I’ve followed F1 ever since I got caught up in the incredibly dramatic and controversial 1997 season. I am an F1 fan but I am certainly not an F1 evangelist. Recent F1 seasons have been accompanied by a chorus of well-founded criticisms. This discontent coincides with the ascendancy of the WEC. The series has matured since its 2012 inception and delivers a compelling product that provides fans what they demand of a world-class racing series: an accessible broadcast presenting fantastic on-track action between cutting edge race cars.
I was massively excited to watch the FIM World Superbike races at Laguna Seca. It had been more than a decade since my last motorcycle race — inexcusable, I know. The bikes were already on track when we arrived on Saturday. The speed impressed immediately and really hammered home just how different, and dangerous, a motorcycle race is compared the car races I’m used to watching. Seeings the riders lean their bikes through turn 1 (what is essentially a straight in a car) at 150MPH gave me a sharp burst of adrenaline. I tried to imagine what the experience must be like for the riders, flying over the blind crest without the protection of a roll-cage or windscreen.
IMSA and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship are, once again, having an identity crisis. Heading into the 2014 season, IMSA needed to find a way for ALMS LMP2 and Grand-Am Daytona Prototype entries to coexist. A season and a half later, things on track are looking pretty good. While there are still balance of performance issues to be finessed (top-speed, pace on restarts), both platforms have proven to be capable of topping timesheets and winning races.
The 2017 season will bring sweeping changes to both ACO and IMSA prototype regulations. IMSA has once again found themselves tasked with reaching a compromise between stakeholders with vastly differing objectives. For the FIA and ACO, the 2017 regulation changes will try to steer the category towards a more financially accessible future. In stark contrast to their European associates, IMSA may well be fighting to keep prototype racing viable in the North American market.
Two days from now in Le Mans, Ford will formally announce what many have long suspected. Taking aim at Chevrolet, Porsche, Ferrari, and Aston Martin, the Blue Oval will return to international sportscar racing with the new, Ecoboost-powered, Ford GT.
The decision by the Holmatro Safety Team to send James Hinchcliffe directly to IU Health Methodist Hospital, bypassing the infield medical center, likely saved his life. As has been demonstrated time and time again, IndyCar’s dedicated safety crew is absolutely first rate.
And so they should be.
Continue reading Opinion: The Case for Travelling Safety Crews