F1: Force India VJM08 launch set for January 21st in Mexico City

Leave a comment

Sahara Force India has confirmed a January 21st launch for its 2015 challenger, the Mercedes-powered VJM08, in Mexico City.

With the confirmation, Vijay Mallya’s squad becomes the first in the F1 paddock to formally announce a 2015 launch date this off-season.

Mexican telecommunications company America Movil will be supporting the event, which will take place at the city’s Soumaya Museum and is reportedly set to be streamed online.

America Movil’s Telmex, Telcel, and Claro brands also serve as sponsors for the team.

“Our partnership with America Movil has proved to be very successful and together we have celebrated some special results,” Mallya said in November. “With Formula One returning to Mexico in 2015, our association will take on greater significance as we embrace the country’s huge passion for the sport.

“It’s also fitting that we will launch our 2015 season in Mexico City and I wish to thank Telmex, Telcel and Claro for their support in making this event possible.”

Force India finished sixth in the 2014 constructor’s championship. Mexico’s Sergio Perez and Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg have both been retained for 2015.

Hunter McElrea wins Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 Scholarship

IndyCar.com
Leave a comment

Hunter McElrea bested 18 competitors to win the third annual Road to Indy USF2000 $200,000 Scholarship Shootout on Sunday at Bondurant Racing School in Chandler, Ariz.

The two-day contest featured on-track competition in Formula Mazda cars as well as interview sessions and assessment from a panel of judges.

“I can’t believe it,” McElrea said at IndyCar.com. “This is definitely the most exciting opportunity that I have had in my racing career. I cannot thank Mazda and everyone enough for making this possible for me. The fact that I am going to be on the grid next year thanks to them is a dream come true.

“They have given me the opportunity to prove myself in such a high level that I never even thought I would be able to reach. I have to thank Andersen Promotions, Cooper tires, all of the judges, everyone from Mazda, the Bondurant Racing School and the other competitors, who literally pushed me to the limit.

“I am just so happy. It is still sinking in, but I just can’t wait to get next year started, and I’ll be representing Mazda in that nice Soul Red USF2000 car.”

MORE: Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 shootout

The 19-year-old McElrea was born in California, but reared in Australia.

As a result of winning the award, McElrea will compete in the 2019 season of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder.

McElrea won the Australian Formula Ford Championship this year on the strength of 13 victories in 21 races.

Early competition resulted in a final field of six drivers that included Jake Craig, Michael Eastwell, Braden Eves, Flinn Lazier and Ross Martin. They competed in a qualification session and 30-minute simulated race. McElrea won that race.

“Today was an incredible day,” said Tom Long, Mazda Motorsports factory driver and one of the judges. “There was so much talent here for the shootout. Hunter McElrea just rose to the top when it was time to shine, but our decision was very, very difficult.

“In the end, given all of the circumstances, we were able to make a pretty good decision and we are really, really proud of not only Hunter but our whole team here with Mazda to be able to grant this $200,000 scholarship for his opportunity in USF2000 next year.”