It was confirmed on Monday that Gabby Chaves, the 2014 Indy Lights champion, has won Rookie of the Year honors for the 2015 Indianapolis 500.
Chaves is the fourth Colombian to win the award, after Carlos Munoz (2013), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000, also race win) and Roberto Guerrero (1984).
It means Bryan Herta Autosport now has both an Indianapolis 500 win (2011 with the late Dan Wheldon) and a rookie-of-the-year winner (Chaves) in the last five years.
Chaves described his day, where he started 26th, ran as high as eighth, and ultimately ended 16th in the No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda.
“It was a very good race for us. I wish I could go out there and do it again,” he said. “One mistake cost us a lot of time. We had to drive back through the field. We drove all the way up to ninth before that last caution.
“Right before the caution, we were overtaking a car that was a lap down, lost our front wing. Very unfortunate. We didn’t change the wing just to see how long the caution would be, would stay. Unfortunately once we got back to green, it was a handful. I lost a few positions, lost a couple positions in that last stop as well.
“But we had a great car. We drove through the field twice, into the top 10 twice after two mistakes. I wish I could go out there and do it again. But I’m very happy with the job my crew did, my team. I’m super excited to keep using this momentum, keep progressing through the season.”
The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.
With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.
Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.
With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.
“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!
“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”
Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.
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