IndyCar partner notes: Brembo returns, Hitachi signs multiyear extension with Penske

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ST. PETERSBURG – Two quick partner notes to hit going into the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season-opening weekend at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

source:  First up is confirmation Brembo will return to IndyCar as the exclusive brake provider, in the company’s 40-year anniversary in motorsports.

No changes or modifications have been made to the strong, yet lightweight carbon brakes from 2014 into 2015.

“We’re looking forward to the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season and the enhanced speed and performance with the updated aero body kits on the race cars,” said Daniel Sandberg, CEO, Brembo North America. “Based on feedback from the pre-season tests, the drivers appear to be taking full advantage of our brakes by braking deeper with the extra downforce. We are eager to see how the brakes perform during this weekend’s race.”

More information is available at a new dedicated microsite, www.indycar.brembo.com.

source: AP
Photo: AP

Hitachi has also announced a multiyear partnership with Team Penske and driver Helio Castroneves. Partner representatives joked at a press event Thursday that it took until 2015 to sign a multiyear extension because Detroit race two last year, in front of GM’s corporate headquarters, marked the first race Castroneves actually won with Hitachi on the car.

Castroneves’ No. 3 Chevrolet will don the Hitachi colors at St. Petersburg this weekend, then at New Orleans, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Iowa, Mid-Ohio and Sonoma race weekends.

“Hitachi’s automotive business is very proud to be a consistent supporter of IndyCar Racing, which continues to grow in popularity in North America,” said Rob Sharpe, Vice President – Sales Division, Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. “Our Penske partnership is a clear demonstration of ‘teamwork and technology,’ where Hitachi can leverage its racing applications and automotive expertise in one of the world’s most competitive racing environments.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”