Racing News (9505)
Racing News from around the World
Following a dominant 2018 season, where the Indian FTR750 won 17 of the 18 American Flat Track (AFT) races, Indian Motorcycle Racing today announced its 2019 AFT factory race team. Along with the return of reigning Champion Jared Mees, Indian Motorcycle Racing welcomes Briar Bauman and Bronson Bauman to its 2019 Wrecking Crew. Additionally, former Wrecking Crew rider Brad “The Bullet” Baker returns to the team as technical advisor and rider coach.
After back-to-back AFT championships in 2017 and 2018, Mees returns to the 2019 Indian Wrecking Crew with Crew Chief Kenny Tolbert, Mechanic Bubba Bently and Jimmy Wood on suspension. Dick Tibbits also returns and will aid all three Wrecking Crew riders with nutrition, fitness, and mental preparation. Team operations for Briar and Bronson will be conducted by Paul Langley and S&S, while Dave Zanotti will serve as crew chief. Michelle DiSalvo has signed on as Briar’s mechanic, while Bronson’s mechanic will be named at a later date. Indian Motorcycle Racing also welcomes the return of Dean Young as Wrecking Crew team manager.
“We’re excited to bring back Jared, and his championship pedigree, as we embark on the next chapter for Indian Motorcycle Racing. We welcome Briar and Bronson and are proud to have them represent our brand on and off the track,” said Gary Gray, Vice President – Racing, Technology & Service for Indian Motorcycle. “When it comes to racing, we’ve assembled some of the most talented professionals in the sport, and we’re looking forward to the upcoming season.”
One of the key team members who will assume a leading role as a technical advisor and rider coach is Brad “The Bullet” Baker. Indian Motorcycle Racing is extremely proud to continue its relationship with the former AFT Champion and Wrecking Crew rider. Baker will closely support and mentor Briar and Bronson throughout the 2019 season by analyzing their on-track performance, help with race-day strategy and bike setup. Baker brings a championship-winning perspective and a wealth of knowledge and experience on the FTR750.
The 2019 AFT season will be challenging for the Indian Wrecking Crew due to a new rule designed to increase competition. This new rule will allow competitors using ‘production bikes’ to run 40mm throttle bodies while all FTR750 riders will be restricted to 38mm throttle bodies.
Over the last two seasons aboard the Indian FTR750, Mees has recorded back-to-back AFT championships and has tallied 20 total wins. Through nine races aboard the FTR750 as a privateer, Briar secured six top-five finishes, including a second-place finish at the Peoria TT and a win at the Williams Grove Half-Mile. Following Baker’s injury at X Games, Bronson filled in and ran his factory FTR750 in the final seven races. During that time, Bronson garnered his first top-five finish of the season and his first career Twins podium with a second-place finish at the Williams Grove Half-Mile.
The 2017 Wrecking Crew swept the season standings, finishing first, second and third. The team earned Indian Motorcycle Racing’s first Manufacturer’s Championship. In 2018, Wrecking Crew riders and FTR750 privateers swept the top nine positions in the final standings, securing another Manufacturer’s Championship for Indian Motorcycle Racing.
Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso and former Formula One and current FIA World Endurance Championship regular Kamui Kobayashi will join full-time co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R for the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona, the 2019 season opener for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Jan. 26-27 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
It will be the second consecutive Rolex 24 appearance for the 37-year-old Alonso and his first event of any kind since embarking on a sabbatical from full-time F1 competition after the 2018 season finale last weekend in Abu Dhabi. It was his 17th F1 season, the last four of which were spent with McLaren.
Kobayashi, the 32-year-old from Japan, is in his third season with Toyota Gazoo Racing and currently co-drives the team’s No. 7 entry, which is second in the superseason standings after runner-up finishes at this season’s rounds at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans, followed by victories at Fuji Speedway and Shanghai International Circuit.
“First, I have to thank Konica Minolta for yet again supporting WTR, and that I am extremely excited to have added Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi as teammates for Jordan and Renger at Daytona,” said team owner Wayne Taylor, who in 2017 added four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon to his Rolex 24 lineup that won that year’s twice-around-the-clock endurance marathon and went on to earn the series championship. “Both Fernando and Kamui are the cream of the crop of world-class driving talent, not only in F1 but as current sportscar drivers. It’s taken a long time to put this all together and I’d like to thank everybody who made it all happen. Fernando drove at Daytona last year, and it’ll be the first time at the 24-hour for Kamui, who is a superstar driver who will figure it out quickly. We have plans to integrate both drivers into our program very efficiently and successfully. I’m absolutely ecstatic that we have been able to make this happen, and I can’t wait to get to Daytona.”
Alonso’s first career Rolex 24 took place this past season with the United Autosport LMP2-car effort, which resulted in a 13th-place finish due to mechanical issues. The Spanish driver, who owns 32 career F1 victories and back-to-back world championships in 2005 and 2006, has enjoyed recent success in the WEC. His No. 8 Toyota Gazoo Racing team leads the WEC 2018-19 superseason standings after back-to-back victories at Spa-Francorchamps and his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut, followed by consecutive runner-up finishes at Fuji and Shanghai earlier this month.
“I am very happy about joining the Konica Minolta Cadillac team and Wayne Taylor Racing to race together at the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” said Alonso, who also competed in the 2017 Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport and is slated to compete in the event again in 2019 with McLaren. “This is undoubtedly one of the greatest races in American and world motorsport. Returning to the United States is always special. The atmosphere created by the fans is unique throughout an incredible weekend. I really hope to fight for the win, as well as having fun and putting a smile on the fans’ faces. I made my debut last year both in endurance races and with these sportscar prototypes, as well as on this track. I was left wanting much more after a brake issue ended our hopes of stepping on the podium. After an intense year in which I’ve competed in both Formula One and the WEC, I’m really looking forward to 2019 and attempting to conquer one of the most important races in the world. I’m brimming with hunger and desire and I can’t wait for the first race of next season and going out on track to battle with my Konica Minolta Cadillac teammates.”
Prior to his current success in the WEC, Kobayashi was a fixture on the F1 circuit. He made his F1 debut with Toyota at the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix and followed that with a points-paying finish of sixth at that season’s final race in Abu Dhabi. He then drove for Sauber from 2010 through 2012, highlighted by a podium finish at the Japanese Grand Prix – the first F1 podium by a Japanese driver in 22 years – followed by a season with Caterham in 2014.
“First of all, I would like to thank the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team and Wayne Taylor for giving me this wonderful opportunity to race at the historic Daytona 24-hour,” Kobayashi said. “It is one of the most popular endurance races and I am so excited to have my Daytona debut with the 2017-winning team. This will also be my first race in the U.S. and I’m really looking forward to having a good race with the Konica Minolta Cadillac team.”
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team has been among the most dominating at the Rolex 24 since its inception in 2007. Prior to this past season’s disappointing 15th-place result due to recurring tire issues, the team reeled off five consecutive race-day podiums in the Rolex 24, including the 2017 victory, with a total of 963 laps led from 2013 through 2017. The team is also coming off a thrilling victory at this year’s season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, where van der Zande executed a dramatic last-lap pass that kept alive its streak of 15 consecutive seasons with at least one win.
“It is super exciting to have Fernando and Kamui joining us for Daytona,” said Jordan Taylor, who was part of the 2017 Rolex 24-winning lineup that included Gordon, Max “The Ax” Angelelli and his older brother Ricky Taylor. “I think we are bringing in two of the top drivers not just in sportscars but in the world of motorsport. Fernando is one of the most-respected and highly rated drivers of our time, and Kamui has been one of the top sportscar drivers over the past few years and the current lap-record holder at Le Mans. It is going to be great to have them join us. They have had such long, successful careers, and I’m sure there will be a lot we can learn from having them with us. We had a very strong second half to our 2018 season and finished it off with the win at the Petit Le Mans, so I can’t wait to get back to the track in Daytona and start our 2019 championship on the right foot. Daytona is a unique event but one that our team has excelled at. It’s my favorite month of the year.”
“Fernando Alonso is a living legend and Kamui is a great driver and we are fortunate to be able to attract the best talent in the world to our program,” said van der Zande, who joined the team last year and promptly qualified the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R on the Rolex 24 pole in his very first race. “It shows the level of this program and it solidifies the fact I’m in the right place, which I knew already. Looking back at last year, I think we had the package to win the championship, but two DNFs prevented that. I think we’re in a very strong position to start the new season at Daytona and there will be a lot of buzz around us. At the same time, we can learn from Fernando and Kamui. They’ve been with so many different teams, so many different cars, so many different people, and to be sharing all of that with us and integrate it into our program, that is only a benefit and, to that end, I’m very excited about it. The main goal is to win the race. That’s their goal, that’s our goal, so we’ll do everything we can together to make that happen.”
The 57th Rolex 24 will be preceded by the annual three days of Roar Before the 24 testing Jan. 4-6. New television partner NBC will provide flag-to-flag coverage of the race on its family of networks.
Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) announced today that it would present a championship points series it calls the Vintage Race of Champions (VROC) in 2019. VROC builds on the success of the SVRA Charity Pro-Am races that began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2014. Virginia International Raceway (VIR) hosted a second pro-am this past September. A new pro-am will be presented at the March 28-31 Road Atlanta weekend, making for a three-race series. Plans call for two championship trophies to be awarded – one for both an amateur and a professional racer.
All three races will benefit charity. The new Road Atlanta Charity Pro-Am will support Hope For The Warriors, a national nonprofit organization that provides assistance to combat-wounded service members, their families, and families of those killed in action. The organization focuses on those involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and their families. The SVRA race weekend will run during their Month of the Military Child.
“Hope For The Warriors is proud to recognize the service and sacrifice of military children,” said Robin Kelleher, CEO. “Alongside SVRA and their VROC Charity Pro-Am Race, we will celebrate their warrior spirit and open our Drive for Hope program to benefit our youngest heroes during the Month of the Military Child.”
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Brickyard Invitational Charity Pro-Am will benefit the Morgan Adams Foundation. The Morgan Adams Foundation supports laboratory and clinical research in the area of pediatric cancer, with an emphasis on tumors on the brain, spine, and central nervous system. The Brickyard Invitational will be presented on a new date in 2019 – August 1 through 4.
“We are new to the SVRA family and very appreciative of their support,” said Morgan Adams Foundation Founder and Executive Director Joan Slaughter. “For us to partner with Tony Parella and everyone at SVRA is a wonderful opportunity to benefit children and young adults fighting cancer.”
The VIR event will benefit IGNITE – the Autism Society of North Carolina’s community center for young adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome. IGNITE was founded by The Evernham Family Racing for a Reason Foundation – a nonprofit established by legendary NASCAR crew chief Ray Evernham and his family. Evernham, with professional co-driver Boris Said, won the VIR race in 2018.
“All of us at the Evernham Family Racing for a Reason Foundation appreciate the hard work, generosity and professionalism of Tony and his team,” said Evernham. “The races are great fun for everyone involved and the fundraising has done much for the important work of IGNITE.”
“The pro-am races have not only been a great benefit to charity, but they have proven to be a hit with fans,” said SVRA CEO Tony Parella. “They get unprecedented access to their heroes from IndyCar, NASCAR, Trans Am, IMSA, and short track racing, many of which have become frequent competitors in our races beyond the pro-am events.”
SVRA officials have set a goal of expanding the VROC series to five races with a television package and entitlement sponsor by 2020. Many of the professionals who have competed are veterans of the old International Race of Champions (IROC) series. All have been champions at some point in their careers. Al Unser, Jr., Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner, Paul Tracy, Willy T. Ribbs, and Jimmy Vasser are among the legends who have participated in previous years. Once again, the cars they will race are 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs of SVRA “Group 6” A and B Production.
Fred and Cindi Lux
|Ken Finch poses with his first place trophy at Monticello Motor Club. (C/O Victor Newman)|
|Gary Jensen alongside Mark Jensen, Jordan Taylor and crew members pose next to their car.|
Jensen's 996 that he sold and then repurchased from the trade he made when sourcing funding for his Rolex-24 bid.
Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, continues to enhance its rider experience with the announcement of an all-new Ride Command® mobile phone app and software update. Ride Command is the largest, fastest, most customizable system on two wheels, featuring an industry-leading, glove-compatible, seven-inch touchscreen. Its latest software updates allow riders to easily plan ride routes via a desktop platform, while an all-new Ride Command mobile app wirelessly transfers the directions to the bike’s navigation system and provides remote accessibility to key vehicle information.
Owners can update their Ride Command by visiting a local dealership or by quickly downloading the software to a USB drive at RideCommand.IndianMotorcycle.com. The website also serves as the platform for riders to plan ride routes with up to 100 waypoints. The point-by-point directions can then be wirelessly transferred to the bike using the Ride Command mobile app and a Bluetooth® connection to the infotainment system. The pairing of these new technologies allows riders to view vehicle data, including fuel level, oil life, tire pressure & battery charge remotely on their mobile device. Riders can also track rides, view service recommendations and log maintenance within the mobile app. The Ride Command mobile app can be downloaded for free in the Apple Store and Google Play.
“We continually focus on enhancing the rider experience,” said Reid Wilson, Senior Director for Indian Motorcycle. “Our industry-leading Ride Command infotainment system is an easy-to-use platform that enables us to continually expand features with exciting new software updates. Pre-ride route planning and remote vehicle data accessibility are features our riders have asked for, and we’re excited to deliver these technologies.”
Riders can set push notifications within the Ride Command mobile app and receive alerts for important service reminders. The app also tracks rides and allows riders to conveniently share completed or planned rides with friends on Facebook.
Riders can further update their Ride Command by downloading the free 2018 map updates at the Ride Command website or via a local dealer. New Chieftain and Roadmaster owners receive three years of complementary map updates.
The new Ride Command updates further expand Indian Motorcycle’s ride-enhancing technologies announced earlier this year, as the 2019 Chieftain lineup and the 2019 Roadmaster are equipped with three selectable ride modes and rear cylinder deactivation for improved rider comfort when traveling at slower speeds. Pricing for the 2019 models begin at $21,999 for the Chieftain, $24,999 for the Chieftain Classic, and $25,999 for the Chieftain Dark Horse and Chieftain Limited. Roadmaster pricing starts at $28,999.