Kaskade, Steve Aoki, A-Trak named for Indy 500 Snake Pit

1 Comment

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway month of May concert lineup has its latest announcement, joining the Back Home Again in IndianaCarb Day and Legends Day announcements. Here’s the Snake Pit lineup, with release below from IMS:

World-renowned electronic DJs and producers Kaskade, Steve Aoki, and A-Trak will perform in the Snake Pit presented by Miller Lite during the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 24, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We’ve seen a renewed popularity in the Snake Pit presented by Miller Lite in the past few years and our younger fans really enjoy the direction in which it’s been going,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “Kaskade, Steve Aoki, and A-Trak are among the world’s leading electronic music artists, and combining their talents with the other entertainment we have planned will make our Snake Pit the place to be for the most entertaining party in Indianapolis this year.”

In an effort to enhance the Snake Pit’s reputation of securing top talent and to further its growth, IMS partnered with React Presents, the leading electronic concert and festival promoter in the Midwest, to produce the event. React Presents is a full service club, concert and festival promotion company based in Chicago. React Presents produces Spring Awakening Music Festival, Summer Set Music & Camping Festival, North Coast Music Festival, and hundreds of events in the Midwest each year.

Crowned by the New York Times as “the new face of electronic dance music,” Kaskade formed the groundwork for a titanic musical and cultural shift creating a post-rock electronic music revolution that has captured the imagination of a new generation of fans across North America.

In 2011, Kaskade earned his first Grammy nomination for his double-album Fire & Ice, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic albums chart. He would later release his well-received eighth studio album Atmosphere in 2013, which scored 12 Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay Chart, meriting Kaskade his second and third Grammy nominations for Best Dance Recording and Best Dance/Electronica Album. The two-time “America’s Best DJ” title-holder has created chart-topping remixes for everyone from Lana Del Rey to Beyoncé.

Kaskade closed out the 2014 concert season having performed and headlined at more than 100 shows and festivals. He’s brought his deep-euphoric tunes to the masses averaging 17,000 fans per arena-sized show spanning six continents in more than 45 countries. Kaskade’s live shows are a jaw-dropping spectacle with him performing in front of massive LED screens broadcasting evocative images synced with the music in meaning and tone, while strobe lights scan the crowd.

Steve Aoki is a Grammy Award-nominated, gold-selling artist and producer, who incites quite a bit of movement with packed headlining shows and festival appearances.

Millions of fans responded to Aoki’s 2014 studio album Neon Future 1, featuring a wondrous and wild cross section of genres. The album catapulted to No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Albums Chart, No. 4 on the Independent Albums Chart and No. 13 on the Digital Albums Chart. The single “Delirious (Boneless)” with Chris Lake and Tujamo featuring Kid Ink, achieved gold status as certified by the RIAA and “Rage the Night Away” (Feat. Waka Flocka Flame) appeared in theatrical trailers for the dance film Step Up: All In as well as Unfinished Business.

Aoki’s latest album release, Neon Future II, fuels his latest revolution, bookending the journey he began with Neon Future 1, while opening up the skies for more progression. He first ignites this ride with “Time Capsule (Intro),” where swirling synths propel an engaging and entrancing opener bolstered by cinematic and spacey soundscapes. Aoki taps the talents of the legendary Snoop Lion (aka Snoop Dogg) for an electrified reggae and rap banger “Youth Dem Turn Up,” emitting cosmic fumes worth huffing over and over again. Elsewhere, Matthew Koma lends his smooth and slick croon to the dance floor-ready bounce of “Hysteria.”

At a time when DJs sit firmly at the center of popular culture, A-Trak stands out as the MVP, and the key participant who holds together all facets of the craft. Very few share his mastery of turntablism while also sitting at the forefront of musical innovation, looking keenly to the future with history tucked in his back pocket.

After spending years as Kanye West’s tour DJ and confidant, A-Trak founded the celebrated record label Fool’s Gold Records in 2007 and developed the careers of numerous artists, including Danny Brown, Chromeo, RL Grime, Flosstradamus, and many more.

A Grammy-nominated producer from Montreal, Canada, A-Trak was a ’90s turntable prodigy. As a teenager, he won every DJ title known to man, starting with the 1997 DMC World Championships and holding a record-breaking five titles by the time he was 18.

A-Trak hops effortlessly from colossal festival stages to sold-out concert venues and sweaty underground clubs, building links between hip hop and electronic music while watching genre barriers crumble.

Snake Pit presented by Miller Lite tickets are available for purchase for all Indianapolis 500 ticket holders. General admission tickets to the Snake Pit are available beginning at $15 in addition to VIP tickets offering admission to the Serpent Lounge starting at $60. VIP amenities will include access to a raised viewing platform located side stage, a private cash bar, private restrooms, video boards with live race coverage and access to viewing mounds. Snake Pit tickets do not include gate admission.

For Snake Pit wristbands and more information, visit http://www.indy500snakepit.com.

The 2015 Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for noon (ET) on Sunday, May 24.

Ford unveils a new Mustang for 2024 Le Mans in motorsports ‘lifestyle brand’ retooling

Ford Mustang Le Mans
Ford Performance

LE MANS, France — Ford has planned a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its iconic Mustang muscle car next year under a massive rebranding of Ford Performance aimed at bringing the automotive manufacturer “into the racing business.”

The Friday unveil of the new Mustang Dark Horse-based race car follows Ford’s announcement in February (and a ballyhooed test at Sebring in March) that it will return to Formula One in 2026 in partnership with reigning world champion Red Bull.

The Mustang will enter the GT3 category next year with at least two cars in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, and is hopeful to earn an invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA entries will be a factory Ford Performance program run by Multimatic, and a customer program in WEC with Proton Competition.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, also an amateur sports car racer, told The Associated Press the Mustang will be available to compete in various GT3 series across the globe to customer teams. But more important, Farley said, is the overall rebranding of Ford Performance – done by renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee – that is aimed at making Ford a lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset.

“It’s kind of like the company finding its own, and rediscovering its icons, and doubling down on them,” Farley told the AP. “And then this motorsports activity is getting serious about connecting enthusiast customers with those rediscovered icons. It’s a big switch for the company – this is really about building strong, iconic vehicles with enthusiasts at the center of our marketing.”

Ford last competed in sports car racing in 2019 as part of a three-year program with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team scored the class win at Le Mans in 2016 in a targeted performance aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford snapping Ferrari’s six-year winning streak.

Ford on Friday displayed a Mustang with a Lee-designed livery that showcased the cleaner, simplified look that will soon be featured on all its racing vehicles. The traditional blue oval with Ford Performance in white lettering underneath will now be branded simply FP.

The new mark will be used across car liveries, merchandise and apparel, display assets, parts and accessories and in advertising.

Farley cited Porsche as an automaker that has successfully figured out how to sell cars to consumers and race cars in various series around the world while creating a culture of brand enthusiasts. He believes Ford’s new direction will help the company sell street cars, race cars, boost interest in driving schools, and create a merchandise line that convinces consumers that a stalwart of American automakers is a hip, cool brand.

“We’re going to build a global motorsports business off road and on road,” Farley told the AP, adding that the design of the Mustang is “unapologetically American.”

He lauded the work of Lee, who is considered the top helmet designer among race car drivers.

“We’re in the first inning of a nine inning game, and going to Le Mans is really important,” Farley said. “But for customer cars, getting the graphics right, designing race cars that win at all different levels, and then designing a racing brand for Ford Performance that gets rebranded and elevated is super important.”

He said he’s kept a close eye on how Porsche and Aston Martin have built their motorsports businesses and said Ford will be better.

“We’re going in the exact same direction. We just want to be better than them, that’s all,” Farley said. “Second is the first loser.”

Farley, an avid amateur racer himself, did not travel to Le Mans for the announcement. The race that begins Saturday features an entry from NASCAR, and Ford is the reigning Cup Series champion with Joey Logano and Team Penske.

The NASCAR “Garage 56” entry is a collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and is being widely celebrated throughout the industry. Farley did feel left out of the party in France – a sentiment NASCAR tried to avoid by inviting many of its partners to attend the race so that it wouldn’t seem like a Chevrolet-only celebration.

“They’re going right and I’m going left – that NASCAR thing is a one-year deal, right? It’s Garage 56 and they can have their NASCAR party, but that’s a one-year party,” Farley said. “We won Le Mans outright four times, we won in the GT class, and we’re coming back with Mustang and it’s not a one-year deal.

“So they can get all excited about Garage 56. I almost see that as a marketing exercise for NASCAR, but for me, that’s a science project,” Farley continued. “I don’t live in a world of science projects. I live in the world of building a vital company that everyone is excited about. To do that, we’re not going to do a Garage 56 – I’ve got to beat Porsche and Aston Martin and Ferrari year after year after year.”

Ford’s announcement comes on the heels of General Motors changing its GT3 strategy next season and ending its factory Corvette program. GM, which unlike Ford competes in the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype division (with its Cadillac brand), will shift fully to a customer model for Corvettes in 2024 (with some factory support in the IMSA GTD Pro category).