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  1. Out Now: IndyCar Season Preview Special Issue

    PastedGraphic 1For the third year in succession the Verizon IndyCar Series has partnered with RACER to produce a 68-page season preview issue. Bundled with with Spring Season Preview issue, the 2017 IndyCar Season Preview Special Issue looks ahead with driver profiles, race previews and a myriad of features that will give IndyCar fans great cause to look forward to the season ahead.

    "As is customary with the Verizon IndyCar Season Preview Special Issue, we take our deadline right down to the wire to make sure that every detail is as current as possible," said Laurence Foster, RACER's editor-in-chief. "Once again this year, we had a team on the ground at the pre-season test in Phoenix capturing the latest photos and stories, in addition to other features that we've been working on through the offseason."

    Included in this year's edition:

    • A look at what the competition faces in 2017, which we expect will demand near perfection from drivers and teams if they are to claim the Vanderbilt Cup in Sonoma.
    • Simon Pagenaud will be a man on a mission to defend his title crown as he confesses it's his only focus.
    • The time has come for the next wave of young guns like Josef Newgarden to make their mark.
    • The Greatest Spectacle in Racing begins its next century with 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. What does the future hold?
    • Raiders of the Lost Arch! We welcome St. Louis' Gateway oval back to the IndyCar schedule.
    • There's a legend in the making as Scott Dixon is on the cusp of passing Michael Andretti to become the third-winningest IndyCar driver in history.
    • Meet all of the drivers who are aiming to keep Pagenaud from making it two championships in a row.
    • We learn what it's like to spend 39 seconds within an inch of your life when lapping the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 230mph.
    • Finally, we survey the Mazda Road to Indy field in search of who will be next to break into the Verizon IndyCar ranks.

    The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Season Preview Special Issue was produced by RACER magazine and the RACER Studio. Along with the 2017 Season Preview issue, it is landing in mailboxes now, and will soon be available at many Barnes & Nobles stores. To get your issue, subscribe to RACER today.

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    Click on the thumbnails below for a larger taste of what you can find in the Verizon IndyCar Season Preview Special Issue.

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    25th Ann Sale 660x90 03 17

  2. Skip Barber Racing School announces 2017 Championship Series schedule

    Skip BarberSkip Barber Racing School is excited to announce the upcoming schedule for the 2017 Championship Series. The 2017 Skip Barber Racing School Championship Series will launch in May at Carolina Motorsports Park and conclude in October at Palm Beach International Raceway. The Series will travel to a total of six iconic tracks and allow competitors to test their skill in either the Formula Skip Barber or MAZDASPEED MX5 Cars. As the Gateway to Motorsports for both aspiring professionals and enthusiastic amateurs, Skip Barber Racing School will continue to offer unparalled opportunities for racing scholarships and awards. As a result, the upcoming 2017 season promises to be the most thrilling yet as Formula racers vy for the most lucrative purse of the series – a $100,000 scholarship match.

    There is no better value proposition in motorsports!

    • More Races Per Weekend
    • The Best Awards in grass roots motorsports
    • Showcase your talents on the largest stage available to aspiring professionals.

    2017 Championship Series Schedule (Formula and MX5 Cars)

    • Carolina Motorsports Park - Season Opener - Rounds 1, 2 & 3 May 25 – 28, 2017 (Formula and MX5 Cars)
    • Pittsburgh International Race Complex - Rounds 4, 5 & 6 June 22 – 25, 2017 (Formula and MX5 Cars)
    • Road America - Rounds 7, 8 & 9July 24 – 27, 2017 (Formula and MX5 Cars)
    • National Corvette Museum - Rounds 10, 11 & 12 August 17 – 20, 2017 (Formula and MX5 Cars)
    • Autobahn Country Club - Rounds 13, 14 & 15 September 11 – 13, 2017 (Formula Cars ONLY)
    • Palm Beach International Raceway - FINALE - Rounds 16, 17 & 18 October 5 – 8, 2017 (Formula and MX5 Cars)

    "We want to continue Skip Barber Racing School's tradition of creating champions," said Chief Executive Officer Michael Culver, "and this Championship Series season will be more competitive than ever. Racers will need to be consistent, dedicated and determined to win the $100,000 scholarship match."

    With its time-tested "Arrive and Drive" format – ensuring that every racer has access to the same equipment regardless of their ability to spend – Skip Barber Racing School is the purest form of racing. World class instruction at renowned tracks set the stage for an action packed season of racing. If you want to get back in the seat of a race car, this is the season to do it!

    Competitors in the Formula Skip Barber Cars will benefit from the following:

    • 6 Race Weekends, 6 Iconic Track Locations
    • Only $5,995 per weekend
    • Each Weekend - 3 Races, 2 Practice Sessions and 1 Qualifying Session
    • Drop 2 lowest race results

    Competitors in the MAZDASPEED MX5 Cup Cars will have a full season consisting of the following:

    • 5 Race Weekends, 5 Iconic Track Locations
    • only $5,995 per weekend
    • Each Weekend - 3 Races, 2 Practice Sessions and 1 Qualifying Session
    • Drop 2 lowest race results


    Overall Prizes – Formula

    • First place: $100,000 Scholarship - matching dollar/ dollar
    • Second place: $15,000 SBRS Credits
    • Third place: $10,000 SBRS Credits
    • Most improved: $5,000 SBRS Credits
    • Rookie of the year: 5,000 SBRS Credits

    Formula Masters (End of Year)

    • First place: $12,500 SBRS Credits
    • Second place: $7,500 SBRS Credits
    • Third place: $5,000 SBRS Credits

    Overall MAZDASPEED MX-5 Prizes

    • First place: $15,000 SBRS Credits
    • Second place: $10,000 SBRS Credits
    • Third place: $7,500 SBRS Credits
    • Master winner: $3,000 SBRS Credits
    • Most improved: $3,000 SBRS Credits
    • Rookie of the year: $3,000 SBRS Credits

    About the Skip Barber Racing School

    Since 1975, Skip Barber Racing School operates a fully integrated system of racing schools, driving schools, racing championships, corporate events and special projects across North America. No other organization delivers such a combination of high quality instruction, equipment, facilities and memorable experiences. Skip Barber Racing School is the leader in training motorsport legends of the future through entry-level, equal car championships. The athletes are given media exposure, expert coaching, on-track arrive-and-drive experience, financial awards and motorsport scholarships. Skip Barber Racing School launched the auto racing careers of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sergio Perez, Gabby Chavez, Josef Newgarden, Juan Pablo Montoya, Marco Andretti, Scott Speed, Raphael Matos, John Edwards, Conor Daly, Spencer Pigot and many more.

  3. Spencer Pigot: My 2016 Mazda story

    Pigot with Bomarito 1024x683Spencer Pigot pictured center, above, with Mazda Prototype team members.

    2016 was a very special year for me as I was able to compete in races I had always dreamed about. My season actually started back in September of 2015 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where I won the 2015 Indy Lights championship along with a $1,000,000 scholarship from Mazda to move up to the Verizon IndyCar Series.

    The scholarship included three races in IndyCar, with one of them being the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, the one race I’ve wanted to be part of since I started racing. Before my IndyCar career got started in March, I was asked to be a part of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in the Mazda Prototype. Everything in sports car racing was new to me, but the car is a blast to drive and the racing is super intense. Being in the top class you’re always passing a slower car, there’s never a dull lap!

    From there, I completed my first ever weekend in IndyCar and my first 12 Hours of Sebring with Mazda. My season in IndyCar was very unique. I did my first three races with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Those were the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Angies’ List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indy 500. We had a few good races, including coming from 18th to 11th at the Indy GP.

     

    Read full article on MazdaMotorsports.com



  4. F1: Gutierrez signs Fernandez as manager

    Esteban Gutierrez has appointed ex-CART driver Adrian Fernandez as his manager, in a reshuffle of his team in a bid to secure a 2017 Formula 1 race seat.

    The Mexican, who failed to score a point with Haas in 2016, was replaced by Kevin Magnussen and now faces a fight to stay on the F1 grid with only Sauber and Manor having vacancies.

    Gutierrez was unhappy with the Haas team's decision to drop him and has requested feedback, with team boss Gunther Steiner understood to be planning to call his former driver this week to discuss the matter.

    The 25-year-old feels the situation could have been "managed better from both sides" and since made changes to ensure he is not left in this position again.

    Countryman Fernandez will lead Gutierrez's team with Didier Coton stepping back from that role and instead acting more as an consultant.

    "I'm working together with Adrian Fernandez," Gutierrez told Autosport. "We have always been in contact. We agreed we can work together more closely.

    "Didier has been my manager for a few years and he will still be an advisor. We are good friends, we have know each other very well for a few years now and I respect him a lot.

    "He's a good person, very straight forward and I'm very straight forward as well, so he will remain with the team, still close to us. But now the person in charge is Adrian Fernandez, he is my manager."

    When asked if he would have done anything differently on reflection, Gutierrez said: "You can always say you could do things better, it's easy to say afterwards.

    "All my commitment, all the effort was there but I probably would have done things differently externally. I have reacted very quickly to it, made some changes and now it's working much better already."

    Gutierrez added he will take more of an active role in his future, saying: "I will have more input - that is something that is fundamental."

    In the aftermath of the Haas announcement, Gutierrez said the decision was "unfair" but says he is not pointing the finger at specific people.

    "I'm not blaming anyone, but I think the situation could have been managed better," he said. "I was focusing too much on the driving and the rest wasn't really solved. By the time I looked out for that, things were not in the right place. I cannot allow myself to be in this position again."

    Originally on Autosport.com

  5. DTM: Paffett backs new cars to improve racing

    Mercedes driver Gary Paffett believes the new DTM cars for 2017 will improve the quality of racing in the series.

    The championship will introduce a new specification of machinery next year, and its three manufacturers have started testing hybrids with new parts fitted to existing cars.

    Following sessions at Oschersleben and the Algarve circuit, development is continuing this week at Jerez, alongside the DTM's traditional young driver sessions, which are headlined by Audi LMP1 refugee Loic Duval.

    After sampling Mercedes' test mule for the first time at Jerez, Paffett is encouraged by what the raft of changes could mean for the racing.

    "The changes mean a bit less downforce, but the tires will have slightly more grip," Paffett said.

    "That should make it possible to get closer to the guy in front, so racing should be that bit more exciting, and also lead to more overtaking maneuvres. It should also prove interesting as regards to strategy. The changes are definitely positive, all in all."

    Paffett handed the hybrid Mercedes over to Robert Wickens on Wednesday, while Audi has Mattias Ekstrom and Jamie Green on duty.

    "We are, of course, still at a relatively early stage of development," Paffett said. "We're driving a sort of hybrid vehicle with some new parts, but the aerodynamics package is still mainly from 2016.

    "It's a mixture of things from 2016 and 2017, but I'm happy so far. The tires feel good and will ensure plenty of exciting racing. The car feels really great overall."

    Mercedes recruit Edoardo Mortara is also at Jerez, testing for the first time since his switch from Audi.

    Originally on Autosport.com

  6. F1: Door still open for Gasly - Red Bull

    New GP2 champion Pierre Gasly could still land a Formula 1 drive in the future according to Red Bull, despite missing out on a seat for 2017.

    Gasly became the first Red Bull junior to win the GP2 crown in Abu Dhabi last weekend, but he was overlooked for a promotion to F1 as Red Bull decided to retain Daniil Kvyat alongside Carlos Sainz Jr at Toro Rosso for next year.

    The Frenchman, who was picked up by Red Bull after winning the 2013 Formula Renault Eurocup, has tested for both of its F1 teams this year, including carrying out work on Pirelli's prototype '17 tires for the senior team.

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: "Gasly has done a great job this year; it's good to see him win the GP2 championship.

    "He has done important work for us in tests and development work this year. There isn't a seat available in F1 for him at the moment, but he is the most senior member of the junior team and being retained by us because we rate him extremely highly.

    "Whatever the future holds for him, F1 can still very much be part of that future."

    Gasly's future remains in the hands of Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who runs the junior program.

    "I said to Helmut my only goal is to get into Formula 1," said Gasly. "I will always keep pushing for that, but you always need an opportunity. We will see what happens; at the moment I don't know.

    "My future is wide open, but you can be sure that I will keep pushing with everything to get into Formula 1."

    Gasly said the GP2 title race, which went down to the wire with his Prema teammate Antonio Giovinazzi, was an emotional roller coaster.

    "It means so much, because this season has been really tough, mentally and physically," he said.

    "My mother was hospitalized for three months, and I had a broken vertebra for two and a half months after Silverstone [where both were involved in a road accident traveling to the circuit].

    "There were tough times like at the Red Bull Ring, where I led the race but got stuck in the gravel, or Monza where we were first and the safety car came out and we lost the victory, or the fire extinguisher at Hockenheim [which was empty and resulted in losing third place].

    "Honestly, I could write a book about my season. So many things happened, but we never stopped fighting."

    Originally on Autosport.com

  7. F1: Raikkonen can't understand Rosberg doubters

    Ferrari Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen says he does not understand how Nico Rosberg could be considered not to deserve the world championship.

    Some have questioned whether the reliability problems that cost Rosberg's Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, points this season casts aspersions over Rosberg worthiness as world champion. But Raikkonen, who won the crown in 2007 during his first stint at Ferrari, shot down this idea.

    "He scored more points and I don't understand why he wouldn't deserve it," said Raikkonen when asked about Rosberg's title win. "They [Rosberg and Hamilton] had the same car and he came out on top, so fair play. He was better this year, as simple as that."

    Raikkonen's Ferrari teammate, Sebastian Vettel, also stressed that Rosberg did not luck in.

    "You don't win the championship by luck," said Vettel. "He's a deserved champion. You collect a lot of points through the season. Sometimes you might have fortunate situations, unfortunate situations with your car but that's the way it goes. This is Nico's day and it's a sign of respect and greatness to give him that."

    SIGNS WERE ALWAYS THERE

    Claire Williams, deputy team principal of Williams, where Rosberg raced from 2006-2009, says she always believed he could be world champion.

    She cited Rosberg setting fastest lap on his grand prix debut in Bahrain 2006, when he also scored two points for seventh place, as evidence of his speed.

    "It was pretty clear, you know there are certain drivers when they come to you are of that kind of material, and he was," said Williams. "He's done a great job. He's done everything he's needed to do to win. He probably feels it's a long time in the making, but he is a truly deserved world champion."

    Originally on Autosport.com

  8. MOTOGP: Suzuki embraces testing limit

    Suzuki MotoGP boss Davide Brivio says the manufacturer is happy to lose the concessions designed to help emerging factories after just two seasons back in the championship.

    Having left MotoGP at the end of 2011, Suzuki returned in '15 with Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales finishing 11th and 12th in the championship with best race results of sixth.

    Primarily through engine gains and the introduction of a seamless gearbox, Suzuki took a major step forward in 2016, with Vinales finishing fourth in the championship, after taking Suzuki's MotoGP first win since 2007 at Silverstone, and three other podium finishes. With those results, Suzuki scored six "concession points,"meaning it will lose the scope for unlimited testing and in-season engine development next year.

    "We are a young team, we are losing the concessions only in our second year, which means something," Brivio told Autosport. "We're happy to lose the concessions because it means we are competitive and also I like the idea to challenge the other manufacturers on the same level, with the same rules.

    "We lost concessions, good, OK, but now it's a real challenge. In reality losing concessions means we lose the possibility to develop the engine during the season and some additional testing, but additional testing with such a tight schedule – you can't do too much.

    "We only did seven days instead of [the restriction of] five in the season so it's not a big loss. We now challenge everybody at the same level."

    Under the system, three points are scored with each victory, along two for a second-place finish and one for a third.

    Only Aprilia and newcomer KTM will receive the allowances, which also includes the scope to use nine engines per rider rather than seven in each season. Ducati lost its concessions at the end of 2015, but then won a pair of races in '16, which encourages Brivio.

    "That's the game, we want to challenge the other manufacturers in MotoGP," he said. "We're happy to go under the same rules, the same conditions because we want to see what we can do, how our level is, so let's start from that."

    With Vinales joining Yamaha and Suzuki opting not to retain Aleix Espargaro – who has joined Aprilia –Brivio's outfit will field former Ducati rider Andrea Iannone and Moto2 graduate Alex Rins in 2017.

    Suzuki opted to save some of its new testing allowance during Iannone's second test with the team at Jerez last week, finishing his program in a single day.

    Originally on Autosport.com

  9. GP2: Rowland joins DAMS for test

    Renault Formula 1 junior Oliver Rowland will line up with the DAMS team for the first GP2 post-season test day at Abu Dhabi.

    The British driver ran with MP Motorsport in 2016, finishing ninth in the standings, but is set to switch to the team that ran Jolyon Palmer, Romain Grosjean and Davide Valsechhi to GP2 crowns.

    Rowland will test alongside team regular Nicholas Latifi on Wednesday.

    Runner-up in the 2016 series with Prema Racing, Antonio Giovinazzi will test with Arden International with Sean Gelael, both having worked together in lower formulae.

    There are no surprises at Prema Powerteam, running its two new drivers in GP3 champion Charles Leclerc and GP3 graduate Antonio Fuoco. GP3 runner-up Alexander Albon is joining ART Grand Prix, alongside and Nobuharu Matsushita.

    Raffaele Marciello moves from Russian Time to Trident for the opening test, with Luca Ghiotto to drive for Rapax.

    Manor F1 development driver Jordan King will test for Russian Time, having spent 2016 with Racing Engineering, alongside the continuing Artem Markelov.

    Carlin will run an all-new line-up, with newcomers Mahaveer Raghunathan and Felix Serralles, while Campos will be represented by Egor Orudzhev and Alex Palou joining.

    Sergio Sette Camara will begin his work with MP Motorsport, driving alongside Salvatore Del Plano.

    GP2 WEDNESDAY TEST LINE-UP

    ART Grand Prix: Nobuharu Matsushita, Alexander Albon
    Racing Engineering: Louis Deletraz, Gustav Malja
    DAMS: Oliver Rowland, Nicholas Latifi
    Campos Racing: Egor Orudzhev, Alex Palou
    Russian Time: Jordan King, Artem Markelov
    Rapax: Luca Ghiotto, Johnny Cecotto
    Trident: Philo Paz Armand, Raffaele Marciello
    Carlin: Mahaveer Raghunathan, Felix Serralles
    Prema Racing: Antonio Fuoco, Charles Leclerc
    MP Motorsport: Sergio Sette Camara, Salvatore Del Plano
    Arden International: Antonio Giovinazzi, Sean Gelael

    Originally on Autosport.com

  10. GP3: Aitken joins Russell at ART for test

    GP3 race winner Jack Aitken will join George Russell in a four-car ART Grand Prix entry for the series' post-season test at Abu Dhabi.

    Aitken finished fifth in the 2016 points with Arden, while Russell has been tipped for a role with the Mercedes Formula 1 team and a move from Formula 3 to GP3 with ART. The two British drivers will join regular Nirei Fukuzumi and Formula Renault Eurocup 2.0 driver Max Defourney on Wednesday.

    BRDC British F3 champion Matheus Leist will test with Arden International, alongside former Lotus F1 junior Dorian Boccolacci and Niko Kari.

    Fellow British F3 drivers Tarun Reddy and Raoul Hyman will join Koiranen GP and DAMS respectively.

    Haas F1 test driver Santino Ferrucci will also test with DAMS – having raced with the team in 2016 – along with Steijn Schothorst.

    British Formula 4 frontrunner Petru Florescu joins a three car line up at Campos Racing, while Trident bring four cars for Ryan Teeter, Guiliano Alesi, Pedro Cardoso and Arjun Mai

    GP3 WEDNESDAY TEST LINE-UP

    ART Grand Prix: Jack Aitken, Nirei Fukuzumi, Max Defourny, George Russell
    Trident: Pedro Cardoso, Ryan Tveter, Giuliano Alesi, Arjun Maini
    Arden International: Dorian Boccolacci, Niko Kari, Matheus Leist
    Koiranen GP: Tarun Reddy, Robert Shwartzman, Patricio O'Ward
    Jenzer Motorsport: Bruno Baptista, Alessio Lorandi, Marcos Siebert
    Campos Racing: Julian Falchero, Petru Florescu, Leonardo Pulcini
    DAMS: Santino Ferrucci, Raoul Hyman, Steijn Schothorst

    Originally on Autosport.com