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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

INDYCAR Announces Rulebook Updates

The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook was released to teams December 19th with a few changes from the 2015 guidelines. Some of the changes as outlined by the INDYCAR release:

Aero Kits 
-INDYCAR has also established in the rulebook the aerodynamic bodywork parameters for each of the five ovals on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.  The aero specifications for each oval include:
-Phoenix International Raceway, which will see a 2016 return of Indy car racing for the first time in 11 years, will run the same aero configuration as used at Iowa Speedway in 2015;
-Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway will run the same aero configuration as in 2015, with the addition of rear wheel guard infills that were implemented at Texas Motor Speedway in 2015, as well as a domed skid plate underneath the car and rear wing beam flaps. The skid plate and beam flaps were announced Nov. 24 as part of INDYCAR’s continuously evolving safety enhancements.
-Texas Motor Speedway’s aero configuration, which included the rear wheel guard infills in 2015, will add the domed skid plate and rear wing beam flaps in 2016, plus see a slight increase in available downforce.
-Iowa Speedway will see a slight reduction in available downforce due to a reduction in rear wing angle.
Indianapolis 500 Qualifying
-Under the updated regulations, the provisional field of 33 cars for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will be set on the first day of qualifications at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on May 21, 2016. This means that any traditional “bumping” of cars from the field of 33 will take place on the first day of qualifying.
-Procedures for the second day of 2016 qualifying, scheduled for May 22, will see race starting positions among the 33 provisional qualifiers finalized. 
Awarded Points 
-Race finish points awarded for the 2016 Indianapolis 500 and the season finale at Sonoma Raceway will again be worth double the normal race finish points, with first place at Indianapolis and Sonoma netting 100 driver and entrant championship points, second place 80 points and down to 10 points for 33rd finishing position.
-Allocation of championship points for Indianapolis 500 qualifying will be awarded based on final-day qualifying, with the Verizon P1 Award pole winner receiving 42 points, second fastest earning 40 and descending to the 33rd-fastest qualifier getting one point. 
Other Updates 
-The Indianapolis 500 rookie orientation test has changed its three phases for new drivers to be approved for competition. The phases for 2016 are: 10 laps at 210-215 mph, followed by 15 laps at 215-220 mph and 15 laps at 220-plus mph. Each phase sees an increase of 5 mph from 2015.
-Turbocharger boost pressure for the Chevrolet and Honda twin-turbocharged, 2.2-liter V-6 engines when push-to-pass overtake assist is engaged on road and street courses will increase from 160 to 165 kilopascals (kPa), yielding approximately 20 added horsepower. INDYCAR announced this change Dec. 15.
-Both engine manufacturers will use a uniform Sunoco E85R fuel in 2016, with the removal of an additive (HiTEC 6590) previously allowed for Chevrolet.
-The minimum car weight has been increased to accommodate for safety enhancements including the Suspension Wheel/Wing Energy Management System (SWEMS) additional bodywork component tethers announced Nov. 24. The car weights will increase 10 pounds to 1,610 pounds on road and street courses and short ovals, and to 1,580 pounds on superspeedways.
-The pit speed limit at all ovals will be 50 mph, another safety initiative. In 2015, the limit on superspeedways was 60 mph.
-A rules clarification stipulates that all cars using the Honda aero kit must include the chassis center line wicker. Cars using the Chevrolet or stock Dallara aero kit may not include the chassis center line wicker.
-During race weekends that include a promoter test day, teams are permitted to carry over one used set of tires from the promoter day to the next practice session of the weekend, but must return the set after that session.

In addition to the rulebook updates, INDYCAR has announced that the turbocharge push-to-pass boost will be increased from 160kPa to 165kPA in 2016. The jump is expected to give drivers an extra 20 horsepower.

"These updates are part of continued open development in the manufacturer competition between Chevrolet and Honda," said INDYCAR Director of Engine Development, Marvin Riley, "but are also needed for performance and durability when you increase the peak power of an engine."

Friday, December 18, 2015

INDYCAR Unveils New Logo


INDYCAR unveiled Friday a newly updated Verizon IndyCar Series logo, as seen above.

"We're excited to introduce the new Verizon IndyCar Series logo. Aesthetically, the new design is clean and highlights the Verizon checkmark - the universal sign of getting things done," said CJ O'Donnell, Chief Marketing Officer of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "This is appropriate for two brands with lofty aspirations for what will be a legendary 2016 season."

The logo change was influinced by Verizon, the series title sponsor, recently making branding changes of their own. In the fall, Verizon ditched their old logo dating back to 2000 to a look described by their communication team as "a cleaner, more human design and the checkmark, the universal symbol for getting things done, uniquely expresses the reliability of Verizon."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Aleshin signs with Schmidt Peterson for 2016

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced Wednesday morning the signing of Mikhail Aleshin to the team's 2nd full-time entry in 2016. Aleshin will run the No. 7 entry alongside teammate James Hinchcliffe.

Aleshin ran the full-season with SPM in 2014 with some success as a rookie. The 28-year-old and his backers didn't return in 2015 full-time due to funding issues, but did compete in a 3rd Schmidt Peterson car at the season finale in Sonoma where he finished 10th.

"I'm very happy about the agreement between Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and the SMP Racing Russian driver development program," said Aleshin. "I had an unbelievable experience with IndyCar in 2014 and I can't wait to be back in this great series. I'm very motivated and one hundred percent ready to win."

Aleshin has fully recovered from the horrific crash to conclude the 2014 season at Auto Club Speedway. The incident left the Russian with a concussion, chest injuries, fractured ribs and a broken clavicle.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Brabham Lands '500' Ride

Grandson of Sir Jack Brabham and son of Geoff, Indy Lights veteran Matt Brabham has been announced to run in May's Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Backed by Brett “Crusher” Murray and PIRTEK, an International fluid transfer solution specialists, Brabham will run the No. 61 PIRTEK Team Murray entry.