News for the Month of December 2015

INDYCAR-related New Year’s events planned all over the country – INDYCAR has posted a summary of New Year’s plans involving an INDYCAR theme all over the country. There’s an INDYCAR drop at midnight in Indianapolis, James Hinchcliffe is an honored guest at the NHL’s Winter Classic, and Ryan Hunter-Reay will lead the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasedena, CA in the new Acura NSX. – INDYCAR – (12/31/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/30/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/30/2015)

Dixon and Kanaan named as Ganassi Rolex24 drivers – “Chip Ganassi Racing Teams’ (CGRT) four-time and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon joins teammates Tony Kanaan (2004 Champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 Winner), Kyle Larson (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Rookie of the Year) and Jamie McMurray (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2010 Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 Winner) in the No. 02 car to defend their 2015 win.” – CGRT – (12/29/2015)

Drama surrounds aero kits in ’16 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett provides some insight into what to expect from Year 2 of aero kits in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Includes quotes from key players at Chevy, Honda, and INDYCAR as manufactures decide how and when to make the three changes they’re allowed per season. Fascinating piece. – RACER – (12/28/2015)

Rayhall likely to race sports cars in ’16 – According to Sportscar365’s Tony DiZinno Indy Lights race winner Sean Rayhall is likely to pursue ELMS and IMSA for the 2016 racing season. He has upcoming tests in each series and has not been linked to Indy Lights opportunities in recent silly season updates. – Sportscar365 – (12/23/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/23/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/23/2015)

Indy Lights/MRTI 12/22/15 silly season update – Rob Howden has posted an excellent update on the silly season for each series on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder. The Indy Lights updates are especially interesting as Andretti Autosport appears to be poised to expand to a four car effort. Check out the full article at the link. – Rob Howden – (12/22/2015)

RHR to lead the Rose Bowl parade – Ryan Hunter-Reay will drive the new 2016 Acura NSX at the front of the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasedena, CA. “We discussed it for the 2015 Rose Bowl after winning the ’14 Indy 500, but the timing didn’t add up,” Hunter-Reay told MotorSportsTalk. “We put it up now with the NSX hitting the road. It’s perfect timing. I’m honored to be representing the sport and IndyCar and Indy 500, as winner and champion. It’s a huge opportunity. First push for the 100th running of the 500.” – NBC Sports – (12/22/2015)

IndyCar releases rulebook updates for ’16 – INDYCAR has released the “refinements” to the rulebook for 2016 and it’s full of interesting tidbits. The piece sets guidelines for the aero kits rules at specific tracks, breaks down Indianapolis 500 Mile Race qualifying, notes that double points will be awarded for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and at the season finale at Sonoma Raceway, and much more. Full story at the link. – INDYCAR – (12/21/2015)

Daly shares story of landing DCR ride – Conor Daly’s blog at RACER on how his deal with Dale Coyne Racing came about is a fascinating read. Check it out at the link. – RACER – (12/21/2015)

Chevy hopes Rule 9.3 was a one time thing – Mark Kent, director of GM Racing, told RACER that Chevy hopes that regardless of the aero kit competition he the invoking of Rule 9.3 was a one time thing, even if Honda now has the advantage. “I think that would be a last resort,” Kent says regarding if Chevy were to fall behind. “We’d prefer to just roll up our sleeves and work harder. That would be our approach.” – RACER – (12/21/2015)

INDYCAR unveils new Verizon IndyCar Series logo – “INDYCAR has introduced a new Verizon IndyCar Series logo to highlight its ongoing partnership with title sponsor Verizon. The designed series logo signals renewed efforts to bring INDYCAR’s speed and excitement to its fans across the nation. For Verizon, the revised series identity marks the beginning of a new chapter in its effort to distinguish the Verizon brand in the minds of its consumers and signal the promise of the digital world – simple, reliable and in ways consumers want and need.” “We’re excited to introduce the new Verizon IndyCar Series logo. Aesthetically, the new design is clean and highlights the Verizon checkmark – the universal sign of getting things done,” said CJ O’Donnell, Chief Marketing Officer of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “This is appropriate for two brands with lofty aspirations for what will be a legendary 2016 season.” – INDYCAR – (12/18/2015)

Accord imminent for IndyCar in Boston – According to the Boston Globe a letter of intent is soon to be signed and released to confirm all deals will be in place to make the Verizon IndyCar Series race weekend in Boston go on as scheduled. “Everyone has agreed they don’t see any insurmountable obstacles, said chief financial officer for the Grand Prix of Boston John Casey. “The letter of intent is to tell the world this race is going to happen.” – Boston Globe – (12/18/2015)

Berube steps away from Chevy IndyCar role – From RACER: “Chris Berube has been redeployed from his role as head of Chevrolet’s IndyCar program to take on a management role in the manufacturer’s production division…No replacement has yet been announced.” – RACER – (12/18/2015)

Ganassi says Belle Isle weekend should only have one race – Chip Ganassi firmly believes the typical doubleheader weekend at Belle Isle should be shelved for a single race. “I appreciate what Roger’s done,” said Ganassi. I love him. I appreciate what he’s done for the town. I appreciate what he’s trying to do for the city. Appreciate all the hard work – make sure you put all this in there – but please let’s go to a one-day race. It’s too hard on the teams. It doesn’t really accomplish anything. If you have a bad day, it can be really tough, and both Roger and I have had bad days at the Detroit Grand Prix.” – NBC Sports – (12/17/2015)

CGRT still shooting for four cars for ’16 – Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s Mike Hull told NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno that the team is still trying to put a four-car team together for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. “It’s the same as always (for this time of year),” Hull said. “We’re pushing really hard to have four full-time cars on the grid at St. Petersburg, and we hope to have four for the first official preseason test at Phoenix.” – NBC Sports – (12/17/2015)

Schmidt grabs P16 in return to racing – Sam Schmidt returned to the drivers seat and raced in Wednesday night’s iRacing Pro Race of Champions. The event marked Schmidt’s first “race” since his traumatic crash in 2000. He drove in the online event with a modified control system. Read more about that here. “I just thought I’d hang out and try to run some consistent lap times and as long as I’d stay out of trouble I figured I’d get a top 10 out of it,” said Schmidt. “Sure enough I came out of the last corner, completely blind, and there was somebody facing me, if I could see the replay he basically went up and over me and it got kind of ugly. There was three and a half minutes that just killed my race.” – Indianapolis Star – (12/17/2015)

AJ Foyt Racing confirms Sato and Hawksworth for ’16 – “A.J. Foyt and his son Larry have made changes to the ABC Supply Racing team but they aren’t in the cockpit. Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth will continue as drivers of the ABC Supply Racing Hondas in 2016. The changes include hiring George Klotz to serve as Team Director, and making Don Halliday the Technical Director wherein he will oversee the race engineers. Team President Larry Foyt sees the changes as “an important step to bringing some consistency to the team’s performance” after a season of growing pains in 2015 when the team expanded to two full-season entries for the first time since 2002.” – AJ Foyt Racing – (12/16/2015)

Sachs Jr. trying to put together 500 program – “Eddie Sachs Jr., the son two-time Indianapolis 500 polesitter Eddie Sachs, told SPEED SPORT on Thursday during the PRI Trade Show at the Indiana Convention Center that he is working on putting together a Verizon IndyCar Series program for the Indianapolis 500 next May.” “Why not take the 100th anniversary and start that as a new legacy or a new tradition and Eddie Sachs Racing could be involved as a 500 participant,” said Sachs Jr. “We’re trying to stay away from leasing cars. I’d like to really try to own the car because of the business side of it. Dallara has been very helpful at trying to establish chassis’ that they have available.” – SPEED SPORT – (12/16/2015)

IMS on Red Bull Air Race 2016 calendar – Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host the Red Bull Air Race World Championship on October 1st and 2nd in 2016. “Orville and Wilbur Wright were some of the first pilots to take to the skies above the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the first licensed aviation competition in United States history,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “In 2016, as we celebrate the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, it’s fitting that the world’s best pilots will gather at IMS for a breathtaking display of competition and innovation that will honor the legacies of IMS founder Carl Fisher, the Wright brothers and their fellow aviation pioneers.” – Red Bull Air Race – (12/16/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/16/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/16/2015)

Trackside podcast 12/15/15 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee is a great listen as always. The pair is joined by Scott Dixon and Conor Daly. – 1070 The Fan – (12/16/2015)

Sam Schmidt to race in iRacing Pro Race of Champions – Sam Schmidt will race in the iRacing Pro Race of Champions on Wednesday night. “Using a modified Motion Pro II simulator designed by CXC Simulations, Schmidt will be able to compete in a virtual race held among professional drivers only, which will be broadcast Wednesday on iRacing LIVE at 9 p.m. ET. Infrared motion-sensing cameras will read the movements of Schmidt’s “hat” to steer, while this time it will be a breath-sensing “mouthpiece” that Schmidt will use to control his acceleration and braking.” – FOX Sports – (12/15/2015)

Indy 500 tickets on sale – Indianapolis Motor Speedway has made tickets to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on sale to the general public as of today. Check out what’s available at the link. – IMS – (12/15/2015)

INDYCAR adds 20HP to push-to-pass in ’16 – “INDYCAR announced that turbocharger boost pressure during push-to-pass use will increase from 160 kilopascals (kPa) in 2015 to 165 kPa, equating to a gain of approximately 20 horsepower in the Chevrolet and Honda 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines. Normal boost pressure on road and street courses – before the overtake assist is engaged – remains at 150 kPa in 2016. A total of approximately 60 added horsepower will now be available for push-to-pass activations during the 11 road- and street-course races in 2016, nearly doubling the on-track effect for passing over 2015.” “The Verizon IndyCar Series already boasts some of the most exciting racing anywhere,” said Jay Frye, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations. “This technological update is part of INDYCAR’s ongoing initiative to enhance the overall level of competition and excitement even more. Increasing the available push-to-pass horsepower will make the system more robust and lead to additional overtaking opportunities on road and street circuits.” – INDYCAR – (12/15/2015)

Canadian Claman named as Juncos Lights driver in ’16 – “Juncos Racing is pleased to announce Zachary Claman Demelo will join the team for the 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. Claman is the second driver to join the regaining 2015 Indy Lights Champions line up for the 2016 season…Claman joins the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series with Juncos Racing after competing in the 2014 F3 Cup and Formula Renault 2.0 series in Europe.” “I’m very happy about being given the opportunity to work with Juncos Racing,” said Claman. I get along very well with all the guys and I think we work well together. I’m looking forward to a strong season and showing everyone what we are capable of as a team.” – Juncos Racing – (12/15/2015)

Byrd’s opens path to IMS from USAC – “Seven USAC Midget races in 2016 form the nucleus of the inaugural Jonathan Byrd’s “Indy Challenge” which affords unprecedented career opportunities to USAC participants and opens the avenue to compete at the “Greatest Race Course in the World” – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapolis brothers David and Jonathan Byrd have constructed a unique format for their “challenge” which finds seven races in USAC’s National and Western Midget series serving as the stepping stone to the ultimate prize. Five wins would earn that driver a seat in the 2017 Freedom 100 Indy Lights race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Six victories would secure a seat for the full roster of oval races on the 2017 Indy Lights schedule, while a sweep of all seven USAC events would earn the driver the 2017 Indy Lights oval races mentioned, as well as propel the winner to a ride in the 2018 Indianapolis 500.” Full breakdown at the link. – USAC Racing – (12/14/2015)

DCR announces Daly full-time and Clausson for 500 in ’16 – Dale Coyne Racing and Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality & Restaurant Group announced they will partner on a full-time ride for Conor Daly and an Indianapolis 500 Mile Race entry for Bryan Clausson in 2016. “All of us at Dale Coyne Racing are excited about the relationship with Jonathan Byrd’s. Their continued support of Bryan and expanded support of Conor is unique in racing today,” said team owner Dale Coyne. “Conor stepped in for us at Long Beach last season and impressed everyone very much. Bryan has a storied oval racing history at a very young age and together we look for a very competitive Indy 500 in 2016.” Coyne also mentioned that his team will run a total of four cars at Indianapolis with Daly, Clausson, Pippa Mann, and his typical TBA. See the full announcement here. – Dale Coyne Racing – (12/11/2015)

Honda moves in-house for aero kit development – Honda Power Development has told RACER that they will scale back on their relationship with Wirth Research on their aero kit development for 2016 as they utilize Honda’s additional F1 resources to develop their updated kit. “Primarily we used Wirth Research to develop our 2015 kits, however with the establishment of the F1 group in Japan, we’ve been working more with our Japan group to try to keep it more within using Honda resources, as opposed to outsourced stuff ,” HPD president Art St Cyr told RACER. – RACER – (12/11/2015)

Steak ‘n Shake to return with RLL in ’16 – “Steak ‘n Shake will be the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s Honda entry at five 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series events including races in St. Petersburg, two events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mid-Ohio and Sonoma. Maxim Magazine branding will continue to be prominently featured on the race car.” “We are very pleased that Steak ‘n Shake will be back with us in 2016,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. “The 2015 IndyCar Series season was a great one for us both on track and off and our partnership with Steak ‘n Shake was one of the many highlights. We are looking forward to building on that success together in 2016.” – RLL – (12/10/2015)

Montoya’s likeness unveiled on Borg-Warner Trophy – Juan Pablo Montoya’s likeness was unveiled on the Borg-Warner Trophy on Wednesday evening for his win at the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. “It’s very special to be here and see my face on the Borg-Warner Trophy. I didn’t get to see it after the win in 2000 until I came here for the F1 race,” said Montoya. “Now that I’m here, you appreciate the history and what Indy is. It’s pretty amazing.” You can see it at the link. – INDYCAR – (12/10/2015)

DCR to make driver announcements Friday – Dale Coyne Racing will make an announcement on Friday at the Performance Racing Industry trade show that includes a new sponsor, a full-time driver for 2016, and a driver for an additional entry in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Conor Daly is thought to be a strong candidate for the full-time ride. Read more at the link. – Indianapolis Star – (12/10/2015)

SPM announces return of Aleshin for ’16 – “Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) announced today that Mikhail Aleshin will rejoin the team for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Season…He will make his return piloting the No. 7 SMP Racing Honda Indy car.” “I’m very happy about the agreement between Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and the SMP Racing Russian driver development program,” said Aleshin. “I had an unbelievable experience with IndyCar in 2014 and I can’t wait to be back in this great series. I’m very motivated and one hundred percent ready to win.” – SPM – (12/9/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/9/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/9/2015)

Trackside podcast 12/8/15 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee is a great listen as always. The pair is joined by Derek Daly and Zach Veach. – 1070 The Fan – (12/9/2015)

Montoya hosts karting event in Colombia – Juan Pablo Montoya hosted a karting event with plenty of big names in racing near Bogota, Colombia this past weekend at the Autodromo de Tocancipa. Montoya won the race on Saturday and was runner-up on Sunday. Fellow drivers included Helio Castroneves, Gabby Chaves, Carlos Munoz, Sebastian Saavedra, Travis Pastrana, Julien Leal, and many more. – INDYCAR – (12/8/2015)

Brabham gets Indy 500 ride with Team Murray – Matthew Brabham was announced as the driver for a new entry for the 2016 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race with Team Murray. The team, led by Australian motorsports promoter Brett Murray, will partner with KV Racing Technology throughout the month of May. “There is no doubt that this is a dream come true,” said Brabham. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is nice to get this plan in place this far out. We now have the job of creating a first-class experience on and off the track for everyone involved.” Full details are yet to emerge but you can read more at the link. – INDYCAR – (12/4/2015)

Indy Lights 12/3/15 silly season update – Rob Howden has posted an excellent summary of where things stand with the lineup for the 2016 Indy Lights season at the moment. Most surprisingly it sounds like 8Star Motorsports’ ultra-fast rookie Sean Rayhall is on the outside looking in at the moment after the team was bought by Team Pelfrey. Check out the full article at the link. – Rob Howden – (12/3/2015)

Daly hopeful for ’16 ride with DCR – David Malsher reports that Conor Daly has been working closely with Dale Coyne as he makes a push to enter the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time in 2016. “I’ve got nothing solid to say yet, but recently I’ve been talking a lot with Dale, and there’s serious potential there,” said Daly. “We’ve made a lot of progress, and there are definitely far more positives this early in the off-season than we’ve ever had before. I’m a lot more confident than I’ve ever been in early December!” – motorsport.com – (12/3/2015)

Chilton evaluating options – RACER reports that Max Chilton has spoken to Chip Ganassi Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and “I proved that I can be quick on ovals, although there are a few [IndyCar drivers] I’d worry about on ovals from some of the driving standards I’ve seen, and I’m not too worried on road courses,” he said. – RACER – (12/3/2015)

Larson tweets “I’m ready to do the double” – Chip Ganassi Racing’s young NASCAR star Kyle Larson tweeted a picture from the cockpit of an IndyCar this morning with the caption “I’m ready to do the double.” NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno posted a nice summary of the subsequent Twitter reaction at the link. You can see the picture on Larson’s Twitter page here. – NBC Sports – (12/3/2015)

Aleshin close to SPM return for ’16 – According to motorsport.com’s David Malsher, Russian Mikhail Aleshin is close to confirming a deal with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to drive the the team in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2016. Aleshin drove for the team full-time in 2014 and made one appearance with them last year. – motorsport.com – (12/3/2015)

KVSH may enter only one car for ’16 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports that Kevin Kalkhoven and KVSH Racing may only field one full-time Verizon IndyCar Series entry in 2016. “We’re still in discussions with a number of potential sponsors for both the first car and potentially a second car,” Kalkhoven told RACER. “However, we would not entertain a second car unless we were very confident they would be a good teammate for Sebastien, and an overall help for the team.” – RACER – (12/3/2015)

SPM names Piers Phillips General Manager – “Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) announced today that Piers Phillips has accepted the team’s General Manager position. Phillips brings a wealth of racing experience to the SPM team. Most recently, the Northampton, United Kingdom native was Team Manager/Technical Director for Brabham Racing. Before that, his 15-year racing career included positions in both management and engineering, at Impact Engineering Solutions, Strakka Racing, SEAT Sport UK and Fred Goddard F3. Phillips’ list of racing wins is impressive, including the British Formula Three Scholarship Championship (2001), BTCC Manufacturers & Teams Championship (2006), BTCC Teams Championship (2007, 2008), Le Mans 24 Hour LMP2 record-breaking victory (2010), Hungaroring overall victory (2010), nine out of 10 ALMS races including victory at Sebring and Petit Le Mans (2013).” – SPM – (12/2/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/2/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/2/2015)

Trackside podcast 12/1/15 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee is a great listen as always. The pair is joined by Townsend Bell and Tracy Hines. – 1070 The Fan – (12/2/2015)

Project CARS posts update of IndyCar model – Project CARS, a popular next-gen/PC racing simulator, posted an updated image for it’s Verizon IndyCar Series model last night and it looks great. Hopefully it’s a good sign that the car (and ovals) will be in an upcoming update for the game. Image at the link. – Project CARS – (12/1/2015)

Ganassi and Karam sever ties – Sage Karam is no longer under contract with Chip Ganassi Racing. “The team allowed his option to expire, and they are still very high on Sage, but the opportunities for the team are unknown and the budget for the 8 car is also unknown, so they didn’t want to keep him bound with nothing to offer,” said Karam’s manager Mickey Ryan. – RACER – (11/30/2015)

Veach to race Lights with Belardi in ’16 – Former Andretti Autosport Indy Lights star Zach Veach will return to the series in 2016 with Belardi Racing. Veach sat out last year hoping for a Verizon IndyCar Series opportunity and was a driver analyst at times for IndyCar Radio. “I’m very thankful for this opportunity that Brian Belardi has given me,” said Veach. “After racing against his team for so many years, I’ve always had a ton of respect for him, his crew, and of course, his cars.” – RACER – (11/26/2015)

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