Marvin Musquin wins Indy 450s Supercross, Austin Forkner remains perfect

SupercrossLIVE.com
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Round 11 of the Supercross season in Indianapolis may have been the last opportunity for the three challengers to catch points leader Cooper Webb. Marvin Musquin took that to heart, grabbed the holeshot and led all 26 laps on his way to his first victory of the season.

As he clicked his heels together flying over the finish line, he shaved five points off Webb’s lead, but more importantly, he served notice that Webb could be beaten.

Musquin’s win came with a comfortable lead over Blake Baggett.

Baggett put heavy pressure on Musquin with 5 minutes remaining, but that in turn allowed Webb to catch up. Once he was forced to look over his shoulder, Baggett faded.

By his recent standards, Webb struggled in the first half of the race, falling back to fourth after stalling his bike.

He recovered to finish third and minimize the damage to Musquin while adding two points over fourth-place Eli Tomac.

For Tomac this was a moral victory, however; it is the first time in the last six weeks that he backed up a win with a top-five finish.

Webb’s day wasn’t exactly clean. With 7 minutes remaining, he missed a corner, cross-rutted, shortened the course, and landed on a tough block. It whipped his bike around and allowed him to make a pass over Tomac (riding third at the time).

In his first race back after being sidelined by a concussion, Justin Barcia rounded out the top five. This was Barcia’s first top-five finish since he won the season opener at Anaheim I.

Complete Results
Points Standings

When he was asked earlier in the season how he could beat Austin Forkner, Chase Sexton said by keeping the pressure on to force a mistake. That’s hard to do from 7 seconds back, which is where Sexton was by Lap 10.

Forkner grabbed an early advantage, settled into a comfortable position on the track and never worried one minute about the rest of the field. As he has done all year long, Forkner made winning look easy as he grabbed his fifth trophy of the year.

Sexton finished second and saw the Forkner’s points lead extend to one full race of 26 points.

Justin Cooper rounded out the podium.

Mitchell Oldenburg was looking for his first podium of the season after welcoming a new son into the world this week. He held onto that spot until the clock ran to zero and was passed by Cooper on the final lap. Oldenburg missed the podium, but tied for a season-best finish.

Martin Davalos got around Kyle Peters at the end of the race to grab fifth.

Complete Results
Points Standings

450 Heat 1: All of the championship contenders were in Heat 1 with the exception of Cooper Webb, but it was Dean Wilson that grabbed the heat win. … The challengers wound up second through fourth with Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac all getting great gate positions. … Mike Alessi grabbed the holeshot, but got into the tough blocks on the opening lap and fell to 18th; he could get back to only 13th and had to move into the LCQ.

450 Heat 2: Blake Baggett took the early lead over Cooper Webb, but the points leader would not be denied. When Baggett came up short in the rhythm section and could not execute a triple jump, it allowed Webb to get around. … Baggett refused to go away and closed to within three-tenths of a second with one minute left on the clock. … With the clock at zero, the rider of the No. 4 bobbled and handed second over to Joey Savatgy … Baggett held on to finish third.

450 Last Chance Qualifier: Mike Alessi did not waste his good start in the LCQ. He fell in his heat after getting the holeshot, but he maintained his lead from the holeshot in the semi and held Ben Lamay at bay. Kyle Chisholm and Adam Enticknap finished third and fourth to advance to the Main. … This is Enticknap’s first Main of the season. … Carlen Gardner started hopping through the whoops while running third on the opening lap. He fell to the back of the pack and failed to advance.

250 Heat 1: Chase Sexton fell back to third on the opening lap, regained his momentum and mounted a charge to grab the lead by Lap 4. He held on to secure his first heat win of the season. … He beat Mitchell Oldenburg by 2.215 seconds with Alex Martin a little more than two seconds further back.

250 Heat 2: After Austin Forkner went down on the opening lap, the battle for the win heated up with dramatic three-manbattle for the lead. … With time off the clock, Martin Davalos and Justin Cooper swapped the lead on the final lap. Cooper got back to the checkers first with Davalos in second. … Kyle Peters rounded out the top three. … Forkner was on his way to grabbing the holeshot, but he took a jump while turning and went down hard. Lane Shaw ran over the top of him. Forkner climbed back on his bike 17th, 16 seconds down to the leaders. He was ninth in the final transfer with two minutes left on the clock. Forkner finished fifth.

250 Last Chance Qualifier: Lane Shaw took the lead from Kevin Moranz on Lap 3 and settled into a comfortable running position. He won the LCQ by 1.817 seconds over Moranz. … Isaac Teasdale and Cade Autenreith swapped third and fourth in the closing laps, but both advanced to the Main. … Steven Clarke finished fifth and was the first rider on the outside looking in.

Points Leaders

450s
Cooper Webb (243) (5 wins)
Marvin Musquin (229) (1 win)
Eli Tomac (222) (3 wins)
Ken Roczen (216)
Blake Baggett (184) (1 win)

250s West
Adam Cianciarulo (140 points) (4 wins)
Dylan Ferrandis (125)
Shane McElrath (123) (1)
Colt Nichols (120) (1)
RJ Hampshire (86)

250s East
Austin Forkner (151 points) (5 wins)
Chase Sexton (125)
Justin Cooper (123)
Alex Martin (92)
Martin Davalos (89)

Top 5s

450 top 5s
Ken Roczen: 9
Marvin Musquin: 9
Cooper Webb: 9
Eli Tomac: 8
Blake Baggett: 7
Joey Savatgy: 3
Dean Wilson: 2
Chad Reed: 2
Justin Barcia: 2
Jason Anderson: 1
Justin Bogle: 1
Justin Brayton: 1
Aaron Plessinger: 1

250 West top 5s
Adam Cianciarulo: 6
Shane McElrath: 5
Colt Nichols: 4
Dylan Ferrandis: 4
RJ Hampshire: 3
James Decotis: 2
Jacob Hayes: 1
Garrett Marchbanks: 1
Jess Pettis: 1

250 East top 5s
Austin Forkner: 6
Justin Cooper: 6
Chase Sexton: 6
Jordon Smith: 3
Martin Davalos: 3
Alex Martin: 2
Mitchell Oldenburg: 2

Next race: March 23, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wa.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E and Ian James set to race ahead of electric motorsports’ curve

James McLaren Formula E
NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team
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As Formula E enters their ninth season and McLaren Racing is set to compete in last year’s championship winning car, Ian James is passionate about pushing electric motorsports forward at a critical stage as race technology begins surpassing that of the street cars.

Midseason, McLaren acquired the assets of the Mercedes-EQ team as they were already on their way to winning a second consecutive championship. With those assets in place and coming off a successful debut in the Extreme E series, James is set to usher in a new era in electric car racing.

Last week’s announcement that Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast behind the wheel of the NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team was the last piece of the puzzle.

McLaren’s electric portfolio is building with the Formula E team coming one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour. There were a lot of lessons to learn in that series with growing pains during the first three of five rounds. Rounds 4 and 5 were a completely different matter with the team crossing the finish line first in Chile before being assessed a time penalty.

In the final round in Uruguay, they scored an elusive podium.

“McLaren kicked off the season in Extreme E at the beginning of this year, so our first [electric] race took place Neom, actually out in Saudi,” NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team Principal James told NBC Sports. “At the time, we were in very early discussions about opportunities with the Formula E team. I actually went out there to meet with Zak [Brown, CEO McLaren Racing] and that was my first taste of Extreme E.

“Since the transition, I joined them in Chile in Atacama Desert, and then Uruguay last weekend. [The second-place finish was] a lovely way to round out the season. The fact that they got that podium. It was very well deserved. It’s a great team and a great series actually. It’s just so very different from anything else. The team’s done a great job in getting set up, and it’s nice now to, we’re trying to use that momentum that we’ve got from Uruguay to get us into next season when it kicks off next year, which will be great. I think we’re mid-March is looking like the first race, so a little bit of time to get things prepped for that.”

 

James McLaren Formula E
The NEOM Mclaren Racing Formula E Team was created through the acquisition of last year’s championship team from Mercedes-EQ. – NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team

Synergies exist between the single seater and rally series. Lessons learned about battery power and sustainability in the electric SUV carry over so long as one is mindful of keeping focus on the individual needs and nuances of each series.

Especially now that electric racing technology has caught up, and is ready to surpass, the existing technology that has gone into building street cars.

When internal combustion engines gained the upper hand soon after automobiles were invented, racing paced alongside. The pressure of competition pushed the development of their commercial equivalents. The same has not necessarily been true of electric cars. Street cars were not designed to undergo the same stress as racecars – and that vulnerability showed up on the racetrack.

“Formula E has come along a long way,” James said. “I think one of the most notable developments is in the battery technology. In Gen 1, you had the drivers jumping from one car to another car midrace because the battery technology and capacity simply wasn’t where it needed to be to do the full distance. That obviously changed in Gen 2 and we saw a power increase as well to the 250 kilowatts.

“Now going to Gen 3, we have 350 kilowatts in a smaller battery. But that means that we’re relying on the regeneration of energy and for that reason, we’ve got also the opportunity to regenerate on the front axle as well as the rear axle now. So, there’s all sorts of things that are developing in the right direction.

“In terms of throttle response, actually, we’re now in a situation with electric racing and the motors that it’s instantaneous. And one of the advantages of electric over combustion engine is that the torque is instantaneous as well, so that gives you a lot more room to play with.”

No matter the power source, racing has always been about resource management. Drivers and teams select tire strategies they believe produce the fastest elapsed time and fuel conservation comes into play.

On one hand, electric racing is the same, but there is a critical difference. With the battery as both the power source and an integral part of the engine, there are multiple reasons to manage it.

In electric racing, the brain of the car is the software – and that is where James sees the greatest room for advancement.

“As we are working with our drivers and engineers – and start to look at functionality to improve our efficiency and our performance, that’s something we’ll continue to push because that development is open throughout the season,” James said. “That’s going to be our focus going forward and provides enough of a challenge for us to get our teeth into.

“What’s going to be fascinating is as Formula E continues, is to really look at which areas of development on the car are going to be the most relevant and ensuring that we can focus on those together with the manufacturers so we continue and use the series as a platform for technical development that can then feed back into the road car side of things as well.

“At the end of the day, that’s what motorsports always been, a very powerful tool for, and I see Formula E as no exception.”

James McLaren Formula E
Jake Hughes and Rene Rast were chosen for their ability to drive fast and execute the necessary strategy for energy management. – NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team

Selecting Rast and Hughes as McLaren’s Formula E drivers was not simply because they know how to drive fast. James believes both drivers have the mental aptitude to execute energy management strategies throughout the race and squeeze maximum performance.

“As with many other motorsports, you’ve got a certain amount of energy that you’re able to deploy during the race and the management of that energy is absolutely crucial,” James said. “What we’re seeing typically in electric motorsports now is the hardware side of things. The efficiencies that we’re seeing in the powertrain as a whole, they’re getting up to the sort of 96%, 97%, 98% efficiency, so the gains that you get through that further and further become more marginal.”

With much more room for improvement, software is a different matter. To make the best decisions, the drivers need data, and that is where James believes McLaren Formula E will make their greatest impact.

“And then you really switch that focus to the software and that’s where you’re going to see the most the most improvement and the most gains,” James continued. “It’s then using that software to ensure that you’re deploying the energy in the most efficient manner during race, and thereby giving the driver the most performance. And that’s something which is incredibly complicated, but I find it a fascinating area to work in.

“The benefit of being involved in racing is you can really push the envelope in a way that you can’t do on road cars. And I think that that’s where that value comes in. It means that you accelerate the development a lot quicker. We will get ahead of the curve – and we are getting ahead of the curve now – and that will mean that the electric motorsports remain part of the overall development process.

“The key to that is also making sure that the racing’s exciting and fun for the fans. If we can, we can tick both of those boxes, then it’s got a very bright future ahead of it.”