Mark Webber brought his racing career to a close on Saturday with a podium finish in the FIA World Endurance Championship season finale in Bahrain.
Webber, 40, has spent over 20 years in motorsport, working his way up the single-seater ladder before making his Formula 1 debut in 2002 with Minardi.
Webber enjoyed the bulk of his F1 success towards the end of his time in the sport, taking his maiden grand prix victory in 2009 with Red Bull before missing out on the drivers’ championship at the final race in 2010.
The Australian retired from F1 after the 2013 campaign, moving into the WEC with Porsche following the revival of its LMP1 program for 2014.
Although the Le Mans win he craved eluded him, Webber did become world champion for the first time in 2015 alongside Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard behind the wheel of the Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Webber announced last month that he would retire from racing following the 2016 season, making his final start with Porsche at the Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday.
Webber was given the honor of completing the final stint of the race, bringing the no. 1 car home in third place to cap off his career with a podium finish.
Webber received a rapturous reception on the podium at the end of what was a poignant race for the WEC, given Audi’s departure after 18 years in the premier class of sportscar racing.
Webber is set to step up his commitments as a F1 pundit in 2017 with British TV following his step back from racing.
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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