CRC Offline Canon | 2021 Indycar World Championship Season

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United States
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cshardy62096
ATT CCWS Full Logo.png
The 2021 AT&T Champ Car World Series season is the 108th season of official North American open wheel racing, the 20th to be recognized by FICA as the Indycar World Championship. The season's premier events include the 108th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, the Pepsi 500 at Pocono Raceway, and the Intel 500 at Auto Club Speedway, all three of which make up the 57th Indycar Triple Crown. Andrew Draco enters the season as the defending Indycar World Champion, having won his second world title in 2020, while there once again is no defending Indianapolis 500 Champion, due to Sebastian Devereux retiring from the sport following his win the year prior. Striker Motorsports enters the season as the defending Team's Champion, while Honda enters as the defending Manufacturer's Champion. Additionally, this season is scheduled to be the final season for Stephanie Porter-Kelley, who will be retiring at the season's end after debuting in 2002.

Changes from 2020:
- The Grand Prix of St. Peterburg has been dropped from the World Championship calendar, with the event set to become a National Championship event in 2022.
- The Coca-Cola 300 moves from Homestead-Miami to Chicagoland Speedway, with the former venue also set to host a race for the revived National Championship in 2022.
- The event at EuroSpeedway Lausitz has been discontinued after the track shut down the high speed oval. The road course, which still uses various parts of the oval, remains open for use for local events.
- A second Canadian race has been added to the 2021 calendar, with the World Championship returning to the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for the first time since 2016.
- The World Championship will return to Nazareth Speedway for the 2021 season for a 225 lap event. The track last hosted open wheel racing in 2018, but was left off of the 2020 calendar due to an overlap of commitments with the World Championship was dropped by Citadel Promotions and picked up by Horizon Corporation.
Changes from 2020:
- Brad Nerri leaves Swift Autosport for Black Rose Racing, filling the seat vacated by Jace Clarke as he moves to the Atlantic Championship in 2021 in an effort to improve his own race craft.
- Kaylee Zappa leaves Cat Devil Racing after three years with the team, moving to Swift Autosport to drive the #9.
- Matheus Michelin returns to the World Championship to drive the #50 for Swift Autosport. The Brazilian won two races between 2016 and 2018.
- Isabel Espinoza leaves Escuderia Aguila for the newly returning Obsidian Racing Team, marking the first time a member of the Espinoza family has raced outside of the family team.
- Cat Devil Racing will field Diego Jaramillo full time in 2021, after having the Spaniard run the Triple Crown in 2020.
- Thomas Rogers, and Tyler Parker were released by Team Impulse at the end of the 2020 season. B.K. Glover moves down to race in the Atlantic Championship with the team as a mentor for the team's young driver initiative.
- Alicja Kowalkiewicz remains ineligible to race in 2021 after suffering horrific injuries in Lausitz in 2020. Cherokee GP have stated they intend to let her race once she is medically cleared to do so, but a timeframe has not been given.
2021 Champ Car Supplemental Regulations​
S.1.1. All GTPlanet members, as well as CRC Discord members, have the ability to enter an AI driver eligible to compete in a CRC Offline Series. These AI drivers enable the ability for people to race when they otherwise cannot compete in an competitive racing series.
S.1.1.1. All interested participants must fill out a mandatory sheet detailing driver stats, and personal details about their driver such as hometown, nationality, date of birth, requested salary, and license status. The form provided will detail the importance of these inclusions. Link.
S.1.2. AI drivers must enable creativity in CRC. Parodying or trying to use a real life racing driver, living or deceased will see that attempt immediately nullified and will not be acknowledged.
S.1.2.1. Using celebrities, living or deceased, or fictional characters, currently being used or discontinued, will not be acknowledged or allowed by CRC.
S.1.2.2. AI drivers must have a realistic first and last name. Drivers must also originate from a realistic location. For example, SpongeBob Squarepants from Bikini Bottom is not acceptable.
S.1.3. AI drivers must have statistics entered for them to program how they behave on the race track. GTPlanet members can control how their drivers behave on track in various aspects through the attributes made available in the Driver Registration Form and through Attribute Upgrades
S.1.4. AI drivers can get injured or killed in crashes in CRC. In the instance that a driver is injured or killed, that AI driver's owner can make their own replacement, or another GTPlanet member can have their AI driver called in as a substitution until the original AI driver is fit enough to return to action.
S.1.4.1. In the instance that an injury is deemed appropriate, CRC and the GTPlanet member in question will determine in advance of the race being broadcast what those injuries may be and the time they will miss in the season.
S.1.5. CRC Members are permitted to revamp their drivers stats once through the lifespan of each driver. Once that driver has been revamped, those stats are locked in permanently.
S.1.6. Each CRC Member is permitted to control up to two drivers in the series at any one time.
S.2.1. Much of CRC's Offline Canon revolves around teams of AI drivers. CRC members, as well as GTPlanet members may register teams, run their own drivers, or hire other GTPlanet members' AI drivers to race for them throughout the season.
S.2.2. Teams, like the drivers, must be unique and original. Using names of racing teams that exist in real life is prohibited. Using the names of racing teams that no longer exist is also prohibited.
S.2.2.1. In the instance that a team carries over it's name from 2016, if it does not conform with rule 2.2., they may continue to use that name as long as it remains unaltered.
S.2.2.2. Team names must be within the acceptable limits of GTPlanet's Acceptable Use Policy.
S.2.3. Teams must first decide on which engine supplier they will use from.
S.2.3.1. For the NAMRA Champ Car World Series' 2021 season, engine suppliers are Alpine, Chevrolet, Honda, and Mercedes.
S.2.3.2. Firestone is the sole tire supplier of the series.
S.2.3.3. Speedway is the exclusive fuel supplier of the series.
S.2.4. Teams must adhere to a financial plan and stay afloat and out of large debt. (See Section 5)
S.2.5. Teams have the ability of fielding up to 3 full time entries, pending financially being capable of supporting those entries.
S.2.5.1. Full time entries can be filled by a single AI driver, or up to an unlimited amount of rotational drivers.
S.2.6. Teams will compete for a Team's Championship, where the team's best result from each event will count.
S.2.7. Sister teams or developmental teams will be prohibited beginning with the 2019 calendar year.
S.3.1. All paint schemes must first and foremost be in compliance with GTPlanet's Acceptable Use Policy.
S.3.2. Driver surnames must be present on both sides of the cockpit, either on the foam headrest, on the side of the cockpit above the sidepod and aligned with the mirrors, or directly beneath the series logo under the roll bar.
S.3.3. National flags for each driver must be present on the roll hoop, on both sides, replacing the LED board.
S.3.4. Car numbers must be present on the nose of the car, the rear wing of the car on both end plates, and on the steering wheel inside the cockpit for identification.
S.3.5. A primary sponsor and up to 9 associate sponsors can be present on the car. Primary sponsors are exclusive to that driver and their team, whereas associate sponsors can be shared by any driver in the field as an associate sponsor only.
S.3.6. Engine logos must appear on the nose of the car and on the engine cover.
S.3.7. Tire manufacturer logo must appear on the nose of the car and on the sidepod facing the front wheels.
S.3.8. The series logo must appear on the nose of the car.
S.3.9. If possible, team logos must appear on the nose of the car or on the sidepod.
S.3.10. Tobacco, political, and pornographic sponsors are prohibited.
S.3.11. Alcoholic sponsorship is limited to drivers 21 years of age and older.
S.3.12. Engine manufacturers cannot be sponsors of any kind. They already have contingencies on the car. Pick something else.
S.3.13. Itashas, "MLG" cars, and any ludicrous designs also will be discarded.
S.3.14. All sponsors on the cars must be real life companies unless otherwise authorized.
S.3.14.1. Exceptions to 3.14 are limited to fictional companies accepted within the CRC Canon.
S.3.15. For drivers new to American open wheel racing, the roll bar of the chassis must be flourescent yellow to designate rookie status for first year drivers.
S.3.16. Entries competing in the full season are permitted two liveries; one livery for the high downforce aero kit, and one livery for the low downforce aero kit.
S.3.16.1. Entries limited to running in one of, or all three, 500 Mile Triple Crown events are limited to a single livery for the low downforce aero kit.
S.4.1. The chassis used in the NAMRA AT&T Champ Car World Series is produced by Andromeda Automotive Initiative. The car will appropriately be cited as the Andromeda CC01.
S.4.1.1. The chassis will be capable of running two different aero kit designs; a high downforce, complex design for the front and rear wings, and a low downforce, speedway aero kit with a simple, minimalist front and rear wing design.
S.4.1.2. The cost for a single Andromeda CC01 chassis is $500,000. This does not include the series approved aero kit, internal electronics, powertrain, or other additional parts.
S.4.1.3. High downforce aero kits will have a cost of $100,000 per unit.
S.4.1.4. Low downforce aero kits will have a cost of $75,000 per unit.
S.4.1.5. Teams are required to have a minimum of two chassis, two sets of each aero kit required for their entries to compete in their designated events, as well as two transmissions, and electronic component sets for each chassis.
S.4.2. Internal electronics for the chassis have a cost of $75,000.
S.4.3. Each car must be equipped with a Hewland transmission with six forward gears, as well as a neutral, and reverse gear. These transmissions cost $50,000.
S.4.4. All teams must enter lease deals with the approved engine suppliers of the series.
S.4.4.1. Engine lease options can be seen in the table provided in T.2.6.
S.4.5. All teams competing in any part of the 2021 season must pay $3,000,000 per entry to exclusive tire supplier, Firestone.
S.4.6. All teams competing in any part of the 2021 season must pay $3,000,000 per entry to exclusive fuel supplier, Speedway, as well as an additional $100,000 per event for open access to fuel on site for all official sessions of the weekend.
S.4.7. Teams will be charged $500,000 at the beginning of each season for Headquarters Expenses, as well as $100,000 each race weekend of the season.
S.4.8. Teams must pay $1,000,000 for each entry they field for the season, regardless if it is a full time entry or not.
S.4.9. Each team is permitted to have up to five sponsors that are exclusive to that team. These are sponsors that will appear on each car entered by that team during a season.
S.4.10. Each driver is permitted to have up to five sponsors that are not claimed by teams. Other drivers may share personal sponsors despite being on different teams, but drivers cannot claim sponsorships already taken by teams, including their own.
S.4.11. Each sponsor, depending on their status, will pay a sum of money up front at the beginning of pre-season, as well as a fixed, even amount for each race weekend of the season.
S.4.11.1. Primary sponsors are sponsors that take up the most space of a particular livery. Each full time entry is permitted up to two primary sponsors, one for high downforce events, and one for low downforce events. Primary sponsors pay $3,000,000 per livery they sponsor, for a maximum possible amount of $6,000,000 during the season.
S.4.11.2. Primary sponsors will pay two-thirds of their sponsorship funds at the beginning of pre-season testing, with the remaining amount being split evenly by the number of race weekends during the season.
S.4.11.3. Associate sponsors are any non-primary sponsors that appear on a car. Associate sponsors will pay $750,000 each during the season, with $350,000 being paid to teams at the beginning of pre-season testing, and the remainder being split evenly among the race weekends in the season.
S.4.11.4. Teams can use one of their sponsors as entitlement sponsors. The sponsor will be required to become a part of the team name, and is required to be the primary sponsor for at least one livery for each full time entry the team fields. In exchange, that sponsor pays an additional $1,000,000 for each full time entry the team fields.
S.5.1. Over the course of the season, several upgrade packages will be made available for the chassis of the car. Despite these packages only becoming available after certain points of the season, they are not required to be purchased in any order.
S.5.2. Teams are limited to spending $7,000,000 per car on upgrades throughout the year, including chassis upgrade packages and staff upgrades.
S.5.2.1. Items that apply to multiple cars within the same team will count against the spending cap of each car that the item is applied to.
S.5.3. Chassis upgrade packages are restricted to a single use per entry. If a team wants to apply the package to more than one entry, it has to purchase the upgrade package for each entry.
S.5.3.1. Chassis upgrade packages can be purchased and applied three race weekends apart from each other. The first upgrade package does not become applicable until after the first race weekend of the season.
S.5.3.2. Chassis Upgrade Package 1 gives an added 10 points to both Aerodynamics and Chassis, as well as 20 points to Reliability. The package costs $2,000,000.
S.5.3.3. Chassis Upgrade Package 2 gives an added 20 points to Aerodynamics, 10 points to Chassis, and 10 points to Reliability, and has a cost of $3,000,000
S.5.3.4. Chassis Upgrade Package 3 gives an added 10 points to Aerodynamics, 20 points to Chassis, and 10 points to Reliability, with a cost of $2,000,000
S.5.3.5. Chassis Upgrade Package 4 gives an added 15 points to Aerodynamics, 10 points to Chassis, and 15 points to Reliability. The upgrade package costs $2,000,000
S.5.3.6. Chassis Upgrade Package 5 gives an added 30 points of Aerodynamics, 5 points to Chassis, and 5 points to reliability, with a cost of $3,000,000.
S.5.3.7. Chassis Upgrade Package 6 gives an added 10 points of Aerodynamics, and 30 points to Chassis, with a cost of $3,000,000
S.5.3.8. Chassis Upgrade Package 7 gives an added 20 points of Chassis, and 20 points to reliability for $2,000,000
S.5.3.9. Chassis Upgrade Package 8 gives an added 40 points of Aerodynamics, with a cost of $7,000,000.
S.5.3.10. Chassis Upgrade Package 9 gives an added 50 points of Chassis, with a cost of $7,000,000
S.5.3.11. Chassis Upgrade Package 10 gives an added 30 points of Chassis, and 30 points to reliability, with a cost of $6,000,000
S.5.3.12. Chassis upgrade packages can be purchased in any order.
S.5.3.13. Teams do not get to retain these packages for the following season, as the packages will change year to year.
S.5.4. Teams can invest into training drivers by applying them to training courses, which will provide a small increase to one of a driver's eight core performance statistics.
S.5.4.1. The Overtaking training course adds 5 points to a driver's maximum and minimum Aggression statistic. The course costs $750,000 and lasts the duration of the current season.
S.5.4.2. The Consistency training course adds 5 points to a driver's maximum and minimum Consistency statistic. The course costs $750,000 and lasts the duration of the current season.
S.5.4.3. The Endurance training course adds 5 points to a driver's maximum and minimum Finishing statistic. The course costs $750,000 and lasts the duration of the current season.
S.5.4.4. The Hotlap training course adds 5 points to a driver's maximum and minimum Qualifying statistic. The course costs $750,000 and lasts the duration of the current season.
S.5.4.5. The Road Course training course adds 5 points to a driver's maximum and minimum Road Course statistic. The course costs $1,250,000, and lasts the duration of the current season.
S.5.4.6. The Short Oval training course adds 5 points to a driver's maximum and minimum Short Oval statistic. The course costs $1,250,000 and lasts the duration of the current season.
S.5.4.7. The Speedway training course adds 5 points to a driver's maximum and minimum Speedway statistic. The course costs $1,250,000 and lasts the duration of the current season.
S.5.4.8. The Superspeedway training course adds 5 points to a driver's maximum and minimum Superspeedway statistic. The course costs $1,250,000 and lasts the duration of the current season.
S.5.4.9. The training courses are available for purchase from the beginning of pre-season testing.
S.5.5. Garage Staff and Pit Crew Staff are also able to be improved, and these packages are immediately available beginning at the first race weekend of the season. Note that these upgrades will count against each entry a team fields.
S.5.5.1. Hiring an Aerodynamics Specialist will give teams a 10 point Aerodynamics boost on all of the team's cars through the entire season for a salary cost of $200,000 per year.
S.5.5.2. Hiring a Chassis Specialist will give teams a 5 point Chassis boost to all of the team's cars throughout the season for a salary cost of $150,000 per year.
S.5.5.3. Hiring an Efficiency Specialist will give teams a 20 point Reliability boost to all of the team's cars throughout the season for a salary cost of $300,000 per year.
S.5.5.4. Hiring a Chief Engineer will give teams a 40 point Pit Strategy boost to all of the team's cars throughout the season for a salary cost of $500,000 per year.
S.5.5.5. Hiring a Pit Crew Trainer will give teams a 40 point Pit Speed and Pit Consistency boost to all of the team's cars throughout the season for a salary cost of $500,000 per year.
S.5.5.6. All specialists are hired on a 1-year contract by default, and may be renewed or released at the end of each race season.
S.5.6. In addition to Chassis Upgrade Packages and Staff Upgrades, Specialized Upgrades will become available after the Indianapolis 500, with each package costing $4,000,000 per car, but also adding a higher benefit in one area only.
S.5.6.1. The Aerodynamic Specialized Upgrade will provide +40 to a car's aerodynamic behavior.
S.5.6.2. The Chassis Specialized Upgrade will provide +40 to a car's chassis strength and capability.
S.5.6.3. The Reliability Specialized Upgrade will provide +40 to a car's mechanical reliability.
S.6.1. In this section, a table provides a list of payouts from races and post season awards.
S.6.2. The Standard Race Purse column applies to races that are not held at the Circuit de Monte Carlo or Auto Club Speedway.
S.6.3. The Indy 500 Purse column outlines the race payout for the finishing order at the 108th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
S.6.4. The Fontana/Pocono Purse column outlines the race payout for the finishing order at the Pepsi 500 Mile Race at Pocono, and the Intel 500 Mile Race at Fontana.
S.6.5. The Team's Championship Payout column details how much money is awarded based on the Champ Car Team's Championship at the end of the year. The top 10 full time teams will earn prize money for their position in the standings.
S.6.6. Additionally, awards for individual stats will be available on a per-season basis.
Prize Table.PNG
S.7.1. Points are awarded to each driver that starts a Championship race event based on finishing position and certain extra criterias.

S.7.2. Bonus points are awarded based on the following criteria.
S.7.2.1. Earning pole position for a race is worth 1 point.
S.7.2.2. Leading any lap during a race is worth 1 point.
S.7.2.3. Leading the most laps of all drivers during a race is worth 2 points.
Points System.PNG

2021 Champ Car Technical Regulations​
T.1.1. The sole chassis sanctioned for use in the NAMRA AT&T Champ Car World Series is the Andromeda CC01, built solely by Andromeda Automotive Initiative, or AAI.
T.1.2. AAI will build two specifications of aerodynamic kits for competitive usage during the season, a kit for high downforce configurations, and a low downforce configuration kit.
T.1.3. The high downforce kit will be utilized at all road courses, all street courses, and all oval events at venues under 1.400 miles in length.
T.1.3.1. The high downforce kit will be utilized at the following rounds of the 2020 championship: 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.
T.1.4. The low downforce kit will be utilized at all oval venues 1.500 miles in length or longer.
T.1.4.1. The low downforce kit will be utilized at the following rounds of the 2020 championship: 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 20.
T.1.5. Each chassis automatically comes with brakes supplied by Brembo, however, teams may use brakes from a different supplier as they deem fit.
T.1.6. Each chassis is built to solely work with Hewland gearboxes, which contain 6 forward gears, a neutral, and reverse gear.
T.1.7. Each entry must run Firestone Firehawk tires, which will be supplied to teams at the beginning of each race weekend upon paddock entry.
T.1.8. Speedway fuel is the only permitted fuel source permitted for competition in the series within the United States. Outside of North America, EnergoPetrol is the sole fuel provider for race weekends.
T.1.9. Telemetry from each entry that runs in any Champ Car race weekend is collected by series officials for use by Horizon Corporation, NAMRA, FICA, Speedway, and Firestone however these parties deem fit.
T.1.10. Each chassis is equipped with a 70 liter (18.5 gallon) fuel cell that cannot be modified.
T.2.1. Officially permitted engine suppliers are permitted to supply entries with power units that conform with the limits of the regulations.
T.2.2. Official Equipment Manufacturers, or OEMs, are permitted to supply an engine with four, six, or eight cylinders.
T.2.2.1. Engines are permitted to be naturally aspirated, or complimented with up to two turbochargers. Superchargers and hybrid technology are prohibited.
T.2.2.3. Engines cannot exceed 800 brake horsepower, and cannot eclipse 12,500 revolutions per minute.
T.2.3. OEMs are required to provide the same powertrain to all entries they are in a lease contract to supply.
T.2.4. OEMs are permitted to make one upgrade to their powertrain during the season, an upgrade which must be supplied to all entries running under the OEM.
T.2.5. Recognized OEMs for the 2021 season are Alpine, Chevrolet, Honda, and Mercedes.
T.2.6. OEMs are restricted to supplying no more than 10 full time entries, and must supply a minimum of 3 to remain in the World Championship.
T.2.7. For detailed information regarding engine specifications, please see the insert below:
OEM Info.PNG
T.3.1. Each normal race event is composed of two free practice sessions, a qualifying session, and then the race.
T.3.2. The first free practice session is 90 minutes in length, while the second free practice session is 60 minutes in length.
T.3.3. Qualifying will vary between ovals, road and street courses, and the Indianapolis 500.
T.3.3.1. Qualifying for normal oval events will require all entries to run on track alone, having an outlap, and four timed laps to set the fastest possible lap time. Entries are then arranged based on each entry's best lap time.
T.3.3.2. Qualifying on road and street courses will see all entries qualifying together in a three-stage knockout format. Q1 will determine positions 20-28. Q2 will determine positions 11-19 and Q3 will be the final session to determine the first five rows of the grid.
T.3.3.3. Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 will see qualifying take place over two days. Day 1 will be Pole Day. The first four rows, or top 8 based on time at the end of the day, will be locked into their positions. Day 2 will be Bump Day. All of the non-secured entries from Pole Day will be required to run again, with positions 9-33 being determined.
T.3.3.4. Qualifying results are locked to entries, not drivers. If a team needs to replace a driver between qualifying and the race, the entry will remain in the field, but will be moved to the rear of the grid for the driver change.
T.3.4. Race event lengths will vary based on circuit type and importance to the calendar.
T.3.4.1. Road and street course events will follow the traditional Grand Prix race distance of 190 miles or 300 kilometers.
T.3.4.2. Events at ovals smaller than 1.25 miles in length will have race distances of 225 miles.
T.3.4.3. Events at ovals larger than 1.25 miles in length will have race distances of 300 miles.
T.3.4.4. Oval events designated as Triple Crown events will have race distances of 500 miles.

T.3.5. In the event that a race weekend has two races, the Friday of the race weekend will contain the free practice sessions, as normal. The rest of the event weekend will depend on how the event is structured.
T.3.5.1. If the doubleheader weekend is on a road or street course, Saturday will see the first race of the doubleheader held, with qualifying for that race happening 4 hours prior to the race start. The process will be repeated for the second race on Sunday.
T.3.5.2. If the doubleheader is being held on an oval, both races will be held on the same day, with the starting grid of the second race being determined by inverting the lead lap cars, with lapped down cars starting at the rear of the field.
TBA
TBA




Nissan Atlantic Championship logo.png
The 2021 Nissan Atlantic Championship season is the inaugural season of the series, created to allow up and coming teams and drivers to develop before moving up towards Champ Car. The series is designed to fill the gap left when Citadel Promotions cancelled the Indy Lights program at the end of the 2015 season. The series will use from the stockpile of remaining Dallara HV18 chassis that were produced between 2010 and 2019, equipped with a naturally aspirated Nissan VK45DE 4.5 liter V8 engine, tuned to produce 500 brake horsepower. The series is set to feature between 12 and 14 teams for the 2021, with each team required to field 2 cars.
TBA


To set up driver ratings to take part in any of CRC's open wheel championships, use this link from Google Docs.
Access to Champ Car car template is available through Mediafire.
Feel free to join CRC's community Discord here. Not a requirement to take part in the offline canon.
Watch Champ Car races live via Twitch, or on demand on YouTube!
 
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560
United States
United States
cshardy62096
Open Champ Car seats for 2021
Indy 500/Triple Crown:
#16 Cat Devil Racing-Honda
#17 Cat Devil Racing-Honda
#25 Escuderia Aguila-Chevrolet
 
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Japan
Osaka
Team Impulse has sealed it's final piece of the puzzle for 2021, announcing that B.K. Glover, who had stepped down to be a part of the Atlantic Championship for the year, will drive the team's #12 car for the 2021 Triple Crown, according to team principal, Asumi Matsuo. "Having someone of Glover's experience is something we want to use at every available opportunity. I'm about 90% positive that if he wants to continue with the team beyond 2021, we'll field him in either the World Championship or the National Championship in 2022. I want this year to be a confidence building year for him, a year where personal results are more of a secondary objective." Matsuo continued her train of thought, sharing how she analyzed the American's 2020 campaign. "The past couple of years have been rough on him. Ford ditched him and his team in 2018, obviously no one got to race in 2019, and then last year, he got hurt right as he was starting to come to terms with the new chassis, and that last little part made his return impossible to really accomplish. He was shell shocked, and I felt for him. Sympathy and patience sometimes is how you win. He's a proven race winner. We just need to spend the next year getting him back into what's made him a race winner and a championship contender. He's been deflated and we have to lift him back up."

When pressed why the same patience wasn't shown to recently departed drivers, Tyler Parker, or Thomas Rogers, Matsuo explained how she saw the situation. "With Tyler, we had seen the full breadth of what he was able to afford us talent wise. Years worth of knowledge, and I didn't see progress. He didn't go through what Glover had gone through, and the excuses really weren't there. Hazel [Lacasse] went out and won Toronto resoundingly with the minimal equipment we had available for her, and Tyler couldn't contend for podiums with equipment that was at times on par with Sakura. Seeing Hazel win that quickly, that sort of sealed the decision for us that we needed to go different ways. With Thomas, we hoped we could make something work as a team, he won a race with us in 2018, and it was a highlight of our season, but the direction of the team simply didn't leave us anywhere to go with him. We know he has the ability to go out and win races still, and we wish him luck, but we couldn't put anything together for him for 2021."
 
1,405
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California
WeaselKing707
N/A
Originally posted on Racing.com, by "The Staff".

After an improbable run to the 2020 AT&T Champ Car World Series Driver's Title with Andrew Draco, information about several items of interest regarding Phantom Motors's plans for the upcoming season had mysteriously dried up, leaving some to speculate about the future of the team in light of the Lightning Volt Energy scandal. Today, a massive bombshell of an announcement was made, tieing up several loose ends left hanging from the end of last season and showing that Phantom Motors will not only be back for next year, but appears to be in rude health for 2021.

AT&T CHAMP CAR:

With Phantom Motors confirming a split with the now-defunct Lightning Volt Energy Company mere hours before the start of the Pepsi 500 at Pocono last August, a new primary sponsor was thought to have been waiting in the wings and ready for an immediate announcement. After months of waiting, Phantom Motors has officially confirmed new primary backing with Rockstar Inc., swapping the black & gold livery of Lightning Volt for... The (Presumably) Black, Gold & Red of Rockstar Energy Drink for both the #1 of Andrew Draco and the #14 of David Wessel. Furthermore, Rockstar Energy will become the official title sponsor of the team starting next year, with the new entity going forward being officially known as Rockstar Phantom Motors.

Rockstar Phantom Motors has also confirmed that they will field a third car in the Triple Crown races (Indianapolis, Pocono and Auto Club Fontana) for outgoing Team Impulse driver Tyler Parker. Baskin-Robbins will be the primary sponsor this new entry, aptly numbered #31, for all three races.

Lastly, Domino's Pizza, who had been a primary sponsor for the team in their debut season of racing in 2018, will return to fold as an associate sponsor on all three of Rockstar Phantom Motors's cars next season.

NISSAN ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP:

Phantom Motors Atlantic has confirmed primary sponsorship for both of their cars will come from Dunkin' Brands (specifically Dunkin' Donuts), with Pilot/Flying J gas stations as the only other associate sponsor named at this time.

In addition to doing the Triple Crown races for Rockstar Phantom Motors in Champ Car, Tyler Parker has also been signed to drive the #16 Dunkin' Donuts car full-time in next year's Atlantic Championship alongside rookie Katherine Hart. With one of Dunkin' Brands's subsidiaries (Baskin-Robbins) sponsoring Parker's Triple Crown entry, this tie-in seems to be a natural step for all involved.

Further quotes from Rockstar Phantom Motors's Drivers and Owner will be published shortly.
 
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Katowice, Poland | It's been just over five months since a horrific crash during the Champ Car race in Lausitz left Alicja Kowalkiewicz with life threatening injuries. A crash that included 32 complete flips, most happening over the speed of 190 miles per hour as her car continued down the front straightaway, could have killed her, and just 6 weeks after the deaths of Tim Kourting and Giuliano Ansaldi at Indianapolis, it kept the dangers of the sport in the forefront of everyone's minds. As Cherokee GP prepares for their 2021 season with Keisha Fox and Siri Lundqvist, the latter replacing her during the season in 2020, it has left questions as to where Kowalkiewicz stood. For the first time since the June 21st crash, she broke her silence on it, giving her fans an update on her condition and the full severity of the injuries she sustained. "To everyone that has reached out to me since my crash, I've seen it all, and I thank you. It's not been easy, and it won't be easy going forward, but it's a fight worth making." She stated on social media. On her website, she posted more, stating; "A lot has happened since my accident. A lot of the injuries still have not completely healed. I never allowed my injuries to be fully disclosed, but the list is a lot. I suffered three vertebral fractures, which required the use of spinal fusion. I suffered a severe concussion, as one would expect, but I also suffered whiplash-related injuries. My headrest had come undone and fell out during the crash, leaving my head unprotected from bouncing side to side during half of the flips. I suffered broken bones in my ribs, my hands, as well as extensive bruising in my hips, legs, feet, shoulders, and neck. While all of the bruising has been gone for a while, the biggest concern has come from my back, which is still healing. At no point have I ever been paralyzed, despite some persistent rumors, and my doctors are confident that I'll be able to return to racing once my back completely heals. I've already talked with my team, and we've all agreed that sitting out the full 2021 season is in my best interest. Once my back heals, and I get clearance to begin racing again, the team will be putting me back in the car for tests and practice sessions to get myself back into shape when the time is right. So I will focus on 2022 and getting back to competing at the top level. To all of my fans, at home and elsewhere, thank you for your continued support. Not a day goes by that I don't read some of the messages. I'll be working with the team and I'll be at the track with the team in an advisory role at races next year. So until then, be safe, and happy holidays!"
Indianapolis, Indiana | Some of Obsidian Racing Team's best engineers are moving stateside for the team's return to the Indycar World Championship in 2021. Obsidian, who have been competing in Japan's open wheel category since 2012, has brought in some of its staff from its V8GP operations to help the team get up to speed. The team, which uses Toyota engines in V8GP, V6GP, and I4GP, refrained from using Honda engines in Champ Car as well, opting to work with Chevrolet in the United States, as it did before it left the U.S. racing scene at the end of 2015. With the increased firepower during the offseason, analysts are expecting the team to hit the ground running once pre-season testing begins in January.
Denver, Colorado | A new motorsports facility is beginning to take its final form, giving Colorado it's first premier racing facility. Denver Motorsports Park has begun the pavement stage of the building process, which will see the facility's two distinct layouts take form. The facility will feature a 1.5 mile banked oval, as well as a 3.02 mile course which will use part of the oval, as well as a complex infield course section to make up the layout. The complex is just south of the Denver International Airport, nestled near both I-70 and E-470, and is due to be completed in late Summer, 2021. Horizon Promotions have already held discussions with APT regarding the track being included in the 2022 Champ Car season, but no finalizations have come from that yet.
 
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I have begun receiving materials for the Atlantic Championship season, and once all of the materials have been submitted, I will begin recording the races for the season.
 
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2020 was a year of growing pains for the Kiwi squad. The team's double podium at Loudon was one of only a handful of bright spots for the team in their freshman campaign, but improvements have been very shallow. After coming up last of all full time teams in the Team Championship, they have their work cut out for them.

Driver Preview: Ronald Walker
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Ronald Walker has not proven himself to be very valuable on the road and street courses. Excluding the fourth place finish at Watkins Glen, Walker has finished top 10 on road and street courses just one other time, which was St. Pete at the beginning of 2020. Inversely, Walker has shown himself to be incredibly savvy on the ovals, finishing sixth in his Indianapolis 500 debut in 2018, and then scoring his maiden Champ Car podium with third in Loudon. His top 10 performance at Motegi last year also sticks out.
Driver Preview: Cody Blackman
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Cody Blackman, on the other hand, could potentially carry the team's best results if he improves on his 2020 results. He finished second in Loudon, ahead of his more experienced teammate, but also carried more top 10 finishes. Seventh at both the Indianapolis 500, and the Valkenburg street circuit let the then rookie shine, and an impressive eighth at Mid-Ohio near the end of the season cemented his potential in the eyes of the other teams. Apex needs to rally behind those kinds of results, or they'll continue to fall backwards as more teams enter the fray.
 
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Session Summary: The first 90 minutes of on track action for the 2021 AT&T Champ Car World Series season went green for FP1 in Phillip Island. The Panasonic Team Impulse duo of Hazel Lacasse and Sakura Ishibashi quickly went to the top of the timing board, a position they would not relinquish despite some troubles for Ishibashi near the half hour mark. Heading into the turn 4 hairpin of Honda Corner, Ishibashi would be tagged by the LM Competition Mercedes of Mildred Moon, who had suffered a suspension failure before the braking zone. Both cars would be sent into the tire barriers, with Ishibashi suffering the harshest amount of damage. Both drivers would be done for the session, but both cars would be repaired in time for FP2. FP1 would be a rough opening session for all of the Mercedes-powered teams, with the fastest of the six Mercedes cars being Moon in a lowly 20th. It was a fantastic first outing for Obsidian Racing Team and Isabel Espinoza, with the new driver/team combination wrapping up the session in 4th, right behind the defending World Champion of Andrew Draco, who looked right at home with #1 adorning his Honda. All of the Alpine teams had a good unload, with all of the veteran drivers within the top 12, while newcomer Ryan Stevens ended up 23rd in what was a very clean and productive learning session for the American.
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Session Summary: Panasonic Team Impulse would continue to dominate Friday practice, with Sakura Ishibashi finishing the afternoon 90 minute session on top despite the crash earlier that morning. The 5 year series veteran set a 1:13.284, with David Wessel splitting the Team Impulse cars with his Phantom Motors Honda. Stephanie Porter-Kelley, beginning her final season of racing, improved two positions from the morning to finish 4th, consistently being the best of the three Striker cars as they adjust to Chevrolet powertrains. After finishing the morning session 24th, Diego Jaramillo would find a better groove in the afternoon heat, rounding up the top 5 times of the session.The Mercedes powered teams could continue to adjust, with Apex's Ronald Walker and LM Competition's Gerard Perth making the biggest gains in the session. Red Bull Highlight Racing, for the second session in a row, ended up next to last, ahead of Cody Blackman. A shocking result of the afternoon session was the appearance of Cristine Espinoza near the very bottom, landing 26th in her Aguila Chevrolet. The team has not obtained any pre-season upgrades, with the team once again playing it conservative to start the season, but with the other Chevrolet teams already in the swing of upgrades, the raw pace of the Chevrolet turbo V8 powerplant, as well as the Mercedes natural V8 engine, shows to be among the weakest on the grid.


2021 marked the first season since the inception of the World Championship in 2000 where pre-season testing was not held. The planned tests for Sebring and Fontana ultimately were cancelled due to a difficulty in getting the adequate supply of Firestone Firehawk tires prepared. As a result, everyone made their first runs in 2021 on Friday in Phillip Island, and quietly lingering in the top 10 in both sessions was the Bar Harbor-native, Keisha Fox. Fifth in FP1, and seventh in FP2 kept her right with the duo from Panasonic Team Impulse, and Rockstar Phantom Motors, leaving the young star happy with how the team unloaded, stating; "I think we ended up a bit better than we were expecting. The team is playing it conservative as far as spending [on upgrades] goes, whereas Impulse, and others are being a bit more liberal with what they buy. So being this close with the conditions changing, I'm pretty happy with what we learned today. With qualifying tomorrow, I don't think it'll look too different."

On the other side of the Cherokee GP garage, Siri Lundqvist came to grips with Phillip Island for the first time. The Swedish driver has raced at Surfer's Paradise and Albert Park, but never on the undulating island circuit, and despite her success in FP1 which put her tenth, wrong adjustments set her backwards in FP2 as she finished the session in 18th. "The car was fast in first practice, but it didn't have a lot of stability. I felt like the tires were falling away really fast, so we tried chasing that in the afternoon, and we found some things, but it cost us ultimate pace. I think a compromise might be needed to make the most of the race, and I'm not entirely sure what the gameplan will be. We'll know more after qualifying tomorrow."
Escuderia Aguila entered the gates to Phillip Island already on the wrong foot. Several members of the team's senior personnel were kept from flying from Buenos Aires due to a stomach flu, and their absences were dearly felt as the team got underway in Friday practice. Cristine Espinoza, entering her 17th season of Indycar World Championship competition, had her worst opening day, going 16th in the morning session, before winding up third slowest in the afternoon session, which will mimic the qualifying sessions on Saturday rather closely. A dejected Espinoza declined to appear in the media pen after the afternoon practice, resigning to the team's mobile operations center for the evening, likely to discuss last resort to avoid a repeat for tomorrow.
 
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Session Summary: Saturday started off with a bit of a change from the past. With qualifying on the road and street courses split into three sessions, Q1 started off with immediate pressure. With the top 19 advancing to Q2, traffic was thick and fast for the 20 minute session, which saw Hazel Lacasse take provisional pole for the session, her Panasonic Team Impulse teammate, Sakura Ishibashi in 4th behind the Striker of Stephanie Porter-Kelley and the Obsidian of Isabel Espinoza. It was a very rough Q1 for Mercedes, who had four of their six powered cars end their Saturday early. For the first time in her illustrious career, Cristine Espinoza qualified dead last, the Aguila driver extremely unhappy about the handling of the car. Clouds would roll in between Q1 and Q2, cooling down the track enough to allow Q2 to provide the fastest laps of the entire weekend. In the cooler conditions, the Chevrolet of Isabel Espinoza shined, posting a 1:11.509 to take provisional pole away from Panasonic Team Impulse and cementing the legitimate threat Obsidian Racing Team poses on their Champ Car return. In another qualifying shock, the defending World Champion, Andrew Draco, failed to advance into Q3, qualifying 13th on the grid between Diego Jaramillo and Nicole Liechti. By a slim margin, the LM Competition Mercedes of Mildred Moon advanced to Q3, in a desperate attempt to try replicating some of the magic the team performed just a year ago. But in Q3, it was once again, Panasonic Team Impulse that shined, locking out the front row for the team and for Alpine as Sakura Ishibashi took her 4th career Champ Car pole position. Row 2 was a Chevrolet affair, with Isabel Espinoza and Stephanie Porter-Kelley qualifying 3rd and 4th respectively. Honda would occupy all of row 3, with David Wessel qualifying 5th for Rockstar Phantom Motors, the sophomore driver lining up beside Kunimitsu Kino****a and ahead of Camyron Jackson and Keisha Fox, while Lucien Lachapelle and Mildred Moon completed the end of Q3 in row 5.

Champ Car qualifying at Phillip Island couldn't have gone more different for Argentina's two representatives in the championship. The home team, Escuderia Aguila, is under genuine heat. For the first time in 122 years, a member of the Espinoza family is racing outside of the family team, with Isabel Espinoza leaving to join Obsidian Racing Team at the end of 2020. Her father, 4 time National Champion and 2000 World Champion, Miguel Espinoza, followed her to become her race engineer, bringing wealth of experience to a team that had been out of the series since the end of 2015. In the Aguila camp, the ship being steered by 33 year old Cristine Espinoza has had anything but smooth seas. The team arrived in Melbourne without key personnel, their race engineer, chief strategist, and head mechanic were all held in Buenos Aires due to a stomach-related illness, and they were confirmed to be missing the first two races of the season, as they could not procure traveling permits for when the series heads to Japan in two weeks. The result of their absence was staggering. While Isabel and Obsidian enjoyed an incredible qualifying, putting them in 3rd behind the Team Impulse duo and in front of Stephanie Porter-Kelley, Cristine suffered the worst moment of her career so far, qualifying 28th and last for the first time since her World Championship debut in 2002. The last time she qualified last was in 2000 in the Indy Development Series. The mood was hard to bare for those that have supported the Aguila squad. After pulling into pit lane, the elder Espinoza in the field stayed strapped in her car, silent as the team surrounded the car to avoid prying camera lenses. After qualifying had been completed, Isabel lent her remarks about the day, commenting on the Aguila situation whereas none of the team would. "It's not easy. You miss key people, and it can flip everything upside down. Those people have been around her most of her career, so there's a culture shock right now for them. It's hard, but that's an unfortunate situation you have to press through with. You have to be ready for just about everything, and they weren't." Isabel said during the post qualifying press conference. Trying times may be just beginning for the Aguila squad as the aura and mythos around the Soaring Eagles begins to falter.
 
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The season opener is now in the rearview, and that means we now have a full race to look at those who scored big and those who left Australia with a bitter taste in their mouth. Without further delay, the winners of the weekend were...

1) Eastern Atlantic Motorsports | After what was an extremely dissatisfying qualifying, the EAM team were keen to make up ground, but nobody expected the team to start its sophomore season with a win and then some. Esther Hoffson, from the drop of the green flag, made it known she had thoroughly shed her rookie stripes. Slicing through the field, making the most of her alternate strategy, the 33 year old spent the better part of a decade waiting for an opportunity like what we saw at the end of the race. On the outside of turn 6, she swept around both Isabel Espinoza and Stephanie Porter-Kelley, and never looked back, taking her first career Champ Car race win in triumphant fashion. Patrick Marcelli, who was nowhere most of the race, did his job. After a year where he suffered more DNFs than anyone else, to see the finish in 9th place was a welcome change of pace, and a spark of relief and confidence the Miami-based team sorely needed. Hoffson heads into Motegi now as the World Championship leader for the first time, and in Honda's home turf where results are expected more than other places.

2) Red Bull Highlight Racing | Much noise was made when Red Bull returned to becoming a Champ Car title sponsor, pairing the energy drink giant with one of the sport's more historic teams. Led by Rita Liechti, the rebuild looked to be more of a slow build after qualifying, with Simona Leroux starting in 25th. But the Red Bull machine would not stay there, and by the halfway point, Leroux was a constant talking point. At the end, Leroux finished one position short of her first career win in Champ Car, and finally, after almost 4 years, Simona started to look the part of the 14 F1 Grands Prix winner the world knows her to be. Highlight could be on the cusp of blossoming back into contention, blurring the lines between front runner and midfield even further.

3) Ryan Stevens | How to impress the world on your Champ Car debut? How about going from the last row of the grid to finishing fourth? Not enough? Okay, how about battling over 40 laps against the reigning two time World Champion and winning? Still not enough? Well, not everyone can show up at a track for the first time, learn on the fly, become an anchor for an underdog team, and come out looking like a million dollars, but Ryan Stevens did just that. The 26 year old Orlando native looked confident, and collected, despite the constant barrage he endured from Andrew Draco, and was just shy of a podium on debut at one of the series' most difficult tracks. Well done, Ryan. Way to put on a show.

4) Cody Blackman | Four drivers called the race on Sunday their home event, two from Australia, and two from across the sea in New Zealand. Only one of them finished in the top 10, and it wasn't the odds on favorite. Cody Blackman drove as perfect of a race as we've seen him run. An overlooked figure most of the race, Blackman was on the same strategy as Leroux and Liechti, and used 10 lap fresher tires and a healthy serving of patience to slide into 5th place at the finish. Not only did Blackman outqualify his teammate, he ended up 11 positions higher than him in the race as well. Whether or not this is a flash in the pan remains to be seen, but for now, the youthful Australian hotshot has a nice points haul to enjoy for two weeks.

And the biggest losers were...

1) Cat Devil Racing | All three of the Cat Devil Racing Hondas had very early exits. By lap 15, none of them were left. Camyron Jackson and Diego Jaramillo were collected in accidents, and Kuni Kino****a suffered what the team diagnosed as a complex suspension failure. After all three started in the top 12, finishing in the bottom 8 is a disaster for the Kyoto-based team, who looked at 2021 as a chance to finally reach the top of the mountain. The team's home race is in two weeks, and they desperately need to regroup.

2) Panasonic Team Impulse | What could have been is the motto for the team's race. A front row lockout was for nothing as both Sakura Ishibashi and Hazel Lacasse were skunked at the very start. Neither led a lap of the race, despite being the heaviest favorites. Whatever issues plagued the team, it affected both cars, as they struggled mightily in traffic once they were in it, and it was a slippery slope that landed both cars outside of the top 10 at the end. As with CDR, Team Impulse have their home race next to figure out what in the world went wrong and how not to repeat it.

3) LM Competition | 2020 saw the team post a double podium. 2021 saw all three of the team's cars fail to see the checkered flag. Mildred Moon fell out on lap 1, overly ambitious in the dangerous turn 11 and into the tire wall. Gerard Perth would repeat the feat just 8 laps later, leaving Ray Taylor as the team's last hope. That fell through on lap 67 when an ambitious move went wrong, leaving him 18th at the end of it all. The team struggled often in the 2020 season. Phillip Island did not show a change of that trend in a positive way.

4) Escuderia Aguila | When you start 28th, the only way to go is up, which is the only positive thing you can say about the weekend Cristine Espinoza and the Aguila team had this weekend. After starting last, Espinoza had clawed herself into the top 10 conversation, a testament to how talented the 33 year old has always been on race day. But it all fell apart just shy of halfway. A tire failure exiting turn 10 left Cristine backwards and against the tire wall, ending her day and leaving her 19th. With the skeleton crew also having to make due for Motegi, miracles will be needed in bundles in two weeks.
 

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Ventnor, Australia: Nicole Liechti, for the first time in her career, starts of the 2021 Champ Car season with a podium at Phillip Island, the Swiss driver finishing third behind race winner, Esther Hoffson, and fellow compatriot, Simona Leroux. The Black Rose Racing driver was all smiles as she stood on the podium, continuing an improvement of performance linking back to last summer. "We're beginning to understand where we are, and where we want to be. We've got new Chevrolet engines for this year, which I think are overall an improvement from last year. We've just been working very hard as a team to start off the year right. I think we're going to look good this year." said the 30 year old, who is in a contract year, and needing to impress. "We have amazing sponsors supporting us, and they've stuck with us through a lot. It's nice to have these moments."

Brad Nerri, however, did not have quite the weekend he had hoped. After starting 22nd, Nerri could only manage to bring the car home in 14th. Despite being on the favored late race strategy, something did not quite click for the second year driver, who was left kicking himself after missed chances. Black Rose Racing is hoping for better, having paid $1.5 million to break him from his Swift Autosport contract late last year.
 
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Now live! Race 2 of the 2021 Champ Car season is being streamed tonight, and it has some big shoes to fill to follow up on last weekend's race. Motegi, you better be nice to us!

 
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Speedway, Indiana | The gateway to the Indianapolis 500 began on Wednesday with an abbreviated day of practice. All 38 drivers from all 16 teams entered in the event were confined to two hours of early afternoon running before lunch, with storms rolling in and washing out the rest of the day. With one day already down and out, teams will have to rely on Thursday and Fast Friday practice to do more work before Qualifying weekend.

Panasonic Team Impulse In Command

The current Team Championship and Indycar World Championship leaders ended Wednesday with a lock on the fastest speeds. Hazel Lacasse continued her form from her Chicagoland win to top the timing sheets, being the only person to break into the 230 mph lap speeds. Likewise, Sakura Ishibashi would be the only person to end the day in the 229 mph lap speeds, while B.K. Glover took on his refresher courses during the session, posting the 29th fastest lap time. As has been the case all season long, it will be a wonder if Asumi Matsuo's crew don't take the Indy 500 pole position for the second year in a row. This weekend marks a special occassion, with Ishibashi running the #87 in tribute to her friend, the late Henna Venalainen, who tragically passed away contesting the Indianapolis 500 five years ago.
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Debut for Velocity Autosport

A brand new team arrived with the field to the Brickyard, fielding a two car squad for the 105th Spectacle. Velocity Autosport, run by Vincent Rojas, opted to bring exposure to the Nissan Atlantic Championship, with the team fielding Maria Chavez and Katrina Ochoa. Chavez, the Obsidian Racing Team development driver, is the protege of 2008 World Champion, Emelio Gonzalez. With large Mexican business connections, the entry was secured relatively easily during the early Spring. In the 48 car for the team is the Cherokee GP program driver, who at the age of 28 stands to be one of the older rookies to debut at the Indy 500. Ochoa spent time as a test driver for Dallara, Firestone, and Chevrolet before joining Cherokee GP's Atlantics program. With the team's sponsor DoorDash on board, Ochoa has the chance to break through after almost 8 years of being on the outskirts. And on Unload Day, Ochoa was the bright star in the team's performance, landing 13th fastest while Chavez took to learning the new car, winding up 33rd fastest, just behind Cristine Espinoza.
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Early Troubles For Some Drivers

The only accident of the day happened about an hour into the session. Patrick Marcelli suffered a suspension failure in turn 3, spinning into his Eastern Atlantic Motorsports teammate, Esther Hoffson, before collecting Isabel Espinoza, Keisha Fox, and Lucien Lachapelle. All five drivers were able to rejoin before the session ended for lunch, with Lachapelle leaping up the times at the end.
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The only other incident that occurred during the day was just before the crash, with LM Competition's Ray Taylor suffering a gearbox failure exiting turn 2. That was promptly fixed with Taylor running laps at the end of the session.

Full Day 1 Results can be found below.
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Speedway, Indiana | Mother nature once again intervened, shorting out what was supposed to be 8 hours of track time to just under 4 hours on Thursday. Storms raged overnight into Thursday morning, which canned all but an hour of track time before the lunch break. Rain would continue to interrupt proceedings until 4 p.m, when the skies finally opened. What was left was a green race track, and gusts upwards of 14 miles per hour, all of which disrupted everyone's plans. Times were slower, especially in the morning, but some trends are beginning to make themselves apparent.

PTI Near Untouchable?

Osaka's finest seem to be the ones to beat after two very adverse days of practice. Sakura Ishibashi, in her fine form, bested her Kiwi teammate by the slimmest of margins. One thousandth of a second separated the two, who have been almost conjoined at the hip since the season began in Phillip Island. While neither driver matched their Wednesday best, being within a tenth, while dealing with triple the wind gusts, definitely puts some confidence in the team that they can potentially dominate the 105th Indianapolis 500 next weekend.
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Velocity Autosport Suffer Setback

Just before the lunch break, one of the 9 Indy 500 rookies took to a very hard crash in turn 4. Maria Chavez and Matheus Michelin tangled in the short chute between turns 3 and 4, with both drivers colliding hard with the inside wall before sliding up the track and coming to a stop against the turn 4 SAFER barrier. The damage done to both cars means that both the 5 and the 50, if they qualify for the race, will start from the rear of the field for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
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Eastern Atlantic Motorsports In Trouble

The other Miami-based team had an even worse time on Thursday, with Richard Hoffson's team among the slowest so far in the practice sessions. Esther Hoffson was particularly woeful, with multiple mechanical failures curtailing her to a session lowest 46 laps run all day, and ending the session at the very bottom, a worrying sign for the Phillip Island race winner. Her teammate, Patrick Marcelli, did not fair much better, escaping all of the mechanical gremlins, but only managing 33rd by the 6:00 gun.
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Veterans Struggling

Several of the legendary drivers in the field struggled particularly on Thursday, none as hard as Stephanie Porter-Kelley, who ended the day an abysmal 34th. The Orlando-native is approaching her 17th and final Indy 500 qualifying attempt as she wraps up her final season as a driver, and her protege, Natalia Kirichenko, fared worse, winding up next to last. Cristine Espinoza, despite ending up in 12th place at the nick of time, was 35th most of the day, and relied heavily on a draft train to improve her lap time, something that won't be possible this weekend for qualifying.
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Lundqvist Relishing Brickyard Return

Cherokee GP's 'Super Swede' has been all hands on deck in her first trip back to the 500 since 2014. Siri Lundqvist ended the day 5th fastest, but for most of the day, until 4 p.m, she'd been atop the times, showing her #96 Alpine just as capable as that of the Swift Knight Autosport and Panasonic Team Impulse cars. Keisha Fox ended the day 20th for the team, the #62 car working on race setup data before both cars run the same setup data for Fast Friday.
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Full Day 2 results can be found below:
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The first weekend in May, for the 108th time since 1909, determined the starting order for the Indianapolis 500. 38 driver/car combinations fought over 33 spaces, and by the end of Sunday, all four engine manufacturers would see at least one of their customers out of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Saturday was dedicated to determining the first three rows of the grid. Per tradition dating back to the 1995 event, all 38 cars made their first runs between noon and 4:30 p.m. Fast Friday had presented plenty of scares in regards to Striker Motorsports, who had all three of their Chevrolets finish 36th, 37th, and 38th, and Cat Devil Racing, who had not consistently placed any any of their four cars near the top of the time sheets during the week. But on Saturday, Striker Motorsports came out to show, with 2009 race winner Stephanie Porter-Kelley securing her 17th and final start in the race by locking herself into the Firestone Fast 6. Lucien Lachapelle, as a Indy 500 RotY contender, went 7th fastest, just barely missing the cut, while their Russian ace, Natalia Kirichenko, struggled in the heat of the day but staying very safe in the mid field. Panasonic Team Impulse, as they have all week, dominated qualifying, with Hazel Lacasse edging out Sakura Ishibashi to maintain the PTI 1-2. B.K. Glover, in the third car for the team, was less confident due to having less time in the car in 2021. Swift Knight Autosport, as it had been in practice, had a split. The veteran half of the team excelled, with Kaylee Zappa and Matheus Michelin leading the charge into the Firestone Fast 6. Rookies Ryan Stevens, and Le Mans legend, Javier Silva, struggled as they came to grips to the Brickyard. And rounding out the Firestone Fast 6 was Obsidian Racing Team's Isabel Espinoza, the young Argentinian doing her part to carry on the team's excellent showing, with rookie debutante Asada Kito doing magic in his first ever laps on an oval. If the IndyCar cards fall the right way, a two car Obsidian lineup with Espinoza and Kito could wreck havoc on the Champ Car grid.

The Fast 6 shootout provided some stellar performances Saturday evening as well. While SPK held back on her run, not wanting to risk throwing the car out and starting from the back, the PTI teammates threw down the gauntlet, with Lacasse putting up 4 laps all 235 miles per hour or faster to take her first pole of the season. With Lacasse on pole, it marks the first time that a New Zealander has started the Indianapolis 500 on pole, and for the second year in a row, Panasonic Team Impulse takes the pole position, this time with a front row lockout. Lacasse was understandably over the moon, and the crowd on hand gave suitable applause for her qualifying performance. Swift Knight Autosport's duo of Zappa and Michelin locked out row 2, with the results marking both their best ever starts at the 500. And row 3 was an all Chevrolet row, with Isabel Espinoza outgunning the veteran Porter-Kelley to end the day.

The real drama was all focused on Sunday afternoon. The 32 drivers that did not make the Fast 6 had to go again, with nobody being safe until they had 5 cars under them on the timing boards. Tyler Parker, the 2020 pole sitter, pulled himself into P7 on the grid, making himself the highest qualified Rockstar Phantom Motors car after a rough period of time that included both full time cars failing to finish in Chicagoland, and public pressure mounting in regards to team owner Jean-Claude Gabriel's extended absence from on track affairs. In a pleasant surprise, despite the uncertainties in practice, both Velocity Autosport cars were safely into the field, with Katrina Ochoa outqualifying her Atlantic Championship adversary Maria Chavez in the process. However, the biggest spotlights were on the bottom of the tables. By the time the dust had settled, both Apex Racing Team cars were bumped out of the Indianapolis 500, a huge hit for the Oceanic team. Brad Nerri failed to qualify in his first attempt at the Indianapolis 500, marking the first time a Black Rose Racing entry failed to make the show, in addition to Patrick Marcelli, who's #82 Eastern Atlantic Motorsports Honda seemingly was always lacking pace, and Javier Silva, giving Champ Car a go for the first time, just barely missed out by 0.007 across the four lap average. Rachel Koivuniemi, by that slim margin, qualified for her third Indy 500, but will not start last thanks to the driver change coming on Monday. Nicole Liechti has been cleared to return to the track for the rest of practice and the 500, so with Evangeline Porter stepping out of the 81, Liechti will start the race from last next Sunday.
 

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MAY 2, 2021 | CINCINNATI, OHIO, USA | Following the results from this weekend's qualifying efforts for the 108th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, Black Rose Racing has come to terms with the immediate release of Brad Nerri. Per the terms of the contracts attached to Nerri's services and requirements by the series organizers and sanctioning body, the team will pay out the rest of Brad's $1.8 million contract, as well as the $1 million incentive clause to Swift Autosport as agreed when the contract was transferred to us. We wish Brad the best in his future as we also try to work towards getting the best results for our future as a team.

Details in regards to replacement drivers for our second full time car will come at a more appropriate time when we have come to a decision.
 
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The final three days of practice are now in the books, with the pole sitter continuing to lead the way. Hazel Lacasse went 3 for 3 in race practice days, meaning she's topped 6 of the 7 days she's been on track. Panasonic Team Impulse, who were already tabbed as the oval masters for the season after their performances at Motegi and Chicagoland, have finally shown their complete hand, with Friday ending with all 3 cars atop the timesheets, with Rockstar Phantom Motors filling up the rest of the top 5. We learned a lot this week, so let's break it down.

Bet on Impulse

Panasonic Team Impulse has controlled the top spot in every session leading up to the 108th Indianapolis 500, with final practice culminating in a 1-2-3 sweep before the big race on Sunday. Sakura Ishibashi, prior to Chicagoland, was the favorite of the trio, having won Pocono and Fontana in 2020. However, that has shifted significantly with Lacasse's performance at Chicagoland and so far this month leading up to the race. It is going to be excruciatingly difficult to keep up with at least one of the PTI drivers, barring the possibility of a mechanical failure like what has plagued other Alpine teams on occasion.

Phantom Motors Rallying Around Parker

Panasonic Team Impulse made bold decisions to release Thomas Rogers and Tyler Parker at the end of the 2020 season, both of which proven Champ Car race winners. Rogers took a sabbatical year, while Parker was wisely picked up by Rockstar Phantom Motors, who immediately went to work wrapping a team around him in addition to their championship-winning duo of Andrew Draco and David Wessel. Parker has subsequently rewarded that faith, qualifying best of the team, and keeping their Osaka-based rivals honest all month long. With Parker chasing vindication, Phantom Motors could be a very potent and important foil in this year's Indianapolis 500.

Veterans Down A Step

In the 108th Indianapolis 500 grid, there are only three former Indianapolis 500 champions amongst the fastest 33. Cristine Espinoza, the 5 time race winner, starts in 27th, her worst ever Indy 500 start. Stephanie Porter-Kelley, the 2009 race winner, starts her 17th and final Indy 500 from 6th on the grid, but race pace has not been positive for the Bosnian-American. Kuni Kino****a, the 2 time race winner, starts in 26th, the entire Cat Devil Racing team struggling for consistency all month long. All three women have tall odds to overcome in 48 hours.
 

Eva

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MAY 12, 2021 | CINCINNATI, OHIO, USA | Black Rose Racing is announcing that Alan Herrera will be driving the #51 Martini and Rossi Chevrolet entry for the remainder of the 2021 season, continuing on from his efforts in the 108th Indianapolis 500. The #7 Coca-Cola Chevrolet will continue to be used for the remainder of the Triple Crown, with the driver still to be determined at this time. We are thankful to our sponsors and supporters, and we look forward to getting everything ready to go for our engine supplier's home race, the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Belle Isle, this weekend.
 
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What a difference a week makes. Amidst the news of Rockstar Phantom Motors being sold to Velocity Autosport, and several teams bringing their last wave of upgrades to the streets of Belle Isle Park, there was a lot to disect after Friday practice. So let's get into the ins and outs.

Phantom Motors In Transition

The powerhouse Honda stable announced the day after the 108th Indianapolis 500 that it was being sold to Velocity Autosport. Phantom Motors pioneer, Jean-Claude Gabriel, stunned the paddock and the Champ Car fans in announcing his battle with cancer had worsened, requiring his full attention and the sell off of the team to Velocity Autosport's Vincent Rojas. Andrew Draco, the defending Indycar World Champion, announced this would be his last full time season in the pinnacle of North American open wheel racing, with the San Francisco-native agreeing to run the Triple Crown with Velocity Autosport in 2022. Velocity Autosport confirmed its drivers as Maria Chavez and Katrina Ochoa, the dynamic duo that propelled the debuting team into spotlight at the Brickyard, but it also has left David Wessel with an unknown future, with every party confirming he would not be racing with Velocity in 2022 when the takeover is finalized. With the weight of the world now peering down on the duo who were set to be the main challengers to Panasonic Team Impulse, both Draco and Wessel topped one of the two practice sessions, making this the first time since Texas that a Panasonic Team Impulse driver had not been on top of the leaderboards. Pressure may be building diamonds as the team now attempts to ride out its final season as the daring and unwavering underdogs-turned-goliaths.

Cat Devil Racing Putting Indy Behind Them

Not too long ago, the Brickyard was one of the playgrounds Cat Devil Racing held in its back pocket. But recent years have seen the team falter on the grand stage. This year shows to be no different, with all three CDR cars working far more closely together in Detroit. The team flirted with or were the gatekeepers to the top 10 in both practice sessions, all three in a line as they look to rebound and prepare for a serious charge in the middle stage of the season.

Black Rose Racing Learning On The Go

Friday morning was almost like Christmas morning for Evangeline Porter's team, the duo of Nicole Liechti and Alan Herrera reconnecting after several years apart. Both were last teammates in 2018, for the same team. For Liechti, the day turned around in the afternoon, with the Swiss Miss separating the Phantom Motors duo from Team Impulse's duo in P3. For Herrera, the Mexican driver spent the day relearning the workings of the current Champ Car in road course configuration. The last time Herrera raced in the World Championship, the Dallara HV18 was in use, with less downforce and no ground effects, on top of a 3 year newer tire spec from Firestone. Patience will be the magic word as the team build around the two time Champ Car race winner to make him more comfortable.

Apex Languishing At The Rear

The 2021 campaign continues to get more and more difficult for the Apex Racing Team, with the Oceanic squad finishing dead last in both practice sessions, minus Isabel Espinoza's crash in FP1. Horizon Corporation has stressed that it will begin looking to reject idling or demotivated teams down to the National Championship when it reforms in 2022, and with Escuderia Aguila already quietly confirming its move to the new series, Apex Racing Team is on its last legs before the series promoters step in and make the decision for them.

Obsidian Racing Team Recovery Mission

FP1 lasted only 11 minutes for Isabel Espinoza, the Argentinian finding the wall going through the double right hand complex to end only her fourth lap on track. The suspension on the left side of the car took significant damage, which saw the team lose nearly 80 minutes of track time. Espinoza, who has looked more confident with her new team on road courses than ovals, made up for it by going 12th fastest. Zoe Sharp, the team principal for Obsidian in Champ Car, confirmed the team was not spending the same amounts as the top teams, using 2021 as a learning season, with most of the team's engineers coming from Japan, where the team has dominated the open wheel ladder system across the Pacific since 2016. The team were impressed with the showings of both Espinoza and Asada Kito, who is doing both the V8GP series and the Triple Crown this year, and sources around the team have reported that there's no intentions to stray from the course yet.
Saturday qualifying was a stunning two hours of action, with the favorites landing in trouble, and a new pole sitter rising to the occasion. The three stage qualifying format returned for the first time since the season opener in Phillip Island, and boy did it throw the field for a loop!

Lundqvist Steals The Spotlight

Cherokee GP flew under the radar in both the Indy 500 and in Friday practice, but they emerged as serious threats on Saturday, with Sweden's Siri Lundqvist taking her first pole position since returning to the series last year. Keisha Fox also improved from Friday, ending Q3 in 9th place, making the team's prospects for the abrasive street circuit remarkably better than they were assuming they'd find when the weekend started.

PTI Out In Q2

The monsters of the Speedways struggled mightily in qualifying, with both Hazel Lacasse and Sakura Ishibashi being eliminated shockingly in Q2. For points leader Lacasse, the 60 point buffer she has over Draco and Wessel is now a cushion of relief as the team tries to figure out how to convert their Saturday mishaps into top 10 results at a track that is extremely rough physically and notoriously difficult to battle on. For Ishibashi, who had 3 poles out of 6 races coming into Belle Isle, her Q2 exit shows a rare, but significant undoing of the team's untouchable aura just days after the team led all but one lap at Indianapolis. The Grand Prix that lies ahead will not be for the feint of heart for Team Impulse fans.

CDR Make Good On Intentions

All three Cat Devil Racing cars made it into Q3 and firmly put themselves closer to the front for the race on Sunday, with Kuni Kino****a starting outside the front row, while Camyron Jackson made it to P5, and Diego Jaramillo placing right behind him on the inside column in P7. The team caught attention on Friday with how close the trio were performing, and the qualifying results now supports the practice results. The Kyoto-based team are ready to bring a fight to the top once more.

Rocket Razgriz Secure Best Start of 2021

Astrid Krane watched as a potential top 5 result was stolen from her early at the Indianapolis 500, the French team putting so much effort into giving the Norwegian driver the best they possibly can. Their progress has not been for nothing, as Krane achieved her and the team's best qualifying result of the year on Saturday, qualifying 12th to start beside Striker Motorsports' Natalia Kirichenko.

Swift Knight Autosport Struggle At Home

It's as close to home as it can get for Swift Knight Autosport, but it's as far from the front row as they've ever been this season. The team was lackluster in Friday practice, but that came as unremarkable since the team normally plays its cards close to the chest on the opening sessions. Qualifying, however, shows a gaping hole still exists in the team's road course program. The team were fortunate with the chaos that unfolded in Phillip Island, but luck cannot become a crutch if this team is to show any semblance of contention, especially with the grid shake up looking likely at season's end.
 

Eva

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MAY 17, 2021 | DETROIT, MICHIGAN, USA | A double podium finish in Belle Isle is just what Black Rose Racing needed after the struggles seen by the team in the early portion of the season. Nicole Liechti, still warming herself back up after missing two races due to injury, came home an elated third place, but the driver of the day was Alan Herrera, in his first street course race in over three years, coming from 19th on the grid to win his fourth career Champ Car race. Misfortune found the favorites throughout the race, with Siri Lundqvist suffering an issue requiring an extra pit stop after leading the first 50+ laps from pole position, as well as both Panasonic Team Impulse and Rockstar Phantom Motors stumbling throughout the day. "After what we've been through, it's so good to have a moment like this!" Liechti said, smiling ear to ear with her podium trophy. "This has been such a testing season already. Everything looked good at the start, and then Texas happened, and everything started to fall apart. To see this team right the ship so quickly, it shows how much we've learned and grown, and there's a lot of reason to be happy today. Alan did an amazing job, and he deserves all of the hype for coming back and winning so soon. It speaks volumes about him and the team as a whole to make it all happen."
 
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