IndyCar outlines 2018 testing parameters

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INDYCAR has outlined its testing parameters for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, which will see the racing debut of the new 2018 Dallara universal aero kit.

As chronicled this week, manufacturer testing began on Tuesday at Sebring International Raceway’s short course. Team testing with the new car begins in January 2018.

The full release is below.

INDYCAR is providing ample time for manufacturers and teams to learn the new universal aero kit during offseason testing, with the sanctioning body for the Verizon IndyCar Series announcing testing guidelines for the 2018 season.

The testing regulations, developed in cooperation with series teams and manufacturers, have been distributed to INDYCAR stakeholders and are split into offseason and in-season testing categories.

The offseason testing window began Monday and runs through March 29, 2018. The in-season testing window runs from March 30-Sept. 16, 2018.

Team testing highlights

 Each Verizon IndyCar Series entrant is permitted five team test days – three in the offseason window and two during the in-season window. The offseason window for team testing begins Jan. 8, 2018, allowing time for teams to receive and prepare the Dallara universal aero kits to be used by all Verizon IndyCar Series competitors in 2018.

•  Teams with rookie drivers are permitted an additional three days of testing – one offseason and two in season.

 Any full-season Verizon IndyCar Series team is granted one additional offseason day to test a current approved Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires driver. Also, entrants operating full-season teams in both the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights are granted an additional in-season test day to be used between May 12 and Sept. 16, 2018.

 Teams new to the series in 2018 are permitted two additional test days – one in the offseason window and one in season.

Manufacturer testing highlights

•  Engine manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda are each granted five days through Dec. 17to conduct testing with the universal aero kit. No more than two cars are permitted for a manufacturer at each aero kit test and the manufacturer is not required to allow its other teams or the competing manufacturer to attend. INDYCAR has stipulated one of the aero kit test days for each manufacturer: Chevrolet will test at Phoenix Raceway on Oct. 17 and Honda at Texas Motor Speedway on Oct. 23.

•  Each engine manufacturer may conduct two days of offseason engine testing (through March 29, 2018) and must permit any team using its engines to attend the test, even if a team is not invited by the manufacturer as an engine test team. Teams attending an engine test will not be charged a team test day, but each team is limited to attending one engine manufacturer test day. Teams of the opposing manufacturer may also participate in the test, but those teams will be charged a team test day.

•  Tire manufacturer Firestone is allotted four tire test days – two in the offseason and two in season – utilizing two teams at each test. All teams, including those providing a tire test car, may be approved by INDYCAR to have one car participate in team testing to run concurrently with the tire test. Teams will not be charged a team test day for participating in any tire test day.

Other testing regulations highlights

 Four days have been designated for open tests in 2018, with all Leaders Circle entrants required to participate unless approved by INDYCAR. The open test dates and tracks are: Feb. 9-10, Phoenix Raceway; March 20, Barber Motorsports Park; and March 27, Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

•  Testing blackout windows are: Nov. 20-27, 2017Dec. 16, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018; and within seven days of the start of any on-track activity for a race event (i.e., if the first practice of a race weekend is on a Friday, testing must be completed by the Thursday of the week prior). The exceptions to the blackout windows are for open tests and on Sept. 11-12, 2018.

•  Teams and manufacturers may test at any Verizon IndyCar Series race location in the United States except street courses. Other approved tracks for testing are: Auto Club Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Circuit of the Americas, Homestead-Miami Speedway (oval and road course), Kentucky Speedway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Sebring International Raceway.

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.