Saturday, Jan 29
Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

Contact Adam: Email  

  

 
By Godwin Kelly
IMSA Wire Service
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The International Motor Sports Association will soon announce the winner of the inaugural IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship.
 
IMSA received 35 applications and narrowed the list to 10 finalists. To be eligible for the scholarship, drivers must have a strong desire to compete in IMSA, outstanding previous race results and/or proven on-track potential in junior racing categories and the ability to build a compelling business plan for securing the remaining funding needed to compete in a full season in 2022.
 
The scholarship winner will receive upwards of a quarter million dollars in value toward a full season of competition in either the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge or IMSA Prototype Challenge in 2022. The recipient will receive substantial support from IMSA and partners including Michelin, VP Racing Fuels, OMP, RECARO and LAT Photo USA.
 
This is the last of a two-part series taking a closer look at the IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship candidates, who appear in no particular order.
Courtney Crone, 20
Corona, California
 
Crone’s father, Jack Crone, bought daughter Courtney a small dirt motorcycle when she was just 2. She started racing at 5 in quarter midgets and stayed with it until she was 10. She took an unusual detour at age 11 when she went motorcycle speedway racing. Speedway bikes look more like bicycles, have no brakes and race on short, dirt ovals.
 
Crone went back to four-wheel racing at 14 when she started driving a 360 sprint car on dirt ovals. The following year, she graduated to a full-size USAC midget racing on dirt and pavement. At 15, Crone was invited to the Formula Speed 2.0 Shootout and won a scholarship to compete in the Formula Car Challenge Series, her first step into road racing. Crone showed so much potential, she earned the same scholarship at age 17 and ran a second season, capturing the Formula Car Challenge Series championship. She also ran a season of the F1600 Championship Series. The pandemic wiped away most of 2020, but Crone made a few F4 starts in the World Speed Motorsports entry. She is competing in her first season in the IMSA Prototype Challenge in 2021 and opened the year by racing in the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals. She is also currently a driving instructor at Allen Berg Racing Schools.
 
“The scholarship for me would be huge because it would allow me to step up into the higher ranks of racing, which means more people involved, and obviously it costs a lot more money,” Crone says. “Just having the support from IMSA to continue forward in one of the most competitive forms of racing would mean a ton to me. It would be IMSA supporting me, a diversity driver, and that would be huge. IMSA is a series I really believe in. More track time would be beneficial for me and that scholarship would certainly provide that.”
Jaden Conwright, 22
Newark, California
 
Conwright’s racing journey began at 7 years old when he started racing at a local quarter midget course. Two years later, he entered the Jim Russell Arrive & Drive Karting School and then split seat time between quarter midgets and go-karts. In 2011, he began competing in regional go-kart events. Conwright got his first experience in a race car at age 14 competing in a Formula 2000 series, where he set a number of track records and won the championship. At 15, he tried his hand at Pro Mazda and at 16 ventured to Europe to compete in Italian Formula 4.
 
The next year he tested for a few teams, including Carlin, in Britain, then at 18 ventured to Asia for the FIA F3 Championship racing in Malaysia and China, where he scored a win and five podiums. He went back Italy in 2019 to run in the Italian Porsche Carrera Cup – his first experience in a GT-style car. He scored nine podiums, including six straight to open the season, and was named rookie of the year. Conwright had a limited schedule in 2020 but made his WeatherTech Championship debut in this year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, finishing an impressive fourth in the GT Daytona (GTD) class in the No. 42 NTe Sport Audi R8 LMS GT3 after qualifying third.
 
“I would hope the scholarship would help me promote myself and the great image IMSA shows through the values of its Driver Development Program,” Conwright says. “The story of myself has been this – going all over the place to do racing and find a path to IMSA. I don’t come from a family that can pay my way to the top. I think that embodies the idea of what the scholarship stands for. To me, that scholarship would be something very special. Everyone says my schedule is crazy, but I enjoy it. It’s been fun.”
Sabré Cook, 27
Grand Junction, Colorado
 
Cook started karting when she was 8, then began competitive go-kart racing two years later. She won three world championships and raced karts at the pro level for several years. She moved up to SCCA Spec Racer Ford and Formula Enterprise cars in 2017, the same year she graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering. The following year, Cook raced in U.S. F4 and F2000 races, winning twice. During that 2018 season, she won a place with the Infiniti Engineering Academy, moved to the United Kingdom and worked with Infiniti Global and Renault F1.
 
In 2019, Cook qualified for and raced in the FIA W Series. When the pandemic hit in 2020, her racing schedule diminished to a couple of Indy Pro 2000 Championship events. Things picked up for Cook this year, beginning with an Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires run at Daytona. Cook was the only American to qualifying for the W Series in 2021. She finished third in her Porsche Sprint Challenge North America debut in May at Circuit of The Americas, becoming the first woman in series history to finish on the podium.
 
“Winning the Diversity Scholarship would be critical for me to bring partners onboard in order to ensure I could run the full season and have a successful season,” says Cook. “It would help solidify me making my step into IMSA. Going into IMSA would be a great path forward for my career. I would love to get into (prototype) racing down the road.”
Kyle Loh, 22
San Jose, California
 
Loh just won the Formula Pro USA Western Championship after a third-place finish in the 2019 Formula Pro USA F4 West Coast Series. Not bad for a self-described “late starter” who began racing at 15 after getting a taste in high school, which offered go-kart racing as a physical education credit.
 
Loh said he would go to an indoor go-kart track and found he was faster than his counterparts who had taken the class the previous year. During his senior year, he made the move to outdoor karting, then moved up to shifter karts. His first experience in a race car was in 2018, when he joined the Formula Pro USA F4 series. Loh is currently a driving instructor at Allen Berg Racing Schools.
 
“This IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship would have a big impact on my career. I have never received a scholarship like this before,” Loh says. “This would be my first time in professional racing to really put myself out there. Funding is a big obstacle and I am finally starting to learn the ins and outs of the industry business-wise. This scholarship is a really great opportunity for me to put myself out there and spread positive messages regarding diversity about my Taiwan heritage. I would also like to bring a new perspective of diversity to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a child, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism, and ADHD. With the paddock passes IMSA will offer, I plan to donate a couple of passes to guests with special needs and give them a great experience. I want to give back because of the so many opportunities I’ve had.”
David Dalton, 23
Charlotte, North Carolina
 
Dalton moved from New Jersey in 2016 to attend the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina. He graduated with a certification two years later after learning how to set up a stock car and the ins and outs of race cars. After receiving his certification, Dalton started go-kart racing in the KA100 Senior Series on road courses and won three events. He finished a close second at Daytona in a 50-kart field.
 
Dalton drove his first race car in a Lucas Oil Formula test at Sebring in 2018, saying the transition from karts to race cars “came naturally.” He returned to Sebring in late 2018 to compete in the Kart To Car Shootout, which had a field of 30 competitors, turning in the fast lap on Day 2. After three days of head-to-head competition, Dalton was chosen to participate in the series. In 2019 he ran the F4 United States Championship powered by Honda and the Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series, where he earned a victory at National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Kentucky in 2019.
 
“When I learned about the IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship, it was like a dream come true,” Dalton says. “I could not believe my eyes what was being offered and how it was being offered and that it was IMSA. Racing IMSA is a goal of mine. I want to aspire to be an all-around professional race driver and win championships. In the process, I want to lead by example for all the ethnic drivers, not only drivers but race engineers, technicians or data analysts and so on. I want to use my platform to help open those opportunities up for them. This scholarship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because I’m not getting younger. I keep working the grind behind the scenes, like building my marketing tools, to be ready for a chance like this. I’m lost for words that I’m a finalist for this scholarship.”
After crowning its 2021 champions earlier this month, the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will be back in action this week for its traditional Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 30/31. All three levels of the ladder system – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship – will take part in six 45-minute sessions over the course of the two days on the 2.75-mile “Inner Loop” road course.
 
Following a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, the now 10th annual test is named in memory of Chris Griffis, the former team manager of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports who passed away suddenly in September 2011. The foundation of the highly anticipated event is to provide new drivers with the opportunity to sample the Road to Indy while offering returning drivers the chance to hone their programs for the following year.
 
“As is the case every year, I’m really looking forward to this year’s Chris Griffis Memorial Test at IMS,” offered Road to Indy Series Development Director Rob Howden. “Driver development and preparation is at the absolute core of our mission with the Road to Indy, and this annual test is so satisfying because we get to see drivers take what they’ve learned all year and apply it to the next level of our program. It’s exciting to see how much the drivers grow and mature from the start of a season to the end, and watching USF2000 drivers jump into Indy Pro 2000 cars, and so on up the ladder, is fantastic.”
 
 
The test will be followed by a one-day outing on Monday, November 1, for the top three finishers in this year’s Indy Lights championship – Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas and Linus Lundqvist respectively – who earned an NTT INDYCAR SERIES Indy car test as part of their prize package.
 
Currently, 44 drivers have been registered for the Chris Griffis test representing 11 countries and 15 different teams.
 
Indy Lights will see the advancement of several drivers testing the next step of the ladder including reigning Indy Pro 2000 champion Christian Rasmussen (Andretti Autosport), Hunter McElrea (Andretti Autosport) and Kyffin Simpson, who was recently confirmed for a full 2022 season with new entrant TJ Speed Motorsports. Abel Motorsports will also move up to the top step with Jacob Abel.
 
New faces include Ernie Francis Jr. (HMD Motorsports), Matteo Nannini (Juncos Hollinger Racing) and the return of Matthew Brabham (Andretti Autosport), who last competed in Indy Lights in 2015.
 
The Indy Pro 2000 entry list is peppered with drivers looking to make the move up from USF2000 including champion Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing), Josh Green (Turn 3 Motorsport), Bijoy Garg (Jay Howard Driver Development), Nolan Siegel (DEForce Racing), Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing), Josh Pierson (Pabst Racing) and Billy Frazer (Exclusive Autosport).
 
Sampling Indy Pro 2000 competition are drivers Nicholas Rivers (Jay Howard Driver Development), Casey Putsch (Legacy Autosport), Louis Foster (Exclusive Autosport), Arias Deukmedjian (Deuk Spine Racing) and Blake Upton (Turn 3 Motorsport).
 
USF2000 will see a mix of returning drivers and at least nine newcomers including Jagger Jones and Nicholas d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), Mac Clark (DEForce Racing), Viktor Andersson (Legacy Autosport), Ayrton Houk (Pabst Racing), TJ Thompson and Yeoroo Lee (Jay Howard Driver Development) and Lucas Mann and Ethan Ho (Exclusive Autosport).
 
Testing will kick off at 8:00 am EDT on Saturday. Live timing will be available on the series’ respective websites, and photography at https://media.roadtoindy.net/.
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
The box is about to be shaken and turned upside down, its contents spilled. Some of it looks familiar, but it’s in different places. Nothing is the same, really. Nothing, that is, except the change.
 
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is in the early months of a significant change. In 2023, the series’ top class will include LMDh, a hybrid-based platform developed jointly by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) that has already drawn the interest of multiple manufacturers and teams.
 
The change itself sounds straightforward and direct, but the prospect of adding a new class presents complicated challenges for teams and manufacturers. The change requires long-range planning, which is already under way for those who have announced their LMDh intentions. 
 
But change is their strength, team officials say, so it might not be as overwhelming as it appears. 
 
“I don’t think it’s as daunting as people want to make it,” said team owner Wayne Taylor, whose Wayne Taylor Racing has not been confirmed yet as an LMDh team, but fully expects to participate. “It’s not that daunting. The only thing that’s daunting is the question of whether we’ve designed and built a car that can win all the races.”
 
At its core, motorsports is about evolution. Over the course of a century, sports car racing has gone from the sparse 1914 Vauxhall Prince Henry, widely regarded as the first sports car, to complicated, state-of-the-art machines that implement the latest technology.
 
The more complicated and expensive the race car, the fewer are built. LMDh, which crosses sanctioning bodies and has commitments so far from five manufacturers and three teams in the WeatherTech Championship, appears to have found the proper fit between tech and car count.
 
“That’s how motorsports has evolved through the years,” said Tim Cindric, president of Team Penske, which will field Porsche LMDh cars as Porsche Penske Motorsport beginning at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January 2023. “There’s a balance in that, for sure, between car count and technology. People talk about budgets, but really from a racing perspective, it’s always a balance of what the car count is going to be.”
 
Reaching that delicate balance was a part of the plan. Teams and manufacturers were consulted in the process to match specifications across different series.
 
“We have IMSA listening – we have a lot of discussions with IMSA people – and they ask us a lot; what we think, how it’s going to go in each direction,” said Mike Krack, head of the BMW M Motorsport group that has also committed to an LMDh program. “They are always very interested with their partners to improve the show. This is actually a perfect match. It’s why we are here so long.”
 
NEXT IN THE SERIES: The preparation for LMDh has barely begun, but the focus is on winning with it. “We’re always trying to figure out how to get more out of what we have,” says Gary Nelson, Action Express Racing’s team manager.
The exclusive renewal period opens this morning at 10 a.m. ET for race fans who attended this year’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and purchased 3-Day Grandstand tickets. These customers will have until Monday, Nov. 15 to renew or upgrade their seats. General public sales will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. ET.  
 
This 18th annual event, featuring NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ season-opening race for the 10th time, is set for Feb. 25-27, 2022, in downtown St. Petersburg. These renewal customers purchasing 3-Day Grandstand seats again will receive a Champions Club membership at no additional cost when placing orders through the Nov. 15th deadline closing at 5 p.m. ET. 
 
"It’s great to have the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg back as the season-opening event of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule," said Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree St. Petersburg, LLC, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. “We appreciate our fans’ patience as we’ve all had to navigate the challenges of the last two years. Having the paddock back open and the grandstands full again is going to be tremendous. The enthusiasm and momentum surrounding the event in downtown St. Petersburg along the waterfront just keeps building each year."
 
The complimentary Champions Club membership included with renewal ticket purchases offers extra benefits and exclusive access to enhance the weekend experience. These fans get up close to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars and drivers with a complimentary Firestone Paddock Pass, participate in Sunday’s pre-race grid walk, and will receive savings and discount offers for use at the event. Also, they are automatically entered for a chance to win a two-seater INDYCAR ride on the track, plus, the opportunity upgrade to a Pit Pass for only $99 through the Nov. 15th renewal deadline. Regular price is $125. Champions Club memberships will be sold for a very limited time to the public after the renewal period for a cost of $75.
 
Renewals are available online at gpstpete.com or by phone at 1-727-898-4639 with pricing starting at $125 for reserved 3-Day Grandstand seats. For all ticket pricing and 2022 event information and news, visit gpstpete.com or follow Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on social media using #FirestoneGP.

Toyo Tires® is set to make a splash when the SEMA Show returns to Las Vegas November 2-5. The company will unveil over 35 world-debut vehicles and two crowd-stopping art installations. Toyo Tires Treadpass, a widely popular destination for SEMA attendees, will be returning for its 8th year. Treadpass will showcase the largest concentration of world-debut vehicles and is located between the Central and South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The art installations, one by conceptual artist and designer Joshua Vides and the other featuring Audi builds by Ken Block and Brian Scotto of Hoonigan, will be the centerpiece of the Toyo Tires outdoor booth in front of the South Hall entrance (Exhibit #84160). Attendees will also have a chance to collect limited-edition Leen Customs pins in both locations.

32 vehicles will make their world-debuts in the Toyo Tires Treadpass including a 1000whp 1994 Mazda RX-7, a 1972 Chevy K5 Blazer with chopped doors, and an iconic 1982 DeLorean DMC 12. Read on for a short preview of each then see them during the SEMA Show in the Toyo Tires Treadpass.

In front of South Hall, attendees will witness the black and white art of Joshua Vides. He has applied his signature style to a range of mediums from shoes to cars and has worked with major brands such as BMW, Fendi, Converse, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Vides’ new project with Toyo Tires will showcase his own BMW E30 M3 on Toyo® Proxes® Sport A/S tires.

Adjacent to the Joshua Vides display, Ken Block and Brian Scotto will be revealing all-new Audi builds featuring art by Ricardo Gonzalez aka “Itsaliving.” Block will be displaying an Audi Sport Quattro Tribute built by LCE in Germany and Scotto will be unveiling an Audi Coupe Quattro, a project car he bought in 2004.

Toyo Tires will be bringing back their popular limited-edition pins in collaboration with Leen Customs. The 10 pins featuring new Toyo Tires vehicles will be distributed at designated times during the show. Schedules for the pins will be available at both the Toyo Tires Treadpass and display in front of South Hall.

“Toyo Tires is excited to rejoin SEMA 2021 in person and bring back our celebration of creativity and vehicle execution at Treadpass,” said John Thomas, president and chief executive officer, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “SEMA allows us to highlight and partner with some of the best builders in the industry. They choose Toyo Tires knowing the right tires elevate the look, feel and performance of their vehicle.”

The SEMA Show is the world’s leading automotive trade event bringing together manufacturers and buyers in every segment of the automotive industry. Toyo Tires has become a staple exhibit at SEMA, showcasing must-see vehicle builds from top builders around the country. To learn more about the tires which help complete these builds, visit toyotires.com

 

Preview of New Vehicle Builds at 2021 SEMA Show

Here are a few of the vehicles that show attendees will be able to view in the Toyo Tires Treadpass.

1972 Chevy K5 Blazer 

Built by Ben Craven and his team at Craven Performance, this 1972 Chevy K5 Blazer was commissioned by a client as a tribute to their late mother, Trina. Ben and his team wanted to take this first-generation Blazer and turn it into a reliable beach cruiser or street screamer that you can have a blast with, without drifting too far from its intended use. 

The build showcases the boxed factory frame and 8-lug axles with custom chopped doors that align level with the rear bed sides, giving the Blazer subtle and clean lines. The dual spare tire carrier was also removed to continue with the clean classic look of this K5. The interior features their all-out center console that ties into a floating center console for the rear passengers, keeping the cabin lines as clean as the exterior. The Blazer will be riding on Toyo Open Country M/T® tires.

2021 Chevy Silverado Crew Cab RST

Legendary Concepts in Mt. Pleasant, TX builds modern day vehicles based on legendary vehicle personalities, partnering with Saleen for this year’s SEMA build, which is a modern interpretation of the famous ‘Smokey & The Bandit’ Trans Am in a street truck format.

The base vehicle is a 2021 Chevy Silverado Crew Cab RST and is a complete build including a bespoke widebody kit, aero and styling, wheels, and interior. The L83 5.3L engine is blueprinted and built out to a supercharged 700HP.

The built engine is paired with an all-new Magnuson DI supercharger. The exterior takes on a transformation with a widebody kit and aerodynamics that are perfectly suited for this type of performance truck. The vehicle features Monoblock 8-piston 4D brakes supplied by Brembo, a Magnaflow exhaust, and Toyo® Proxes® ST III tires.

1982 DeLorean DMC 12

Tim Moceri is debuting one of the most iconic cars ever built and his personal dream car, the 1982 DeLorean DMC 12. For over 18 years, Moceri has been building and racing cars, fine-tuning his craft and creating his own style by taking bits and pieces from all forms of motorsports and incorporating them in his builds.

His main goal with the DeLorean was to take the 80s styling and turn it up a notch, from the clear Ferrari F40 inspires rear engine cover to the one-off custom wide body kit designed by Khyzyl Saleem, and an IMSA inspired twin turbo layout that hangs out of the back of the car. The DeLorean will sit on Toyo® Proxes® R888RTM tires. 

Lexus LC 500 Convertible

Gordon Ting will be debuting a Lexus LC 500 Convertible, his 18th SEMA project build that will showcase his influences in performance and styling while reinforcing form and function.

The build will feature a prototype carbon fiber tonal cover and custom titanium exhaust from Artisan Spirits, race-spec front and rear brake kit by Brembo, and a height adjustable suspension by KW. The Lexus will be riding on forged 21-inch wheels by Titan-7 and Toyo Proxes Sport tires. 

1986 Nissan 300zx

Brandon Miller is debuting a 1986 Nissan 300zx, the most ambitious project he has ever undertaken, a full ground up build. For over 20 years, Miller has used his passion as a car enthusiast to modify vehicles, building amazing relationships with people along the way.

The Nissan 300zx will feature a naturally aspirated RB28, a bold choice that has stayed true to Miller’s original vision for the car. Other modifications include a one-off titanium header/exhaust built by Billy Freed at Freed Engineering, one-off carbon kevlar stacks by Niklas Hagen at HN Engineering, and a shaved engine bay and paint by Paul “Seamus” Rogers. Installed on the car is a s14 subframe swap by Mike Poore and the Racing Service Watanabe R types sourced from The Lonely Driver Company. The Nissan 300sx will sit on Toyo® Proxes® R1RTM tires. 

1994 Mazda RX-7

Jonathan Grunwald and his Mazda RX-7 will debut this year, marking eight years and 14 consecutive SEMA build collaborations between himself, TRMNL Racing, and Toyo Tires. Since age 25, Grunwald has debuted the latest works of Varis, Overtake, TRA Kyoto, TCP Magic, & Rays Wheels via special projects with Toyo Tires.

This year’s TCP Magic USA Heritage 7 Mazda RX-7 will represent a culmination of Grunwald’s passion for Mazda tuning and motorsports. The build will feature a 1000whp 20B Bridgeport 3-roto engine built by Garage Life and Lucky 7 Racing, a Garrett Motion G42-1450 turbocharger, HGT billet 6-speed sequential transmission, and a Haltech elite engine management system. The RX-7 has a KW bespoke motorsport suspension and rides on Toyo Proxes R1R tires.

The vehicles mentioned above represent just a small preview of the 35 amazing cars and trucks that will be displayed by Toyo Tires at the 2021 SEMA Show. To learn more about the tires which help complete these builds, visit toyotires.com

 

By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
As another intense, competitive season winds down for the Grand Touring (GT) classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, anticipation is soaring for the new direction the classes will take in 2022.
 
Starting next season, the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class succeeds GT Le Mans (GTLM) as the top level of WeatherTech Championship GT racing, featuring primarily factory-supported efforts. The GT Daytona (GTD) class will remain in its current form, using customer teams and requiring a driver rated at the Bronze or Silver level to be paired with a higher-rated professional.
 
The biggest change is that GTD PRO and GTD cars will share a common FIA GT3 specification that allows the cars to compete globally, including at the 24 Hours of Le Mans starting in 2024. In IMSA, the classes will use the same, data-driven Balance of Performance (BoP) process, though the BoP for each class will be independently managed.
 
Manufacturers currently competing in IMSA’s GT classes are overwhelmingly excited for what the future holds.
 
“It could be one of the big milestones in motorsport history that IMSA and ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) are working together and sharing the same cars and specs and platforms,” said Volker Holzmeyer, who assumes the CEO role at Porsche Motorsport North America in January 2022. “In addition to that, it was presented during Le Mans that the GT3 cars are going to be eligible in ’24 at Le Mans somehow.
 
“I think that’s all the direction to bring more standardization to motorsport in general. The (manufacturers and teams) who have the cars can join multiple series and events throughout the whole world, so this is a great new era I’m stepping into. I’m looking forward to it.”
 
Giorgio Sanna, Head of Lamborghini Motorsport which, like Porsche, is part of the Volkswagen Group, echoed Holzmeyer’s sentiments.
 
“We are satisfied about the introduction of this new category … mainly to the fact that we have a single GT class instead to have two classes like the GTD and GTLM as we have seen in the last, say, 10 years,” Sanna said. “We have seen the homologation from the ACO regarding the introduction of the GT3 category in Le Mans in 2024, so we are happy to explore this new opportunity to have a single class directly in America starting from next year. I strongly believe this is the future in the GT category.”
 
The ability to enter the same GT3-spec car in both WeatherTech Championship classes is enticing to manufacturers. Holzmeyer said he expects to see Porsches in GTD PRO and GTD, as has been the case with GTLM and GTD. Mike Krack, Head of BMW M Motorsport, believes there will be a BMW factory team in GTD PRO – BMW Team RLL is the frontrunner since the two have partnered since 2009 – as well as continuing customer efforts in GTD.
 
Corvette Racing, a pillar of IMSA GT racing for more than two decades, has yet to commit to a 2022 program publicly, though Mark Stielow, Director of Motorsport Competition Engineering for GM Racing, confirmed earlier this year that “we’ve been working on a conversion package” for the Corvette C8.R that’s on the verge of capturing its second straight GTLM championship.
 
Acura currently competes in GTD, but Lee Niffenegger, GT3 Program Manager for Honda Performance Development, said the group is receptive to adding a GTD PRO customer program in ’22 when it unveils the next generation of its GT3 car.
 
“While HPD is not actively pursuing a GTD PRO effort for the Acura NSX GT3 EVO22,” Niffenegger said, “HPD will provide any teams in the category with the same high-level support we always have to the rest of our GTD teams.”
 
Only one team has formally confirmed thus far to GTD PRO for 2022. Vasser Sullivan Racing, which has fielded a pair of Lexus RC F GT3 entries in GTD since 2019, will split the cars next year – one each in GTD PRO and GTD.
 
“We have a car that wasn’t designed from the ground up as a GT3,” Jeff Bal, Lexus Motorsports Manager, said. “The team has been able to find ways to make it competitive at the GTD level, (but) GTD PRO was a question for us. Once IMSA provided what the rules would look like and the regulation with BoP, then we realized we have a shot to compete because the car can compete at the GTD level and we think probably with GTD PRO. … We’re excited about it.
 
“It aligns closely with the rest of the global series,” Bal added, “and I think with the upward trajectory of where IMSA and sports car racing is going here in America, there’s nothing but upward potential for that. We hate to see the GTLM class go away, but we’re more excited to see even more entrants coming in the GTD PRO class next year. It all points toward win-win.”

When the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli returns to Circuit of The Americas for its 2021 season finale on Nov. 5-7 with the Austin SpeedTour for the Heacock Classic, the visit will be only two weeks after the Formula 1  Aramco United States Grand Prix.

Over the years, Trans Am has been a frequent competitor at tracks used by Formula 1 – in both the United States, Canada and Mexico. The series raced at all 10 American venues used for F1 races, in addition to all three Canadian circuits to host F1, and the long-time host of the Mexican GP.

CoTA will be Trans Am’s third race this season at a circuit with Grand Prix heritage. The 2021 season (as well as Trans Am’s history) opened at Sebring, which hosted the first U.S. Grand Prix in 1959, and also competed at Watkins Glen, whose proud legacy includes 20 F1 races from 1961 through 1980.

The tradition goes all the way back to the beginning of Trans Am, when F1 tracks sandwiched the inaugural 1966 season. Fittingly, the campaign opened at Sebring, and ended seven races later in Riverside, Calif., scene of the second U.S. GP in 1960. Watkins Glen first hosted Trans Am in 1968, a year when the series also competed at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in St. Jovite – host of the Canadian Grand Prix in 1968 and 1970. (VIDEO: Throwback Race ft. Mario Andretti- Trans Am at Sebring 1970 - YouTube)

Mosport (now known as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) held its first Trans Am in 1976. That challenging circuit held F1 races eight times, beginning in 1967. (VIDEO: Upset at Mosport in Final Moments of 1994 Trans Am Classic (Full Race) - YouTube)

Montreal began hosting the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Ile Notre Dame in 1978, which was renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1982. Trans Am raced at that circuit in 2005, two months after the F1 event.

In 1978, the Trans Am season ended in Mexico City’s Magdalena Mixhuca circuit – later named in honor of fallen Mexican stars Rodrigo and Pedro Rodriguez (Hermanos Rodriguez). That circuit hosted F1 from 1963 through 1970, 1986-92, and returned in 2015.

Las Vegas hosted F1 in 1981 and 1982 on a temporary track located at Caesars Palace. CART took over the race in 1983, with Willy T. Ribbs winning Saturday’s Trans Am and Mario Andretti the CART winner the following day.

Trans Am partnered with F1 for the first time in 1984, running in the streets of Detroit as the Saturday warm-up for the U.S. Grand Prix – a position it held through the final GP in 1988. (VIDEO: The Trans Am Series at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix - YouTube)

Dallas hosted both F1 and Trans Am at Dallas Fair Park. The 1984 GP was run in 100-degree heat on a crumbling track, remembered by an exhausted Nigel Mansell collapsing while attempting to push his car to the finish line. Trans Am raced at the venue in 1988, won by Hurley Haywood in an Audi on a 1.3-mile circuit that used portions of the GP track. These were the lone races held at that circuit.

In 1990, Trans Am opened its 25th season on the streets of Phoenix, serving as the Saturday race for the Formula 1 Iceberg USA Grand Prix. Robert Lappalainen won the 250th Trans Am race, running the circuit used by F1 from 1989 through 1991. 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway took its turn as host of the U.S. Grand Prix from 2000 through 2007. Trans Am competed at the Brickyard three times, from 2017 through 2019. Ernie Francis Jr. won the opening two races, with Chris Dyson victorious in 2019. (VIDEO: The Trans Am Series - Full Race - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - YouTube)

Formula 1 returned to the United States in 2012 at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas, competing there annually since then with the exception of the 2020 pandemic. Trans Am first raced at CoTA in 2015, one month after the inaugural F1 race, with Amy Ruman (TA), Adam Andretti (TA2) and Ernie Francis Jr. (TA3 American Muscle) winning races. CoTA has returned to the Trans Am calendar annually since then.

Live Timing and Scoring for Heacock Classic for Trans Am will be available at www.GoTransAm.com/LiveTiming

Andretti Formula E announced today that blockchain leader Avalanche has partnered with the team to serve as the title sponsor ahead of Andretti’s eighth season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. The multi-year agreement marks the first title sponsorship from a blockchain company with a Formula E team and features a natural alignment between organizations committed to sustainability. To further the innovative nature of the partnership, Andretti has access to the native token of Avalanche, AVAX, in addition to the traditional US Dollar payment, to finance the sponsorship.
 
“As a founding team of Formula E, we believe in the mission and future of the Series and are excited to be bringing an innovative partner like Avalanche on board,” said Avalanche Andretti Formula E head Michael Andretti. “I think racing the Formula E series with us is an ideal place for blockchain and the work Avalanche has done to create a fast and sustainable solution makes it a perfect fit for us. Not only do we share in the goal of winning on the track, but we also share in the belief that blockchain technology can make a positive impact on the world of motorsport. This opens opportunities for new ways to engage with fans, and a chance to introduce state-of-the-art technology into various areas of the team. We’re excited to see where this partnership will go.”  
 
Avalanche is the fastest smart contracts platform in the blockchain industry, as measured by time-to-finality. It is blazingly fast, low cost, and eco-friendly. Since launching in September 2020, Avalanche has become a leader in decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens, with leaders like Topps migrating their digital collectibles efforts to the platform. 
 
“Andretti and Avalanche are all proving that you don’t have to sacrifice high-powered performance when choosing to be eco-friendly,” says John Wu, President of Ava Labs, parent company to Avalanche. “We all have a responsibility to combat the climate crisis, and this partnership aligns pioneers leading the charge in their respective industries.”
 
First conceived in 2011, Formula E is the leading global championship for electric motorsports and is the first, and only, sport to be certified net zero carbon footprint from inception. The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship brings dramatic racing to the heart of some of the world’s most iconic cities providing an elite motorsport platform for the world’s leading automotive manufacturers to accelerate vehicle innovation. In seven seasons of Formula E competition, including time spent as a BMW works team, Andretti has secured eight pole positions, 17 podiums and seven ABB FIA Formula E wins. 
 
“I am very pleased to welcome Avalanche to the Andretti Formula E family as the team’s new title partner,” said Team Principal Roger Griffiths. “From the outset, the energy and enthusiasm shown by the Ava Labs team has matched our own. Their ideas and creativity around the partnership demonstrates the kind of thinking they have put into their blockchain technology development that sees them as leaders in this field. We hope to match that with our own success by being leaders on the racetrack as well! We are all very excited about the first running of the Avalanche Andretti Formula E cars at the Valencia pre-season test in just a few weeks’ time.” 
 
Formula E just completed a record-breaking year for its global audience, increasing its cumulative audience to 316M viewers – a 32% year-on-year growth. It is rapidly expanding in key markets, where the championship has found clear demand for electric racing in cities from fans and media partners alike. Season 8 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will kick off on January 28 with the Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia. The newly named Avalanche Andretti Formula E team will contest two full-season entries, utilizing the BMW Racing eDrive03 drivetrain, with two-time Formula E race winner Jake Dennis returning to pilot the No. 27 entry. The driver of the No. 28 Avalanche Andretti Formula E entry will be named in the coming weeks.

 Medallia, Inc. (NYSE: MDLA), the global leader in customer and employee experience, and McLaren Racing today announced a partnership establishing Medallia as the Official Feedback Partner for the 2022 Formula 1 season.

 

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with Medallia ahead of the US Grand Prix. This partnership brings a high level of expertise to our fan and people experience at McLaren Racing. Our fans and people are two vital pieces of our team and having a partner that can assist in continuing to refine these experiences will continue to improve performance, recruitment, and retention,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.

 

As Official Feedback Partner, Medallia brings its expertise in capturing customer and employee signals to McLaren Racing. Launching this week at the US Grand Prix, Medallia will provide McLaren with a suite of solutions to capture feedback from fans and team members.

 

“McLaren has pushed the boundaries of racing and technology since 1963,” said Medallia president and CEO Leslie Stretch. “We are proud to support the team as the official feedback partner of McLaren Racing and to help them capture insights and deliver world-class racing experiences.”

 

Medallia’s award-winning SaaS platform, the Medallia Experience Cloud, leads the market in the understanding and management of experience for customers and employees. Medallia captures experience signals created on daily interactions in person, with call centers, digital channels, over video and social media, and even IoT interactions, applying proprietary AI technology to reveal personalized and predictive insights that can drive action with tremendous business results.

 

The Medallia brand will be represented on the chassis top of the McLaren MCL35M race cars for the US GP, and then on the rear wing of the race car and pit crew helmets from the 2022 season. For information on the Medallia and McLaren sponsorship, visit: https://www.medallia.com/sponsorships/.

 

For more information on Medallia solutions for customer and employee experience, visit: www.medallia.com.

Epicor, a global leader of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, and Scuderia AlphaTauri today announced that Epicor has been named the Team’s Official ERP Partner. The multi-year agreement builds on an already successful long-term technology relationship and solidifies Epicor as the powerful driver behind Scuderia AlphaTauri’s operations, enabling the team to focus on continuous performance improvements, both on and off the track.

 

“In our data-driven world, there is no offseason. The demand for high quality data and intelligence across every aspect of our business and racing operations is paramount.” said Franz Tost, Team Principal of Scuderia AlphaTauri. “Epicor is at the center of everything we do, and this technology partnership makes perfect sense for us. We’re able to quickly deliver the right information to the right people at the right time, which gives us a competitive edge. We are looking forward to go racing with Epicor for many years to come and achieve always greater results.”

 

In a racing environment where success is measured in milliseconds, real-time performance data and attention to every detail is critical. The Epicor Kinetic industry productivity platform for manufacturers enables Scuderia AlphaTauri to centrally manage all processes and data across its operation, optimizing every aspect of the team’s production, inventory, component testing, and financials with greater speed, accuracy and organizational visibility. 

 

“F1 demands a commitment to excellence, something in which the Epicor and Scuderia AlphaTauri teams align,” said Paul Stoddart, Epicor CMO. “Epicor is excited to be an essential partner enabling the team’s constant drive for performance, something we strive every day to deliver for all of the makers, movers and sellers we serve worldwide.”

 

Just one racing car is made up of more than 14,000 precision components. Many of those parts are custom-made onsite by technical designers and engineers. Historically, managing production of each unique part, understanding lifespan, and ensuring the right parts were ready for race day proved challenging with older, siloed software systems and manual processes.

 

Today, with Kinetic, Scuderia AlphaTauri can automatically render an entire schematic structure of its racing cars and every part, all serial-tracked, and store a snapshot of that structure coded to a specific race. During component production, Kinetic automates the job creation process for each part, minimizing data entry and speeding productivity. The team also has granular visibility into which machine, operator, and tools were used to manufacture each part, helping develop cost-analysis models that inform make-or-buy decisions, as well as quickly correcting any production issues before getting to the track. 

 

During testing, Scuderia AlphaTauri overlays all telemetry data collected on the track from the more than 900 sensors onboard each racing car, providing a precise and accurate view into individual part performance, when each part is installed or replaced, and predictive analytics. The team can also automatically “unwind” the data to earlier snapshots of the car structure to pinpoint potential component issues and ensure a problem is not replicated.

 

The Epicor wordmark will debut on the AT02’s front wing endplates at the upcoming Grand Prix in Austin, celebrating the beginning of a long brand and technology partnership with the ERP innovator.

 

For more detail on how Scuderia AlphaTauri benefits with Epicor, please visit our website.

 

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