Driver roster for Bahrain tire test taking shape


With four Formula One teams preparing to test Pirelli’s 2014 prototype tires next week in Bahrain, all but one of them have confirmed their respective driver rosters for the three-day session.

Red Bull reserve driver Sebastian Buemi will handle all three days at the Bahrain International Circuit for the World Champions, while its junior squad, Scuderia Toro Rosso, will trot out their 2014 race driver duo, veteran Jean-Eric Vergne (pictured) and incoming rookie Daniil Kvyat.

An STR release states that Vergne is slated to test for the first day and a half in the team’s 2013 challenger, the STR8, before Kvyat steps into the cockpit for the remainder.

With the 19-year-old Kvyat making a massive jump to F1 after claiming the GP3 crown this past year, he’ll no doubt appreciate the chance to gather extra experience in the car.

Ferrari will also have a two-driver lineup in Bahrain with its development driver, Pedro de la Rosa, in the F138 for the first two days and Marussia race driver Jules Bianchi in for the third and final day.

In addition to Bianchi’s work with Marussia (where he will compete for a second season in 2014), he is also a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy.

“With a nod to the activity surrounding young driver development undertaken by the Ferrari Driver Academy, it will be an opportunity to demonstrate the progress he has made this year in Formula 1,” the Scuderia said in a release regarding Bianchi’s role in Bahrain.

Mercedes is now the lone squad that has yet to announce its lineup for next week’s four-team test.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.