News for the Month of October 2015

Justin Wilson Charity Auction

Enerson confirmed for SPM Lights program in ’16 – “Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) announced today that RC Enerson has re-signed with the team to compete in the 2016 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Series. The 18-year-old American driver made a very successful debut with SPM as a rookie in 2015, finishing fourth in the championship and earning a win at Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course. Consistency was the key with Enerson, who also earned five top-five finishes and four podiums.” “I can’t wait for the 2016 season,” said Enerson. “We had a great learning year and I’m looking forward to battling for the championship. My goal is to continue to develop my skills and learn as many things as I can.” – SPM – (10/30/2015)

Tatuus named as new chassis provider for Pro Mazda and USF2000 – There’s a new chassis manufacturer in the INDYCAR ladder system: “Andersen Promotions today announced that Tatuus has been chosen to design and manufacture the next generation of chassis for the first two levels of the Mazda Road to Indy – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The new Tatuus USF-17 and Tatuus PM-18 chassis will make their competition debut in 2017 and 2018 respectively.” – NBC Sports – (10/29/2015)

Trackside podcast 10/27/15 – 1070 The Fan’s popular Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 10/27/15 is a great listen as always. Spencer Pigot joined Curt and Kevin for a period of the show to talk about his new deal with RLL. – 1070 The Fan – (10/29/2015)

Newgarden leads #Shirts4Sage – Josef Newgarden and INDYCAR teamed up to create a hashtag and short video poking fun at Sage Karam’s constant stream of shirtless pictures on social media. The video is at the link and a must watch! – INDYCAR – (10/28/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 10/28/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (10/28/2015)

INDYCAR’s Damien Power series continues with Josef Newgarden – INDYCAR’s “Exclusive Look Behind The Scenes with Damien Power” continues with Josef Newgarden. Another entertaining watch in INDYCAR’s series with Will Power’s comedian brother. – INDYCAR – (10/28/2015)

2016 MRTI schedules unveiled – “Andersen Promotions today unveiled the 2016 calendar for the series that comprise the highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. All events will be in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series with the exception of the season finale which will once again take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Seven venues will feature all three levels of the ladder system.” Indy Lights will race on only three ovals Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Iowa. The series will also be at the new events at Road America and Boston. – Indy Lights – (10/28/2015)

Newgarden helps create children’s INDYCAR book – Josef Newgarden is teaming up with Apex Legends to create and publish a children’s book, “Josef, The IndyCar Driver.” “This is a really interesting, unique project that I hope the IndyCar community gets behind,” said Newgarden. “A book like this is a great way to get kids excited about racing and I’m honored that my personal story will be featured in this project.” – IBJ – (10/28/2015)

Miles opens up about recent hire – RACER has posted a story on the hiring of United States Marines Corps veteran Kirk Dooley with plenty of informative quotes from Mark Miles on what Dooley will bring to INDYCAR. “If he could deal with warlords, he can deal with our paddock,” Miles told RACER. “Some people who don’t understand the military today, they believe it’s all command and control but, in fact, they build great leaders. He has a proven ability to deal, in the Marine Corps, with troops. He’s dealt with all the building trades, if you want to think of it that way, through their supervisors, through intelligence. And through literally dealing with warlords. And a lot of people think in the military there is no such thing as a budget. That is not true at all on an operation like the kinds of things he did. We’ve hired someone who exceled in many facets in a much tougher environment than IndyCar.” Much more at the link. – RACER – (10/28/2015)

INDYCAR announces 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule – INDYCAR announced the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule on Tuesday morning highlighted by the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the additions of Phoenix, Road America, and Boston to the calendar. The full schedule can be seen here. – INDYCAR – (10/27/2015)

Team Pelfrey acquires 8Star’s Lights assets/program – “Team Pelfrey, 2015 Pro Mazda Champions, announced today that it has acquired all of the assets of 8Star Motorsports including the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires team and will expand the program to two cars for 2016. With the acquisition, Team Pelfrey becomes the only team to currently operate in all stages of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, as well as the F1600 Formula F Championship Series” – Team Pelfrey – (10/27/2015)

INDYCAR set to name new President of Competition after schedule release – RACER reports that INDYCAR should be set to announce their new President of Competition now that the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule has been announced. “We’ve had the time to look at all kinds of people that have been suggested and narrow the field,” Miles told RACER. “I hope that by as early as the end of next week, or the beginning of the following week, we should be there. We have somebody we can pick and announce…I don’t want to play a guessing game, but this person isn’t a total stranger.” – RACER – (10/27/2015)

SPM announces Arrow sponsorship extension – “Verizon IndyCar Series winning team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) proudly announced today that Arrow Electronics is extending its primary sponsorship of the No. 5 car via a three-year agreement. Headquartered in Centennial, Colo., Arrow Electronics is a global provider of products, services and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions. SPM team co-owner Sam Schmidt, who was severely injured in a practice lap crash in 2000 that left him a quadriplegic, initially collaborated with Arrow on machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies in 2014. The project enabled him to drive official qualifying laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a uniquely modified 2014 Corvette known as the Arrow Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM).” – SPM – (10/21/2015)

Boston course approval far from final – According to Fred Peterson, acting head of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the proposed course design for next year’s inaugural Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Boston is far from approval. “We’re not anywhere close to a deal right now,” Peterson told the Boston Herald. “We’ve been trying to talk to them for a substantial amount of time.” Peterson stresses that it’s still very possible to work through all the details in time to make the event happen. More at the link. – Boston Herald – (10/21/2015)

Honda waiting for INDYCAR update approval before contract decision – From RACER: “Honda is continuing to hold back on signing a new engine supply deal with IndyCar until the series confirms whether its request to make additional modifications to its aero kit will be granted…However that is apparently still pending, and HPD vice president Steve Eriksen told RACER that Honda remains in a holding pattern until the situation is resolved.” “I don’t believe we’ve signed anything at this point. We’re in a holding mode waiting for news of what we can do,” HPD vice president Steve Eriksen said. – RACER – (10/21/2015)

Schmidt struggling to rationalize INDYCAR’s rising costs – Sam Schmidt opens up to motorsport.com’s David Malsher about his concerns with INDYCAR’s rising costs: “You’ll never hear me complain about spending money on safety improvements, or things that will put more butts in seats,” said Schmidt. “But when IndyCar decided to introduce aero kits for 2015, I said, ‘Fine, just tell me why we’re doing it so we can measure its effect 12, 18 or 24 months later, quantify its success and whether it was worth the extra cost.’ Well, so far I don’t see what effect it has had that benefits the sport and it’s very difficult to cover the costs. You never get caught up.” Schmidt goes on to say he would love for INDYCAR to find a way to make international races work for the increased sponsorship out that in his opinion is available. – motorsport.com – (10/21/2015)

Pigot confirmed for 3 races with RLL in ’16 – “Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that the team will prepare an entry for 2015 Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot in three Verizon IndyCar Series events in 2016 with the intent to add more. Sponsorship details for events at St. Petersburg, Fla., the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will be announced at a later date.” “I’m very excited and honored to be starting my career in the Verizon IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” said Pigot. “It’s always been my goal to be an Indy car driver and be in the Indianapolis 500. I can’t thank everyone at RLL and Andersen Promotions enough for this opportunity.” – RLL – (10/20/2015)

Montoya set for Porsche WEC test – From NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno: “Juan Pablo Montoya has been confirmed to test one of the Porsche 919 Hybrids later this year in Bahrain, the manufacturer confirmed on Tuesday.” Montoya is thought be be a likely candidate to race for one of the team’s Le Mans entries due to the event conflicting with the F1 schedule next year. Force India’s Nico Hulkenburg was part of the winning team last year. – NBC Sports – (10/20/2015)

More details emerge for Boston circuit – RACER’s Marshall Pruett has posted an excellent update on the circuit design for the inaugural Grand Prix of Boston next year. Course designer Tony Cotman: “I think the average speed for a lap will be around 115mph, and the top speed will be close to 170mph. The minimum corner speed will be about 35mph, and it’s not that the cars will be faster here than they are at Long Beach or Toronto, but I think the experience here will be very different. It’s not a flat track like most are; it does go under a hotel, and when you have to work around businesses, hotels, residences, and in this case, public transportation, there’s is a bus route that pops up right in the middle of the track. It winds around and has a lot of character. Does it have a bunch of 90-degree corners like you’d normally find on a street course? No, not like you’d normally see. I think it will be really unique.” – RACER – (10/19/2015)

Walker’s new chassis plan revealed – Motorsport.com has released what former INDYCAR President of Operations and Competition Derrick Walker’s plans were to update the Verizon IndyCar Series chassis. Walker’s plan was met with a lot of resistance from team owners and a key piece of why Walker chose to resign from his position. – motorsport.com – (10/19/2015)

Ganassi Lights program appears unlikely for ’16 – NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno reports that it appears the rumors linking Chip Ganassi Racing Teams to Indy Lights for 2016 appear unlikely to be true. Per Chip Ganassi himself: “We have looked at it but I don’t know that it has any legs. If I wanted to go out and start an Indy Lights team and have a program for one year, I could do it. But I’m not looking for a one-year program. I want to do something that we can repeat year after year. I’m not interested in doing a one-year deal.” – NBC Sports – (10/19/2015)

Carlin announces Jones Lights return in ’16 – “Carlin are pleased to announce that Ed Jones will remain with the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires team for the upcoming 2016 season. Following an outstanding debut in the 2015 series the British racer won the three opening races of the season and was in contention for the title until the very last round. Jones will be looking to go one step further with the knowledge he has gained during his first season racing in America.” – Carlin – (10/19/2015)

INDYCAR hires former Marine for ops position – “RACER has learned that Kirk Dooley is joining IndyCar is some sort of liaison role involving competition and operations. Dooley is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Purdue University graduate who has no previous racing experience but admits in his profile below he’s a big racing enthusiast.” – RACER – (10/19/2015)

Rahal testing at Phoenix on Tuesday – Per his Twitter account Graham Rahal will be testing at Phoenix International Raceway on Tuesday, 10/20. – Twitter – (10/19/2015)

INDYCAR’s Damien Power series continues with RHR – INDYCAR’s “Exclusive Look Behind The Scenes with Damien Power” continues with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Another entertaining watch in INDYCAR’s series with Will Power’s comedian brother. – INDYCAR – (10/19/2015)

Schmidt struggling with driver lineup – Sam Schmidt admits to motorsport.com that he’s struggling with his 2016 INDYCAR driver lineup due to the high number of quality drivers available. James Hinchcliffe is confirmed in one seat but there are many options for the second car for SPM’s Verizon IndyCar Series program. Spencer Pigot, Conor Daly, and Matthew Brabham were all mentioned by Schmidt as quality drivers worthy of a Verizon IndyCar Series opportunity. RC Enerson and Ethan Ringel are confirmed for two of the four seats available for the team’s Indy Lights program. Schmidt says he’s been in contact with a lot of GP2 and GP3 drivers for those available seats. – motorsport.com – (10/16/2015)

CFH tests at Texas – CFH Racing’s Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden tested at Texas Motor Speedway on 10/14/15 and TMS has posted a video interview of each driver. Check it out at the link. – TMS – (10/16/2015)

Trackside podcast 10/14/15 – 1070 The Fan’s popular Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 10/14/15 is a great listen as always. – 1070 The Fan – (10/15/2015)

IMS to Host SCCA Runoffs in 2017 – “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Sports Car Club of America announced today that the IMS road course will be the site of the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, with race days Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The event is unprecedented for both the Club and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, pitting the amateur National Championship event on the 14 turn, 2.439-mile road course that hosts the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.” “Many Indianapolis 500 veterans have their racing roots in SCCA competition, so hosting the SCCA national championships at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a natural fit,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “The Runoffs will provide drivers who have dreamed of competing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway an opportunity to do so and will hopefully motivate some participants to continue on the path to compete in the Indianapolis 500 someday. It is going to be a tremendous event showcasing the talent and passion that makes SCCA racing so exciting.” – IMS – (10/15/2015)

CGRT working on spot for Karam ’16 – “We’re in the same position we were a year ago on the financial side of that entry,” Hull told RACER. “We’re working hard to put that entry back on the grid, and would like to realize the return on investment with Sage. That return is not on the money side, but on the time side, because we think he’s ready to go to the next level. I hope that it can happen, but right now, we’re in the same position of trying to fund the car.” – RACER – (10/14/2015)

Hinch opens up about Indy incident – James Hinchcliffe is the latest Verizon IndyCar Series driver to write for The Players’ Tribune and it’s an absolute must read. Hinchcliffe reflects on his horrific crash in the buildup to the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the buildup up and excitement of his return to the car for a test at Road America. – The Players’ Tribune – (10/14/2015)

LogMeIn named as presenting sponsor for GP of Boston – The Grand Prix of Boston has announced that LogMeIn Inc. will “serve as the presenting sponsor for the inaugural event.” The new Verizon IndyCar Series race will be held over Labor Day weekend 2016. – GP of Boston – (10/14/2015)

Klotz moves to Foyt as team manager – David Malsher reports that George Klotz will move from Andretti Autosport to AJ Foyt Enterprises to serve as team manager. Malsher also reports that the team’s driver lineup, Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth, is expected to remain the same in 2016. – motorsport.com – (10/14/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 10/14/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (10/14/2015)

Pocono set to return in ’16 – RACER’s Robin Miller reports “that Pocono will definitely return for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar series in the form of a 500-mile race sponsored by ABC Supply. Pocono president Brandon Igdalsky and IndyCar’s Mark Miles couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon but it’s believed the race will be held on Aug. 21 – three weeks after the second of two NASCAR Sprint Cup shows on the 2.5-mile oval.” – RACER – (10/14/2015)

INDYCAR and iRacing form “16th Street Racing League” – INDYCAR, iRacing, and RACER have teamed up to form the “16th Street Racing League” for online sim racing between INDYCAR drivers and amateurs for 11 races over the course of the offseason. The first race is 10/13 and will be broadcast on indycar.com with commentary. “INDYCAR has quite a long offseason and you have to find ways to stay sharp,” said Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud. “iRacing is a great way to do that. It’s amazing how detailed the cars and tracks are on the sim. I’m looking forward to running some races in the 16th Street Racing League during the winter months. I’m sure there will be a lot of healthy competition amongst the drivers.” – INDYCAR – (10/13/2015)

Daly drives AJ’s ’61 500 winner – Conor Daly drove A.J. Foyt’s 1961 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race-winning car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday. Picture at the link. – Conor Daly – (10/13/2015)

INDYCAR’s Damien Power series continues with Conor Daly – INDYCAR’s “Exclusive Look Behind The Scenes with Damien Power” continues with Conor Daly. Another entertaining watch in INDYCAR’s series with Will Power’s comedian brother. – INDYCAR – (10/12/2015)

Power to test at Phoenix – Will Power will miss the Gold Coast 600, an Australian V8 Supercars race, to test at Phoenix according to Fox Sports’ Chris Stubbs. That race is scheduled for October 23-25. – Chris Stubbs – (10/12/2015)

Ganassi considering Lights program – “We’ve had a driver who raced in Indy Lights this year come to us and ask if it would be possible to run them next year,” CGR managing director Mike Hull told RACER. “That happened over summer, and we’ve been working on that prospect since then.” “We have one driver interested, so that’s good, but now we’d need to find another driver, a funded driver, who wanted to run with Chip Ganassi Racing before we would consider moving ahead with anything,” Hull said. More at the link. – RACER – (10/12/2015)

Hawksworth close to Foyt extension, test scheduled – NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno reports that Jack Hawksworth is close to an extension with A.J. Foyt Enterprises. He’s scheduled to test with the team at Barber on October 26th. – NBC Sports – (10/12/2015)

Stefan Wilson working hard on driving in 100th Indy 500 – Stefan Wilson, brother of the late Justin Wilson, is making a push to enter the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race while promoting his “Think Solar” campaign. “Justin and I shared a special bond through our passion for motorsports our entire lives,” Wilson said. “He always was the biggest supporter of my goal of joining him in the starting lineup for the 500, and I’m committed to honoring his memory by fulfilling that dream while promoting the practical benefits of solar energy at the Speedway and in our communities, another idea he supported.” – RACER – (10/9/2015)

IMS start/finish line goes pink – “The start-finish line at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has always been a clean, white color. Not so this month. The painted strip – stretching across the 106-year-old track adjacent to the famous “Yard of Bricks” and marking the location of victory where Indianapolis 500 winners and legends are made – has been turned pink to symbolize the global battle against breast cancer. In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Pippa Mann, who has driven the pink-and-white Susan G. Komen car in the past two Indianapolis 500 Mile Races, IMS president J. Douglas Boles and a group of breast cancer survivors got on their knees with paint rollers and applied the colorful change.” “This was just an incredibly cool event, to have the survivors out here painting the start-finish line pink ahead of the Yard of Bricks,” Mann said. – INDYCAR – (10/9/2015)

Trackside podcast 10/7/15 – 1070 The Fan’s popular Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 10/7/15 is a great listen as always. The duo discusses all of the latest news and rumors surrounding INDYCAR. – 1070 The Fan – (10/8/2015)

USA Today update on ’16 schedule – USA Today’s Brant James has posted an update on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule and it sounds like Mexico City is out as a potential 2016 race. “The process they needed to go through to get everything lined up has not really left a lot of time to be confident that everything can be done to properly promote the first race,” said Mark Miles. “So I think the conversation is very much about ‘17. We just kind of ran out of time for ‘16.” Miles also told USA Today he expected 16 races over 15 race weekends again in 2016 though the schedule will run through mid-September. – USA Today – (10/7/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 10/7/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. Miller reports that INDYCAR had Ed Carpenter test at Gateway recently so the interest in going to the track is very real. – RACER – (10/7/2015)

Marco, RHR, and Hinch complete Mid-Ohio test – Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and James Hinchcliffe all tested at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Monday, October 5th. – NBC Sports – (10/7/2015)

Pigot still evaluating options for ’16 – As Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot won a $1 million Mazda scholarship and a guaranteed three-race program in the Verizon IndyCar Series (including the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race). Pigot is patiently evaluating his options as he prepares for his first season in the big cars. “There are a lot of really good teams out there. I guess it comes down to which teams have seats available,” Pigot said. “There are some teams that are full, some one-car teams, some teams that may be looking to expand to another car. I think that’s where the first conversation comes in. Just seeing who has availability for next year and whether or not they’re interested in having me drive for them. I don’t really have one in mind that I really want to drive for and I’ll be disappointed if it’s not them.” – INDYCAR – (10/6/2015)

TMS announces June race date for ’16 – “Texas Motor Speedway, which has hosted the Verizon IndyCar Series every year since its opening in 1997, announced Oct. 3 that the Firestone 600 will be contested on the 1.45-mile, high-banked oval on June 11, 2016.” – INDYCAR – (10/5/2015)

INDYCAR’s Damien Power series continues with Helio – INDYCAR’s “Exclusive Look Behind The Scenes with Damien Power” continues with Helio Castroneves. Will Power’s comedian brother is entertaining as always. – INDYCAR – (10/5/2015)

Newgarden confirmed at CFH for ’16 – “CFH Racing announced today that Josef Newgarden will return as the driver of the No. 67 Chevrolet for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. CFH Racing welcomes Newgarden back for a 5th year on the heels of their best championship finishes as a team and a driver, respectively.” “I am very excited to be back at CFH Racing,” stated Newgarden. “It all really comes down to the confidence and belief that our owners Ed Carpenter, Sarah Fisher, Wink Hartman, Stuart Reed and Tony George have in me. They’ve given me all of the tools I could ask for to drive a racecar and to be successful. It’s easy to be excited about coming back to work with this group knowing the level that we are operating at. I can see the capabilities that we have and I think we are going to be able to fully execute in 2016.” – CFH Racing – (10/1/2015)

Trackside podcast 9/29/15 – 1070 The Fan’s popular Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee show from 9/29/15 is a great listen as always. Sebastien Bourdais joins the pair during the show. – 1070 The Fan – (9/30/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 9/30/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (9/30/2015)

INDYCAR community honors Wilson with celebration – “Steely determination and dedication that marked a varied motorsports career was remembered alongside humility, humanity and a zest for life during “Celebrating the Life of Justin Wilson” on Sept. 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The program, which was streamed live on IndyCar.com, paid tribute to the veteran Verizon IndyCar Series driver who succumbed Aug. 24 to a head injury sustained in a freak accident the day before in a race. He was 37. A funeral was held Sept. 10 at St. James the Great Church in Paulerspury, England.” More at the link. – INDYCAR – (9/30/2015)

Honda working hard on ’16 aero improvements – Though their participation in the series is yet to be confirmed Honda is working hard on aero improvements for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay ran new aero pieces in their test at Road America on Monday. “We’re allowed, just like Chevrolet, to test concepts and ideas before we homologate those aero kit pieces, and we have a series of tests planned to find directions on what we want to use,” HPD vice president Steve Eriksen told RACER. “We’ll continue testing prototype pieces during the offseason.” – RACER – (9/30/2015)

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