Nissan DeltaWing

The DeltaWing , which most people know as the “Nissan ” DeltaWing, took a run at the Le Mans series and was doing well until a wreck put it out of commission. What some people may not know is the fact that the group that put together the DeltaWing were originally attempting to put it into play in the INDYCAR series. That never happened, and the rest is history.

With the Indy Lights series gaining some notoriety and its base chassis, the Dallara , getting on in age, Indy is now seeking a new manufacturer to build a base chassis to replace its aging unit. Now the entire group, less Nissan, is pitching the Delta Delta Wing to become the successor to the Dallara. To achieve this task and even be considered for Indy Lights, the group needs to fit the DeltaWing with the required paddle shifting capability, upgraded data systems, and alternative fuel considerations.

Overall, the DeltaWing looks like it would be a shoe-in, if it can get those few requirements taken care of. However, there are five or six total entrants trying to win this spot in the Indy Light series, so the Delta Wing group needs to focus on getting the car perfect, so they can get it into the circuit.

For now, this is just another pipe dream for the DeltaWing, but so was its entrance into the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. It succeeded in getting into that race, though it didn’t last for more than half of the race.

We’ll keep you updated on this race to the Indy Light series and let you know once Indy makes its final decision.

2012 Grand Prix of Monaco is in the books

Between F1 and INDYCAR , we are unsure which of the open-wheeled racing conglomerates are in worse shape. INDYCAR gets bumped by a beer festival , then can’t find a location quick enough to replace it, so cancels the race altogether. Then again, F1 has its head honcho, Bernie Ecclestone, in hot water for bribing various banking officials . Both circuits, F1 more than INDYCAR, are constantly under fire for their lack of parity, as the same drivers/teams win over and over again. We don’t have an issue with the lack of parity, we say let the best driver and car win, but the public tends to get bored by it.

Now F1 is joining INDYCAR in the cancelling of races, as after saying that the New Jersey leg of its U.S. tour may be pushed back to 2014. Now Ecclestone is saying “No. Definitely no,” that the race will not happen in 2013. This all comes following Sebastian Vettel’s test drive of the course and him saying that the track is “nowhere near ready.”

Following his pretty definitive statement, Ecclestone backed up and reworded his statement by saying that if organizers get the NJ track ready, it will be added to the 2013 calendar.

This is obviously one gigantic mess, as even the event organizers in NJ are saying that they are ahead of schedule and have not hit any of the snags that the other American leg, Austin, Texas, hit. So, maybe Ecclestone is jumping the gun a little on this one, so we will have to keep an eye one what’s going on here.

2012 Dallara IndyCar Concepts

After a Chinese beer festival overrode the popularity of INDYCAR and was bumped out of Qingdao, China , we all assumed that INDYCAR wouldn’t just cancel the race outright. Officials pointed to several venues as the possible replacement for the beer-bumped race, the most likely of which was Texas Motor Speedway, but that never came to fruition, as INDYCAR officials have chosen to just axe the race altogether.

According to reports, the cancellation was not due to lack of interest, but rather due to not being able to promote the event and fees. Randy Bernard was also quoted saying “We want to make sure that when we add events to our roster they have long-term potential and are given every opportunity to be successfully promoted.” So apparently just because it wouldn’t be a repeating race each year, INDYCAR chose to just hack the points from the season… It’s interesting to think of the logic behind that.

NASCAR has tracks, sponsors, and promoters chomping at the bit to get a race in their speedway. Plus, there would be no need for promotion. Just put up a sign and you’d have 200,000 screaming NASCARites at the gates ready to pay for tickets. As if the cancellation of the race for a two-week-long beer festival wasn’t indicative enough of the condition of INDYCAR, this just proves that only a very select audience watches it.

I can personally live without either, but if I absolutely had to watch on of them live, I would take INDY every time. I guess I am the strange one.

Recently, we haven’t had much good to say about Lotus and trust us, that is not by choice. We actually love Lotus and everything it once stood for in the performance car world. Unfortunately, it has undergone some serious changes and the CEO that it had decided to abandon what we all loved about Lotus.

In addition to the woes that Lotus underwent on the retail car front, it also underwent similar struggles on the racing front. Due to funding issues, its engines fell drastically behind the competition and its newly-signed-up partners all abandoned ship. It’s only two remaining partners ended up finishing dead last in May.

Part of the problem was that due to funding issues, Lotus entered its revised engine plans for approval by INDYCAR too late and it was stuck running its original engines. Well, it looks like the downpour of bad news is starting to dry up for Lotus, as Lotus’ INDYCAR manager, Oliver Picquenot, was quoted saying "Lotus has been working with outside engineering firms, in conjunction with Mr. John Judd and his enterprise.”

This obviously means that INDYCAR has finally given Lotus its much-needed permission to upgrade its engine via its engineering partner Engine Devel Devel opments Ltd. This should give lotus the chance to at least close the INDYCAR-estimate 2.5 percent gap between its engines and everyone else’s, and Lotus is saying that it expects huge improvements.

So let’s hope for the best here and see if Lotus can make some money off of racing, or at least garner a little interest via finishing better than dead last to help calm its rocky seas.

Just an update, resigned Caterham Managing Director , Ansar Ali, is still a free agent and we already see a good fit between him and Lotus. So we’ll continue to monitor that situation, as well as Lotus’ INDYCAR improvements, as it tries to dig itself out of the hole a certain “someone” put them in…

IndyCar was all set to make its Chinese debut on August 19th, but the folks in Qingdao, China have better things to do, so its mayor cancelled the race. What is this better thing to do? Well, drink beer, of course. Yup, the August 19th race date directly overlapped the Qingdao International Beer Festival, which runs from August 11th – 26th and the mayor just didn’t see it fit to have something as small and unpopular as IndyCar interrupting its drinking festival, so he gave the IndyCar race Das Boot!

Now IndyCar must scramble around and attempt to find a replacement race and another China-based race is highly unlikely. There are rumors circulating that a second race at Texas Motor Speedway attached to the very end of the IndyCar 2012 season is going to be the likely replacement for the Beerfest-bumped race.

We are willing to bet that IndyCar is a little bit embarrassed to be bumped out of China, due to a 15-day-long beer festival. Who would have known that the folks in Qingdao took their drinking so seriously? Now the citizens of Qingdao can enjoy their two weeks of imported suds without interruption.

NASCAR may want to give the mayor of Qingdao a call, as they may be able to design an entire marketing campaign around the two…

Dan Wheldon was on top of the racing world five months ago after winning his second Indianapolis 500 crown.

At IndyCar’s season-ending race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway over the weekend, Wheldon lost his life after getting involved in a huge accident involving a total of 15 other cars. Wheldon’s car flew over another vehicle, before hitting the catch fence and catching fire as race marshals scrambled in to check on the race car driver.

Wheldon was immediately airlifted from the track to University Medical Center in Las Vegas where he was later pronounced dead from "unsurvivable injuries".

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard issued a statement shortly thereafter, in which he said: "IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race."

In addition to ending the race, the drivers all partook in a five-lap tribute in his honor.

Personally speaking, we’re huge fans of Dan Wheldon and we’re delighted to see him take a spectacular run to win the 100th installment of the Indianapolis 500 earlier this year.

His death is as big a blow to us, as it is to the entire racing and sporting community.

Rest in Peace, Dan Wheldon. You will be missed.

By now we’ve seen the footage of Tanner Foust, aka Hot Wheels’ ’Yellow Driver’, and his remarkable record-setting jump for the longest of a four-wheeled vehicle at the Indianapolis 500 .

The feat in itself is very impressive considering the dangers and risks involved in such a daredevil stunt. But while we applauded and congratulated Foust for his courageous derring-do, what we didn’t know at that time was that the whole jump almost never happened.

In a recent video that was just released by Hot Wheels, the company took us back to one of Foust’s previous practice sessions and showed us just how close he came to severely crashing his four-wheeler.

The video goes into detail about how a perfect jump is supposed to happen - Foust was supposed to hit the ramp at a speed of 109 mph and continuing to accelerate - and how Foust got it wrong on one of his attempts, a mistake that almost proved fatal were it not for the modified suspension system in the four-wheeled vehicle.

Check out the video and watch how a practice stunt that almost went wrong could have severely injured one of Top Gear USA ’s hosts.

Source: Hot Wheels

Yesterday’s running of the Indianapolis 500 - the 100th anniversary of the inaugural race - will go down as one of the most dramatic auto races in the series’ long and illustrious history.

23-year old rookie J.R. Hilderbrand already had the race won until he lost control of his car and crashed at the very last turn before the checkered flag. Hilderbrand’s misfortune paved the way for Dan Wheldon to make the pass just before the caution came out, leading to a stunning win that left everybody at the Brickyard and all those watching on TV shocked and completely speechless.

But that wasn’t the only notable item to happen during the weekend. Just before the start of the Indy 500, the long-awaited world-record jump attempt by Team Hot Wheels, dubbed "Fearless at the 500", finally took place. The team’s "Yellow Driver" - later revealed to be Top Gear USA’s own Tanner Foust - drove a specially prepared truck down a 90-foot ramp before blasting off into another ramp, clearing 332 feet through the air and setting the record for the longest jump of a four-wheeled vehicle in the world.

For everybody who’s ever had dreams of riding a stunt like this - we know we did at one point in our lives - Foust’s record-setting jump was a surreal moment, one that probably saw a lot of kids doing their own "world record jumps" in the backyard of their homes after watching the spectacle.

If you missed the whole thing, you can check out the video that Hot Wheels released of the jump in its entirety.

Source: Hot Wheels

The IndyCar Series will be getting its fair share of changes when the 2012 season rolls around with the most notable of which being the entry of Dallara as the official chassis manufacturer of the racing series.

As early as this week, the company has presented two new concepts of what the 2012 IndyCar racer will look like. Using the same chassis but with a different design, the two concepts have differing set-ups, one being set-up for oval racing while the other being prepared for road circuits. Dallara went with this presentation to show teams the lengths of which aerodynamic modifications on the car can be done while still sticking with the current set of car regulations handed down by the series’ governing body.

Both concepts are still in the testing and development phase so expect some changes – whatever they may be – to come when the race car concepts are put through the paces out on the track. Above everything else, Dallara is making safety and technological performance the top priorities in the development of the 2012 IndyCar racer.

For now, you can check out the two concepts and you let us know what you think about them in the comments section below.

Formula One uses a Mercedes SLS AMG . The Indianapolis 500 has a Chevrolet Camaro SS . Now, you can add a Lexus LF-A to the growing list of high-powered pace cars that have been used this year by a bonafide racing event.

The 2011 LF-A, Lexus’ resident supercar, served as the official pace car of the 2011 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, an open-wheel racing event held every year at the streets of Long Beach, California. Just in case you need a refresher, the race is part of the Izod IndyCar Series calendar. It was actually held last weekend where England’s Mike Conway emerged as the winner for Andretti Autosport.

Dressed in black with matching white stripes and looking the part of a Japanese zebra, the LF-A Pace Car was undoubtedly a pleasant surprise for a lot of us. We don’t know if the car will be used in other IndyCar races for the rest of the year, but we’re certainly hoping to see more of it down the road, hopefully even at a race that doesn’t have Toyota as a title sponsor.

As a brief refresher, the 2011 LF-A is a supercar that’s powered by a 4.8-liter V10 engine that delivers a maximum output of 560 horsepower with a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph.

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