IMSA: DeltaWing revitalizes, improves its Braselton race shop

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The DeltaWing® Racing Cars team moved into a brand new race shop last week, vacating the workshop the team had shared with Élan Motorsports Technologies since March, 2013. This significant investment in a modern, dedicated space demonstrates a strong commitment to the revolutionary DeltaWing race car, the team and the competition future of the innovative program.

When new DeltaWing Racing Cars Team Manager Tim Keene came on board in June, he and Crew Chief Stef Chistel outlined plans for a purpose-built race shop. They envisioned a new space that could better support the team’s custom fabrication and car setup work while simplifying logistics and furthering the team’s ability to share ideas and solutions.

Accented with the DeltaWing Racing Cars team colors of black and red, the bright and climate-controlled shop has separate areas allowing crew to work on the chassis, gearbox, electronics and composite structures with ample room for tools and equipment. New office and meeting space also helps team communication and coordination. The workshop is adjacent to a large warehouse that provides secure garage space for the team transporter and affords plenty of room for the crew to load/unload the race car, pit equipment and the DeltaWing coupe bodywork.

When DeltaWing Managing Partner Don Panoz formed the team in January 2013, they set up shop on the Braselton, Ga. business complex that was home to the core of the Panoz racing family of companies, including Élan Motorsports Technologies, Élan Power Products, and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). The team shared space with Élan Motorsports Technologies, working on the DeltaWing alongside builds of the IMSA Prototype Lites Élan DP02 race car and the Élan Van Diemen DP08 chassis.

“The new space is beautiful and important,” Panoz said. “It’s an investment in our plan for the future, not only for the DeltaWing team but also for Élan and its growth plans.”

Though now in their own dedicated shop, the team continues to make use of the resources available in other parts of the expansive complex, including composite assistance from Élan Motorsports Technologies and Élan Composites, and engine work from Élan Power Products.

As expected, FIA denies granting Colton Herta a Super License to race in F1

Colton Herta Super License
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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The governing body for Formula One on Friday said IndyCar star Colton Herta will not be granted the Super License that the American needs to join the F1 grid next season.

“The FIA confirms that an enquiry was made via the appropriate channels that led to the FIA confirming that the driver Colton Herta does not have the required number of points to be granted an FIA Super Licence,” the FIA said in a statement.

The FIA decision was not a surprise.

Red Bull was interested in the 22-year-old Californian and considering giving Herta a seat at AlphaTauri, its junior team. AlphaTauri has already said that Pierre Gasly will return next season and Yuki Tsunoda received a contract extension earlier this week.

However, AlphaTauri has acknowledged it would release Gasly, who is apparently wanted at Alpine, but only if it had a compelling driver such as Herta to put in the car. F1 has not had an American on the grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015, but Herta did not particularly want the FIA to make an exception to the licensing system to get him a seat.

At issue is how the FIA rates IndyCar, a series it does not govern. The points it awards to IndyCar drivers rank somewhere between F2 and F3, the two junior feeder series into F1.

IndyCar drivers have criticized the system in defense of Herta and the intense, close racing of their own highly competitive series. Herta has won seven IndyCar races, is the youngest winner in series history and has four starts in the Indianapolis 500. He qualified on the front row in 2021 and finished a career-best eighth in 2020.

Rossi, who has spent the last four seasons as Herta’s teammate at Andretti Autosport, lashed out this week because “I’m so sick and tired of this back and forth” regarding the licensing.

“The whole premise of it was to keep people from buying their way into F1 and allowing talent to be the motivating factor,” Rossi wrote on social media. “That’s great. We all agree Colton has the talent and capability to be in F1. That’s also great and he should get that opportunity if it’s offered to him. Period.

“Motorsport still remains as the most high profile sport in the world where money can outweigh talent. What is disappointing and in my opinion, the fundamental problem, is that the sporting element so often took a backseat to the business side that here had to be a method put in place in order for certain teams to stop taking drivers solely based on their financial backing.”

Rossi added those decisions “whether out of greed or necessity, is what cost Colton the opportunity to make the decision for himself as to if he wanted to alter career paths and race in F1. Not points on a license.”

The system favors drivers who compete in FIA-sanctioned series. For example, Linus Lundqvist earned his Super License by winning the Indy Lights championship.

Lundqvist’s required points come via the 15 he earned for the Lights title, 10 points for finishing third in Lights last year and his 2020 victory in the FIA-governed Formula Regional Americas Championship, which earned him 18 points.

That gave the 23-year-old Swede a total of 43 points, three more than needed for the license.

Herta, meanwhile, ended the IndyCar season with 32 points. He can still earn a Super License by picking up one point for any free practice sessions he runs this year; McLaren holds his F1 rights and could put him in a car. Herta could also potentially run in an FIA-sanctioned winter series to pick up some points.

Michael Andretti, who has petitioned the FIA to expand its grid to add two cars for him to launch a team, said he never bothered to explore potential replacements for Herta on the IndyCar team because he was confident the Super License request would be rejected.

Andretti has been met by severe resistance from existing F1 teams and even F1 itself in his hope to add an 11th team. Andretti could still get on the grid by purchasing an existing team and he’d like to build his program around Herta, who is under contract in IndyCar to Andretti through 2023.