Archive for the ‘Andretti Autosport’ Category

Seeking to take the next step: Marco Andretti

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

1.28.14 (via IndyCar.com) – Marco Andretti enters his ninth season as an IndyCar Series driver coming off a career best of fifth in the championship, which he credited to work before the 2013 season. For 2014, Andretit will sport the blue and yellow colors of Snapple, and he aims to take the next step and win the IndyCar Series championship.
 
In the latest installment of Catching Up With…, the third-generation driver talks about his Andretti Autosport car's new look, his offseason exploits and the new addition to his family — a bulldog named Moodie.
 
Q. You’ll be carrying the Snapple colors in 2014, and while Dr Pepper/Snapple isn’t a new sponsor for you, is carrying one of the name brands is a big deal for you?
 
A. Those guys (at Dr Pepper/Snapple) have been so loyal, really to the whole team, but to me, especially. (To have a sponsor for) six years and running is awesome. Really, I want to give those guys what they deserve and that’s a bunch of wins, the Indy 500 and the championship.
 
Q. Before last season, you took the step to work with a driver coach and do what needed to be done to improve as a driver. What have you been doing in this offseason to take the next big step in your career?
 
A. If you look at what cost us wins last year, really we just need to do a lot of the same things we did last year and really capitalize on leading those laps by leading the right laps. The disappointing stat for me is 1,000 laps led (Andretti has led 907) but only two victories. Really, we need to be there when it counts.
 
Q. The offseason is also a time for you to kick back and relax with your friends. I know you try to take trip each year with (comedian) Kevin Hart and (recording artist/actor) Ludacris. Where did you guys head off to this year?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Formula E to build new headquarters at Donington Park

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

1.23.14 (via Formula E) -  Formula E, the FIA’s new global electric racing series, has today announced that its new headquarters and team facilities will be based within the grounds of the Donington Park Racing Circuit in the UK.

 

Construction work on the 44,000ft² bespoke premises began on 2nd January and when complete will provide state-of-the-art facilities for each of the 10 Formula E teams, together with offices, stores and workshops for Formula E’s own operational staff – totalling more than 150 people.

 

In addition, the Formula E teams – all of which have now been announced – will use the Donington Park circuit for their testing and development work on the fully-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E race car. 

 

The new facilities, located in Donington’s Western Paddock, just 100 metres from the circuit itself at the Melbourne Hairpin entry, will also comply with the “Very Good” BREEAM sustainable construction standards and with the UK Government’s Low Carbon Economy and the National Planning Policy Framework requirements. This will ensure teams benefit from high environmental standards, effective energy management systems and the reduction of carbon emissions wherever possible – in-line with Formula E’s sustainability ethos.

 

Formula E is a new FIA Championship using electric single-seater race cars capable of speeds in excess of 225km/h. Beginning this September in Beijing, the series will compete in the heart of 10 of the world's leading cities including London, Miami and Rio de Janeiro. Ten teams, each with two drivers, will go head-to-head to create a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans whilst accelerating the electric vehicle market and promoting sustainability.

 

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, said: “We looked at a number of locations around Europe but the British motorsport industry is regarded as the best in the world so it was an easy decision for us to be based in the UK and our new facilities at Donington Park provide the perfect central location for operating the FIA Formula E Championship. Being in the ‘Motorsport Valley’ also means we can take advantage of the technology and skills all around us, as we have already done through McLaren and Williams.
 

“All 10 teams will soon have top facilities at their disposal in a modern, sustainable building, as well as direct access to the circuit to develop their cars. We are also just a stone’s throw from East Midlands Airport and the hub of our logistics partner DHL, meaning will we make substantial cost and emission savings. It’s also great for such an innovative and global racing series to be based at a historic race track like Donington Park and we’re looking forward to welcoming the teams.”

 

All works will be complete by the end of April with the first teams moving in on 1st May. Formula E’s commercial aspects will continue to operate out of its London offices.

 

Christopher Tate, Managing Director of Donington Park Racing Ltd, said: “Formula E and all its teams committing to this location here at Donington Park, the heart of British motor sport, is a critical forward leap for this company, for this wonderful race track, and for our region. Already there are dozens of civil engineers and technicians at work on the construction project. From May, around 150 highly technical racing engineers will be preparing and testing their all-new Formula E electric cars here. Three years after this company took over the estate; this is a major landmark moment for Donington Park.”

 

He added: “Our own team, working with the North West Leicestershire Council, the Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Growing Places Fund, have all come together to make this great project happen, and see this multi-million pound investment here once again prove the strength of the UK motorsport industry. With Formula E, we have no doubt this new centre will come to act as a technical hub for the future development of these exciting new technologies not just for the motorsport industry, but for the wider automotive sector as a whole. Everyone here now awaits the first test day for these new cars on this historic and demanding race track.”

 

Business and Energy Minister The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP added: “Formula E's decision to locate the international teams and its global HQ at Donington Park shows how Britain's thriving motorsport industry is continuing to attract international investment. With investment from the Government's Growing Places Fund – secured through the Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership – Formula E's new facilities will further promote Britain as a leading innovator in developing technologies for energy-efficient cars. Motorsport is now one of the key growth sectors, and a great British success story."

 

For more information on Formula E visit www.fiaformulae.com. For further details on Donington Park click on www.donington-park.co.uk.

 

 

 

Mazda Road to Indy Squads at Andretti Autosport® Reflect on the 2014 Team Launch

Monday, January 20th, 2014
1.20.14 – The Mazda Road to Indy quartet at Andretti Autosport unveiled their new looks for the upcoming 2014 season last Monday. After a week filled with photo shoots, interviews, physicals and meetings, the Indy Lights and Pro Mazda duos reflected on the exciting team launch and the year ahead with the championship-winning caliber team.
 
 
 
 
_ news and notes
ZACH VEACH, No. 26 RePLAY XD, Indy Lights 
“This is always a very exciting and important part of the year! You're unveiling the cars and also the expectations or goals of the new season to come. It's really an honor for me to say I'm starting my fifth season with Andretti Autosport in the RePLAY XD Indy Lights car! We're taking everything we learned from last year and working to put it all in a great season for us all! I think one of my favorite parts of the unveiling, though, was being to live stream it all to the fans throughout the world, using RePLAY XD cameras; I'm very excited to see what's to come with Andretti TV, so stay tuned!”
 
 
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MATTHEW BRABHAM, No. 83 United Fiber & Data/MAZDASPEED, Indy Lights
“It was great having all the Andretti Autosport drivers and crews at the same place before the season starts; it’s always great to spend that time with everyone even when we’re not at the track as we’re just like a big family. The liveries on the cars looked awesome, and I can’t wait to showcase the United Fiber & Data/Mazdaspeed car on track. I’m sure the new paint job is worth a couple of tenths (of a second)!”
 
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GARETT GRIST, No. 27 DaVinci Foods/Lander Property Management, Pro Mazda
“I had a great time at the Andretti Autosport launch. I have never done anything like that before so it was a great experience. It was cool to see all the media at the event covering it. Everyone did a great job and worked hard to pull it off! I am really looking forward to this season; so far testing has gone well. I'm just taking things slow and learning the car so I am ready for the season. I think as a team we will have a great year.”
 
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SHELBY BLACKSTOCK, No. 28 Starstruck, Pro Mazda
“The unveiling went very well at Andretti Autosport; it was great to be a part of it all. After a strong year last year, I am looking forward to an even stronger year ahead. Testing has shown that we have a lot of speed, and I can’t wait for Winterfest to start.”
 
 
 
 

Andretti Autosport Unveiling is Wake Up Call for Teams

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

1.14.14 (via MotorRacingScene.com) – Drivers exit their Andretti Autosport hauler, smoke fills the room and outside of the hauler is the drivers’ car, showing off their colors and firesuits, as the annual unveiling of Andretti Autosport’s driver lineup for the upcoming IndyCar and Indy Lights Series season proves to be a marketing action all motorsports organizations must adapt.

Michael Andretti led his organization’s team launch at Andretti Autosport’s race shop in Indianapolis. The launch was hosted on a new website – AndrettiTV.com – where fans can look at live video to Andretti Autosport’s headquarters, subscribe to exclusive behind-the-scenes video, purchase team merchandise and more.

Though sponsorship news had previously been released for all teams, Carlos Munoz will have Cinsay on board as the fourth Andretti entry in the IndyCar Series.

James Hinchcliffe shared his new United Fiber & Data paint scheme, allowing fans to reminisce of a similar look of the late Greg Moore. Marco Andretti’s No. 25 showed his Snapple colors and 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay hosted familiar colors for his DHL No. 28 Honda.

Being a step ahead of the competition is an understatement when it comes to Andretti Autosport’s marketing department. No other teams in IndyCar or NASCAR provide their fans a preseason look at their drivers and cars.

In a way, it is Andretti Autosport’s preseason media day, because after drivers are available to the media. When it comes to a star-filled organization, Michael Andretti and his marketing department have found no issues in selling their drivers as superstars in the team launch.

And it works.

It was a surprise to see Andretti Autosport launch their new website, but even more exciting as fans are able to see their new colors and the driver interaction with the media and their team owner.

The idea of selling drivers in a low-cost way is excellent and a shock many marketing teams in IndyCar or NASCAR have not done a launch in the past.

Obviously, Andretti Autosport is one of the biggest organizations in the IndyCar Series with a team owner who has won multiple championships and races in the open-wheel realm of motorsports. However, it should not be a thought the smaller teams could not benefit for launching their driver or drivers in a similar way. With the low-cost of streaming video on a website, it should be in every team’s best interest to provide their fans with more driver interaction, especially, with drivers such as Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Simona de Silvestro, Graham Rahal and other popular drivers in the sport.

 

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Andretti Autosport Partners with Volkswagen for Global Rallycross

Monday, January 13th, 2014

1.13.14 (via Global-Rallycross.com) – Andretti Autosport, one of the premier teams currently competing in international motorsport, has announced its intent to enter the 2014 Global Rallycross season. The Indianapolis-based operation will compete using Volkswagen Supercars.

“We are excited to confirm our intent to compete with Volkswagen in Global Rallycross events, and look forward to sharing more details at a later date,” Andretti Autosport released in a statement. A more detailed unveiling, including the team’s full 2014 lineup, will take place at the Chicago Auto Show on February 6.

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Andretti Autosport Team Launch: Highlights

Monday, January 13th, 2014

 

ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT® HOLDS 2014 TEAM LAUNCH
News & Notes Regarding Team's INDYCAR® Programs

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 13, 2014) – Four-time IndyCar Champions Andretti Autosport announced its 2014 INDYCAR lineup today during the team's 2014 Launch event at its Indianapolis headquarters. The team officially announced four full-time IndyCar Series entries, along with two Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and two Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires entries.

In addition to its IndyCar efforts, team owner Michael Andretti confirmed German news reports regarding Andretti Autosport's intent to compete in 2014 Global Rallycross events, representing Volkswagen. Further details on Andretti's Global Rallycross efforts will be announced at a later date.

Other highlights from the launch event follow.

 

NO. 25 TO CARRY SNAPPLE® BRAND PRIMARY SPONSORSHIP

25 Car 2014_No-C-Store_01-12-B
 

Andretti Autosport revealed a new look for the No. 25 Snapple Honda driven by third-generation racer Marco Andretti. The previously RC Cola-branded car will be emblazoned with the blue and yellow of Snapple® – a Dr Pepper Snapple Group beverage with a 42 year history. This will be the fifth different Dr Pepper Snapple product that the Pennsylvania native has carried on his Indy car following the Venom Energy Drink, Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper TEN and RC Cola liveried cars. Additionally, United Fiber & Data will be prominent as a major associate sponsor for Andretti.

 

UNITED FIBER & DATA LIVERY TO ADORN THE NO. 27 HONDA

 

27 Car - UFD 2014 - 01-09-A

Three-time IndyCar race winner James Hinchcliffe will remain in the No. 27 car for the third consecutive year, but will move to the bright blue and white livery of United Fiber & Data, a tech company, founded by three members of the multi-platinum rock band LIVE and their Think Loud Development company.

UFD will also serve as a major associate sponsor on the No. 25 and No. 28 cars piloted by Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay, respectively. In addition, the company will serve as the primary sponsor for Pro Mazda Champion Matthew Brabham as he transitions to Indy Lights in 2014.

Based in York, Pennsylvania, United Fiber & Data offers a complete suite of all-fiber networking and broadband solutions and also served as a major associate sponsor of the No. 25 machine of Marco Andretti for the 2013 season.

United Fiber & Data is introducing a 400-mile fiber optic line running between New York and Virginia and operates out of different data centers across Pennsylvania (Allentown, Lancaster, Reading and York).

 

RYAN HUNTER-REAY BACK TO THE NO. 28 ALONGSIDE LONGTIME SPONSOR DHL

28 RC Car 2014_01-12-A

The 2012 IndyCar Champion will return to the No. 28 machine to signify the 28 million people living with cancer worldwide. Throughout the year, fans will have the opportunity to help Ryan fight cancer through his charitable work with Racing for Cancer, an organization he helped co-found, and its event, The Yellow Party, with locations and event dates to be announced. The yellow and red livery seen on Hunter-Reay's car in seasons past will have little changes made as DHL returns as its primary sponsor for the third year of his four-year career with Andretti Autosport.

 

2013 INDY 500 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR MUNOZ TO DRIVE NO. 34 CINSAY HONDA

Cinsay IndyCar 2014_01-12-N

Making his full-time debut in the IndyCar Series, Colombian Carlos Munoz will tote a livery customized around new primary sponsor Cinsay – an Austin, TX-based company that is a leader in next-generation social video commerce technology. This fourth IndyCar entry for Andretti Autosport will once again be run as a joint effort between Andretti Autosport and HVM Racing.

Cinsay, the creator of next generation social eCommerce, viewer interactive, video-based platform for any individual or size business, utilizes SaaS based technology to enable everyone to sell products, services, capture donations and generate leads all inside the patented Smart Store™ technology.
The eCommerce company, named one of the Forbes Top 100 Most Promising Companies (2012), formed a relationship in March with 34 Solutions, a company co-chaired by All American football legend Herschel Walker. Under the 34 Commerce banner, the relationship names 34 Solutions as the licensed reseller of Cinsay's Smart Store™ technology and provides payment gateway services to process the Smart Store™ platform transactions.

The white and Cinsay-green Honda-powered Indy car will carry the No. 34 to pay honor to former footballer Walker's role in the program and to help carry on the tradition of excellence tied to the Heisman Trophy winner's iconic jersey number.

Also seen on the No. 34 Honda: AndrettiTV.com – a new website, coming soon, where fans will be able to subscribe to exclusive behind-the-scenes, live video access to Andretti Autosport's headquarters, purchase official team merchandise and more.

United Fiber & Data again expands its role within the team as an major associate sponsor on the No. 28 DHL Honda.

 

ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT MAZDA ROAD TO INDY LINEUP OFFICIALLY RELEASED

 

2013 Pro Mazda Champion Matthew Brabham, the only driver to capture the USF2000 and Pro Mazda championships in succession, has moved up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder and will be competing in Indy Lights for the 2014 season. The third-generation standout driver will showcase a similar livery to Hinchcliffe's Indy car as both drivers are representing United Fiber & Data. Matthew's No. 83 Indy Lights machine will also highlight MAZDA as the 19-year-old will be a MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver once again in 2014. In addition to Brabham, Zach Veach will return to the team for his fifth racing season – his second at the Indy Lights level of competition. The 19-year-old will bring back the red and white livery from the end of the 2013 season with partner RePLAY XD.

Completing the Mazda Road to Indy ladder for Andretti Autosport will be race winner Shelby Blackstock who returns for his second year of Pro Mazda, and rookie and race winner Garett Grist who moves up from the USF2000 championship; both drivers will have similar designs to those of their 2013 effort.

Andretti Autosport 2014 INDYCAR Line Up

IndyCar Series
Marco Andretti, No. 25 Snapple Honda
James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 DHL Honda
Carlos Munoz, No. 34 Cinsay Honda

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
Zach Veach, No. 26 RePLAY XD
Matthew Brabham, No. 83 United Fiber & Data/MAZDASPEED

Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires
Garett Grist, No. 27 Sofina Foods/Lander Property Management
Shelby Blackstock, No. 28 Starstruck

 

 

Two-time champ Brabham aiming for title sweep

Friday, January 10th, 2014

1.10.14 (via IndyCar.com) – “Improvements” are chief among Matthew Brabham’s references from an Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Open Test, which leads the 2013 Pro Mazda and 2012 USF2000 champion to add encouraging and optimistic to his preseason lexicon.

Brabham, driving the No. 83 MAZDASPEED/United Fiber & Data car prepared by Andretti Autosport, totaled 86 laps in two sessions at Sebring International Raceway. Overall, 10 drivers participated in the Jan. 7-8 Open Test.

Teammate Zach Veach topped the combined time sheet on the 1.68-mile circuit, followed by 2013 series championship runner-up Gabby Chaves in a Belardi Auto Racing car and Brabham. The best lap times of the top eight drivers were less than a second apart.

“It’s definitely a step up compared to Pro Mazda,” said Brabham, who turns 20 on Feb. 25. “So far it’s been challenging to get used to more power and more grip, but fun to drive. I’m slowly getting there, and it should be a good year for us.”

It was Brabham’s second outing in the car as he prepares for the third rung of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.

“It gives us a jump up on everybody, and that definitely helps,” he said. “That’s what we did last year. We got ahead and managed to sort things out before everybody else did. It’s great to get out early and nice to have everything signed so I can just focus on testing and getting comfortable before we go out and start getting ready for the racing season.”

That starts March 30 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., as part of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Other full-scale tests are scheduled for late February at New Orleans Motorsport Park and Barber Motorsports Park.

For driver and crew, sorting out variables created by the switch from Firestone Firehawks to Cooper tires is an important aspect of the early testing program.

“That’s a big challenge for us,” Brabham said. “We have to re-do all the setups and rethink our theories a bit.”

For Brabham, who made his karting debut in June 2001 in Australia, the Mazda Road to Indy is a proving ground with long-term benefits.

He set Pro Mazda single-season records with 13 victories (seven in a row), 15 podiums, 10 poles and 13 fastest race laps while driving for Andretti Autosport. The teen, who before the season was named a British Racing Drivers’ Club “Rising Star,” led 81 percent of the laps over the 12 races.
A year earlier, he earned the USF2000 championship and rookie of the year award with four victories and seven other podium finishes competing for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. Brabham earned a Team USA Scholarship to compete in three British Formula 2.0 races in the offseason.

 

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A month of presents for Ryan Hunter-Reay

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

12.17.13 (via IndyCar.com) – With a child who's almost 1 year old in the house, it's sure to be a busy time for Ryan Hunter-Reay and his wife Beccy. It will get a little crazier next week with the holidays.

Today, Hunter-Reay marks his 33rd birthday (send congrats @RyanHunterReay) and Dec. 18 he'll be in the Honda-powered Andretti Autosport car at Sebring International Raceway for an end-of-year test. This past weekend, he was the co-grand marshal of the 42nd Winterfest boat parade in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Hmm, the holidays might fit right in with the family's schedule.

Catching up with Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series champion:

Q: A few weeks ago, you did the Dolphins Ride For Cancer event. How was that?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:
The Dolphins Cycling Challenge is a huge event in South Florida that raises a huge amount of funds. There are more than 2,000 riders and raised almost $2 million (primarily for the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center). Racing for Cancer is a small beneficiary of the Dolphins Cycling Challenge and my personal sponsor AutoNation is heavily involved. I rode with Team AutoNation. We started in Boca Raton and rode to the Dolphins Stadium in Miami which is about 45 miles. It was a lot of fun. It’s great to be out with everybody doing that. You really feel the energy behind it. Hopefully, that will be a regular on the offseason schedule.

Q: And it supports a great cause near and dear to your heart.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:
Absolutely. Raising funds for the fight against cancer is a big deal. Any way we can do it. I was impressed with this cycling event. There are so many people behind it. It covers all the way from Palm Beach to Miami. Roads are shut down and there is so much fundraising behind it. The Dolphins are the franchise heavily behind it and it has a lot of power. There’s a lot of momentum and it’s gaining traction every year.

Q: Your son Ryden is about to turn 1 soon. With his birthday so close to Christmas, what are the holidays going to be like in the Hunter-Reay household?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:
It’s going to be a lot of fun. He’s laughing a lot right now. The highlight of my day is waking up and seeing his face. It’s a lot of fun. For his first birthday, he loves Mickey Mouse. That’s one thing that captures his attention. It’s amazing how that works. An (85-year old) cartoon mouse, that’s his hero. I think I come a close second when I’m in my race suit, but Mickey Mouse takes the cake. We’ll probably have some sort of Mickey Mouse themed party for him.”

Q: Scott Dixon and Target Chip Ganassi Racing are considering using the No. 1 for this next season. What advice would you give him?

 

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Why third-gen Brabham could be next-gen IndyCar star

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

12.10.13 (via RACER.com) – It took far too long, but at Fontana in October, I finally met Geoff Brabham, albeit briefly, just before the press conference announcing his son's graduation to the Indy Lights series next year. My colleague Marshall Pruett kindly introduced us and I was about to tell Mr. B. that he'd been a hero of mine, but I restrained myself because 1) it's a bit tragic to be saying stuff like that at my age; 2) I didn't want to embarrass the man himself who, at 61, seems as self-effacing as ever; and 3) it isn'tquite as true as it should be…

You see, Geoff, eldest son of the great Sir Jack Brabham, has become a hero of mine only in retrospect. At the time when he was dominating the IMSA Camel GT Championship driving the Electramotive Nissans, he was actually more of an anti-hero for this pimply-faced youth. I couldn't get my head around how the legendary Porsche 962s and the beautiful Tony Southgate-designed Jaguar XJRs could have their asses kicked so regularly and so comprehensively by a car that looked like it was styled by a 10-year-old with a cardboard box and a blunt knife.

By 1991, on the back of Brabham's fourth straight Camel GT title, I'd come to accept that the Electramotive/Lola design was as effective as its engine was powerful…and that the dude doing the driving was pretty damn special. While Geoff modestly said at the time, “There are a lot of drivers who could win in the Nissan,” eventual two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk wasn't so sure. After sampling the Nissan in 1989, the Dutchman remarked: “It's a lot harder to drive this car to the maximum than Geoff appears to make it….” Surely the sign of a true artist.

With two Sebring 12 Hours wins and a Le Mans 24 Hour win (with Peugeot in 1993), Brabham will be remembered as a sports car ace worldwide; but it's the four straight IMSA titles, that has earned him truly legendary status in U.S. sports car racing. A big question for me, and I suspect countless others – including maybe Geoff himself – is whether he could have become a star in Indy cars, too? He certainly starred in them on occasion, but that's not the same thing.

Part of the problem he encountered in his six years running full time in the CART series was his past. At the time Brabham was trying to make it in this rarefied branch of the sport, the CART series was split around 50/50 between road racing and ovals, with any bias tending toward the latter. That hardly worked in Geoff's favor, for after leaving his native Australia in 1976 as domestic Formula 2 champion, he headed to Britain for two years. After then moving to America in '78, he put his heart and soul into Super Vee, both the short-lived USAC-sanctioned Mini-Indy Series and the more significant and prestigious Bosch/Valvoline series, winning the latter title in '79. That gave him his first oval starts in low-powered open-wheelers, but he then returned to his road racing roots, spending two years in Can-Am. That ultimately proved successful, too, as he took the 1981 championship…but added nothing to his minimal oval experience.

That '81 season, Geoff had simultaneously become an Indy car rookie and, driving for Dan Gurney's All American Racers, he stunned the series regulars with pole at his second race, Riverside, and second on the grid for his third race, in Mexico City. We're talking about a pretty remarkable talent, then. Yet his debut Indy car race had been the season opener at Phoenix, and that was his first taste of an oval while having more than 200hp at his back…and he now had 900-plus.

Could Brabham have succeeded, actually got to the point where he could say he'd masteredoval racing? Almost certainly. Ultimately, it comes down to application and willingness to learn. And just as Rick Mears had forced himself to become a strong road racer, progress only stymied by his horrendous leg injuries incurred at Sanair in '84, there's no reason to believe Brabham's skill set couldn't have expanded in the opposite direction, given more time. Time, however, was not on Geoff's side. Aged 29 when he made his Indy car debut, he was always going to be playing catch-up with the kids for whom oval races had been ingrained since the first time they could turn a wheel.

Although curiously adept at both the Pocono tri-oval and the Michigan superspeedway, and twice finishing top-five in the Indy 500, the fact remains that of the 10 podium finishes Brabham achieved in his 92 Indy car starts, eight came on tracks requiring right turns as well as left. By the end of 1987, despite taking eighth in the CART points standings (for the third time), he was out of a ride. Team owner Rick Galles was going to be running a one-car outfit in 1988, and he had his sights set on a driver 10 years Geoff's junior, a superstar in the making by the name of Al Unser Jr.

Brabham was gutted at having to leave Galles Racing, especially with brilliant race engineer Tony Cicale now on board to help turn the squad into winners. But the Florida-domiciled Aussie had too much pride to hang around just to be part of the Indy car scene, and so avoided the mistake so many drivers in their mid-30s make when their best opportunity slips away. Instead of spending a few bitter years licking his wounds while driving an inferior car, Geoff changed disciplines, started over…and became the best sports car racer in the country.

There's little chance of Geoff's son Matt needing to make that career switch. Right now this American of Australian descent is hot property because he's not only seriously fast but also because, in or out of the cockpit, he displays maturity that belies his 18 years.

A karting hotshot in Australia, Matt then showed his potential in Australian Formula Ford where, despite competing in only nine of the 23 races in the 2011 FF championship, he won two of them and finished runner-up in two more. His first experience of slicks and wings came this side of the Pacific in USF2000…and he promptly won the 2012 championship.

Now, to be fair, another very talented American, Spencer Pigot, who was his teammate at Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, won eight races to Brabham's four that season. But it's difficult to emphasize enough how much these junior formulas are about learning on the job at a huge rate – and Pigot was in his second year in the category. Also, by the time Pigot dominated the final event, the double-header at Virginia International Raceway, Brabham had only to nurse a healthy lead in the championship, which he did adequately with cautious runs to fourth and eighth that weekend.

None of this is a slight against Spencer who, unfairly under the radar, is one of the most accomplished open-wheel racers on the Mazda Road to Indy system. But it does highlight the fact that young Brabham, in only his second full season racing cars, could drive with his brains in the manner of a wily veteran in order to seal the deal.

 

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Grist to auction Andretti-signed helmet at PRI for SickKids Foundation

Monday, December 9th, 2013

12.9.13 – Bell Racing USA LLC, the world’s premier auto racing Helmet Company, is partnering with Garett Grist to auction a special custom painted helmet at the 2013 PRI Trade Show. The helmet was worn by Garett Grist in the 2013 Toronto Cooper Tires USF2000 race and is signed by Grist’s teammates and IndyCar drivers as well as Andretti Autosport® team owner Michael Andretti. All proceeds from the auction will be donated directly to SickKids Foundation – a Toronto-based organization that the 18-year-old Grimsby, Ontario native has supported throughout his racing career.

The helmet will be on display at Bell Racing USA booth 917 at the 2013 Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis, Indiana. Attendees at the show will have an opportunity to bid on the helmet via silent auction during show hours from December 12-14..

The SickKids Foundation, established in 1972, raises funds on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children. Fundraising is driven by the belief that improving the health and well-being of children is one of the most powerful ways to improve society. In the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2013, the SickKids Foundation invested $61.3 million in child health research, learning and care. The organization’s mission is to inspire communities to invest in health and scientific advances to improve the lives of children and their families in Canada and around the world.

“The opportunity for Bell to partner with Garett Grist to support SickKids and raise money to help advance their mission of creating healthier children and a better world is very exciting and rewarding, said Kyle Kietzmann, President, Bell Racing USA LLC. We appreciate the support of Garett and his teammates to allow Bell to provide racers attending the PRI trade show with the chance to own this collectible racing helmet with all proceeds going to a fantastic cause.”

Garett Grist

Garett Grist, from Grimsby, Ontario, spent 10 years racing karts, before moving onto Formula Ford in 2011, competing in both Ontario and Quebec, where he set a new track record at Canadian Motorsports Park. Garett made his US racing debut with Bryan Herta Autosport in the F1600 Formula F Series in 2012 and was selected as a Team Canada Racing scholarship winner that same year. In 2013, the 18-year-old joined Andretti Autosport® to campaign in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Series presented by Mazda Championship, part of the Mazda Road to Indy.

Outside of the track, Grist devotes much of his racing effort supporting SickKids Hospital in Toronto. For the past three seasons, GG has worked with Bell Racing and the hospital’s patients to create helmet drawings which are used as inspiration for the final helmet design.  

Bell Racing USA LLC

Bell helmets have been worn and trusted by more champions, in all forms of racing, than any other helmet brand. The Bell name is synonymous with quality, innovation, safety, performance and engineering excellence. Bell auto racing helmets are sold to professional and amateur drivers through a network of specialty safety equipment dealers and distributors, as well as individual retail customers. Bell Racing USA is located in Champaign, Illinois.  

Bell’s products are designed and built to exceed industry specifications for helmets including standards developed and published by Snell, SFI and the FIA.