Grosjean pleased with P1 and progress made by Lotus

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Romain Grosjean may have only spent one day behind the wheel of the Lotus E23 Hybrid in Barcelona this week, but the Frenchman made the most of it by finishing as the fastest driver on Sunday.

A best lap time of 1:24.067 saw Grosjean finish ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, marking the third day in four that Lotus had ended up on top of the timesheets.

Although he remains cautious about the pace being shown by the rest of the field, Grosjean was pleased with the result and, more importantly, the progress that Lotus had made across the course of the test.

“It was great to get behind the wheel of the E23 once more,” Grosjean said. “Conditions were pretty tricky with quite a bit of wind, especially early on, but the car ran well, meaning we could complete the tests we wanted to – even if I had to modify my lines in the morning because the wind was pushing the car!

“We made some good improvements with the balance and set-up over the course of the day and it felt a lot better after we made changes for the afternoon.

“We completed a very promising mileage and it’s always good to see your name at the top of the timing monitors, even if it is far too early to know what everyone else is doing.”

Since making the switch to Mercedes power units for the 2015 season, Lotus appears to have made a big step forwards in terms of pace and reliability. Technical director Nick Chester was pleased with what had been achieved in Barcelona, but still believes that much more is possible in next week’s final test.

“We’ve enjoyed a solid first test in Barcelona with good reliability and encouraging performance,” Chester said. “The biggest positive we have seen so far is the reliability of the E23 which is enabling us to push along with our assessments and evaluations over the course of 361 laps or 1680km.

“During this test, we’ve completed plenty of laps so we have plenty to be working on over the next three days before we’re back in action here.”

Testing resumes at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday.

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.