Photo: Getty Images

Sauber, Renault reveal 2018 cars

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The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team and Renault Sport F1 Team revealed their 2018 cars on Tuesday. Sauber’s, dubbed the C37, kicks off its new partnership with Italian auto maker Alfa Romeo and features significant changes from last year’s C36, especially regarding the aerodynamics.

“The aerodynamic concept has changed significantly, and the C37 has several new features in comparison to its predecessor,” said technical director Jörg Zander during the unveil. “We are positive that the new concept offers us more opportunities and will help us to make improvements during the course of the season.”

Team principal Frédéric Vasseur is optimistic that the team, with drivers Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc, will improve their 2017 results, which consisted of only two finishes in the points (eighth and tenth, both at the hands of Pascal Wehrlein) on their way to last in the constructor’s championship.

“I am very much looking forward to the 2018 season, and to seeing Marcus and Charles on track,” said Vasseur. “We have put lots of effort and hard work into the C37 over the last few months, and it is fantastic to be launching the new car today. I am convinced that Marcus and Charles form the perfect driver line-up, with one being an experienced driver and one a promising rookie.”

Vasseur continued, “Our target ahead of 2018 is clear: We have to catch up with the field and continue improving our performance during the course of the season. We have put lots of energy and commitment into the development of the C37. I want to thank our partners and fans for their continuous support. The return of Alfa Romeo to Formula 1 sets another milestone in the team’s history, and I am proud that such a historical brand has chosen us for their return to the sport.”

For Renault, which enters its third season under its latest incarnation, their 2018 car, the R.S.18, is more of an evolution of their 2017 challenger, the R.S.17, than a revolution, featuring developments and improvements to the car’s suspension design as well as an increase in downforce from the aerodynamics.

Also, improvements to the power unit – the 2018 iteration now named the R.E.18 power unit – are expected to enhance both power and reliability, in hopes of building on a 2017 season that saw them finish sixth in the constructor’s championship.

Their launch was also somewhat unique in that they initially released holographic images of their car prior to revealing the car’s official images.

“Renault Sport Formula One Team’s ambition is clearly to uphold the outstanding record of the past and the 2017 season has confirmed we are on the right track,” asserted Renault Sport Racing President Jérôme Stoll when the car was revealed. “We are a team on the rise. We have two very talented drivers who are hungry for results. Enstone is regenerated and the workforce has already increased by more than 35%. Our investment has so far been successfully translated to the track as we rose from ninth to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship in 2017 and ended the year with the fourth fastest car.”

Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing managing director, echoed Stoll’s sentiments, emphasizing that progress, with tangible improvements, is the ultimate goal this year.

“Our headline target is to show continued progression through results. We want to be able to showcase our progression in every regard: power unit, chassis, operations, drivers. Everything must improve and we must continue to grow. We want to demonstrate this in many different ways, from the teams we will be directly racing against, to the gap to the leaders, including also our fan base and the respect that our team will inspire in our way we behave on and off track.”

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Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

Photo: IndyCar
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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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