NewsEricsson: Consistency in an IndyCar is 'biggest issue'
Firestone extends IndyCar deal through 2025
Firestone will continue as exclusive tire supplier to the NTT IndyCar Series through 2025, following a five-year partnership extension between IndyCar and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. Bridgestone has also announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Akron, OH., that will serve as the future home of Firestone race tire manufacturing.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson says that putting strong sectors together for a complete flying lap is the area where he most needs to improve his IndyCar performance.
The 28-year-old Swede turned 47 laps in the abbreviated test at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Friday, the fastest of which, his 34th, was 1.1sec off Max Chilton’s session-topping lap time. It was, however, within half a second of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate James Hinchcliffe’s best.
Unfortunately, the validity of the times remains under question due to rivals being uncertain who was experimenting with push-to-pass boost – worth approximately 0.3-0.4sec around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile course.
Honda Ridgeline Recalled Over Fuel Pump Issue
Honda is recalling 106,000 of the 2017-2019 Ridgeline pickup trucks because sulfuric acid in car-wash detergents can result in a fuel leak, which in turn raises the potential of a fire. The automaker says it will inspect the fuel pump and replace it if needed. Honda urges owners to take their truck to an authorized dealer as soon as they receive notification, which they say they will begin mailing in early March 2019. Honda says it has received no reports of fires, crashes, or injuries related to this issue. The Details Vehicles involved: 106,683 of the 2017-2019 Honda Ridgeline pickup trucks.
Ericsson was impressed with Laguna Seca following his first encounter with any American track outside of the Sebring short course, and of course the Circuit of The Americas on which he competed five times in Formula 1.
He told Motorsport.com: “I didn’t do any simulator work on this place, so it’s all new to me. And it’s fun – a proper old-school track, gravel runoff areas everywhere so you have to keep yourself in line.
“There’s lots of high-speed content in there which I enjoy. It’s a good track.”
He did, however, offer a harsh critique of his own efforts. Asked where he felt he needed to make up time, he replied: “It’s a bit of a mix.
“For me, the biggest issue is consistency. The IndyCar is tricky to drive, difficult compared with a Formula 1 car which is so planted to the ground. This car moves around a lot.
IndyCar revving up tons of momentum for 2019 season
IndyCar heads into 2019 with everything going in the right direction. The series has a new long-term sponsor in Japanese communications giant NTT. Firestone has extended its tire supplier deal for five more years. A new broadcast deal with NBC is set to launch. The driver pool keeps building talent and the series is adding a long-awaited stop in Texas and bringing back an old one in California. Veteran driver Tony Kanaan says the momentum building for the year is the best he has seen ''by a long shot.'' The 17-race IndyCar season opens on March 10 in St.
“So my biggest challenge now is to understand that and deal with that. At the moment I’m hooking up different corners well from lap to lap, but I struggle to get my best from all the corners in the same lap.
“I might get two or three corners just right and then do worse on the next two or three. Then the next lap, I’ll improve the ones I struggled with, but lose time on the ones where I was good.
“So I’m working with the team to improve that consistency to help me get up to speed better.”
Laguna Seca’s famous Corkscrew corner (officially Turn 8 and 8A) sees the cars brake hard at the top of a hill, and then turn in blind for the left hander which swiftly turns to the right and sees the cars tumble 60 feet on the way down to the fast-lefthander at Turn 9.
In the 4.5 hours of running on Friday, the 21 drivers in the test experimented with a variety of different lines through there, and Ericsson admitted he wasn’t sure he’d found the swiftest route.
Dixon: Rosenqvist could be this year’s Wickens in IndyCar
IndyCar legend Scott Dixon believes his new teammate Felix Rosenqvist has the potential to cause as much of a stir in his rookie season in the NTT IndyCar Series as did Robert Wickens in 2018. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports racer Wickens lay sixth in the championship standings when he suffered a monstrous shunt at Pomona that brought his first season to a shuddering halt. Up to that point, the Canadian had scored a pole position and taken four podium finishes – with a couple more slipping from his grasp through no fault of his own.
“No, I don’t think I’ve found the best way through – not for me, anyway,” he said. “Actually, on one of my best laps up to that point, I tried a different line through there and it just didn’t work. It’s tricky because the rest of the track is in a certain rhythm and then you get to the Corkscrew and you have to almost stop the car before you go down the hill. It’s a fun corner but it’s strange – very different to the rest of the track.”
The high-speed Turn 9, he said, hadn’t given him issues G force wise, but was instead one that challenged his car control.
“For sure there’s G-force through there, but I don’t feel it on my neck. I mean it’s been cold so there’s less grip anyway but anyway, it’s quite a bit less G than I’m used to in a Formula 1 car.
“But it is tough to drive these cars through Turn 9 because the steering is so heavy and the car is moving around so you have to make lots of corrections. You’re working hard through there – it’s just a different type of tough.”
Joe Gibbs celebrates ‘biggest win’ weeks after son J.D. Gibbs’ death.
J.D. Gibbs died Jan. 11 from complications following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. He was 49. The family held a public memorial service Jan. 28 that provided a mix of tears and laughter for those who attended the event at a college basketball arena. Sunday, J.D. Gibbs’ widow and four sons were at Daytona International Speedway as NASCAR honored him on the 11th lap of the race — tying in with the number he used when he raced. That it is Hamlin’s number is only part of the what makes the No. 11 car special to him. Hamlin also has had J.D.
IndyCar’s big questions of 2019
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