Imola San Marino 1994

This video has surfaced and is a gimps back to a dark weekend in Formula 1 as view by a spectator in the stands. At the time of the video they did not know the details of the events. That weekend we not only lost 2 drivers but other events injured crewmembers and spectators. Motorsport can be a cruel, but the sharp eye will find humanity.

If you advanced the video to 11:00 you will see Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger going down the pit lane looking for information. Berger was a true friend to Senna who had just crashed bringing out the red flag. It was not yet known that that crash took Senna’s life and Berger does what all friends do, look out for the wellbeing of those close to them.

Beyond the horsepower, speed and excitement of motorsport there is the flesh and blood of all those that make it happen and matter most of all.

Three From The Past

2018 Indycar Concept Sketches
2018 Indycar aero kit concept sketches.

Retro is the big word when looking at the 2018 Indycar aero kit concepts and I don’t have a problem with that. The current aero kit is a bit bulky for my taste and a slimmed down thoroughbred will be a welcome evolution for the series. These are just concept sketches and no definitive definition of what past designs may be influences for the new look. Below are first impressions of three design traits from pat cars I see in the sketches.

Panoz DP01 – The gills on some of the side pod sketches remind me of the last chassis from the ChampCar series. On the Panoz DP01 the gills were farther back to allow air to exit and cool the exhaust. The location of the gills on the concept look to be focused primarily on airflow for the radiators, as they are farther up the side pod compared to the DP01.

Gurney Eagle 987 – The high side pod inlets and overall flowing arc draws comparison to the Gurney Eagle 987 ChampCar chassis. The 987 had many innovations that influenced the later Lola designs in the series. The 987 capitalized on smooth flowing lines and if the Toyota engine program did not suffer the setback created by a fire at the engine facility the 987 would have likely lived up to the teams legacy.

1992 Galmer – The removal of the air box, a hold over from the natural aspirated engines brings the appearance of countless turbocharged Indycars. The forward canted roll hoop on some of the sketches reminds me of the 1992 Galmer chassis. Most of the roll hoops are primarily of a vertical design, but the Galmer influence of a potential forward canted roll hoop would give a more aggressive cue to the top of the car.

The final aero configuration will be debuted later this year and with the talk of one or two additional engine manufactures looking at potentially joining the series Indycar is heading in the right direction.

Focused – Katherine Legge

Katherine Legge in the DeltaWing at Road America.Talking with Katherine Legge you will realize some key qualities needed in every driver. She has a technical understanding of a race car, conducts herself in a professional yet relaxed manner and has an intent level of focus to get the absolute best out of the car, team and herself.

Mecca of Speed: This is your fourth season with the DeltaWing project. One of the most notable evolutions was from the roadster to coupe configuration. How did that change things from a driver’s perspective?

Katherine Legge: The technology that came with putting the roof on changed the weight distribution, down force levels etc. It’s safer and more aerodynamic but it does get hotter in the car.  Safety wise it’s a step in the right direction and where everybody thinks we should be. Dr. Panoz is big on safety.

Big picture is to have every technology advancement completed and ready for the road car, which is the most important aspect of this project. more

Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps

Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps is considered one of the great corners in motorsport due to it’s high speed, elevation change and corner combination. To be fast requires total commitment. This video shows the changes in the racing line and the evolution of the Formula One car from the wide beasts of the 1990s on slicks, through the grooved tire period to the current configuration.

Road America 2017 Schedule

As the 2016 season continues with strong events Road America has announced their 2017 season schedule.

May 19-21 –  SVRA Spring Vintage Weekend

June 2-4 – MotoAmerica SuperBike Doubleheader

June 9-11 – AHRMA Vintage Motorcycle Classic and the Rockerbox Motofest®

June 15-18 – heWeatherTech® Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints®

June 22-25 – Verizon INDYCAR Series and Pirelli World Challenge

July 20-23 – WeatherTech® International Challenge with Brian Redman presented by HAWK

August 3-6 – IMSA Continental Sports Car Challenge and WeatherTech® SportsCar Championship

August 25-27 – NASCAR XFINITY Series

September 15-17 – Ariens Art on Wheels Weekend featuring VSCDA Elkhart Lake Vintage

Information Feeds Growth – Conor Daly

Conor Daly in Indycar at Road AmericaAs a second generation driver Conor Daly used information and hard work to make a name for himself in Indaycar.

Mecca of Speed: Your career started with a great run in go-karts, are you still involved in karting at any level?

Conor Daly: Literally nothing, I don’t even own a go-kart. My dad sold all of our stuff. I would love to have a go-kart again. The only race I do is the RoboPong 200 in New Castle. That is an awesome race, it’s the most fun event of the season. I try to do it every year if I can.  It all just depends on who I can get to bend and get into their go-kart. more

Baby-Faced Assassin

For the record F1 types who have followed the series for longer then a few years know that Sebastian Vettel is not the true Baby-Faced Assassin. That title goes to Jacques Villeneuve who got that nick name back in the mid 1990s.

Learn your history folks and don’t recycle nicknames.

The only time a reuse is allowed is initials such as T.K. First time around was Tommy Kendall and second use for Tony Kanaan.

Never Stop Growing – Simon Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud at Road AmericaSimon Pagenaud started climbing the open wheel ladder in Europe. In 2006 he journeyed to the United States and won the Atlantic championship. From there it has been a journey of both open wheel and sports car. Regardless of the formula Simon Pagenaud has never stopped growing as a driver.

Mecca of Speed: When you won the Atlantic championship and moved up to ChampCar what did you find to be the biggest change?

Simon Pagenaud: The biggest thing was the difference in power between an Atlantic car, or any other car I had driven in the past compared to the ChampCar. At that time, they had about 800 hp and I had never driven such a powerful car.

That was a big jump, it took me the whole season to get adjusted to it. It wasn’t the overall speed that was the problem. The chassis of the ChampCar was very similar to the Atlantic car, the overall power was the big difference. more

Racing at the Best Places – Graham Rahal

Graham Rahal Indycar at Road AmericaGraham Rahal grew up at race tracks across the U.S. that included a lot of days at the mid-west circuits.

Mecca of Speed: Welcome back to Road America you are a very busy man this week.

Graham Rahal: Yeah, it’s been busy but it’s been good. It’s cool to see everybody, a lot of people here; a good buzz is in the air.

Mecca of Speed: When you or other drivers give ideas on how to improve the Indycar series, how much does the governing body listen?

Graham Rahal: I don’t know, but I hope that they listen. We try to influence the series to go to places that are great. There are a lot of people involved in the series today and some of them have never even been here. Some probably didn’t realize the size and capacity of Road America. It’s really cool to be here and see all the fans.

I hope that we can influence the series more in the future. It’s hard; everyone has their own agenda. Mine has always been to go race at the best places and this is definitely one of the best. more