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Horner keen to see return of Procar-style series for F1 drivers

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Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner would like to see the sport’s new owner, Liberty Media, revive a one-make series for drivers similar to the Procar championship that ran in 1979 and 1980.

Procar saw a number of F1 drivers go head-to-head in identical BMW M1 sportscars on a number of race weekends, supporting the grand prix.

The series only lasted two years and was followed by a one-off event at the Nürburgring in 1984, but has remained a fond memory for many in F1 who relished the chance to see elite drivers be separated by nothing but their ability behind the wheel.

Following its takeover of F1 in January, Liberty is working on plans to make the sport more entertaining, and Horner thinks a Procar-style series would help make drivers more active on race weekends.

“I’d love to see drivers more active over a race weekend,” Horner told Sky Sports.

“Years ago there was the Procar series. Get them driving in a different discipline. Why not get them involved in something like that with a one-make formula? Porsche Supercup, why not put the drivers all in that?”

Horner was asked about a possible clash between manufacturers, with the likes of Ferrari and Honda perhaps unwilling to field their drivers in a rival company’s car, but the Red Bull team boss thinks a solution can be found.

“Well if you moved it around, you could have them all in Aston Martins one weekend, Ferraris the next, Hondas the next. Or find a manufacturer that’s acceptable,” Horner said.

“But I think something like that, something to see the drivers’ skill and personality. They’re pretty quiet over a grand prix weekend.

“The sessions used to be longer, there used to be Sunday morning warm-ups, they used to be a lot more active and they have a lot of time on their hands now.”

Horner favored the return of a Procar-style series over the addition of a sprint race or reverse grid event to grand prix weekends that may offer half-points for the championship.

“I hate that idea, I think grand prix racing, the grand prix is the main event on a Sunday afternoon. Anything gimmicky like that is just WWF,” Horner said.

“Let’s just create great content and have great racing on a Sunday afternoon, and get the drivers racing wheel to wheel and them be the heroes.

“Then we don’t need gimmicks like reverse grids.”

2016 Knoxville Nationals champ Jason Johnson succumbs to injuries from sprint car crash

Photo courtesy Jason Johnson Racing official Facebook page
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Former Knoxville Nationals champion sprint car driver Jason Johnson has died from injuries suffered in a crash Saturday night in a World of Outlaws race at Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) Raceway).

Known as the “Ragin’ Cajun” for his aggressive style of racing, Johnson, 41, passed away this morning, according to an announcement by WoO. He was one of the most respected and well-liked drivers on the circuit by both fellow competitors and fans.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson, a Eunice, Louisiana resident, was racing for the lead in the main event on the one-third-mile clay track with eventual race winner Daryn Pitman, when Johnson crashed on Lap 18 shortly after a restart.

Johnson’s car left the track surface in Turn 3 and flew through at least one billboard adjacent to the racetrack, according to media and witness reports.

It took rescue workers several minutes to extricate Johnson, who was taken by ambulance to a local hospital before being airlifted to Aurora Summit Hospital in Summit, Wisconsin, according to the Journal Sentinel report.

How many will remember Johnson:

Johnson, who won the 2016 Knoxville Nationals – the sport’s biggest race – in Iowa in storybook fashion, had been a primarily part-time racer on various sprint car circuits from 1998 until he went full-time on the Outlaws series, capturing Rookie of the Year honors in 2015.

MORE: Knoxville win should be big boost to Jason Johnson’s season, career

Johnson had 12 wins on the Outlaws circuit, including two victories this season.

The Journal Sentinel also posted a statement from SLS Promotions, which promoted Saturday’s race:

“Everyone at SLS Promotions offers our deepest, most sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to Bobbi Johnson (Jason’s wife), Jaxx Johnson (the couple’s son) and the entire Johnson family and JJR Racing team.

“Jason was a great competitor and true ambassador for the sport. It was an honor and a privilege to work with him during his time on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series trail. Jason will never be forgotten”

Other notables also commented on his death on social media:

According to the Journal Sentinel, Johnson is the second driver in four years to die at the small track northwest of Milwaukee. In September 2014, Scott Semmelann, 47, was killed there while practicing for an Interstate Racing Association event.

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