I must admit that I didn’t watch much in the way of racing this week, but nevertheless, here we are. There was a rally this weekend in a faraway land called Swed-den that sounds kinda fake, and some roundy-rounders did some stuff in Florida. There was a bit of other non-competition news as well, including some driver and team announcements that sounded interesting.
With the racing season well and truly underway, there is a lot to cover. The racing will only continue to get hotter from here, so pay attention, class. Just be aware of the fact that this post is filled with spoilers. Giant carbon-fiber, multi-element, DRS-equipped, Gurney-flapped, Spoilers!
Rally Sweden, With Big Jumps
Sprint Unlimited Opens NASCAR Season
Daytona Pole Winner
Le Mans Garage 56 Quadruple Amputee Set To Make Race Debut In Silverstone
Stoffel Vandoorne Secures Super Formula Move
Nissan Considering Top-Class Prototype (Awww, Not This Shit Again…)
Racer.com Compares IndyCar Aero
Sebastien Ogier, who leads the WRC championship in his Volkswagen Polo WRC, extended that lead with a victory at this weekend’s Rally Sweden. The win was a traditional Ogier masterclass in composure and speed. Hyundai found some extra speed through the nasty wet conditions (which saw the cancellation of many stages), which culminated in Hayden Paddon finishing second, 30 seconds down the road from Seb. The i20 is still in the teething stages, but it won’t be long before they win an event at this rate. Kris Meeke’s Citroen was an early challenge for Ogier, but he struck a rock and fell down the order rapidly.
Also, big jump. 45 meters. That’s 11.5 Burmese Bamboos to you, fella!
NASCAR Sprint Unlimited
It is well known that I’m not really a fan of NASCAR, but here we go anyhow. The season begins, and I’ll likely be forced to type something about it pretty much every week from now until November. Those boys really need a longer off-season. Anyway, for the season-opening non-points race now called the “Sprint Unlimited” (What the hell happened to the Budweiser Duels?), Denny Hamlin took the victory over Joey Logano. It would seem, however, that this race wasn’t necessarily about who was fastest, but who could survive. In the Hellscape that is a non-championship race, the only thing that matters is winning, and the motto is “CHECKERS OR WRECKERS!” That explains why only 8 cars actually finished the race out of the 25 who initially started. Three huge ‘big ones’ took out the rest of the field. The second of those wrecks triggered NASCAR’s new ‘overtime’ rules, and the third of those wrecks caused the race to finish under caution in ‘overtime’.
Daytona 500 Pole Position Winner
20-year old Chase Elliott, making his start for the first time in Jeff Gordon’s vacated #24 car, nabbed the pole for the biggest race in his career. He’s the youngest Daytona Pole winner in history, and on his first try. It’s a long race, and pole very seldom actually means anything at Daytona, so we’ll see how he fares in traffic, but this is a good omen for a long and healthy career. Apparently they couldn’t find a better place to stage the Pole winner photo than in front of the ladies room…
Quadruple Amputee ‘Garage 56’ Car To Debut In ELMS
The SRT41 team’s OAK Racing-backed Morgan-Nissan LMP2 ran for the first time with special controls in place to allow Frederic Sausset to race at Le Mans in June. Testing was conducted at the permanent circuits around the Le Mans complex, and will move to Barcelona soon before running at the Silverstone round of the ELMS in April. Attempts will be made to run at the Imola round of the ELMS as well, budget permitting.
Sausset steers with a single prosthetic arm, and some form of additional pedal setup that is removable for driver changes. Don’t give up your dreams, kids. Even when you lose all four appendages.
SVD Moves To Super Formula
I can’t explain why I like Stoffel VanDoorne, but I do. Maybe it’s because I like his name. Maybe it’s because I like his championship winning driving. Either way, the Belgian, recently announced as McLaren’s reserve driver in Formula 1, is now moving from a full time GP2 ride into the Japanese Super Formula series. This just makes me like him all the more, as Super Formula is exciting as heck. The cars are stupid fast, have tons of grip and power, and the driver talent in the series grows more with every passing year.
Eric Boullier, McLaren Racing Director –
“There are two objectives: one is to get the speed and the fitness for the driver and the other is the Super Formula car has a lot of grip, which is good preparation.”
Vandoorne replaces Narain Karthikeyan in the Honda-powered Dandelion team, alongside his new teammate and series regular Tomoki Nojiri.
Nissan Prototype Racing Possibly Returns To IMSA?
2015’s Nissan LMP1 prototype efforts were, at best, half-baked. Good news, though, as the engine that Nissan likely spent millions developing might live on in IMSA competition, powering a new Daytona Prototype International (DPi/LMP2) racing car for the 2017 season. Under the DPi ruleset Nissan would not be required to supply a chassis, rather only the engine and certain pieces of stylized manufacturer-specific bodywork to be fitted to one of four available chassis (From manufacturers Dallara, Onroak Automotive, Oreca, and Riley Tech/Multimatic). So don’t bank on the GTR-LM NISMO LMP1 ever making an appearance again, but it’s possible that Nissan will base their aerokit on the GT-R road car appearance package.
Comparison Between Chevrolet and Honda IndyCar Aerokits at Racer.com
This is a cool thing, so click the link and go check it out!
If you like these Motorsport News Reviews, please share them to your friends, and of course I welcome your comments below. Do you think Elliott is a worthy replacement for Jeff Gordon? Should Dupont/Pepsi sponsorship have stayed on the 24 car FOR HISTORICAL PURPOSES!? Do you feel like a piece of shit who wasted his life watching a guy with no arms and legs racing professionally at Le Mans? I know I do…
Because I’m hipster as hell, I attended a local record shop’s 1-year anniversary sale, where all of their records were half off. I bought half a dozen albums, but this one I bought solely for the cover art. I have since found out that this is Cobra CSX2128, which currently resides at the Shelby museum near Denver, CO. I think I know who the driver is, but if you can guess it, I’ll award you a million internet points!
[Photos sourced from Racer.com]