Saturday, March 29, 2014

IndyCar 2014 and Pirelli World Challenge Mini Preview

For Indycar I will focus on who I think as the best chance at winning the overall championship.

For World Challenge I will focus only on the GT and GT-A classes.

Verzion Indycar Series -

Verizon takes over as series sponsor from Izod who basically abandoned the series after Dan Wheldon's fatal accident at Las Vegas at the end of the 2012 season. They only did what was mandated to finish out the contract.

 Verizon will continue to sponsor Will Power but also will sponsor Juan Pablo Montoya's return to Indycar.

 You can get more detailed information from Marshall Pruett's/Midweek Motorsport Indycar season preview.

 I think this will be a tight battle down to the last race. I am going to say James Hinchcliffe: The Mayor of Hinchtown will be your 2014 Indycar Title Winner. He's shown dominance on all the different tracks Indycar runs on. You could say the same about his teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay which could mean an inter-team rivalry could develop.
 This should also give Andretti Autosport the Team's title and Honda the Manufacturer's title.

 You can check out the Round 1@St Pete GP on your local ABC station on Sunday.

Pirelli World Challenge GT/GT-A -

Also this weekend is the Pirelli World Challenge season opener. All races will be live on and taped delayed by a week on NBC Sports Network.

 I think my pick will come as a shock to some, but I don't think its that shocking. Look at the time sheets already in practice and it will make sense. My pick for 2014 World Challenge GT Champion is Tomas Enge. Why you might ask? He has lots of test and race miles in the Reiter Engineering built Lamborghini Gallardo. He also has direct sprint race experience in the car via the FIA GT1 Championship which is now the Blancpain Sprint Series. So this format is familiar too him. He also has standing start experience from his single seater days and finally he has track experience at many of the circuits they will be visiting this season from his days with Petersen-White Lightning Racing when the made the switch from Porsche to Ferrari.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Its official - SRT will not be going to Le Mans this year, is this connected to car sales or ?

 Steven Cole Smith who's been writing about the ALMS until last year, has been reporting on the combined Tudor series. Last week he reported that it was possible for the SRT team not going to Le Mans for the 24 hr race.

 Well it, its true they won't going. Of course Ralph Giles of SRT won't blame on poor Viper sales.

 Speaking of Autoline Detroit, Ralph will be on Autoline Afterhours at 3pm PST or 6pm EST, I think that's 22:00 GMT but don't quote me on that. I doubt you'll get any straight answers but if you want to see if you can get a decent excuse out of him, tune-in on Thurs.

 As a long-time Viper fan, sure this is disappointing but not unexpected. After all, Audi, Porsche and Toyota's LMP programs are run out of the engineer budgets. The additional money for racing comes out of increased engineering budgets, not from the adveristing size of the business like it with much of Ford's, GM and Chrysler-Fiat's operations.

 If sales are poor, its best to claw back and focus on beating Corvette at home. I guess that's a decent PR answer, but Vipers are popular with fans in Europe, it would be just as beneficial to race there as it would here.

 I don't know if there is much they can do about sales actually. The Viper is six-digit sport-car while if restraint is used on the Corvette's option sheet, you can get a new C7 for about $60K out the door. Performance is about equal between them - 


 That's the main problem, why pay more for equal performance? Americans really love a value and usually see no point in spending more when they don't have too. Especially when there's nothing overly special about the Viper other than its more rewarding to control all that power and its still a bit rough at the limit.

 SRT is going to have to beat the standard Stingray into the ground to justify the higher cost or bring the cost down without making the car harder to control or reducing creature comforts.

 This is a tough task and I wish them well, because of sales don't pick up, there won't be much justification for a halo car in this weak economic climate.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sebring Postscript, TUDOR Media and Kevin Magnussen

Sebring Race, Streaming and Overall Media

 The qualifying stream provided by IMSA was appalling. Three fixed camera positions and tower PA only provided on the media/timing tower camera. That just smacks of cost-cutting, similar to the story that IMSA/NASCAR would not have a traveling safety crew that has became apart the ALMS family.

 If this is suppose to be a destination series then ACT like it! For years the ALMS had qualifying shows, especially when it cut its deal with ESPN3. These were high quality used all the different cameras around the track along with booth talent. Why not continue this in the new series?

 If you feel the same as I do about this, contact IMSA (386-310-6500). As an ardent supporter of the American Le Mans Series, I find this completely unacceptable.

 Also during the Continental Tire Race (CTSC) on Friday, the Timing/Scoring feed impacted the streaming, dropping frames when it updated. If you experienced this as well, please contact IMSA to make sure the code of their website is fixed. I believe it might have been because the stream of the final nine hours of the 12 hours was excellent, accept for the last 90 mins that was plagued with buffer issues.

 Seems to me if IMSA is going to offer these services to fans, maybe they shouldn't have fired much of the production company that produced the ALMS broadcast for Speed and ESPN3...

 The race itself was a bit disjointed early but turned into a descent race after half way. At the time of this writing I don't believe its a record but 11 caution periods marred the event. The race never reached 300 laps as it had done in previous years. With almost as many cars as the final ALMS at Sebring last year, there we're only four cautions.

 Disappointed ESM was impacted by the questionable final caution when the Whelen Corvette stopped OFF COURSE. If you were watching the stream you would have found one of the rules of the new series is that corner workers are not allowed to leave their assigned post. I think its pretty obvious to see why this was done. It forced a 20 min shootout; where #02 Ganassi car that spun coming into the pits for its final stop (or was pushed by the Action Express Corvette, depending who you wanna believe) ended up with a 5-6 second victory. ESM's Ryan Dalziel had built up a 7-8 second lead over the Ganassi #02 after a restart from caution #10.

 Orchestrated finishes? Ganassi (a long time GA supporter) granted victory? You be the judge...

A chip off the old block

 Kevin Magnussen finished 3rd on debut in his first F1 GP. Congratulations to Kevin and his father Jan who I have been a fan of for a very long time. With Ron Dennis back in control of McLaren F1, I think we may see a victory from Kevin before the year is out.

Blog change delays

 I am still finalizing the look of my blog, its not super important, but I want it clean and simple so I can just add content and focus on promotion. 

 I will be reporting from the Long Beach GP weekend. At this point I don't know if I will attend all three days or just the Tudor race which is traditional for me the last 5-6 years. If I do attend all three days, I will be focusing not just on Tudor but the Pirelli World Challenge who has seen a doubling of its grid in less than twelve months. 

 Did IMSA/NASCAR made a mistake by not accepting full house FIA GT3 cars, instead balancing those cars against a car that was already in the design stage (Porsche GT3 America) which meant the removal of traction control and ABS from the cars but also meant a restriction in rear downforce by mandating a spec wing?

 We'll find out because I am eager to compare lap times between the Tudor GTLM cars and standard FIA spec GT3 cars in World Challenge GT.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Is the media and fellow teams in GTLM discounting Ferrari?

 Seems as though everybody wants to talk about the direct factory teams and its understandable.

 They have millions invested, great staffs and fast, reliable drivers. However....

 It seems some in the media, okay most of the print, online and TV media is discounting Ferrari and Risi Competizione. 

 Before the huge accident that marred the race, Bruni who started shotgun on the field was able to make it up to first place before handing the car off to Malucelli and getting hit from behind.

 I know some feel the Ferrari F458 is a bit fragile but its still one of the fastest cars with the fewest waviers considering its competition...

 I say, discount them at your own risk. Malucelli was back in the groove, showing no affects from his accident at Daytona and laid down some fast laps in the Krohn Racing Ferrari; who is partnering this year with Risi as Tracey Krohn needs to be closer to his business. They will be doing the Patron North American Endurance Championship, maybe more.

 V8 Supercars - 

 Well it seems I forgot the V8 season got underway down under, I haven't seen the race and unfortunately I know who won. I will watch the race and report back in a few days.

 Change is coming, it is slow but it will be worth it.

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