New 2017 Tatuus USF-17 rolling chassis set at $51,800

Photo: Andersen Promotions
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The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda new 2017 Tatuus USF-17 chassis price and order details have been released. See the release from the series below:

Even though the first race of what promises to be a thrilling 2016 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season is still one week away, it’s never too soon to begin looking toward the future. Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, is pleased to announce an improved deal on pricing for the state-of-the-art, carbon-chassis Tatuus USF-17 which will be introduced for 2017. In addition, thanks to the assistance of a variety of series partners, the first 17 orders for the new car will receive a $2,000 discount on the chassis/engine package, plus one free set of Cooper rain tires valued at $1,045.

USF2000 represents the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy open-wheel development ladder, which provides a clearly defined path for teams and drivers – with scholarship prizes at every level – to assist in the progression from karting through USF2000, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. The Tatuus USF-17 will be the series’ standard for at least the next five years and will supersede the venerable Van Diemen chassis which has formed the backbone of the series since 1999.

The USF-17 monocoque chassis has been enhanced over typical F4 designs and meets current FIA safety standards, including side impact panels, front and rear impact structures, HANS-compliant head restraint, front and rear wheel tethers, upgraded uprights, and upgraded front bulkhead structure for USA specific oval racing circuits. Unique USF2000 sidepods and engine cover along with USF2000 specific front and rear wing end plates, nose cone and front cover combine to form an aero package that includes carbon composite wings with adjustable twin-element rear wing and a carbon composite diffuser.

In addition to the previously announced PFC four-piston brake package, Cosworth Omega L2 Plus data system with Cosworth CFW 277 steering wheel (complete with integrated dash and gear change paddles) and a Magneti Marelli electronic gear shift system, the entire package, priced at $51,800, now includes one set of forged aluminum American Racing Technomesh wheels and a stainless steel exhaust system.

The USF-17 will utilize Dynamic 1640 three-way dampers.

“We are delighted to be able to expand the included components from the package that was originally announced at the PRI show last December,” said Andersen. “While we are excited about the prospects for the current season, we are equally enthusiastic about offering our competitors such an advanced equipment package in 2017.”

Elite Engines will continue as the builder of the series power plants, offering several different options. The current Generation 1 Mazda MZR race engine can be upgraded to the Generation 2 spec, which will utilize “drive by wire” technology in the USF-17. Complete new Generation 2 engines will also be offered, and the Mazda engine package will utilize a Cosworth SQ6 ECU/GCU management unit including integrated engine and gearshift control systems.

Testing of the prototype, which will be unveiled at a special ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the day before the 100th Indianapolis 500, will commence in June at both road course and oval circuits.

Orders for the Tatuus USF-17 can be placed through the series’ importer, Carl Haas Auto. As previously announced, the first shipment of cars will be delivered in September and the second in December.

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.”