Professional Approach – Marc Priestley

When Marc Priestley was a teenager all he wanted was a way into the world of Formula One. Building experience in the lower formulas he got his break joining the McLaren Formula One team. With ten years of experience he then transitioned to media and recently published author of his first book, The Mechanic. The secret to his success, hard work and always pushing to do the job the right way, no matter what that job is.

Mecca of Speed: You worked in various lower formulas of motorsport, how did you secure a position with McLaren Formula One?

Marc Priestley: I wasn’t specifically targeting McLaren. Ever since I was a teenager I have been obsessed with Formula One and was desperate to get into it. I was writing letters almost ever week to every Formula One team for about three years. I still have a huge stack of rejection letters at home. more

2018 Events at Road America

IMSA CorvetteRoad America has released their 2018 events and to borrow a line here are just the facts.

May 18-20 – SVRA Spring Vintage Festival Weekend

June 1-3 – MotoAmerica Championship

June 8-10 – Road America Vintage MotoFest and AHRMA Vintage Motorcycle Classic

June 14-17 – TheWeatherTech® Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints®

June 21-24 – The Verizon INDYCAR Series KOHLER Grand Prix

July 19-22 – The WeatherTech® International Challenge with Brian Redman presented by HAWK

August 2-5 – IMSA Continental Sports Car Challenge and WeatherTech® SportsCar Championship

August 23-25 – The NASCAR XFINITY Series

September 14-16 – Ariens Art on Wheels Weekend featuring VSCDA Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival

Always Improving – Johannes van Overbeek

ESM Johannes van OverbeekJohannes van Overbeek has done what many people have dreamed of, take a hobby and transform it to a profession. How did he make it happen? Continually improving himself, never giving up and doing whatever it takes. Now in the top class of IMSA sportscar competition he still applies these ideas on a daily basis.

Mecca of Speed: How did the DPi feel this morning running in mixed conditions, was your target for the session to develop a baseline for the car or focus on a particular area of development?

Johannes van Overbeek: No matter what the conditions, we are always trying to go as fast as we can. You have to find the limits because until you get to the limit you don’t know what is not right with the car that you need to address.

The car is surprisingly very comfortable to drive at speed on the track. The set-up was nice; the Continental rain tires worked well, just what we are looking for in our first session. more

A Good Sound – Mikhail Aleshin

Mikhail Aleshin

From guitars to race cars Mikhail Aleshin enjoys the power chords you feel in the square of your chest.

Mecca of Speed: Welcome back to Road America, you had a few traveling challenges coming back from France, was it a matter of missing details on your visa?

Mikhail Aleshin: I needed to do one more visa to get back in and it just took more time that we expected.

Mecca of Speed: How did your first session in the car feel today, particular with the windy conditions?

Mikhail Aleshin: You can feel the wind a bit, but it’s the same for everyone. It definitely makes our job a little more difficult. This morning we had some technical issues that we are trying to solve but the team is doing a very good job.  They always solve our problems, it’s a technical sport and sometimes it takes a little extra work to sort things out. more

Franchitti Record is Safe

Dario Franchitti set the lap record at Road America of 1:39.866 (145.924 mph) in 2000. For comparison, last year Will Power clinched Pole Position with a time of 1:42.2105 (141.379 mph).

If you weren’t around “back in the day” here are a couple of factors to consider about the CART series in 2000.

The 2.65L twin turbo V-8 was being stressed under heavy development by four manufactures, Honda, Toyota, Cosworth and Mercedes-Benz. Engine limitations were only in the form of how many the manufactures brought to the track. A race weekend often started with the practice engine, change to a qualifying engine, then one more change to a race engine.

Chassis were spec only in dimension and regulation. Reynard, Lola and Swift were all in the game developing their own chassis. Additionally during that timeframe each chassis had a Superspeedway, short oval and road course set-up. There was also a Road America set-up used by some times which is best described as a road course package crossed with a speedway to capitalize on the long straightaways.

Firestone tires were on all cars across the board.

Indycar will not break the track record at Road America this year, but don’t be surprised at a Pole Position of 1:41.900. If the 2018 aero kit performs as well as it looks, a time 1:41.500 can be expected.

Respect where the series came from and look forward to where it’s going.

Verizon IndyCar Series Test at Road America

Ryan Hunter-Reay Indycar at Road America 2016On June 14th the Verizon IndyCar Series will be testing at Road America in preparation for the Verizon IndyCar Kohler Grand Prix June 22-25th.

Verizon IndyCar Series drivers participating include:

  • Alexander Rossi – Andretti Autosport
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay – Andretti Autosport
  • Marco Andretti – Andretti Autosport
  • James Hinchcliffe – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
  • Ed Jones – Dale Coyne Racing.

Indy Lights drivers that will share seat time with IndyCar teams include:

  • Nico Jamin – Andretti Autosport
  • Dalton Kellett – Andretti Autosport
  • Matheus Leist – Andretti Autosport
  • Zachary Claman DeMelo  – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Testing will take place from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Fans are welcome to watch testing for free by showing proof of advance ticket purchase to the Verizon IndyCar Series Kohler Grand Prix scheduled for June 25. Test session tickets are available at the gate for $10.

Anyone interested in purchasing an advance ticket to the Verizon IndyCar Series Kohler Grand Prix during the test session will receive a $10 discount.

Rahal Calls It

After winning the first Indycar race on Saturday Graham Rahal called it the way it is in regards to Lewis Hamilton’s recent remarks about Fernando Alonso’s qualifying and performance at the Indy 500.

“Look, man, when I saw Lewis Hamilton’s comment, you guys know me, it took me everything I had in my body not to say something,” Rahal said. “Legitimately, in Formula 1, over his entire career, it’s been a two-car race, four max, max.”

Formula One is the top level of racing but Rahal nailed the number of contenders for a race win in the series.

Rahal went on to win the second race on Sunday and become the first repeat winner of the season.

 

 

MotoAmerica at Road America

MotoAmerica Road AmericaThe MotoAmerica series races this weekend, June 2-4 at Road America. The Dunlop Championship at Road America is the fourth stop of the 2017 season.

Five classes will be on track over the three days:

  • Motul Superbike Class – The showcase division featuring highly tuned, production-based 1000cc motorcycles.
  • Bazzaz Superstock 1000 – Compete alongside Superbike, but feature mostly stock, production-based 1000cc motorcycles.
  • Supersport – The proving ground for young talent this class features highly tuned, production-based 600cc motorcycles.
  • Super stock 600 – Compete alongside Supersport, but feature mostly stock, production-based 600cc motorcycles.
  • KTM RC Cup – This is a dedicated youth-development championship where riders compete on identical KTM RC 390 motorcycles.

Practice and first qualifying sessions take place on Friday and two full days of racing across the various classes will be held on both Saturday and Sunday. For detailed race times and a full event schedule check out www.roadamerica.com

Gates open to the public each day at 7 a.m., and admission is $30 Friday, $45 Saturday and $45 Sunday. Anyone 16 years old and under are free with a paying adult. All races will run rain or shine.

Speed

The 100th running of the Indy 500 was a milestone, but there is electricity around the 101st running. The Fernando Alonso story has brought a global interest to the race that the series that hasn’t seen since the mid 1990s. I remember first hand watching the Nigel Mansell draw and multiple races.

The story, similar to Formula One is speed. The year after the split in 1997 the Indycar series switched to naturally aspirated engines and the speeds dropped. The pitch was fans can’t tell the difference between 220 mph and 230. Add a ton of downforce and cars were having no problem running flat out lap after lap. The racing was more pack mentality. Watching the cars trimmed out and twitching bring back an element of running on the edge.

Scott Dixon pole speed of 232.164 and the top fifteen drives qualifying speed of 230+ are a signal to the rest of the motorsports work, speed is back at Indy.