INDYCAR confirms Luyendyk, Papis, Dan Davis as race stewards

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INDYCAR has confirmed the race stewards for the 2016 season, with Arie Luyendyk, Max Papis and Dan Davis as the three race stewards for all 16 races in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

The full release from INDYCAR is below:

INDYCAR announced today it has strengthened its race control program by naming three race stewards with extensive motorsports experience to monitor on-track competition at all 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series events. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, former Indy car driver Max Papis and longtime motorsports executive Dan Davis will make up the three-steward panel at each race.

The stewards will report to Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations, who said finalizing these positions has been a top priority since accepting his position in November 2015.

“As soon as we began the process of identifying our race stewards, we targeted Dan, Arie and Max and we’re thrilled they agreed to join this extremely important initiative,” Frye said. “INDYCAR’s stewards have a great deal of experience across many different areas of motorsports and we are confident their varying perspectives will mesh well for consistent execution and enforcement of our rules.”

Davis is the chief steward and will serve as the team leader, which includes overseeing the administration and organization of the group. Davis has 40 years of experience in the auto industry with General Motors and Ford Motor Co. He spent 14 years at Ford as director of Ford Racing Technology, in charge of the global company’s North American racing operations that included participation in Indy car racing, NASCAR, Formula One, NHRA, USAC and World Rallycross. After retiring from Ford in 2008, Davis spent a year as president and CEO of Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

Luyendyk was an Indy car star for nearly two decades, winning seven races including the 1990 and 1997 Indianapolis 500 Mile Races. The “Flying Dutchman” still holds the one- and four-lap Indianapolis Motor Speedway track records set in 1996. In recent years, Luyendyk has served as an INDYCAR pace car driver.

Papis has followed a career path from Formula One to Indy car to NASCAR. He drove for a decade in CART and the Verizon IndyCar Series, scoring three career wins. He holds the Indy car record for winning a road- or street-course race from the furthest starting spot – winning at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2001 after starting in 25th position.

“Our desire was to assemble a team with varied backgrounds that would work together to move INDYCAR forward in the area of monitoring on-track competition,” Frye said. “Being a race steward requires thorough knowledge and consistent interpretation of the rules, as well as the ability to enact them with resolve. This is the right group to do that.”

The three stewards will oversee on-track action via video and audio monitors, electronic data and communication with teams and race officials. Any one of the stewards may call for review of an on-track incident, at which time they will review collectively to determine if an infraction occurred and whether to impose a penalty – which will be determined by a majority vote.

Brian Barnhart, INDYCAR vice president of competition, race director, will remain in his role as race director and oversee the management of the race, including decisions on track conditions (full-course or local caution, red flag, etc.), safety dispatch and communication of all decisions made by the stewards to the competitors.

NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E and Ian James set to race ahead of electric motorsports’ curve

James McLaren Formula E
NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team
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As Formula E enters their ninth season and McLaren Racing is set to compete in last year’s championship winning car, Ian James is passionate about pushing electric motorsports forward at a critical stage as race technology begins surpassing that of the street cars.

Midseason, McLaren acquired the assets of the Mercedes-EQ team as they were already on their way to winning a second consecutive championship. With those assets in place and coming off a successful debut in the Extreme E series, James is set to usher in a new era in electric car racing.

Last week’s announcement that Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast behind the wheel of the NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team was the last piece of the puzzle.

McLaren’s electric portfolio is building with the Formula E team coming one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour. There were a lot of lessons to learn in that series with growing pains during the first three of five rounds. Rounds 4 and 5 were a completely different matter with the team crossing the finish line first in Chile before being assessed a time penalty.

In the final round in Uruguay, they scored an elusive podium.

“McLaren kicked off the season in Extreme E at the beginning of this year, so our first [electric] race took place Neom, actually out in Saudi,” NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team Principal James told NBC Sports. “At the time, we were in very early discussions about opportunities with the Formula E team. I actually went out there to meet with Zak [Brown, CEO McLaren Racing] and that was my first taste of Extreme E.

“Since the transition, I joined them in Chile in Atacama Desert, and then Uruguay last weekend. [The second-place finish was] a lovely way to round out the season. The fact that they got that podium. It was very well deserved. It’s a great team and a great series actually. It’s just so very different from anything else. The team’s done a great job in getting set up, and it’s nice now to, we’re trying to use that momentum that we’ve got from Uruguay to get us into next season when it kicks off next year, which will be great. I think we’re mid-March is looking like the first race, so a little bit of time to get things prepped for that.”

 

James McLaren Formula E
The NEOM Mclaren Racing Formula E Team was created through the acquisition of last year’s championship team from Mercedes-EQ. – NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team

Synergies exist between the single seater and rally series. Lessons learned about battery power and sustainability in the electric SUV carry over so long as one is mindful of keeping focus on the individual needs and nuances of each series.

Especially now that electric racing technology has caught up, and is ready to surpass, the existing technology that has gone into building street cars.

When internal combustion engines gained the upper hand soon after automobiles were invented, racing paced alongside. The pressure of competition pushed the development of their commercial equivalents. The same has not necessarily been true of electric cars. Street cars were not designed to undergo the same stress as racecars – and that vulnerability showed up on the racetrack.

“Formula E has come along a long way,” James said. “I think one of the most notable developments is in the battery technology. In Gen 1, you had the drivers jumping from one car to another car midrace because the battery technology and capacity simply wasn’t where it needed to be to do the full distance. That obviously changed in Gen 2 and we saw a power increase as well to the 250 kilowatts.

“Now going to Gen 3, we have 350 kilowatts in a smaller battery. But that means that we’re relying on the regeneration of energy and for that reason, we’ve got also the opportunity to regenerate on the front axle as well as the rear axle now. So, there’s all sorts of things that are developing in the right direction.

“In terms of throttle response, actually, we’re now in a situation with electric racing and the motors that it’s instantaneous. And one of the advantages of electric over combustion engine is that the torque is instantaneous as well, so that gives you a lot more room to play with.”

No matter the power source, racing has always been about resource management. Drivers and teams select tire strategies they believe produce the fastest elapsed time and fuel conservation comes into play.

On one hand, electric racing is the same, but there is a critical difference. With the battery as both the power source and an integral part of the engine, there are multiple reasons to manage it.

In electric racing, the brain of the car is the software – and that is where James sees the greatest room for advancement.

“As we are working with our drivers and engineers – and start to look at functionality to improve our efficiency and our performance, that’s something we’ll continue to push because that development is open throughout the season,” James said. “That’s going to be our focus going forward and provides enough of a challenge for us to get our teeth into.

“What’s going to be fascinating is as Formula E continues, is to really look at which areas of development on the car are going to be the most relevant and ensuring that we can focus on those together with the manufacturers so we continue and use the series as a platform for technical development that can then feed back into the road car side of things as well.

“At the end of the day, that’s what motorsports always been, a very powerful tool for, and I see Formula E as no exception.”

James McLaren Formula E
Jake Hughes and Rene Rast were chosen for their ability to drive fast and execute the necessary strategy for energy management. – NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team

Selecting Rast and Hughes as McLaren’s Formula E drivers was not simply because they know how to drive fast. James believes both drivers have the mental aptitude to execute energy management strategies throughout the race and squeeze maximum performance.

“As with many other motorsports, you’ve got a certain amount of energy that you’re able to deploy during the race and the management of that energy is absolutely crucial,” James said. “What we’re seeing typically in electric motorsports now is the hardware side of things. The efficiencies that we’re seeing in the powertrain as a whole, they’re getting up to the sort of 96%, 97%, 98% efficiency, so the gains that you get through that further and further become more marginal.”

With much more room for improvement, software is a different matter. To make the best decisions, the drivers need data, and that is where James believes McLaren Formula E will make their greatest impact.

“And then you really switch that focus to the software and that’s where you’re going to see the most the most improvement and the most gains,” James continued. “It’s then using that software to ensure that you’re deploying the energy in the most efficient manner during race, and thereby giving the driver the most performance. And that’s something which is incredibly complicated, but I find it a fascinating area to work in.

“The benefit of being involved in racing is you can really push the envelope in a way that you can’t do on road cars. And I think that that’s where that value comes in. It means that you accelerate the development a lot quicker. We will get ahead of the curve – and we are getting ahead of the curve now – and that will mean that the electric motorsports remain part of the overall development process.

“The key to that is also making sure that the racing’s exciting and fun for the fans. If we can, we can tick both of those boxes, then it’s got a very bright future ahead of it.”