Tino Belli named IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development

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Longtime team engineer and technical director Tino Belli has been named the INDYCAR sanctioning body’s director of aerodynamic development. He will officially take over the post in early April.

Belli was most recently technical director at Panther Racing. Prior to that point, he had worked for 14 seasons with Andretti Autosport, where he helped the team earn four Verizon IndyCar Series championships as race engineer, senior development engineer, and technical director.

He will be charged with overseeing the additions of new Chevrolet and Honda-supplied aero kits, which will debut next season. Additionally, he will provide INDYCAR with data collection to produce track-specific aero configurations; provide direction on future regulations; support various forms of testing (on-track, wind tunnel, and straight-line); and support the technical inspection process.

“It’s a brave, new era that INDYCAR is moving into,” Belli said. “My original background in racing was aeronautical engineering, so aerodynamics is my love in life. I’ve had a fairly successful career as a race engineering and technical director, and now this is a new chapter.

“It’s exciting to be involved now developing the new set of rules that will take INDYCAR into the future. I feel as though I’m giving something back to the series now because the series has always been giving to me in the past.”

INDYCAR president of competition Derrick Walker said the sanctioning body was “fortunate” to acquire Belli’s services ahead of the debut of aero kits, which should provide fans with more distinctive cars – a common complaint in the current spec-car era of the sport.

“Apart from being one of IndyCar’s most experienced aero engineers, he comes from the team environment with a lot of current experience and knowledge, which is important,” Walker added.

Belli’s motorsports career dates back to 1984, when he became chief aerodynamicist at March Engineering. His other exploits include working as chief development engineer for Porsche’s former IndyCar team, founding design consultancy firm Cyber Dynamics, and designing for the Fondmetal and Larrousse teams in Formula One.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).