As was the case with Will Stevens, Roberto Merhi has also found a home in his post-Manor F1 career with the Manor WEC team.
The Spaniard was confirmed Wednesday to complete the team’s six-driver lineup. The other five are Stevens, IndyCar veteran James Jakes, and sports car regulars Tor Graves, Richard Bradley and Matthew Rao.
“Roberto is a talented driver with plenty of speed and experience. I know that he will fit in straight away having worked with many of the team before and also been a team mate to Will Stevens last year,” team principal John Booth said.
Merhi added, “I’m really excited to be part of this new exciting chapter with Manor. It is a great opportunity to work with Graeme, John and the team again.
“This is my first time at endurance racing, LMP2 is a very strong championship and I am looking forward to getting into the ORECA 05 LMP2 and seeing what we can all achieve together.”
The likely driver breakout is Graves, Jakes and Stevens – the first three drivers – in the team’s No. 44 Oreca 05 Nissan with Bradley, Rao and Merhi slated for the No. 45 Oreca, which isn’t on the 24 Hours of Le Mans entry list as the car came together after the initial entry release.
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.
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