Off The Grid: Japan preview (premieres 11/25 on NBCSN)

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This week marks the conclusion of the 2016 Formula 1 season and along with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix comes the latest edition of the NBC Sports Group original series, Off the Grid.

Second free practice from Abu Dhabi airs at 8 a.m. ET on NBCSN, and will lead straight into the premiere of Off the Grid: Japan at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Prior to the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, NBCSN’s Will Buxton and Jason Swales went into Tokyo for a McLaren Honda-themed episode.

Among the highlights:

  • A real life Mario Kart experience through the streets of Tokyo with Maricar, where Will & Jason dressed up as Yoshi and Mario.
  • Going to a Robot Restaurant in Tokyo with McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
  • Visiting the Honda Collection Hall in Motegi, which features an array of Honda-powered race cars.
  • Riding to Suzuka with Fernando Alonso & Jenson Button.

Again, Off the Grid: Japan premieres on NBCSN at 9:30 am ET on Friday, November 25, following FP2 for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. A re-air is scheduled for Sunday, November 27, at 2:30 a.m. ET. Both shows are on NBCSN.

Check out a full preview of the episode in the above video.

Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

Michelin
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Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Ménard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, Ménard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. Ménard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”