JDX Racing, Justin Wilson announce Formula Lites team

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IMSA team JDX Racing has announced it is partnering with IndyCar veteran Justin Wilson to field four cars to compete in the first full season of the Formula Lites series, which was founded in 2014.

Wilson, an 11-year veteran of IndyCar, will serve as a mentor and coach for the team’s eventual drivers over the course of the series’ 12 race, six-weekend schedule.

“I’m really proud to partner with JDX Racing. I have a history of 10 plus years with the guys at JDX, and am excited to help mentor and develop the young driving talent the FL15 will attract,” Wilson said in a release. “I plan to attend as many tests and races as my 2015 schedule will allow, helping to coach and groom our drivers.”

Wilson is competing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring this weekend with Michael Shank Racing.

JDX Racing was founded in 2008 by Jeremy Dale and Harrison Brix and is based out of Denver. The four-car team will race Hondas powered by the FL-15 built by Crawford Composites.

“Having Justin Wilson, who is a 12-year IndyCar veteran, will help take the JDX program to a different level,” said Brix. “Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?”

“I’m really proud that JDX is taking on the Formula Lites program because open wheel racing is close to my racing roots, as is my experience in helping train and work with young drivers,” said Dale. Dale once worked as managing director of the Barber­ Dodge Pro Series, where he worked with defending Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-­Reay, A.J. Allmendinger, Jon Fogarty and Michael Valiante.

The Formula Lites series, sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing, begins its season May 29 at Thomson Speedway in Thompson, Conn.

Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record

Lewis Hamilton Schumacher record
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton has set many Formula One marks over the years, but few are as significant as the Michael Schumacher record he can match Sunday at the Russian Grand Prix.

Victory for Hamilton at the Sochi Olympic Park would see him draw level with Schumacher at 91 career victories, more than any other driver in the 70-year history of F1.

It also would increase Hamilton’s commanding 55-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship standings, putting him closer to a seventh world championship, matching another Schumacher record.

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History is on the side of Hamilton, who won Sept. 13 at Mugello. He’s won four of the six Russian races so far, and all six were won by Mercedes drivers. His closest challenger is likely to be Bottas, who beat Hamilton in the 2017 edition of the Russian Grand Prix.

Elsewhere in the championship hunt, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s season has gone up in smoke since his Aug. 9 victory at Silverstone. An overheating engine forced the Dutch driver out of the Sept. 6 race at Monza and then a similar problem struck just before the start at Mugello. Verstappen was far slower off the line than the cars around him and was struck by Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

That leaves Verstappen 80 points off Hamilton in the standings and a 25-point deficit to Bottas.

If Hamilton does win to tie Schumachher at Sochi, more fans will see it in person than any other race in a 2020 season mostly run before empty grandstands because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Organizers say the race weekend is sold out but haven’t given final ticket sales figures.

Race promoter Alexei Titov previously told Russian state TV that the stands would be at 50 percent of their capacity, which equates to around 30,000 spectators.

That’s far more than the previous season high of 3,000 fans for the most recent race, the Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit.

Unlike at the last two races in Italy, there will be a full entertainment program on offer for fans with concerts featuring some of Russia’s most popular musicians.

Russian organizers say they’re taking precautions to keep fans safe and will have medical staff posted at checkpoints around the venue, and that spectators will have their temperature measured on entry.