Archive for the ‘Indy Lights’ Category

Zach Veach thankful and anxious as 2015 IndyCar ride looms ahead

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

12.14.14 (via RaceChaserOnline.com) – The pieces look to be finally falling into place for 20-year-old Zach Veach, after five years of climbing the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system with Andretti Autosport.

 

Veach, the fresh faced young gun with the poise of a veteran, says he is “close” to having a full-season ride sewn up in the Verizon IndyCar Series for the 2015 season.

 

“We’re really, really close to having a full-time IndyCar deal done for 2015,” Veach said to Race Chaser Online during last Monday’s edition of Motorsports Madness. “It’s not signed yet, but we’re in the final stages of it so hopefully we can get that put together and you guys will find us in the fourth car at Andretti Autosport – running the big series.”

 

The Ohio native was in contention for this season’s Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship all the way to the final weekend of the year – starting strong with two wins in the first three races (St. Petersburg and Barber 1) and keeping his hopes alive with a clutch triumph at Milwaukee – before mechanical troubles at Sonoma took him out of the title hunt.

 

Despite not coming away with his ultimate goal of a championship, Veach is still grateful for a campaign that produced three wins, nine podiums, 11 top-fives and four poles, placing him third in the points rundown behind eventual champion Gabby Chaves and British rookie Jack Harvey.

 

“I’m just very thankful,” Veach said of his campaign this year. “I mean, this past season we really just showed me [that] how much you work at something, or what you put in, is what you get [back] in return. 2013 wasn’t the year we wanted so we tore everything down and rebuilt it from the ground up and really put together the year that I wanted to have in 2014.”

 

 

 

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Brabham back in Andretti Formula E lineup for Uruguay

Friday, December 12th, 2014

12.12.14 (via RACER.com) – Matthew Brabham will return to the Formula E championship this weekend in Uruguay, replacing Franck Montagny at the Andretti Autosport team.

 

Brabham, the grandson of three-time Formula 1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham, made his debut in the series in Putrajaya in Malaysia last month when he stood in for Frenchman Charles Pic.

 

Andretti said on Friday that regular driver Montagny would be unable to race in Punta del Este this weekend, with the Frenchman citing health reasons, meaning reserve Brabham will get his second outing.

 

The American-born 20-year-old spent 2014 with Andretti's Indy Lights team. He will race alongside ex-Toro Rosso F1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne, who is making his Formula E debut this weekend.

 

 

 

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Blackstock graduating to Indy Lights

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

12.2.2014 – It was announced today that Mazda Road to Indy standout Shelby Blackstock will graduate from Pro Mazda to the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Championship for the 2015 season; the 24-year-old remains with Andretti Autosport, entering his fourth year with the Indianapolis-based team.

 
"I am very happy to be back with the Andretti Autosport team for the 2015 Indy Lights season," Blackstock said. "I'm extremely excited to test the new IL-15 and to see if all the great expectations are true. I want to thank Andretti Autosport for giving me the opportunity to be in one of its cars this year – this team is like a second family to me. I hope there is a lot of success to come from a completely fresh season."
 
The Nashville, Tenn. native captured one win, three pole positions, 13 podiums and 18 top-five finishes throughout two seasons in Pro Mazda (2013, 2014). Blackstock becomes the third driver to take the next step up the Mazda Road to Indy through Andretti Autosport’s Pro Mazda program to its Indy Lights outfit (Zach Veach, 2013; Matthew Brabham, 2014). The North Carolina resident will go back to his racing roots by using the first number of his racing career, piloting the No. 51 Starstruck entry.
 
"Shelby has been with us for some time now, and he's put in a lot of hard work to make the step from Pro Mazda to Indy Lights happen," Andretti Autosport's Chief Operating Officer JF Thormann noted. "We are all very excited to keep Shelby in the Andretti Autosport family and look forward to watching his success continue during this new chapter of his career with us."
 
Joining the two-time Indy Lights championship-winning team, Blackstock marks Andretti's official confirmation of Indy Lights contention for 2015. The upcoming season will see the race debut of the new Dallara IL-15. With winter testing gearing up soon, the Indy Lights calendar kicks off on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. on March 28.
 
 
 

“I learned the track from a piece of paper!”

Monday, December 1st, 2014

12.1.2014 (via fiaformulae.com) – Matthew Brabham received an 11th-hour call up to race for the Andretti Formula E team in Malaysia. Despite only landing in Kuala Lumpur on Friday morning, he was able to start the Putrajaya ePrix from ninth on the grid. In the incident-packed race he came home 13th. Here are his thoughts on the event.
 
You received a late call-up, how were you able to prepare for not only driving the cars, but also the conditions given the heat and humidity in Malaysia?
 
“It’s been a challenge for sure. It was a last-minute call-up and it took me 14 hours to get to Dubai and then seven hours to Malaysia. When we arrived I didn’t have time to walk the track so just went straight out for the Friday evening practice. It’s definitely a tough track to learn as well. It was a lot more challenging than Beijing and it was a lot more fun as well. I enjoyed it, but it was definitely tough. When I first went out in that first session I didn’t really know what way some of the corners went, but once I’d figured it out it was alright.”
 
So you hadn’t even driven the track in the simulator?
 
“No, not at all. I was given the track layout on a piece of paper on the plane and that’s all I was armed with!”
 
Having tested the car at Donington, what did it feel like to finally drive the car in its proper surroundings?
 
“It was great. Being a tight track the car felt a lot quicker because the walls were going by quicker. It’s definitely a good street-track car. It was able to make all the tight turns relatively easily, it handled quite well, it had good grip on a track with no rubber on it. I was impressed.”
 
How did you feel you performed?
 
“You always feel that you could have done better. I think if I hadn’t done a mistake on the first lap and hit that guy [Heidfeld] in the hairpin – sorry to them, it’s just my mistake, I got a little too ambitious – I could have easily made the pass, had I just broke a little bit earlier, but unfortunately I overshot the pass and that really kind of screwed up our race. I think we had really good pace and there was so much carnage out there and things going on I felt that if I’d just stayed where I was I would have been right out the front and it would have been possible to get on the podium, but it didn’t work out that way. But I learnt a lot and I’m taking a lot of experience away from this. There’s a lot to be learned and I’m very grateful to be out on track with these guys and I’m grateful for the opportunity from Andretti.”
 
Will you be racing again?
 
“I hope so. I’d love to come back. It’s a great series and it’s got some great drivers it in and I’d love to be in it for a while and do some more races but nothing is set in stone yet…we’ll see what happens when we get closer to the race, but I’d love to be back.”
 
 
 
 
 
 

Brabham to make Formula E Race Debut

Friday, November 21st, 2014

11.21.2014 (via SpeedCafe.com) – Matthew Brabham will make his FIA Formula E race debut with Andretti Autosport as a replacement for Charles Pic at Malaysia this weekend.
 
The 20-year-old has been promoted from his role as reserve driver at the American outfit and will now become the youngest driver on the 20 car grid for the second round of the all electric championship at Putrajaya.
 
Brabham has already experienced the revolutionary Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E car having taken part in two tests at Donington Park earlier this year.
The Indy Lights racer also joined up with the Andretti Autosport team at the opening round of the championship in Beijing, where Andretti drivers Franck Montagny and Pic finished second and fourth respectively.
 
“It’s going to be an exciting weekend to race in Malaysia, it’s come about fairly quickly, but I’m ready for the challenge,” said Brabham.
 
“The Andretti Formula E team worked hard on preparing these unique cars for tight street circuits and that paid dividends in China. I’ve been communicating closely with the engineers since then to come up with new ideas and strategies for the future races – so hopefully we can move forward again.
 
“Formula E caught my eye from the beginning – the technology is intriguing and to get the chance to finally race after doing some early testing is really cool.
 
“The talent and experience in the field is tremendous – it’s the best that you’re likely to see outside a Formula 1 World Championship race. As an up and coming driver, it’s very rare that you get an opportunity to race drivers with such experience.
 
“I’m the youngest in the field, which is a real honour, but that doesn’t mean anything when the lights go out – I’m there to do a job for Andretti Formula E and position myself as best I can.”
 
 
 
 
 
 

Andretti, Veach, Butterball team up to feed Hungry Hoosiers

Monday, November 17th, 2014

11.17.14 – With Thanksgiving just around the corner, Andretti Autosport teamed up with partner Butterball to giveback to its Indianapolis community in the form of 500 Whole Turkeys. 
 
The company that accounts for 20% of the nation’s total turkey production and the powerhouse motorsports team delivered 500 turkeys to Midwest Food Bank on the city’s south side this afternoon with the help of team owner Michael Andretti, President and CEO of Butterball Kerry Doughty, 2014 Indy Lights driver Zach Veach and its 2014 Indianapolis 500-winning crew. The Butterball Whole Turkeys were distributed to Wheeler Mission, the Society of St. Vincent dePaul and various food pantries across the state’s capital to help feed over 4,500 people this Thanksgiving.
 
"Indianapolis and the surrounding communities serve as the heart and soul of Indy car racing,” Andretti Autosport Chairman, President and CEO Michael Andretti said. “The people of Central Indiana provide a supportive fan base necessary to the growth and health of our sport. My wife Jodi and I are happy to now call Indianapolis our home, and I am honored to be here today with Butterball to give back to the community that has done so much for us.”
 
Midwest Food Bank helps gather and distribute food to not-for-profits and disaster sites around Indianapolis with additional locations in Illinois and Georgia. One in six Hoosiers are food insecure, and Midwest Food Bank is able to help over 550,000 Hoosiers in one month due to its partners and volunteers. The southside organization is projected to deliver over $25 million worth of food in 2014.
 
Images can be found on the INDYCAR Media Site for all accredited media at www.media.indycar.com.

 

Brabham calls debut of Formula E series a ‘great success’

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

9.16.14 (via Motorsport.com) – Matthew Brabham, reserve driver for the Andretti Autosport Formula-E team for the first round of the FIA’s all electric Series held in China, is enthused about the forward progress of the Championship.

Following a successful test session in the electric-powered Dallara chassis last month in England, the 20-year-old was drafted into the squad to assist drivers, Franck Montagny (in photo above) and Charles Pic at the circuit which circulated the Beijing Olympic precinct.

It was a tremendous success for the Andretti Formula E team and its two French drivers. Montagny finished second and Pic came home fourth in the dramatic event, that saw the two leaders – Nico Prost and Nick Heidfeld collide on the final corner, Heidfeld rolling into the barriers.

Brabham’s key area was to work with the team and drivers on the strategy to maximise the battery power on the electric cars.

He walked away from China believing that Formula E has a fantastic future and with a majority of the field featuring international drivers with modern Formula 1, IndyCar and sportscar experience it bodes well.

“The whole setup is extremely professional, it is very much to the spec of Formula 1 in terms of the paddock layout, the pit area and how the event runs,” said Brabham upon returning to his US base.

“I was a little concerned about the racing product being diminished by the power saving and the different strategies that teams would employ, however the race was entertaining, there was a lot of passing and you couldn’t ask for anything more – coming down to a last lap, last corner pass for the win.”

The Prost/Heidfeld crash was the major talking point after the race.

“It was a huge crash, massive. I think that once everyone realised that Nick was OK from the crash they were quite relieved and were impressed at the strength of the vehicles to withstand something that big.

"In any form of racing, you can't ask for much more than to have the lead come down to the last corner on the final lap and with it being so dramatic, it should generate huge pickup around the world."

Brabham believes the Andretti Formula-E team was one of the best prepared heading to China and were able to take advantage of that preparation.

“The engineers and team members at Andretti Autosport were really on it right from the very beginning when I first went to the test in England,” he explained. “A lot of the other teams were working to get their heads around the systems and the cars, but the Andretti guys knew what to do from the start.

 

Read more here… 

 

 

Hinchcliffe weighs in on new Indy Lights car

Monday, September 8th, 2014

9.8.14 (via IndyCar.com) – Current performance is solid while it’s the new-for-2015 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires car’s potential that excited Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe.
 
One month after its initial on-track testing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the drivers provided feedback following separate sessions Sept. 5 on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Reigning Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves will add his perspective during testing Sept. 6 on the iconic 2.5-mile oval.
 
Scott Dixon“As far as performance, it feels very good though it’s hard to compare it to the other Indy Lights car,” said Dixon, the three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. “It’s fun going through some setups and driving something different. It’s early in its development with setups, but there are a lot of similarities to the IndyCar in terms of technology and safety. A nice thing is I can take my seat and put it in there, which is well thought out.
 
“The platform of Indy Lights is very important to see good drivers come through on their way up, hopefully, to the IndyCar Series so I’m happy to assist in any way.”
 
The turbocharged 4-cylinder Advanced Engine Research engine is mated to a Dallara chassis designed to be fast and safe on the variety pack of racetracks utilized in conjunction with Verizon IndyCar Series race weekends.
 
“It’s all about getting miles on the car and trying to contribute to the testing program,” said Hinchcliffe, of Andretti Autosport. “You feel out the brakes and the turbocharged engine, which has some different characteristics from the V8 engine that the other car had, and then you get to the chassis side and work on setups to handle each circuit. You have to build up slowly those first couple of runs.
 
“Every bit of data at this point is valuable. I’m a huge proponent of the Indy Lights series; it was a huge step for me in developing my skills and helping me get up to IndyCar. Anything I can do to help the series grow I’m here. To be part of the development of anything new is a nice new challenge and something fun.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Don’t Miss Out: Driver Appearances for Sonoma

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

8.20.14 – Don't miss out on your opportunity to visit with all our Pro Mazda, Indy Lights and IndyCar drivers! Check out the list of appearances for our weekend at Sonoma Raceway!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Saturday, August 23
 


Marco Andretti
, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz
Verizon IndyCar Series Autograph Session

INDYCAR Fan Village

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.



 
Shelby Blackstock, Garett Grist
Pro Mazda Autograph Session

1:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
 
 
Zach Veach, Matthew Brabham
Indy Lights Autograph Session

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
 
 


Ryan Hunter-Reay
Autographs
GoPro Booth

3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.


 
 
 
 

Veach Victorious at Historic Milwaukee Mile

Monday, August 18th, 2014

8.17.14 (via motorsport.com) – Zach Veach, driver of the No. 26 RePLAY XD Indy Lights car, started Sunday's 100-mile race from the pole position and led 43 laps on his way to his third victory of the 2014 season.
 
He moved to second in the championship points standing with two races remaining.
 
"My engineer told me, 'we need those points, push,' so I was trying to get the best restart that I could. I think I jumped Matt (Brabham) a little bit. He got a little worried and protected the inside, so I got lucky to drive around the outside… I just pushed as hard as I could. I'm just so happy to have the RepPLAY XD car in victory lane," Veach said.
 
Teammate Matthew Brabham, in the No. 83 United Fiber & Data/MAZDASPEED car, started third and finished second to mark the Indy Lights Rookie's fourth podium finish of the season. He led 57 of the 100 laps.
 
"I'm proud of what the team did. We came from a long way back, especially in practice yesterday, so credit to them. I'm just a little bit disappointed, but I still have to be happy we ran such a strong race. It was unfortunate that the yellow came out when I was in the lead by eight seconds. Zach (Veach) just got around me and managed to snooker me at the end, so congratulations to him. I'd just like to thank all my team – United Fiber & Data,  MAZDASPEED and all the guys – my crew did a great job this weekend."