Monthly Archives: May 2015

IndyCar: Indianapolis 500 statistics since 2011 are amazing

The Indianapolis 500 has an incredible history covering 99 races since 1911. With so many years worth of statistics, it’s amazing to see how the last 5 races compare to all the others. When you look at various Indianapolis records and rank all races from 1 to 99, it seems we’re currently enjoying the most exciting and competitive era of Indy 500 history.

Indy500

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FE: A bitter rivalry has emerged in Formula E

Lucas di Grassi and Nelson Piquet Junior are fighting for the inaugural Formula E Championship and with four races to go their rivalry has grown increasingly bitter. Piquet accused di Grassi of blocking him during qualifying at Monaco and since that point the following war of words has played out between the two:

Lucas di Grassi

“The way I approach racing, I don’t complain, I do my job. Nelson has been complaining a lot.”

“I don’t think he (Piquet) is the strongest rival. He has just had a good run in the last few races.”

Nelson Piquet Junior

“We have raced together in many series and I have always been in front of him, there is no comparison.”

“Since we raced together, Lucas has never really fought for a championship before. He has always been close but never there.”

“I’ve won championships in Brazil, national go karts, F3 championships. I’ve won championships in England, British F3, so I think he (di Grassi) is the least of my worries.”

Di Grassi was disqualified from the latest race in Berlin, handing the championship lead to Piquet.

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WTCC: The WTCC compares well against GT3 machinery

WTCC

They might not always look it, but the small Honda Civics and Citroens that race in the World Touring Car Championship are properly quick. Whilst supporting the Nurburgring 24 Hour race last weekend, laptimes set by the WTCC leaders were only 4% behind the fastest GT3 sportscar times. That’s pretty good when you consider the winning GT3 car had a massive 5.2 litre V10 engine.

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MotoGP: Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone switched positions 15 times in just 2 laps

Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone staged an epic battle during the French MotoGP switching positions a total of 15 times in just 2 laps. That’s massive! It was a great display of hard-fought racing and was made even more remarkable by the fact Iannone was riding with a dislocated shoulder. There is no shortage of bravery on the MotoGP grid.

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IndyCar: There is still an awful lot to learn about aerodynamics

In 1961, Ferrari put a spoiler on the back of their Le Mans sportscar for the first time. In an effort to disguise this new aerodynamic development, Ferrari cheekily told rivals the spoiler was only there to stop fuel splashing onto the exhaust during pitstops!

Although nobody would fall for that same trick today, the fact that three cars have suffered massive airborne accidents at Indianapolis this week (despite being specifically designed to prevent flipping) suggests there is still an awful lot to learn about aerodynamics.

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WTCC: TV coverage at the Nurburgring has come a long way

This video is quite amusing. If you watch the World Touring Car Championship on the 24km Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit this weekend, spare a thought for how far TV coverage has advanced since the 1960s. Back then TV producers didn’t have enough cameras to cover the whole track, so when drivers disappeared from view during the 1963 German Grand Prix, they simply used a man pointing at a map of the circuit with a stick to show how cars were progressing. Fantastic!

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IndyCar: Helio Castroneves has had close calls at Indianapolis before

Helio Castroneves made headlines today for his massive crash during practice for the Indianapolis 500, but he came within inches of an equally spectacular accident at Indy in 2007. Watch the video below and keep an eye out for the pitwall.

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F1: A Formula One Grand Prix on the Indianapolis oval would be amazing

IMS

So it might be a crazy idea that’s never going to happen, but a Formula One Grand Prix on the Indianapolis oval could be hugely beneficial for the sport and give fans a chance to embrace some extra variety.

GROWTH IN THE USA

The USA is the world largest consumer market with plenty of untapped commercial potential for Formula One. Bernie Ecclestone has long wanted a second race in the states and has recently toyed with ideas in New Jersey, Las Vegas, and Long Beach. With plans for a second race stalling, perhaps Formula One would be better off going back to Indianapolis, the spiritual home of US motorsport, and doing something distinctly American. Why not an F1 oval race?

Not only would a Grand Prix on the Indy oval instantly give Formula One a larger footprint in the USA, it would also generate extra hype in a crucial market and would attract new fans to the sport. The USA is the home of oval racing, and Indianapolis is the most famous superspeedway of them all, so it would be the perfect place to build something new to help grow the sport stateside. The current US Grand Prix organisers in Texas would surely prefer that to competition from another road course.

HISTORICAL PRECEDENT

Some fans will argue that Formula One cars don’t belong on oval circuits, and whilst that might be a valid point, it hasn’t always been the case. Grand Prix cars used to race on ovals in the pre-war days and some of the venues, such as Brooklands and Avus, were immensely popular. Other more recent circuits like Reims or the original pre-chicane Hockenheim weren’t that far off being ovals anyway so fast and simple circuits have always featured in F1 history.

Additionally, purists could seek comfort in the fact that a race at Indianapolis would be a nice historical throwback to the 1950s when the Indy 500 counted towards the World Championship.

EXCITING FOR FANS

Even if some F1 fans can’t bring themselves to watch an oval Grand Prix, one race out of twenty isn’t going to ruin the whole sport for them. For the rest of us it introduces an exciting element of variety. It would be fascinating to see how drivers and teams adapted to the technical demands of an oval. Strategy and racecraft would be completely different and it would certainly shake up the pecking order. It’s hard to imagine Mercedes pulling away from a tight pack of slipstreaming drivers.

It’s an experiment that might not work but at least it’d be a huge talking point and would be way better for F1 than another dull street circuit. In the era of generic Tilkedrome racetracks and Mercedes domination, wouldn’t some extra variety be great?

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WEC: The 2015 World Endurance Championship is incredibly close

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Not only have speeds increased in the WEC this year but the racing has become mighty close. At the first race of the season the winning margin between Audi and Porsche was just 4.6 seconds. That’s barely anything. The race was a thriller, and although the split between those same two cars was bigger three weeks later at Spa Francorchamps, it was still only 13.4 seconds. That’s a cumulative gap of just 18 seconds after 12 hours and 2,416km of racing – and that’s without any safety cars bunching up the field! It’s amazing how close the racing has been, especially when you consider that Audi and Porsche use two completely different types of engine. The regulations that allow a 2-litre V4 engine to be competitive against a 4-litre V6 (by using more electrical energy) are working perfectly.

Hopefully it stays that way over 24 hours at Le Mans.

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WTCC: Norbert Michelisz scored a very special victory in Budapest

It’s great when a driver wins in front of their home crowd, and it’s even better when that crowd doesn’t get much opportunity to celebrate local success. That’s exactly what happened yesterday when Hungarian driver, Norbert Michelisz, won the WTCC race in Budapest – and this video shows the grandstands went wild. An underdog victory in front of 35,000 passionate fans. What’s not to love?

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