Wednesday, January 18, 2017

First Class In Competition - The New Lotus Exige Race 380

The critically acclaimed Exige Sport 380 before race-bred engineering to a Exige Race 380. Image Credit: Jarowan Power - Lotus Cars

First Class In Competition - The New Lotus Exige Race 380 

Unapologetic, uncompromising and built to win, Lotus has announced the development of the mighty Exige Race 380 - the track-only sibling of what has been hailed as one of the marque’s most significant and sensational cars, the critically acclaimed Exige Sport 380.

One may first notice the new expanded rear wing for additional downforce. Exige Race 380. Image Credit: Lotus Cars

375 hp and 410 Nm

Weight cut to just 998 kg dry

0-60 mph in just 3.2 secs

Laps Hethel 1.5 seconds quicker than Exige Cup R

Aerodynamic downforce boosted to 240 kg

Image Credit: Lotus Cars

Combining Lotus’ vehicle development skills with its motorsport pedigree, the class-leading competition car will set the pace when the first production cars reach owners in May 2017. As part of the current Exige’s development cycle, the Race 380 will become the race car of choice for teams as well as privateers for the 2017 / 2018 season.

Taking one of the world’s best supercars, the Exige Sport 380, the new model provides the ultimate in race-bred engineering and comes with a host of competition-focused components as standard.

Gearbox, suspension, aerodynamics and electrical systems are among the items that have been modified to reflect the car’s role but, despite the fact that the new Race model is not available in a road-legal specification, the majority of the original car’s configuration is retained, thanks to the Exige Sport 380’s highly advanced development.

Image Credit: Lotus Cars

Unveiled late last year, the Lotus Exige Sport 380 has proved to be one of Lotus’ most successful new models in recent years, with orders for the next four months’ production already allocated.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented: “The Lotus Exige Sport 380 is a real giant slayer on the road, and one of the quickest A to B supercars around. It gave us the ideal platform from which to develop the new Exige Race 380 - a peerless competition car designed to beat the best. By setting its weight below 1000kg, its power to weight is unsurpassed in its class. When lapping Hethel, it’s a phenomenal 1.5 seconds faster than the previous Exige Cup R - a massive performance gain. It’s an unparalleled race car that follows the philosophy of Colin Chapman and we can’t wait for customers to experience its capabilities.”

The Lotus Exige Race 380 in more detail

In keeping with its name, the new Exige Race 380 includes a wide range of competition-orientated options as standard, covering everything from drivetrain to driver information system – all designed to increase the car’s capabilities. Developed to be eligible for the world-wide Lotus Cup series and a number of clubman championships, this race car is every inch a winner.

Retaining the race-proven 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine, the Exige Race 380 boasts 375 hp at 6,700 rpm and 410 Nm (302 lbft) of torque at 5,000 rpm. However, in order to extract every ounce of performance, the car comes with an Xtrac 6-speed sequential transmission, oil cooler, and cassette-type plate limited slip differential, and is operated by carbon paddles located behind the steering wheel. Opting for the full exhaust system in titanium removes a further 10 kg from beyond the rear axle. Extremely quick off the line, the Exige Race 380 sprints from 0-60 in just 3.2 secs, and laps the Hethel track in an outstanding 1 minute 23.5 seconds - the fastest ever for an Exige.

Generating even more downforce from the car’s aerodynamics, the Race 380 produces a phenomenal 240 kg at 170 mph, thanks to some careful revisions. Vents are incorporated into the front bodywork and rear bumper to reduce pressure around the wheels and increase downforce; and a grille mounted at the rear aids air circulation through the engine bay. A new front splitter reduces pressure beneath the Exige, whilst the rear diffuser and larger and a straight-cut motorsport rear wing mounted to the bodywork helps modify airflow at the rear of the car.

Image Credit: Lotus Cars

Helping the Exige exploit its performance, the Race 380 employs Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres as standard (wider 215/45 ZR17 at the front; 265/35 ZR18 at the rear), renowned for their predictable handling and high grip, which are complemented by the car’s ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels. The same attention to detail has been applied to the brakes, with AP Racing forged, four-piston calipers and grooved two-piece brake disc providing the stopping power.

The Exige has long set the benchmark for handling and, to ensure it remains perfectly poised and agile, the Race 380 uses a revised suspension configuration, incorporating 2-way adjustable Öhlins dampers and adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars. This, together with the Lotus Traction Control System, where the amount of wheel slip can be adjusted by the driver from the cockpit, allows owners to fine tune the vehicle’s handling characteristics.

The Exige Race 380 features a full, integrated roll cage, lightweight FIA Carbon driver seat (HANS compatible) and a six-point harness, as well as ultra-lightweight polycarbonate side windows, competition specification fire extinguisher, battery isolator and front and rear motorsport towing eyes. An ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber motorsport specific louvered tailgate panel is fitted over the engine and carbon-fiber air intake pods are fitted to either side of the car forward of the rear wheels. As with other race cars in the Lotus range, headlamps are replaced by matte black covers and airbags are not included in the specification.

Helping the driver stay on pace, the new Exige Race 380’s color TFT instrument cluster offers numerous user customize-able and programmable screen configurations. Incorporating a track data logger and GPS unit, owners have the opportunity to upgrade this logger with professional data analysis software.

As well as being designed to win, the Exige Race 380 looks exceptional and retains many of the hand-made carbon-fiber components from the Exige Sport 380 including the front inspection cover, hard top and diffuser surround.

The Exige Race 380 is available to order now, priced £99,500 excluding VAT ($122,723.30).
(ht: Lotus Cars)

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Lotus, Lotus Cars, Exige Race 380, Exige Sport 380, AP Racing, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2, Öhlins dampers, Lotus Traction Control System, Lotus Cup, The EDJE

Saturday, January 14, 2017

FIA Formula E At CES ... Virtual Racing, Sensation Without Skin-In-The-Game Consequence

FIA Formula E At CES ...

... Virtual Racing, Sensation Without Skin-In-The-Game Consequence

Interview conducted by Edmund Jenks with Stephen Harvey after he attended the Visa Vegas eRace simulation technology promotional race licensed by FIA Formula E, using Cloud Sport virtual gaming services and Playseat driving simulators at 2017 CES (Consumer Electronics Show).

Stephen runs a consulting effort that develops digital strategies producing relevant, engaging, successful online campaigns that get results. In the interview, the Formula E experience is developed and explored from firsthand attendance at two races held at the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach temporary street course track then explores the simulation race-off on the floor at 2017 CES trade show in Las Vegas.

After the taping of the interview, Stephen, who is is also a member of the Social Media Club of Los Angeles (SMCLA), was asked about the main business case that may be made for such an event - and this is what he wrote back:

The main business aspect of the event was to tie together the world of eSports and the motorsports world. eSports are going to be huge with lots of money pouring in starting right now. This year you will see an explosion in eSporting events and prize money involved. Also, big brands (ie VISA) are recognizing that eSports are an up-n-coming market that they can get in with on the ground floor. Gamers have money and the gaming community is quite large.

SMCLA actually had a panel event a few months ago about eSports and how they are on the cusp on being huge. It was likened to how MMA and X-Games were a few years ago and then just took off in popularity.

Stephen Harvey's Facebook Live Pre-eRace Event Broadcast At CES

This explanation of event sensation without skin-in-the-game consequence is the imagined state of what a driver may feel as he, or she, competes in a virtual reality "program and display" world.

Visa Vegas eRace Highlights - Formula E

Using the drivers and branding of FIA Formula E combined with the sponsorship of VISA, the credit card company, using Cloud Sport virtual gaming services, and Playseat driving simulators to promote virtual racing is an interesting proposition, in that electric car racing platforms present a pretty large conceptual change in a fan's attendance to the racing experience already ... it just isn't the over century old form of traditional propulsion vehicle racing.

Sim Racers On Gaming - Formula E

With the concept of virtual reality vehicle racing, we are treated to an experience void of real vehicles, propulsion via any energy deliverance means. Further, if one isn't familiar with just who is piloting the images that appear on a large screen in real time, an opportunity for a large disconnect between the competitive event and the consuming FAN can take place to the determent of the actual value of competition (no matter the prize money amount) in the first place.

 Over time, degradation to "Racing" in general can become a real problem to motor culture overall - as in ... "Who Cares?"!

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Visa Vegas eRace, FIA Formula E, VISA, Cloud Sport, virtual gaming, Playseat, driving simulators, CES, The EDJE, Stephen Harvey

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Touring Car Racing Gets A Boost Through Expanded 2017 Pirelli World Challenge Field

2017 Audi RS3 LMS - as shown at the Paris Auto Show. PWC and Audi hope that a detuned version compliant with 2017 competition rules will make the field by April when the first race of the season will be run at VIR.  Image Credit: Caricos (2016)

Touring Car Racing Gets A Boost Through Expanded 2017 Pirelli World Challenge Field

The popular Touring Car categories in the Pirelli World Challenge put on quite a show in 2016. It was some of the best sedan racing in North America.

Last corner passes for victories, four and five-wide battles into the first turns and bumper-to-bumper drafting for consecutive laps made up the 12-race TC, TCA and TCB competition.

And the 2017 season is expected to produce more cars and better action in the TC classes.

That wasn’t the case a few years ago in the TC divisions before the PWC Competition and Technical departments revamped the rule books and presented a new TC look to the auto manufacturers and racing teams. Now the Touring Car paddock is booming.

Toby Grahovec, driving the No. 26 BMW M235iR, leads the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car field at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on his way to a season championship in 2016. Image Credit: WC Vision (2016)

Over 40 TC machines and drivers started the two season finale races last October at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the racing continued in sensational style including series titles coming down to the last checkered flag.  Variety was a key to TC racing in 2016 with a BMW (Toby Grahovec) taking the Touring Car crown, a Mazda (Elivan Goulart) winning in TCA and a Honda (Tom O’Gorman) scoring the championship in TCB.

“There is no doubt that the Touring Car classes were suffering four years ago,” said Greg Gill, President/CEO of WC Vision, producers of the Pirelli World Challenge. “However, led by our series' Marcus Haselgrove (Vice President, Competition) and Dan Goodman (Touring Car Technical Director), the Touring Car paddock grew dramatically and we see more growth for 2017 and 2018. Additional auto makers have interest in the TC divisions as well.”

Tom O’Gorman in the No. 96 Honda Fit rounding Turn 10 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on his way to capturing the 2016 season crown in the Pirelli World Challenge TCB Class. Image Credit: WC Vision (2016)

In 2016, Gill recruited long-time racing executive Jim Jordan to join the Pirelli World Challenge staff as Manager of Business development including the expansion of the Touring Car ranks.

“PWC wanted to increase entries as well as bring in new auto manufacturers to the TC classes,” said Jordan, who has served as manufacturer representative, team owner, team manager and driver during his racing career. “Greg and his staff made decisions to allow certain cars like the Mazda MX-5, a popular race car, into the TC classes. And I saw huge opportunities with TC too.”

With cars like the BMW M235iR, Mazda MX-5, Nissan 370Z, Honda Accord and Porsche Cayman in the TC action, Jordan believes the Touring Car contingent can produce one of the premier classes in motorsports.

“I saw a huge potential with the Touring Car classes and we have made an analysis of what is working in TC and I put together a 30-month vision of the class,” said Jordan. “I shared that with the competitors in August and we have a strong TC plan for 2017 and 2018. We want newer cars in the TC too, with the average age of three years or so.”

The direction of the top class of Touring Car is changing too. Jordan sees an influx of new machinery into the TC divisions including the TCR vehicles like the Audi RS3 LMS and the Honda Civic Si in TCA.

“We plan to put the “touring car” back to the Touring Car class at the upper end,” said Jordan. “In the TCA class, we’re keeping it an entry level class and we’re going to keep where the competitors could run popular cars in the marketplace. That also will include the ND Mazda MX-5 Cup Car.

In 2018, we are going to welcome TCR cars to Pirelli World Challenge. The top TC class is moving in that direction. That specification is used worldwide and it is, in spirit, similar to the worldwide adoption of the GT3 and GT4 rules. The manufacturer, or specific tuner for that manufacturer, builds a specification and they submit the car. Then the series does a Balance of Performance on the car and in essence every car has a relatively equal chance to win.”

PWC explains that it wants cars to be commercially available in that body style in the U.S. for TC competition.

“Audi has already talked with Marcus and Dan about their RS3 LMS car running this year in PWC,” he said. “The version we are recognizing for 2017 is a detuned TCR car and be competitive with cars like the BMW M235iR. And that thinking from manufacturers recognizes Pirelli World Challenge as being an important series within when you have companies like Audi building a specification just to match our class.”

“Several manufacturers already build cars for the TCR category,” explained Jordan, “including Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, Audi, Alfa Romeo, and Subaru, along with several brands that don’t sell their cars in the U.S. We can’t absorb those cars immediately in current Pirelli World Challenge regulations, but they will be in their own sub-category in PWC beginning in 2018.

“In 2018, we will welcome TCR cars into Pirelli World Challenge as a standalone class within Touring Car. There is enough interest from current manufacturers that I think we’re going to have a good field of TCR cars.”

Jordan also emphasized that manufacturers can bring many things to the TC divisions including ready-built race cars like the BMW M235iR this year that Grahovec drove to winning the TC title.

The new generation of Touring Car in the Pirelli World Challenge has gained strong interest from racing fans as well. With the extremely-competitive on-track product and the new TC models coming to PWC in 2017, the TC classes will continue to engage in some of the best wheel-to-wheel action in all of motorsports.

“We are very excited to see new cars and teams coming to Touring Car in 2017 and 2018,” said Jordan. “And I believe the racing fans will have plenty to watch at the track and on the telecasts.”

The opening doubleheader for the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car divisions is set for April 28-30 at VIRginia International Raceway at Acton, Va.  Those two rounds will be televised on CBS Sports Network on a taped-delayed basis.
(ht: wcvision)

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Pirelli World Challenge, Touring Car, BMW M235iR, Mazda MX-5, Nissan 370Z, Honda Accord, Porsche Cayman, Audi RS3 LMS, TCA Class, TCB Class, CBS Sports Network, VIRginia International Raceway, The EDJE,

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Catch A Little Roar Before The 24 From Lexus' Scott Pruett

Catch A Little Roar Before The 24 From Lexus' Scott Pruett

Five-time Rolex 24 At DAYTONA champion Scott Pruett shows us around the garage and answers questions!

For the Rolex 24 and the entire IMSA season, Pruett will be joined by former Indy Lights champion Sage Karam in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 of 3GT Racing, which is being tested this week in the Roar By The Shore.

This will be the brand’s first team partnership in North America since 2009, when Pruett won two Rolex 24s and 22 total victories with Grand-Am Road Racing. The 24 hour race starts Saturday, January 28th. 3GT Racing will field two cars in the GTD class — the No. 14 car with drivers Sage Karam and Scott Pruett, and the No. 15 car with Robert Alon and Jack Hawksworth.

The 3GT Racing organization led by team managing director Paul Gentilozzi. Additional drivers for both cars, for the twice-around-the-clock Rolex 24 endurance classic, have yet to be announced.
(ht: Todd Lewis)

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Lexus, Scott Pruitt, Daytona, Roar Before The 24, Testing, Rolex 24, Todd Lewis, Paul Gentilozzi, Sage Karam, Scott Pruett, Robert Alon, Jack Hawksworth, The EDJE

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

55th Rolex 24 At Daytona 2-Car Mazda Prototype Team Driver Lineup

The new KODO Design inspired Mazda RT24-P race car was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show (No. 55 pictured here in Soul Red), ushering in a new era in the prominent history of Mazda Motorsports’ flagship endeavors in North America. At the unveiling, the car was shown with the drivers tapped for the upcoming 2017 season - (left to right) Tristan Nunez, Jonathan Bomarito, Tom Long, and Joel Miller. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

55th Rolex 24 At Daytona 2-Car Mazda Prototype Team Driver Lineup

The two-car Mazda Prototype team has confirmed the driver lineup that will compete in the top category of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. For the third consecutive season, the drivers for the full 10-race championship season are Jonathan Bomarito, Tom Long, Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez. For the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers James Hinchcliffe and Spencer Pigot will join the driver lineup in the all-new Mazda RT24-P race cars under the new Daytona Prototype international (DPi) rules.

Mazda RT24-P Gunmetal Grey livery unloading on Day 1. Image Credit: IMSA Facebook (2017)

The No. 70 ModSpace/Castrol Edge Mazda Prototype (Gunmetal Grey livery) will be driven by Long, 34, of Charlotte, N.C., and Miller, 28, of Hesperia, Calif. The duo finished sixth in the 2016 Prototype driver points championship after five top-five finishes.

For the 55th running of the historic Rolex 24 at Daytona, Long and Miller will be joined by IndyCar race winner James Hinchcliffe, 30, of Toronto, Canada. Hinchcliffe finished second in the most recent season of “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC-TV, and will race with Mazda at Daytona for the fifth time since 2012.

The No. 55 Mazda Prototype (Soul Red Crystal livery) will be driven for the third consecutive season by the pairing of Jonathan Bomarito, 34, of Louisville, Tenn., and Tristan Nunez, 21, of Boca Raton, Fla. Bomarito and Nunez recorded a league-leading three pole positions in 2016, led six races, and finished seventh in the final Prototype driver point standings.

Spencer Pigot, 23, of Orlando, Fla., will join the No. 55 team for the second year at Daytona. The IndyCar driver made his Prototype debut with Mazda last year at Daytona, then raced at Sebring before leading races at Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.

For this weekend’s Roar Before the 24 test sessions at Daytona, driver Ben Devlin, 34, of Norwich, England, will also join the team, utilizing his extensive prototype experience to help hone the preparation of the two Mazda RT24-P race cars.

Mazda RT24-P liveries side-by-side. Image Credit: Linhbergh LLC (2017)

Said JOHN DOONAN, director, Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations:
“When the Mazda brand embarked on providing the motorsports industry with a driver development scholarship program in 2007, it was our intention to develop drivers from the grassroots to the top levels in both open wheel and sports cars. With the Mazda Road to 24 and the Mazda Road to Indy now fully developed, we strive to promote from within. Each of our full-time drivers— Joel, Jonathan, Tom and Tristan— have come through at least one of the two programs, and they’ve given us the speed, continuity and great chemistry that a team must have to win. We are also thrilled to have Spencer and James back with us for the Rolex 24, as they have been a part of the Mazda family for many years. Their talent and chemistry with the team are extremely valuable. To have Ben and his experience with us this weekend is an added bonus.”

JONATHAN BOMARITO - Mazda Motorsports.

JONATHAN BOMARITO, driver, No. 55 Mazda Prototype:
(Twitter: @JBomarito) Bomarito won the 2010 Rolex 24 at Daytona in the GT category, driving a Mazda RX-8 for SpeedSource with co-drivers Sylvain Tremblay, David Haskell and Nick Ham. Bomarito, who grew up in Monterey, Calif., won the 2003 USF2000 open-wheel championship, was a race winner in the Mazda-powered Atlantic Series, raced at Le Mans and nearly won the 2014 IMSA GTLM drivers championship before his stint in the Mazda Prototype. This is slated to be his 11th start in the Rolex 24.

“I am so excited for the 2017 season to officially get under way at one the best races in the world. Our Mazda Prototype is stunning, and the energy from the team, the series and our competitors is going to make for an incredible year.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE - Mazda Motorsports.

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, driver, No. 70 ModSpace/Castrol Edge Mazda Prototype:
(Twitter: @Hinchtown) Hinchcliffe missed the 24-Hour race last year as he recovered from near fatal injuries suffered at Indianapolis in 2015. He returned to win the pole position for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May, 2016.

“It’s great to be back behind the wheel at Daytona! It sucked sitting out last year’s race, but my focus at the time was getting myself back in shape for the IndyCar season. Coming back to Mazda and SpeedSource, where I've done all of my races at Daytona, is like coming home and I can't thank Sylvain [Tremblay, SpeedSource owner] and John [Doonan, Mazda Motorsports director] enough for the chance. I can't wait to be working with everyone there again, to get my hands on the new car, and try and deliver a win for Mazda.”

TOM LONG - Mazda Motorsports.

TOM LONG, driver, No. 70 ModSpace/Castrol Edge Mazda Prototype:
(Twitter: @TomLongRacing) Long has been a part of Mazda’s racing family since 2004, making 2017 his 14th season driving with Mazda. Long was the lead development driver on Mazda’s Global MX-5 Cup car that debuted in 2016, and this year will mark his seventh start in the Rolex 24. When he led the race overall at Daytona in 2015, it was the first time a diesel-powered vehicle led the historic endurance race that has been contested since 1962.

"I'm so excited to get the upcoming season kicked off at Daytona with our brand new Mazda RT24-P!  The anticipation has been building for Mazda and the entire team since unveiling the new DPi platform at the Los Angeles Auto Show. With the launch of the new Prototype era for IMSA in 2017, the field this year will be sure not to disappoint. The team has been working so hard to get our Mazdas prepared for the drop of that green flag, it's been incredible to be a part of. We're also thrilled to welcome back Hinch to our driver lineup this year!"

JOEL MILLER - Mazda Motorsports.

JOEL MILLER, driver, No. 70 ModSpace/Castrol Edge Mazda Prototype:
(Twitter: @JoelMilleracing) Miller came through the Mazda Road to Indy open-wheel program before he became part of Mazda’s endurance sports car effort. He is the current driver coach/mentor for the USF2000 series in the Mazda Road to Indy. A degreed mechanical engineer, Miller is a lead presenter of Mazda’s national-touring STEM education program, and will be making his fifth 24-Hours start this month, all with Mazda.

“Being back with Mazda in the new RT24-P is fantastic and I’m very fortunate for the opportunity. Being back together with Tom Long in the No. 70 will allow us to focus on the learning curve of the new car rather than anything else. The new platform presents an equal playing field and good opportunity for teams with the right preparation to shine. I look forward to working hard with Mazda Motorsport on our preparation with the new Mazda RT24-P DPi."

TRISTAN NUNEZ - Mazda Motorsports.

TRISTAN NUNEZ, driver, No. 55 Mazda Prototype:
(Twitter: @TristanNunez) Nunez holds the record as the youngest champion in a professional class of road racing in North America. He won the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda (nee: Prototype Lites) series in 2012 with 11 wins at age 17. He became a Mazda-backed driver after winning the prestigious open-wheel Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone, England. Nunez does presentations across the country on behalf of his own “Dnt txt n drV Foundation,” which is devoted to educating young people about the dangers of distracted driving.

“I could not be more excited to get the season started. There have been quite a few rules changes [such as the DPi category] that I am sure will make for an exciting race. As for the drivers, to be paired with Jonathan again is such an honor. I have learned so much from him, and I'm looking forward to another year alongside him and being under the Mazda tent with Joel and Tom for the full season. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better group! As for the additional guys we've got for Daytona, I don't think the team could have made a better decision on who will complete the team. Spencer did an incredible job for us last year in the No. 55 on and off the track, and to have James and Ben back is a dream come true. I believe we've got what it takes to win, and I'm so excited to show that this season!”

SPENCER PIGOT - Mazda Motorsports.

SPENCER PIGOT, driver, No. 55 Mazda Prototype:
(Twitter: @SpencerPigot)   Pigot embodies the Mazda driver development scholarship program called the Mazda Road to Indy. The first (and still only) driver to win four Mazda scholarships, Pigot won the 2014 Pro Mazda and 2015 Indy Lights championships. He utilized his Mazda scholarship to compete in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, as well as the road and street circuit races in IndyCar in 2016 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing. Pigot, along with teammates Miller and Bomarito, is a member of the Mazda Road to Indy Hall of Fame.

“I’m really looking forward to driving for Mazda again in my second Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The Mazda RT24-P is an incredible car and being able to help develop and improve the car from the very beginning has been a great experience. Mazda has given us a car capable of fighting for the win and I know we have the team to get the job done.”
(ht: Mazda Motorsports)

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mazda Prototype, No. 70, No. 55, Jonathan Bomarito, Tom Long, Joel Miller, Tristan Nunez, James Hinchcliffe, Spencer Pigot, Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda RT24-P, The EDJE

Monday, January 2, 2017

For 2017 ... INDYCAR's "NEXT" Is Next

Will this finally be the year that Helio Castroneves captures the Verizon IndyCar Series season championship? In IndyCar competition, Castroneves has 23 wins and 38 poles, and placed second in the season standings four times, third two times and fourth four times - but never one series championship. Maybe more importantly, Castroneves won the Indianapolis 500 in 2001, 2002 and 2009, making him one of only nine total drivers, and the only active driver, to have won this iconic race at least three times. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

For 2017 ... INDYCAR's "NEXT" Is Next

On New Year's Day, INDYCAR released the fourth chapter of its "Racing Heart" advertising campaign designed to kick off the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Following three consecutive years showcasing the thrilling traits of the sport, INDYCAR's communications in 2017 will feature the next exciting chapter of on-track action, the next drivers to watch, the next technology and innovation.

The theme "NEXT" builds upon the successful season concepts "RIVALS," "SPEED" and "LEGENDS." With the turning of the calendar, a brand video teasing the new communication plan was shared via social and digital media.

INDYCAR's "NEXT" is next.

"We're confident and focused on INDYCAR's future," said C.J. O'Donnell, chief marketing officer of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The theme 'NEXT' will effectively deliver our message of continued growth and expresses the momentum our sport has experienced the last three seasons."

INDYCAR's growth since 2013 has been highlighted by a 55 percent increase in overall television viewership across all Verizon IndyCar Series broadcasts on ABC and NBCSN. The series also has experienced increases in event attendance, including six record crowds during the 2016 season.

The theme "NEXT" was developed for the upcoming Verizon IndyCar Series season in cooperation with brand agency partner Johnson & Wolverton and will be prominent in television, digital, print, radio and social platforms.

The theme also speaks to INDYCAR's expanded audience reach.

INDYCAR's success as the fastest-growing form of motorsport in the United States today has come through embracing its core audience, fans who have loved Indy car racing for decades. Studies show the brand attributes of the Verizon IndyCar Series - the speed, sound and thrilling nature of the sport - also resonate with the next generation of fans and that youth movement allows INDYCAR to expand its target audience to Gen X and Gen Z like never before.

The initial emphasis will be on 2016 series champion Simon Pagenaud and new American star Alexander Rossi, the winner of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil this past May. Plus, there will be excitement for driver/dancer James Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power, Graham Rahal and several other bold drivers.

INDYCAR will use the excitement emanating from the next century of Indianapolis 500s at every event across the 17-race season, including the next track to join the momentum: Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.

The Verizon IndyCar Series schedule begins March 12 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and will be highlighted by the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 28.
(ht: IndyCar)

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Verizon IndyCar Series, Helio Castroneves, James Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, Indianapolis 500, "Racing Heart", "NEXT", ABC, NBCSN, The EDJE