IndyCar Media Day Roundup: Max Chilton

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Winning in only the second oval race of your career can open very promising doors.

That’s what happened to Max Chilton, a former Formula One driver, when he won an Indy Lights race at Iowa Speedway in just his 10th race in the series.

Chilton, a native of the UK, was competing for Trevor Carlin when he won from the pole.

“The team looked into it and they realized it was my second only oval race,” Chilton said at the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Media Day. “In the following weeks I got contacted by every team. It was a filter system. I got it down to two pretty quickly. There was one that I wanted to be with.”

The filter system led to the announcement on Feb. 1 that Chilton would be the fourth full-time driver for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2016.

Chilton spent two years in Formula One driving for Marussia F1 Team. But the native of Reigate, England never earned a podium or led a lap in 35 races. Now he will strap into the cockpit of car owned by one of the winningest owners in IndyCar.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me,” Chilton said. “It’s been a difficult last few years because even though I was in Formula One and that was my dream, it’s frustrating not having a chance to win. You finish 13th, it’s disheartening.

“Now I’m with Chip. Not too sure on the ovals, plenty of the road courses I haven’t raced. But I have the chance to win. I’m looking forward to it.”

Chilton, 24, has never set foot in an IndyCar and won’t until a one-day test on Feb. 10 at Sonoma Raceway. He will be only the fourth British-born driver in 24 years to have had a full-time career in F1 before journeying to the United States to take on IndyCar. Chilton’s predecessor’s were Nigel Mansell (1993), Mark Blundell (1996) and Justin Wilson (2004).

“I can’t really say how it’s going to be,” Chilton said. “I can remember the first time I drove an Indy Lights car on the oval last year. It was Homestead. I’m sure it’s the same for many of the European or Formula One drivers that come over, you feel completely out of your comfort zone. I’m not going to lie, I still feel that way.”

While working alongside Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball, Chilton has already been mentored by one of the most successful names in IndyCar history – Dario Franchitti.

“He was probably on speed dial last year when I was on an oval, (asking) ‘what do I do now?'” Chilton said. “He was the one that said, ‘I didn’t feel comfortable (on ovals) for three years.’ That makes me feel better. It should feel abnormal because it’s not normal to be constantly turning left. Might get bored with it, but I’ll give it a go.”

For his maiden voyage in IndyCar, Chilton is in “the best place.”

“For someone that is coming across, not having a clue about the Indy scene, ovals, I’m in a fantastic situation.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.