No. 885
February 22, 2017

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The Line


MARCH 1, 2017

(Photo by John K. Harrelson/NKP; 2017)
Kurt Busch (No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford) and his crew celebrate after winning the Daytona 500 Monster Energy Cup race at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday. Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford) was second and A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet) finished third. You can read Peter's blistering assessment of the current state of NASCAR - "segment racing" and all - in this week's "Fumes."

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Jordan Taylor (No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R) turned the fastest lap of the two-day test in preparation for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, clocking a time of 1 minute, 49.600 seconds (122.8 mph). The 2017 Rolex 24 winner posted the time last Friday. The race is on Saturday, March 18th.

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Jan Magnussen (No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R) posted the quickest lap in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class with a best lap of 1:58.525 (113.5 mph) in the Sebring IMSA test. He set his quick time in the Friday morning session.

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
After posting the quickest time in class Thursday, Colin Braun (No. 54 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R) did it again on Friday morning turning in a lap of 2:02.476 (109.9 mph) to top the GT Daytona class.

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Juan Pablo Montoya, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and 1999 CART champion, sampled the No. 62 Risi Competizione 488 GTE machine on Friday afternoon of the two-day, IMSA-sanctioned test at Sebring. While Montoya has turned plenty of laps on the portion of the Sebring circuit that runs from Turns 3 to 13 around the area known as Green Park, he hadn’t previously run on the full, 3.74-mile, 17-turn circuit that utilizes former concrete runways from what was Hendricks Field – an Army Air Force training base – in the 1940s. “It’s fun,” Montoya said. “It’s different. I only ran, probably, eight laps just to get the hang of it a little and I’m going to try to get in a little bit later. It’s fun. I’ve never really run the big track. It’s pretty bumpy.” “Prototypes drive more like an open-wheel car,” the 41-year-old Colombian continued (he had sampled the factory Porsche LMP1 over the winter). “This is very different. There’s a lot of pitch movement in the cars, it’s kind of tricky. It’s very easy to get it wrong. It’s like, you go in one time and it’s like, ‘Oh, it turns.’ The next time you go in, it doesn’t and the next time you go in, it goes smooth. It’s very hard to be consistent.” Montoya’s only racing commitment thus far in 2017 is his quest for a third Indianapolis 500 victory in May as part of a five-car assault from Team Penske (he won the 2015 race for the team). So, would he be interested in racing the Risi Ferrari? “If they would let me, yeah,” he said. “But I don’t know if they’d let me.”

(John Thawley ~ Motorsports Photography @ ~ 248.227.0110)
Thirty-eight-year-old Marino Franchitti participated in the two-day IMSA-sanctioned test at Sebring. He will return to competition next month as part of a three-driver lineup in the No. 70 Mazda Motorsports RT-24P Daytona Prototype international (DPi) car alongside co-drivers Tom Long and Joel Miller. He tested the car extensively Friday with Long and Miller. “It feels like coming home,” Marino Franchitti said. “Although I’m a European driver, I’m an American racer. I spent so many years racing over here, that to be away from it felt very strange and to be back feels really, really nice. It’s great to see so many old friends and it’s just nice to be back on track here at Sebring. “Obviously, since the last time I competed in the series, the classes have evolved, GTD has evolved and we now have one top combined class with the DPis and it’s really cool to get out there and drive one of these new cars. They’re just as good as they look. They’re nice.” The last time Franchitti competed in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2014, he brought home a victory for Chip Ganassi Racing in a Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype with co-drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.

(Haas F1Team photos)
The Haas F1 Team has introduced the VF-17, its entry to the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship. The VF-17 follows the team’s very first car, the VF-16, which carried Haas F1 Team to an eighth-place finish in the 2016 constructor standings. Twenty-nine points were scored by the VF-16 during Haas F1 Team’s inaugural season, the largest points haul of any new Formula One team in this millennium. Incorporating “VF” into the name of the car is a nod to the history of Haas Automation, the team’s title sponsor. The first CNC machine manufactured by Haas Automation was the VF-1 in 1988. The “V” stands for vertical, which is an industry standard designation for a vertical mill. Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, added “F1” to the name to unofficially designate it as the company’s “Very First One.”
The VF-17 was built under a new set of technical regulations featuring an advanced aerodynamic package designed to create a higher level of downforce. A wider front wing, larger barge boards, a lower and wider rear wing and a diffuser that expands 50 millimeters (two inches) in height and width comprise the changes, along with wider tires from Pirelli, by 60 millimeters (2.4 inches) in the front and 80 millimeters (3.1 inches) in the rear, a 25-percent increase to bring the front tires to 305 millimeters (12 inches) and the rear tires to 405 millimeters (15.9 inches). “Being a Formula One participant brings a level of credibility that you just won’t get through traditional advertising,” says Haas, whose entry in 2016 became the first American Formula One team since 1986. “People are kind of ‘show me’ people, like show me what you can do and then I’ll believe in you. That was the initial concept – to convince people of our ability to do things others can’t, and I think that translates into being a machine tool builder. Bigger, Better, Faster, Lighter is what we strive for in the machining industry and it’s what we strive for in motorsports. People see what we can do in Formula One, and people believe Haas Automation can build world-class machine tools.” “I think the pedal box is the same, but all the rest is very different from last year’s car,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team. “You always try to make a faster car, which is normally a lighter car. Now we can put on more ballast and get better weight distribution. The aero is completely new, as are the tires, so we needed to have some built-in adjustability." The VF-17 tests at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya, Feb. 27-March 2 and again March 7-10 before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix March 26 in Melbourne.