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He thanked each mechanic, engineer and crew member individually before trudging off to fulfill his obligations in the media center. Moments before, Michel Jourdain Jr. had been strapped in his Office Depot-sponsored, Honda-powered Dallara for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, hoping to be able to make a last-minute qualifying attempt on “Bump Day.” Just minutes before the gun sounded to end qualifications, the team admitted defeat and rolled the car back to the garage.
Jourdain would not be in the 2013 Indianapolis 500.
Distraught, Jourdain told the media: “We know for sure that there is something wrong with the car: something bent, broken, loose, bending. Something is broken in the middle of the car we have not seen. Mike Conway drove this car in Long Beach and it was OK. But there is something wrong; we don’t know.”
Minor changes were all the engineers made to Jourdain’s car throughout the week of practice at the Brickyard. But as other teams gained speed, Jourdain remained pretty much where he started: in the 219s.
Jourdain’s assessment of his week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway varies. Although initially, he says, he was “having so much fun” and the car was “so much fun to drive” because it was “easy to drive,” he also called it a hard week. “All week we struggled. Right away, I thought the car to be very good but I didn’t feel the car very well. It’s just a feel thing, and some days it feels really well and getting a little better every day, some days not. When you’re only driving once a year, it’s just so hard to know.”
That could be the crux of the matter. Jourdain had little time in the car, although arguably, so did Buddy Lazier and Katherine Legge, both of whom made the field for the race.Read More
Possible in the past…
Definitely possible in the future!
Formula E by Lucas di Grassi: “The cars are actually quite similar from a driver’s viewpoint with just a few differences. The main one is the torque. Electric motors have instant power so there’s no lag. An electric motor is much better for a driver because you can control the torque much more easily. The tricky part though is managing the battery life. The more you push the quicker it drains so when racing it will be a real balancing act for the drivers to know how to mange this. It will be a great strategy, a bit like managing tyres are in an F1 race. The other main aspect is the sound. People say there’s no sound but there is. An electric car sounds more like a jet fighter and is very futuristic. It’s still around 80 decibels which is more than a road car.”
Full article is coming soon…Read More
Mark Miles, chief executive officer for Hulman & Company, the parent company of IndyCar, announced that longtime motorsports executive Derrick Walker will join IndyCar as its president of competition and operations, beginning May 27th. In his new role, Walker will be responsible for all technical and competition-related elements for the sanctioning body.
“We made the decision that we really want to strengthen this organization,” Miles said. To do so, he believed it was necessary “to bring on the strongest horse we can find to help us with our technical and operations and racing.”
After consulting numerous people, he had several qualified candidates. “Derrick was one of the first I spoke to. You can’t read his résumé and talk to folks about his lifetime of experience without immediately having great respect for his journey in open-wheel racing from being a mechanic to owning a team and having enormous success all along the way.”
In addition to a wealth of experience, Walker’s personal qualities impressed Miles. “He’s straightforward; he’s got great common sense. He’s got the conviction of his principles. We know that he’ll help make clear, firm decisions and have the strength of character to stick by them.”
Walker is also highly regarded in the paddock, which should contribute to success in his new role. Looking ahead to a steep learning curve, Walker says, “I’m from the team background. Never have crossed over to the official side” – what he has referred to in the past as “the dark side.”Read More
“Whoever made this schedule knows nothing about racing,” says one mechanic who prefers to remain anonymous. “It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.”
As part of former CEO Randy Bernard’s legacy, the Izod IndyCar series raced in Sao Paulo, Brazil, just a week before Opening Day at the Speedway, giving rise to more criticism of the beleaguered ex-executive.
This week, teams should have been moving into their assigned garages and preparing – and repairing, painting, stickering and polishing – their cars and equipment. Instead, all their gear was in transport and didn’t arrive until late on Wednesday.
“We won’t be ready to run on Saturday,” another team member said. “They can forget about seeing a lot of cars on track. Too many teams have repairs to do and no time to do them. Thank goodness we don’t have any rookies.”
Rookie Orientation takes place on Opening Day.
Several team owners have been airing their grievances about a schedule that doesn’t leave sufficient time to prepare for the series’ biggest event. With weather in question, track time could be significantly shortened prior to Pole Day on May 18.Read More
In the last turn of the last lap of a riveting Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300, James Hinchcliffe snatched his second career victory from Takumo Sato, winning by 0.3463 of a second.
“There’s no cooler way to win a race: in the last corner of the last lap,” said Hinchcliffe. “Takuma was making that race car really wide and he was defending the inside pretty well, almost too well a couple times. He just outbroke himself just a little bit and I was able to do a high-low (pass) and got the win.”
Sato blocked to the inside, forcing Hinchcliffe to go around him on the outside. Then the Japanese driver drove too deep into the hairpin, locked up his brakes and left a gap that allowed Hinchcliffe to duck down the inside and get past him.
Sato blocked both Josef Newgarden and James Hinchcliffe in the closing laps of the race. “I think I tried everything I could to defend,” Sato said. “I was really struggling on the grip the last laps. I really had to deal with a lot of things.”
Takuma Sato’s controversial defensive moves at the end of Sunday’s race drew harsh criticism from a number of observers, including the TV analysts and several drivers, but no penalty from Race Control. “Quick look at Twitter,” Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon wrote. “Sounds like race control had to leave early to catch a flight. Can’t wait to hear the excuses!”Read More
Call him greedy, but reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti wants to hold up four fingers in Victory Circle on May 26. A three-time winner at Indy and a four-time series champion, the handsome Scotsman isn’t done with the record book yet.
At 39, he realizes he’s getting close to the end of his IndyCar career, but he intends to take advantage of every opportunity to win more races before he considers exchanging that open cockpit for a seat in ALMS or GrandAm. “I’d love to do Le Mans, it’s a fabulous race,” he says, “but, right now, my focus is IndyCar. I’ve got at least another couple years.”
Franchitti doesn’t expect to be cruising around at the back of the grid during these final years. “I’d love to win a bunch more races; I’d love to win another Indy.” His tone switches from desire to humility. “I’m being greedy. In this job, you always want more. But I think when you stop wanting that next championship, that next race win, that next Indy 500 – when you stop having that desire, it’s time to go home.”
Home is where the heart is
Born in Bathgate, Scotland, Franchitti raced in Europe until he joined Hogan Racing, a CART team, in 1997. It was the first time he’d come to America since he was 8, so everything was new and different. “Driving an oval – imagine that!” he marvels, recalling his first impression. “And now it all feels very normal.”
It feels like home. Traveling the international circuit, first with CART and now with IndyCar, he knows most of the people in the paddock. “It’s my home,” he says.Read More
After 52 starts in the IndyCar series, Takuma Sato became the first driver from Japan to win when he crossed the finish line at the 39th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
It was his team’s first victory since July 7, 2002, when Airton Dare won for A.J. Foyt Racing at Kansas Speedway. The last win for the team on a road/street course was by the boss himself: A.J. Foyt on Oct. 1, 1978, at Silverstone. Overall, A.J. Foyt Racing has 44th victories.
“Takuma made it look too easy,” team director and race strategist Larry Foyt said. “It made me so nervous watching it out there. He just drove a flawless race.” Sato, who started fourth in the 80-lap race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit, overtook Ryan Hunter-Reay for second on Lap 23 and assumed the point on Lap 30 when race leader Will Power pitted under yellow. Second place finisher Graham Rahal was no challenge at the end of the race as Sato extended his lead to 4 seconds.Read More