained episode style a rest in favor of a continuous arc that focuses on McLaren’s 50th anniversary and its rich motorsports legacy. There’s also been a new character added to the mix – an old mechanic, voiced by Brian Cox (“The Bourne Identity”), who claims to have witnessed the beginning of McLaren’s story with his own eyes.

McLaren has promised to upload each episode of the series onto its YouTube channel shortly after their original airings on UK television.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.