Archive for the ‘Indy Lights’ Category

Hunter-Reay joins iconic Daytona 24-hour race, Blackstock’s debut

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

1.24.15 – Reigning Indianapolis 500 Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay is jumpstarting his 2015 racing season as he joins the field of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Saturday’s iconic sports car race will mark the ninth consecutive Rolex 24 start for the American-born racer.

Hunter-Reay, together with co-drivers Rubens Barichello, Tor Graves, Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer, will take on race responsibilities for the No. 7 Martini-sponsorsed BMW Power Riley Daytona Prototype for Starworks Motorsport that will take the green flag from the eighth grid position. This year’s 24-hour endurance race is Hunter-Reay’s second career outing with Starworks Motorsport; the 34-year-old first raced with the team in Daytona following his Verizon IndyCar Series championship win in 2012.

“I always look forward to the 24 Hour and kicking off the race season here in Daytona,” said Hunter-Reay. “It's great to be back at Starworks and working with a talented team of co-drivers. In nine straight year being part of the Daytona Rolex 24 I've finished second twice, which is just too close to bringing that watch home. We have a great line up driving this weekend and hopefully we’ll all have something new to wear on our wrists come Sunday.”

Catch live coverage of the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona on FOX Sports television Saturday and Sunday. The 15.5-hour broadcast will kick off just before the start of the first round of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Fans can also watch live via the FOX Sports GO app.

The veteran driver will be joined in the Rolex 24 by fellow Andretti Autosport team member Shelby Blackstock, the Indy Lights rookie who will make his debut in the 24-hour race from fifth in class with Bar1 Motorsports.

Following the Daytona 24 Hunter-Reay will soon return to the cockpit of his No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda-powered IndyCar as he preps to carry primary sponsor DHL’s colors into the 2015 season, his 12th season in the American open-wheel series. The Verizon IndyCar Series championship travels to Brasília, Brazil on March 8. The season opener will mark the Florida resident’s 170th career IndyCar start.

 

 

Rolex 24 at Daytona Broadcast Times (All times ET)

Saturday, Jan. 24

2-4 p.m.                        FOX Network

4-8 p.m.                        FOX Sports 2

8-10 p.m.                      FOX Sports 1

 

Overnight (Jan. 24-25)

10 p.m.-7 a.m.               IMSA TV on IMSA.com (live video & commentary)

           

Sunday, Jan. 25

7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.            FOX Sports 1 

 

 

 

Blackstock eager to test new Indy Lights package

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

1.8.15 (via INDYCAR.com) – Getting a 1,500-pound present three weeks after Christmas is worth the wait, according to Shelby Blackstock.

 

“It’s going to be the real Christmas morning to be able to test,” he said.

 

Blackstock will drive the No. 51 Starstruck Andretti Autosport entry as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires holds its first official Open Test with the new Dallara/Mazda package Jan. 13-14 on the 2.034-mile, 11-turn Palm Beach International Raceway road course in Jupiter, Fla.

 

“I’m excited to get going. We’ll see what happens when we turn the first lap and then hopefully not have any issues so we can start learning the car,” said Blackstock, who turns 25 on Feb. 23. “First and foremost, I hope to accomplish getting on top of the car and be the first guy to figure it out because that’s always the biggest thing that puts you up front.

 

“A couple of big things I’m looking forward to seeing is how the car performs and how it performs in traffic. The car (being assembled at the Andretti Autosport shop in photo at right) has really big tunnels and a lot of aerodynamics on it so we’ll see how these cars race with each other.”

 

Indy Lights teams/drivers also will test Jan. 26-27 on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course and Jan. 29 on the 1.5-mile oval.

Full-field testing next month includes Feb. 18 at NOLA Motorsports Park and Feb. 24-25 at Barber Motorsports Park. The season opens with a doubleheader race weekend March 28-29 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar Series-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

 

Blackstock, a Tennessee native, recorded one win, three poles, 13 podiums and 18 top-five finishes the past two seasons combined in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in an Andretti Autosport-prepared car. He’ll be the third driver to take the next step up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder with Andretti Autosport (Zach Veach, 2013; Matthew Brabham, 2014).

 

“Going into this year I’m open-minded,” he said. “We had a good first season in Pro Mazda and the next season, when we’re trying to go for the championship, there were some expectations based how well we did the year before. Then the series changed the tire on us, which changed our car completely. So I’ve learned not to really have expectations.”

 

 

 

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Rob Edwards shifts from SPM to Andretti

Monday, January 5th, 2015

1.5.15 (via MotorSportsTalk) – Andretti Autosport has hired Rob Edwards, who had been the team manager with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, as the team’s new Director of Race Operations and Engineering, effective immediately.

Edwards essentially replaces Kyle Moyer, who departed for Team Penske this offseason.

Under Michael Andretti’s umbrella, the remainder of the management team will be George Klotz (Team Manager, IndyCar), Dave Popielarz (Team Manager, Indy Lights), and Fran Reilly (Team Manager, Pro Mazda).

“We are excited to welcome Rob (Edwards) to the Andretti family,” Andretti said. “His experience in racing will be valuable in moving our organization forward across multiple racing platforms.”

Incidentally, this is the opposite of what happened to one of Andretti’s drivers this offseason. James Hinchcliffe left Andretti for Schmidt Peterson this winter, and was flanked by Edwards and SPM co-owner Ric Peterson at October’s announcement.

Edwards’ hiring bolsters Andretti’s management staff. The team has three IndyCars confirmed (Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz), one Indy Lights car (Shelby Blackstock) and two Pro Mazda cars (Dalton Kellett, Weiron Tan) confirmed thus far for 2015.

A fourth IndyCar and second Indy Lights car are expected to be confirmed in the new year.

 

 

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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.

 

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