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Brabham back in Andretti Formula E lineup for Uruguay

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.

 

 

 

Read more here…

 

 

 

Hunter-Reay prepares to take on the world

December 10th, 2014

12.10.2014 (via IndyCar.com) – It might be a fun, get-to-know-you all-star event, but once helmets are strapped on it transitions to a serious competition.

That’s Ryan Hunter-Reay’s assessment of the Race of Champions, which he’ll participate in Dec. 13-14 at the Bushy Park Circuit in Barbados.

 

The event brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from major disciplines – the Verizon IndyCar Series, Formula 1, World Rally, Le Mans, MotoGP and NASCAR – for head-to-head contests in identical machinery on a parallel course.

 

Hunter-Reay, the reigning Indianapolis 500 Mile Race champion, competed in the Race of Champions in Thailand following his 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series championship season. The event was not held in 2013.

 

“It is all fun and casual, and everybody is patting each other on the back until you line up next to each other and it’s like the championship is on the line,” said the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident who will enter his sixth season with Andretti Autosport in 2015. “You have an opportunity to beat some of the best drivers in the world.”

 

Other competitors include Tom Kristensen (nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner), Romain Grosjean (Lotus Formula 1 driver, reigning ROC Champion of Champions), Jamie Whincup (five-time V8 Supercar champion), Petter Solberg (2014 FIA World Rallycross champion), José María López (2014 FIA World Touring Car champion), Esteban Ocon (2014 FIA European F3 champion), Mick Doohan (five-time 500cc MotoGP world champion), David Coulthard (13-time Formula 1 Grand Prix winner), Jolyon Palmer (2014 GP2 champion), Susie Wolff (Williams F1 test driver), Robby Gordon (four-time BAJA 500 winner and Hunter-Reay's brother-in-law), and Kurt Busch (2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Rookie of the Year).

 

Hunter-Reay and Busch, Andretti Autosport teammates for the Indy 500 in May, will represent the U.S. in the Nations Cup competition.

 

“I look forward to working with Kurt again,” Hunter-Reay said. “It’s an honor to be the company of champions from around the world.”

 

 

 

Read more here…

 

 

 

Jean-Eric Vergne to compete with Andretti Formula-E

December 8th, 2014

12.8.2014 – The Andretti Formula-E Team will place Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne behind the wheel of the No. 28 electric-powered machine for Round Three of Formula E competition in Punta del Este.

“It’s not often that you get to race at this time of the year,” said Vergne. “I am really looking forward to this opportunity, especially given its location in a place like Punta del Este. Although I have no experience in this new series, I am excited about the prospect of racing in Formula E, and racing for such a prestigious team as Andretti. As always, the main objective of the weekend is to stay out front and finish the year on a high note. The weekend will be a little like a journey into the unknown, but it is a journey that I am thoroughly looking forward to!”  

The 24-year-old Vergne has three seasons of FIA Formula 1™ World Championship experience and has participated in seven championships throughout his career, recording 40 victories and 68 podiums. The 2010 British Formula 3 Champion will join fellow countryman Franck Montagny to complete the Andretti Formula-E two-car lineup for the American team led by Michael Andretti.

“We’re really happy to put JEV (Jean-Éric Vergne) in the car for Punta del Este,” said Andretti. “He has great talent and we think he’ll pair well with our team for competitive results. I also think having interest and participation from respected F1 drivers shows great strength and the true potential for Formula E as a series and World Championship.”

The Punta del Este ePrix will mark the Formula E debut for Vergne, who competed full-time on the Formula 1 circuit with Scuderia Toro Rosso where he ranked 13th in the 2014 F1 Drivers’ standings. The previous two rounds in the inaugural all-electric racing series saw the team’s full-season championship driver Montagny, as well as Charles Pic and reserve driver Matthew Brabham in competition for Andretti.

Catch all of the on-track action Saturday, from practice to the 35-lap race, with live timing and scoring via http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/live.aspx or follow along on Twitter with @AndrettiFE.

Fans can cast their vote for Vergne or teammate Montagny in the Formula E #FanBoost by visiting http://fanboost.fiaformulae.com.

 

 

Hunter-Reay’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner trophy

December 3rd, 2014

12.3.2014 – After recording the second-closest finish in the history of the Indianapolis 500, Ryan Hunter-Reay was able to relive his victory once more in front of a crowd of fans, team members and with wife Beccy and son Ryden at his side at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum tonight. The 2014 Indy 500 champion’s likeness was unveiled on the Borg-Warner trophy making the 33-year-old’s face the 101st to appear on the sterling silver masterpiece.
 
In addition to adding Hunter-Reay’s profile to the Borg-Warner, the DHL driver will receive a “Baby Borg” – a free-standing replica of the original that stands at 18-in tall. The replica will be presented to the two-time ESPYS Best Driver award winner in January during the week of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich.
 
“Winning the Indy 500 is a dream come true," the Florida resident noted. "The whole process is so surreal because it happens so fast. It’s an achievement you work your entire career to attain and then all of a sudden you drink the milk and the next thing you know you’re at a street circuit in Detroit. You don’t get to really think about it much afterward. So seeing my face on the Borg-Warner Trophy, which transcends motorsports, makes it all sink in. From the first time I sat in a go-kart, it was me winning the Indianapolis 500. Now just to have my name on the Borg-Warner Trophy next to the legends of the sport means the most to me.”
 
 
 

Blackstock graduating to Indy Lights

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.
 
 
 

Karting event produces smiles all around

December 1st, 2014

12.1.2014 (via IndyCar.com) – From spirited racing on the track to high spirits among spectators, the fourth Race of the Stars over the weekend at Autodrome Tocancipa near Bogota, Colombia, was a resounding success for the Formula Smiles Foundation.
 
Helio CastronevesThe event, hosted by Juan Pablo Montoya and his wife Connie, featured fellow Verizon IndyCar Series drivers in two karting races. Carlos Munoz, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year, won the first race and finished second in the second. Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti placed second and Montoya, who completed his first season with Team Penske, was third.
 
“It was an amazing day,” said Munoz, 22, of Colombia. “We had fun. There were fights on the track and that was good for the show. Thank you very much to all who were there and hope you had a great time. I also want to thank Juan Pablo Montoya and Connie Montoya for the invitation and congratulate them for this great event.”
 
Gabby Chaves, the 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion, won the second race. Carlos Huertas, who drove for Dale Coyne Racing in his first Verizon IndyCar Series season, finished third. New Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud was fourth in both races.
 
Proceeds from the event benefitted the non-profit Formula Smiles, which the Montoyas founded in 2003. The program uses sports to help Colombian youth achieve the Millennium Development Goals and thus reduce poverty and violence in the country.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Andretti, Pelfrey teams to test New Orleans circuit on Dec. 8-9

December 1st, 2014

12.1.2014 (via MotorSportsTalk) – Andretti Autosport and Team Pelfrey’s Mazda Road to Indy programs will get a crack at the updated NOLA Motorsports Park circuit in a test session on Dec. 8-9.
 
The Andretti camp will run one Pro Mazda car, while Pelfrey will run two Pro Mazdas and two USF2000 cars. This session, which is free and open to the public, will mark the first open-wheel test on NOLA’s new 2.67-mile course.
 
The top-tier Verizon IndyCar Series will stage its third round of the 2015 championship, the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, at NOLA in early April (tickets are now on sale, by the way).
 
Additionally, NOLA will be a major track for all three of the Mazda Road to Indy leagues. The MRTI’s Winterfest will take place there in February (with Indy Lights testing for two days), and both Pro Mazda and USF2000 will run doubleheaders as part of the track’s IndyCar weekend.
 
 
 
 
 
 

IndyCar 2014 Review: P6 – Ryan Hunter-Reay

December 1st, 2014

12.1.14 (via RACER.com) - David Malsher says…
 
Carlos Reutemann, one of the greatest F1 drivers never to win the World Championship, considered James Hunt slightly crazy, and when he’d spot the ’76 World Champion in his mirrors, never put up much of a fight in case his attacker did something over the edge that hurt them both. An amused Hunt did everything he could to perpetuate Reutemann’s perception of him and considered this part of his armory.
 
I’m sure Ryan Hunter-Reay doesn’t deliberately do the same to his rivals, but I wonder how many of them get distracted by the sight of that yellow nosecone filling their mirrors. The 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion has earned a reputation for trying to pass anything and anyone in front of him and reminds me of his team owner, Michael Andretti, at the height of his driving powers. Accepting second best just isn’t in RHR’s game, and if that means he occasionally screws up through overambition, well, that’s just the way he is.
 
“With this field so competitive, you’ve got to take chances,” said Ryan explaining his philosophy this year. “If I see a gap, I’m going to go for it. I mean, you can’t wait around hoping for a better chance because it may never happen. If it’s there, take it now.”
 
RHR-front3qHaving said that, even RHR would confess that the post-Indy 500 melee – the first American in eight years to win the world’s biggest race, remember – meant he wasn’t at his best in Detroit a week later, when he damaged his car on three separate occasions. He also came to admit his attempted pass on Josef Newgarden at Long Beach in April was too optimistic at that corner, and waiting until Turn 9 would have served him better. But to be honest, Ryan should be more troubled by his unforced errors that caused him to spin out of contention at Fontana and Mid-Ohio, as they probably cost him top-three finishes on both occasions.
 
Still, let’s not paint the picture of a wild man. It was Will Power, not Hunter-Reay, who kept pushing the limit of his braking point at Barber Motorsports Park as the track dried and eventually slid on into the grass, and so it was the Andretti Autosport driver who pulled into Victory Lane. Equally, RHR retained his self-control as he vainly pursued Power for victory at St. Petersburg. And let’s not forget how at Indy, Hunter-Reay perfectly blended calm methodology (to pick his way through to the front) with daring and inspiration when it came time to defeat a three-time “500” winner in a straight duel to the checkers.
 
Hunter-Reay was struck by a few mechanical failures but the ones that really stand out came in the races Texas, Pocono (double-points) and Milwaukee because they all cost him top-five finishes, at least. Without errors and engine issues, Hunter-Reay would probably have finished at least third in the championship rather than sixth. As for the chancy passing attempts, I regard 75 percent of them as merely the flip-side of a talent that also produces some of an IndyCar season’s most memorable moments.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

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.”
 
 
 
 
 
 

IndyCar 2014 Review: P8 – Carlos Munoz

November 24th, 2014

11.24.2014 (via RACER.com) – Marshall Pruett says…
 
Carlos was shot out of a rocket during most of his rookie IndyCar season. He stood on the podium at Long Beach, the second race of the season, and continued on a roll that had the 22-year-old Colombian (22!) holding sixth in the standings through Iowa, the 12th of 18 races on the calendar.
 
The Munoz train would start to derail at Toronto where a pair of 17th places followed by a 22nd at Milwaukee and a 19th at Sonoma took a bit of shine off his pre-Toronto body of work. The end result was eighth in the championship, nestled between Tony Kanaan and teammate Marco Andretti in the final standings.
 
If you detect a slight tone of disappointment in what I’ve written so far, it’s because Munoz slammed the rookie wall much harder than expected. Rounds 1 through 12 came easy to Carlos—that Long Beach podium, a fourth at the Indy 500, another podium at Houston 1 and then another podium at Pocono served as incredible highs that more than counterbalanced his craters at Barber, the GP of Indy and Houston 2.
 
You expect rookies to be inconsistent, and Munoz met those expectations perfectly, but when he was on, the kid looked like a future IndyCar champion. The final 33 percent of the season exposed Munoz’s youth and inexperience, and that isn’t something to be held against him.
 
Teamed with the excellent engineer Garrett Mothersead, Carlos was a revelation in 2014, put some big names behind him in the championship, and by all accounts, overachieved. He was the second best driver at Andretti Autosport—just two spots behind team leader, Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, and that’s something no one would have predicted.
 
I'm curious to see where he fits on the grid in 2015. With a touch of consistency, he moves up a few positions in the standings, but does he have an extra gear to mix it up with Power, Dixon, RHR, Pagenaud and the other beasts on a regular basis?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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