Conor Daly will contest the 102nd Indianapolis 500 in a joint effort between Dale Coyne Racing and Thom Burns Racing. Daly will be teammates with full-time Coyne entrant Sebastien Bourdais and part-time entrant Pietro Fittipaldi, with Daly piloting the No. 17 Honda with support from the U.S. Air Force.
The entry marks a return to Coyne’s team for Daly, who contested the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season in Coyne’s No. 18 Honda. It also sees Thom Burns, owner of a property development company in Indianapolis, formally launch Thom Burns Racing after being a part of the 500 with various teams and drivers since 1987. Burns also helped form PacWest Racing in the 1990s.
“We’re very happy to have Conor Daly back with us for the Indy 500,” said team owner Dale Coyne. “Conor has done a great job for us in the past and we hope to continue that this year at IMS. We also very much look forward to working with Thom Burns Racing and we’re extremely pleased and honored to be partnered and representing the United States Air Force.”
Daly added, “It is an honor to have the opportunity to represent the Air Force at the Indianapolis 500,” Daly said. “Memorial Day Weekend is an incredible time of appreciation for those who serve our country. I can’t thank Dale Coyne enough for having me back on the team and Thom Burns enough for bringing this program together with the Air Force to give us a fighting chance at the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.”
The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.
With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.
Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.
With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.
“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!
“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”
Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.
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