Photos courtesy Haas F1 Team

Haas F1 team unveils 2018 Formula One livery, the third-generation VF-18

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Haas F1 this morning unveiled its new VF-18 ride that will challenge for the FIA Formula One World Championship.

The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based team enters its third full-time season on the F1 circuit in 2018.

The VF-18 evolved from last season’s VF-17 model, which finished eighth in the 2017 constructors standings, scoring 47 points, 18 more points than the 29 points the team earned in its debut season in 2016, becoming the first full-time F1 team from the United States since 1986.

“People see what we can do in Formula One and people believe Haas Automation can build world-class machine tools,” team owner Gene Haas said in a media release. “Being a Formula One participant brings a level of credibility that you just won’t get through traditional advertising.”

Haas said he has used principles and attributes from his Haas Automation firm, the largest machine tool manufacturer in North America, focusing on details and constant refinement to keep the F1 team moving forward and progressing.

“We eliminated a lot of the variables where we knew we were weak,” Haas said. “We’ve focused on what it’s going to take to get our car to be consistent and close that gap to the top teams.”

Keen additions to the VF-18 are the addition of a halo and what is termed as a “drastic reduction” in the sharkfin.

“The biggest part of the car’s evolution was the addition of the halo,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team. “It took quite a bit of study by the aerodynamicists, but the designers had to work hard to modify the chassis so the halo could survive the mandated loads.

“The total minimum weight of the car increased because of the halo, and there’s a higher center of gravity simply because of the halo’s position. But, everyone is in the same boat.

“The regulations stayed pretty stable between 2017 and 2018, so the VF-18 is an evolution of our car from last year. It’s less about reinvention and more about refinement. You see elements we had from last year on the car this year.

“Our 2017 car was actually pretty good, but we didn’t always get the best out of it, and that’s what we aimed to change in 2018. We got the car as light as possible to carry more ballast. We were able to do a better job of putting the weight where we wanted it.”

 

The team will put the VF-18 through its paces at upcoming tests at Circuit de Barcelona in Catalunya, Feb. 26-March 1, and again March 6-9 before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix March 25 in Melbourne.

Several other F1 teams are expected to reveal their 2018 liveries in the next couple of weeks prior to the Barcelona test.

Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 Shootout

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Michael Carter was selected as the winner of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.

Carter was one of four drivers who competed for the honor and a $100,000 scholarship that went along with it. Matthew Dirks, Hannah Grisham and Loni Unser also competed.

With the scholarship, Carter will compete in the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.

“What a journey this has been,” said Carter in a press release. “The reason I started racing a Mazda was because of the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. It was our one single goal all along and to finally accomplish that is surreal. The process begins next week of getting ready for next season, for the series test at Barber, and to put together a good season in the Global MX-5 Cup.”

Carter was invited to the Shootout largely because of his 2018 performance in SCCA. He finished second in the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Points Championship, won the Spec Miata Challenge and won in Spec Miata at the American Road Race of Champions.

The 18-year-old Carter had his eye on the Road to Mazda early.

“Each year, it is exciting to see the next batch of talent that is in the pipeline,” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports. “I heard something from Michael and his father that really hit a chord with me which was that they built a Spec Miata with the sole purpose of going up the Mazda Road to 24 ladder.

That really speaks to the challenger spirit at Mazda, to why we have the Shootout, and to the family that we have at Mazda. Michael is the driver today who walks away with the scholarship, but we had four families come together here who have all gone racing together. For all of us at Mazda, it’s very rewarding to give these families a chance to go racing together. We look forward to watching Michael take the next step in his career in next season’s Global MX-5 Cup.”