New Formula 1 team owner Gene Haas expects to attend around half of this year’s grands prix as he balances his various motorsport commitments.
NASCAR team co-owner Haas has spent much of the past two years preparing to enter F1 with his eponymous team, with its first public on-track run coming on Monday in Barcelona.
Haas met with the media following this first run on Tuesday, and said that he plans to attend roughly half of the 21 races on the 2016 calendar.
“If I can attend half I’d be very happy, kind of a goal,” Haas said.
“The travel is the tough one, so many places to go, depends how well we do! If we do well maybe I’ll attend more.”
Haas spoke about his first impressions of the Formula 1 paddock, and was asked how it compared to what he was used to in NASCAR.
“I’ve actually known about Formula 1 for a long time. Since Ken Anderson and USF1 I’ve paid attention to it, so I feel familiar with it,” Haas said.
“It feels very comfortable. I don’t think things are done here that are really totally different. Racers kind of tend to be racers, they do the same thing.
“Everything is different but at the same time it’s the same. I don’t feel that I’m a fish out of water. I feel like this would be a NASCAR race. It’s just that your cars look different.”
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
Read more about SuperMotocross