Sunday, December 20, 2015

Renault e.dams Sebastien Buemi Posts 2nd ePrix Season Win At Julius Baer Punta del Este

FIA Formula e Podium, Race 3 of the 2015-2016 season. P1 Renault e.dams Sebastien Buemi (center, blue, holding trophy), P2 Abt Schaeffler Lucas di Grassi (left, red), and P3 Dragon Racing Jerome D’Ambrosio (right, white). Image Credit: FIA Formula e

Renault e.dams Sebastien Buemi Posts 2nd ePrix Season Win At Julius Baer Punta del Este

Sebastien Buemi recharged his title assault with a sensational win in the Julius Baer Punta del Este ePrix.

For the first time this season the Renault e.dams star failed to take pole position, but from fifth position on the grid he produced a charging drive to the delight of over 10,000 passionate Uruguayan fans to score his fifth career victory.

The seed was sewn at the start, and from the ‘clean’ right-hand side of the grid, he sprinted off the line to instantly take fourth place from Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi. The DS Virgin car of Sam Bird and the Dragon Racing entry of Loic Duval soon fell prey to the Swiss, and it was only a matter of time before pole-sitter Jerome D’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) yielded as well.

Sebastien Buemi bounces a wheel off a rumble strip to maintain the lead. Image Credit:

The move for the lead was met with a huge cheer from the grandstands, and once ahead Buemi showed no signs of relinquishing his grasp on the winner’s trophy.

Buemi said: “The start was really important for the outcome of the race. Pulling away from the clean side of the grid meant I could jump di Grassi and then close in and pass D’Ambrosio and Bird in the opening laps. I was ahead and lost a lot of time under Full Course Yellow. Normally you get a 10 second countdown from the race director but the boards were already out so I backed off, I didn’t want to take the risk. It’s good to bounce back from Putrajaya but Lucas is really close and consistent so we have to remain focused.”

Julius Baer Punta del Este track map. Image Credit: TBK LIGHT

On the ‘dirty’ side of the grid, di Grassi knew that keeping Buemi behind at the start would be a tough ask, and knew he had to try to keep pace with the eventual winner as he fought through the field. In his attempt to pass Duval he very nearly hit the wall and instead lost a place to his Abt Schaeffler team-mate Daniel Abt. A small error by Abt allowed di Grassi back through and he pushed hard to ensure he was as close as possible to Bird and Duval when they all came in for their mandatory car change.

Compilation - Images Credit: FIA Formula e

A perfect pitstop meant he leapfrogged into second place and closed right in on Buemi as a Full Course Yellow was thrown after a Battery Management System error caused Bird’s car to stop on track. Di Grassi gave everything to put Buemi under pressure, but couldn’t get close enough to force a move or a mistake and settled for second.

Di Grassi said: “Today second was the maximum we could achieve with Renault again showing they have the car to beat. Also this result is thanks to my team who did a really good job in the pitstop where I moved ahead of both Dragon cars. I managed to catch Buemi and tried to manage the gap but he was too fast, they have been the quickest in the first three races. He’s the man to win the championship but if he doesn’t do it we’ll be here to do it.”

Race start as led by Formula e Pole winner, Jerome D’Ambrosio Dragon Racing. Image Credit: FIA Formula e

From his first-ever Formula E pole, D’Ambrosio made a perfect start and comfortably led from Bird, who beat Duval off the line to slot into second. A few tenths at a time, D’Ambrosio eked out the lead, but as soon as Buemi made it into second his advantage was decimated – Buemi lapping a full 1.5s faster than the Dragon Racing star in his first lap in clean air.

An overly-cautious entry into the pits gave di Grassi the chance to steal second place, and in the closing stages D’Ambrosio was once again in a fraught battle with his team-mate Loic Duval. D’Ambrosio held on for third, and with Duval fourth it was another strong race for Jay Penske’s team.

Dragon Racing team-mate to Jerome D’Ambrosio, Loic Duval manages to grab P4. Image Credit: FIA Formula e

D’Ambrosio said: “Getting both Dragon cars in the top-five was a good achievement. Starting from pole you want to win the race but realistically the other cars are faster. I just did my own race. Loic and I had a close one here as in Beijing, I didn’t have much energy left and was in a close fight. I was under pressure but managed to hold on.”

Just over six second covered the top four, but there was a huge gap back to fifth place and Renault e.dams’s Nico Prost. Sixth place went to Team Aguri’s Antonio Felix da Costa, easily the lead season one tech runner and he felt it was genuinely the best result possible in the circumstances.

Sebastien Buemi has a personal moment of celebration, with Lucas di Grassi walking by, as he gets out of the car at races end. Image Credit: FIA Formula e

Jacques Villeneuve was unable to take the start after seriously damaging one of his Venturi chassis in a qualifying shunt. Jean-Eric Vergne used FanBoost to make his way by the Venturi of Stephane Sarrazin and into the top-10. He gained a place when Oliver Turvey was penalized for his NEXTEV TCR team releasing him too early from his pitstop, and set to work on battling with Turvey’s team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr.

Coming onto the final lap the pair traded places and paint, but Piquet remained ahead. However, he lost rear grip on the entry to the chicane and slammed sideways into the tire barrier. Vergne was elevated to seventh, while Piquet was unhurt but out.

Daniel Abt was eighth, Sarrazin ninth, while Robin Frijns, whose Andretti team changed the entire powertrain (including battery) in his second car in between qualifying and the race, rewarded their efforts with the final point in 10th.

With a beach party following on from the amazing podium ceremony at the famous hand, there was a fantastic ‘end of year’ feeling about the whole event. There’s now 48 days until Formula E returns to South America for the Buenos Aires ePrix. Last year it was arguably the most exciting event of the season, and Buemi’s rivals will be hoping that he doesn’t have things his own way.
[ht: ePrix]

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Formula E, Renault e.dams, Abt Schaeffler, Dragon Racing, NEXTEV TCR, Venturi, Team Aguri, Virgin, Buenos Aires ePrix, The EDJE

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Naughty Or Nice For 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Placed Under The Tree

Scott Dixon on 'pit-out' at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach ... a race he finally won for the first time in his IndyCar career. This race win helped Dixon to achieve his fourth American Open-Wheel Racing championship secured on lap 51 by never giving up the lead for the win of the final race, GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma held at Sonoma Raceway. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Naughty Or Nice For 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Placed Under The Tree

To many who have followed professional American open-wheel automobile racing over these last fifty plus years, in terms of talent in the paddocks on both teams and drivers, the 2015 season would easily rank in the top five all-time seasons.

The 2015 season was the first season that featured the new rules governing aerodynamic body panels manufactured by Dallara but utilizing input and designs dictated/negotiated by the manufacturer of the engines used by each team - Chevrolet or Honda. Once each team was given the solution of body and wing parts to use on the racing platform, within limits, the teams could decide upon the configurations and settings allowed.

One million possible adjustment combinations with the Honda/Dallara aero-package. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Early in the season, the cars that ran Honda seemed to be a bit behind Chevrolet on in and out cornering speed ... to wit Honda put forth, (paraphrased) our wing and body panels can be configured in about a million different ways given all of the options available. The problem with this potential breadth of choice options, once a proper engineering set up has become competitive with the more simple approach settled on by Chevrolet, about 999,000 options for adjustment become useless or irrelevant.

So on this issue ... who's Nice or Naughty?

The manufacturer, the engineering staff who figured out the best set-ups?, or the overall rules package crafted by the Verizon IndyCar Management?

In an effort to place the gifts of this season under the tree, Josh Farmer's Championship Racing Radio in show #4, with Edmund Jenks, seeks to discuss the Best (Nice) and Worst (Naughty) of this 2015 breakout season that began with an out of country race cancellation in Brazil without having a make-up race be run at any time for the balance of the season.

The discussion in show #4, however, will not focus on Verizon IndyCar Management but, rather, the races run, teams, and drivers.

Management, for the most part, may qualify for a lump of coal beginning with their policy of "Race Control By Committee" which had the person who was in charge of this policy - Derrick Walker - resign from the position after 2/3ds of the season had been put to bed ... with cookies and milk.

Championship Racing Radio 4: Naughty or Nice?

Time of show: (45 minutes at the maximum)
Intro: (Less than 5 minutes) introduce ourselves.
Rest of show: Best/worst of the 2015 IndyCar season in the theme of Naughty or Nice list. We both talk about who we think is the best driver

●    Nice List

○    Best Driver – Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon - The driver from Auckland, New Zealand kept his cool and capitalized on an unbelievable mistake by Team Penske midway through the race. That allowed Dixon to win his fourth Verizon IndyCar Series championship with a victory in season finale's Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma race (ht: Bruce Martin)

○    Best Race – Farmer - MAVTv500, Auto Club Speedway | Jenks - Honda Indy Grand Prix Of Alabama, Barber Motorsports Park (road/street course) - MAVTv500, Auto Club Speedway (superspeedway, oval course)

○    Best Rookie – Farmer - Bryan Herta Autosport's Gabby Chaves | Jenks - Bryan Herta Autosport's Gabby Chaves – Total Laps was 2nd best after Ryan Hunter Reay (2211 – RHR 2218) - Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Sage Karam - Honorable Mention 12 races – 2 Top 5 / 2 top 10 – excitement generated – No ride this season with 3 seats open – SPM / KV Racing / Dale Coyne

○    Best Move –  Penske Racing's Will Power – Sonoma for the Verizon P1 Pole Award - Will Power saw the performance CFH Racing's Josef Newgarden was able to do by placing Black sidewall tires on his Dallara so Will ordered up a set be placed on his Chevy and with the last seconds of qualifications winding down, snatched the Verizon P1 Pole Award away from Newgarden.

○    Most Improved driver – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal – He improved so much as a driver, it made him marriageable – Courtney Force and Graham got married Nov. 21, 2015 and are honeymooning in Fiji and New Zealand.

Ryan Briscoe before he took to the track at the MAVTv500, Auto Club Speedway. Image Credit: Ken Manfred (2015)

○    Best underdog – Farmer - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Conor Daly (points for Detroit) - Dale Coyne Racing's Tristan Vautier (showed great promise behind substitution runs) | Jenks - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Ryan Briscoe – 8 Races – ½ season – 1 Top 5 / 4 Top 10 / 2 DNF … one DNF at ACS on last lap caused by Ryan Hunter Reay

●    Naughty List

○    Worst Driver – Farmer - Dale Coyne Racing's Francesco Dracone (never finished in the Top 20) | Jenks - KV Racing Technology's Stefano Colitti – 16 Races with 5 DNF / Dale Coyne Racing's Francesco Dracone – 5 Races with 2 DNF - Josh Farmer compared Francesco Dracone as being "as slow as Milka Duno." Edmund Jenks asked Josh, "So you believe that Dracone is Milka Duno without the mascara? ... as far as we know, right?

○    Worst Race – Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana "NOLA"

Penske Racing's Simon Pagenaud leaves the track after contesting space with Ryan Hunter-Reay and take a mud ride. This image, with Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti in the foreground, was taken at the beginning of an accident that colored the late stages of the shortened race at NOLA. Image Credit: Bret Kelley - VICS (2015)

○    Worst Move - Farmer - Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay (2015 P6) - The final full course YELLOW Flag came from a massive incident between Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay (RHR), and Simon Pageneud (on the outside) as the drivers attempted to go three-wide in turn 3. RHR ended up pushing Pagenaud off of the track | Jenks - Penske Racing's Will Power - Diving move in Turn 10 at St. Petersburg on teammate Juan Pablo Montoya with many laps remaining in the race. It turns out that these two drivers got together during the final race of the season at Sonoma Raceway. Given that both drivers were in the hunt for the championship, one wonders if these points were able to be retained, would Scott Dixon have his 4th IndyCar crown.

Pageneud slid off the track into the mud, and then back on the track in the next right-hand corner 4, collecting Hunter-Reay and Bourdais sending all three cars across the grass.

Bourdais slides to the tire wall and hits broadsides cracking the hull of his No. 11 Dallara (all preceding crash images by Bret Kelley for IndyCar)

Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves in the pits at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Qualified well at many 2015 venues but just could not make the performances stick. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

○    Most disappointing driver - Farmer - Penske Racing's Simon Pagenaud (high hopes not realized - 2015 P11) - CFH Racing's Ed Carpenter (better set up with Conway last year - 2015 P27) | Jenks - Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves (2015 P5) - What was more surprising: Helio going without a win for only the second time in the past 16 IndyCar seasons, or his comparative disappearance at Indianapolis, where he's always expected to vie for the win? It's probably his not visiting Victory Lane, especially considering it was one of Helio's best-ever seasons in terms of qualifying. His four poles were complemented by the fact he never started worse than fifth through the first 11 races and his average starting spot was a dazzling fourth for 16 races. He lost Long Beach only because of a long pit stop to avoid contact. As for Indianapolis, other than his thrilling duel with RHR in 2014, the three-time winner has not been a factor at IMS the past few Mays but this year was more puzzling because of Chevy's obvious advantage. Finishing seventh and leading only two laps is not what three-time Indy kings are made of and it was the only oval he never really looked like a factor (ht: Racer, Robin Miller)

●    Anything else that we might want to cover - If anyone finds themselves in the Los Angeles area over the holidays, make a special trip to the newly renovated and re-opened Petersen Automotive Museum which resumed operations December 7, 2015.

Named 10 best automotive museums in the world by CNN.

Precious Metal display room at the Petersen Museum. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The Petersen Automotive Museum



(323) 930-CARS (2277)

Here's hoping that all who happen to follow Verizon IndyCar Series never see a lump of coal and are always thought of by Santa Claus as ... Nice!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Verizon IndyCar Series, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Stefano Colitti, Francesco Dracone, Will Power, Verizon P1 Pole Award, Barber Motorsports Park, Auto Club Speedway, Derrick Walker, Josh Farmer, Championship Racing Radio, Edmund Jenks, Petersen Automotive Museum,