Motorsports Racing News & Blog Articles

Stay up-to-date with motorsports racing news, products, and trends from around the world.

Aston Martin can Fight for Championships within two-to-three years – Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso says the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team offered him the best chance of becoming a race winner and fight for World Championships within the next two to three years.

With no vacancies at any of the leading three teams in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship – Oracle Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Ferrari and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team are all locked in with their line-ups for several years – the veteran Spaniard was forced to look around at what would have been best for his career.

With just a one-year contract on offer with the BWT Alpine F1 Team, Alonso opted to make the switch to Aston Martin to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel, with the forty-one-year-old feeling the Silverstone-based team would give him the best chance of success.

As well as going through a recruitment programme, Aston Martin are currently in the process of building a new factory after outgrowing their old one, and they will also have the use of their own wind tunnel from midway through the 2024 season.

It is almost ten years since Alonso stood on top of a Formula 1 podium, but the Spaniard believes Aston Martin have what it takes to reach the top of the sport, perhaps within the next two to three seasons.

Justin Haley becomes first 2023 driver of Kaulig Racing’s #10

While Landon Cassill is no longer the permanent driver of Kaulig Racing‘s #10 NASCAR Xfinity Series car, the team will still race it in 2023 albeit with a rotation of people. Their Cup Series driver Justin Haley will begin the season in the #10 at the first race at Daytona International Speedway, and he will continue making select starts throughout the year.

Haley has been in the Kaulig family since 2019. After running three full seasons, he graduated to the Cup Series with Kaulig and finished twenty-second in the 2022 standings with four top tens, three top fives, and a best finish of third at Darlington and Texas.

He only ran one Xfinity race since becoming a Cup full-timer at the second Daytona event, where he was caught in a wreck and finished twenty-fifth. The effort came in a newly opened #14 car for Kaulig. While said start did not go as planned, Haley is one of the top superspeedway racers especially at Daytona, where he won the 2020 and 2021 summer races. He also swept Talladega in 2020 while his first Cup win came in the rain-shortened 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.

The bosses @MattKaulig (Matt Kaulig) / @C_Rice1 (Chris Rice) called and told me to go trophy hunting at Daytona, so trophy hunting we will go,” tweeted Haley.

The team has not announced other drivers for the #10. Kaulig also fields the #11 and #16 full-time for Daniel Hemric and Chandler Smith, respectively.

De Vries Had Doubts that F1 Dream would Materialise after Multiple Rejections

Nyck de Vries has admitted that he had doubted whether he would ever reach the FIA Formula 1 World Championship after coming so close on a number of occasions to a drive that ultimately failed to materialise.

The Dutchman will join the grid full-time in 2023 with Scuderia AlphaTauri after impressing on a one-off outing with Williams Racing in the 2022 Italian Grand Prix.  De Vries scored two points at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza whilst standing in for an unwell Alexander Albon, with his performance opening the eyes of many teams on the grid.

De Vries was already the test and reserve driver with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team and had run with them, Williams and the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team during free practice sessions in 2022.

However, he mentioned that he had previously found himself feeling ‘rejected’ from joining Formula 1 several times, including after winning the FIA Formula 2 championship in 2019 and the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in 2021.

“To be honest, there were more times when I thought it was never going to happen than when it did,” said de Vries on the Day1 YouTube channel.  “I didn’t get frustrated with that, because at the same time, I was very happy with what I did have and the opportunities I did get.

Sargeant Not Feeling ‘Any Extra Pressure’ Being an American Racing in Formula 1

Logan Sargeant says he does not expect to feel any additional pressure by being an American racing in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship when he makes his debut with Williams Racing in 2023.

Sargeant will become the first from his homeland to race in Formula 1 since Alexander Rossi competed in five races for Manor Racing back in 2015, and the first full-time entrant since Scott Speed back in 2007.

The twenty-two-year-old feels he has put in a lot of hard work to reach Formula 1, and although he will have the eyes of his home nation on him, especially in the three races being held in the country, he remains level-headed and focused on being the best driver he can be.

“I feel like, at the end of the day, I’ve put in as much hard work as anyone else to reach this point,” Sargeant is quoted as saying by Formula1.com.  “I just have to look at it as, ‘prepare the best I possibly can to be the best driver I can possibly be’.

“Hopefully I can represent [the country] well and make them proud. I don’t think it’s any extra pressure, to be honest. I have high expectations for myself as it is.”

Rallying Remains Primary Focus for Hyundai as Abiteboul Denies Formula 1 Rumours

Hyundai Motorsport’s primary focus remains the FIA World Rally Championship despite rumours about them potentially joining the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, according to the recently appointed Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul.

It has been Abiteboul’s appointment has fuelled the rumours of Hyundai joining Formula 1, with the Frenchman having been Team Principal of both the Caterham F1 Team and Renault F1 Team during his spell in the sport.

New engine regulations for the 2026 has seen multiple manufacturers from around the globe be linked with joining the Formula 1 grid, but Abiteboul insists that Hyundai are not currently looking into this and will remain focused primarily on getting everything right in rallying.

“There is no particular plan,” Abiteboul is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.  “Clearly, Hyundai is a company that is hot for a fantastic development at a global scale, with a new product line-up, a unique range and so on and so forth. And motorsport is here to support the business.

“So I need to understand, with the rest of the company, what the business needs, and how we can support it right now.  Rally has been the best solution in order to support small segment cars, segment A.

Formula 4 anime “Overtake!” announced

Formula 4 is getting the anime treatment. On Friday, Kadokawa Corporation and studio TROYCA announced the original anime Overtake!, which will follow a fictionalised F4 Japanese Championship. The GT Association, who organises Super GT and Japanese Formula 4, is also involved with the project. A release date was not immediately announced.

The F4 Japanese Championship was founded by the GT Association in 2014, and all of its races are held as support events to Super GT.

The series stars Anan Furuya as Haruka Asahina, a high school student who competes in F4 for Komaki Motors and has a part-time job as a newspaper delivery boy. Opposite Furuya will be Katsuyuki Konishi as Kōya Madoka, a freelance photographer who hopes to turn around his struggling career. The two cross paths when Kōya attends a Super GT race at Fuji Speedway in which Haruka is participating, and the former sees it as an opportunity to partner up to pursue their dreams.

Haruka will be Furuya’s first time voicing a main character in an anime. Most of his voice roles had been in supporting capacities like Dawn of the Witch, Futsal Boys!!!!!, and even background characters in the Japanese dub of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. His biggest role prior to Overtake! was Jutta Qasim, the protagonist of the mobile game Mobile Suit Gundam U.C. ENGAGE.

Konishi is a major personality in the anime scene, with his most popular characters including Kamina in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Laxus Dreyar in Fairy Tail. He has also appeared in beloved shows like Bleach, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and One Punch Man. Overtake! will be Konishi’s second sports role in the past year after the ongoing football series Blue Lock.

2023 Dakar Rally: Stage, overall recaps

After fourteen long stages, the 2023 Dakar Rally has come to a close. The Checkered Flag closely followed each day with live coverage on social media and recaps published here.

Missed any of the reports and stories from before and during the race? Check them out below!

Stories

6 June 2022: 2023 Dakar Rally route revealed20 June 2022: KAMAZ-master presses on with rally raid programme despite invasion fallout28 June 2022: Saudi all-women SHERO Rally Team gears up for Italian Baja, aims for Dakar 202329 June 2022: Despite Russian uncertainty, SNAG Racing hopeful for Dakar 202323 July 2022: Van den Brinks receive Eurol backing, set for Dakar run with Team de Rooy26 July 2022: Nani Roma eyeing Rallye du Maroc, Dakar 2023 after cancer battle29 July 2022: Mixed feelings, uncertainty surround Dakar 2023 plans for KAMAZ, MAZ3 August 2022: Dakar 2023 Bike acceptances arrive for amateur newcomers9 August 2022: Thomas Kongshøj to become first Danish rider at Dakar since 201117 August 2022: Baja 1000 champion Francisco Arredondo joins Puma Energy Dakar triumvirate22 August 2022: INTERVIEW: Ace Nilson talks road to Dakar 202326 August 2022: Vaidotas Žala to pilot Prodrive Hunter at Dakar 202328 August 2022: Nico Stijnen to make Dakar début in 202331 August 2022: Molly Taylor enters Rallye du Maroc, Dakar 20232 September 2022: Audi reveals RS Q e-tron E26 September 2022: Luis Díaz qualifies for Dakar 2023 in Atacama Rally9 September 2022: Vladimir Chagin: KAMAZ-master “negotiating with” Dakar Rally on 2023 entry13 September 2022: Ignacio Casale departs Buggyra Racing after two years15 September 2022: Guerlain Chicherit, GCK Motorsport to run Prodrive Hunter at Dakar 2023, W2RC16 September 2022: Russia’s Zhiltsov, Kariakin hold differing views on Dakar 2023 entry conditions17 September 2022: Yasir Seaidan’s 2023 Dakar entry jeopardised by injury22 September 2022: Julien Ingrassia backs out of Dakar 202327 September 2022: Anastasiya Nifontova declines FIA Russian invasion condemnation, to skip Dakar 202328 September 2022: KAMAZ-master formally kills Dakar 2023 plans30 September 2022: Nikita Mazepin still holding out hope for Dakar 2023 entry30 September 2022: Nani Roma calls off Dakar 2023 effort7 October 2022: Toomas Triisa, Stefano Caimi qualify for Dakar 2023 at Rallye du Maroc8 October 2022: Buggyra Racing ends NASCAR Euro Series season to focus on Dakar 20239 October 2022: Gerard Farrés confirms Dakar 2023, Andalucia Rally entry15 October 2022: Sergei Kariakin lobbies to FIA’s Mohammed Ben Sulayem for end of invasion condemnation policy21 October 2022: Rallye du Maroc showing earns Ruben Saldaña Goñi a Dakar 2023 slot21 October 2022: Sodicars, Nebrija University collaborating on Dakar Rally challenger25 October 2022: Antanas Juknevičius calls off Dakar 2023 entry due to T1+ costs and supply27 October 2022: David Pearson secures Road to Dakar 2023 invite at Sonora Rally27 October 2022: Eryk Goczał receives licences ahead of Dakar 202330 October 2022: Carlos Checa, Laia Sanz join Astara Team for Dakar 20232 November 2022: M-Sport Ranger T1+ skipping Dakar 2023 though development continues7 November 2022: Sébastien Loeb Racing allies with Polaris, to field SSV for Xavier de Soultrait at 2023 Dakar Rally10 November 2022: Ottavio Missoni Jr. to make Dakar Rally début in 202310 November 2022: 144 riders receive numbers for 2023 Dakar Rally12 November 2022: Isle of Man TT winner James Hillier set for Dakar Rally début in 2023 Malle Moto14 November 2022: Hino Team Sugawara confirms Dakar 2023 effort despite parent’s emissions scandal15 November 2022: Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body eyes 10th straight T2 win at Dakar15 November 2022: Spanish Rally Champion Sergio Vallejo making Dakar Rally debut in 202316 November 2022: Benediktas Vanagas upgrades to Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ for Dakar 202316 November 2022: European Bajas champion João Ferreira to make Dakar Rally début in 2023 with X-raid17 November 2022: With no FIA response, Sergei Kariakin confirms Dakar 2023 absence18 November 2022: 2023 Dakar Classic competitors total 187 across 91 entries20 November 2022: Josef Macháček transitions to advisory role at Buggyra for Dakar 202320 November 2022: Rally Raid Estonia to field duo of Dakar debutants in Urvo Männama, Toomas Triisa21 November 2022: Astara Team 01 Concept’s Dakar 2023 model modified from 2022 counterpart22 November 2022: Isidre Esteve brings Toyota Hilux T1+ to Dakar 202323 November 2022: Dakar 2023 Cars, Prototypes, SSVs, Trucks total 21824 November 2022: X-raid Team reveals 7-car stable for Dakar 2023 with newcomers Casale and Ferreira, 5 female pilots24 December 2022: Former Bike rider Helder Rodrigues returns to Dakar after 5 years, racing in T324 December 2022: Tomas Ouředníček gains Toyota factory backing, to run GR Hilux T1+ in 2023 and Dakar 202426 November 2022: Heels on Wheels team’s Dakar entry delayed to 20242 December 2022: 2023 Dakar Rally route breakdown released2 December 2022: Feryn Dakar Sport barred from 2023 Dakar Rally by FIA due to rollcage violations3 December 2022: Russians Krotov, Kuzmich, Zhiltsov ready for Dakar 2023 with new licences5 December 2022: KH-7 Epsilon truck to use hydrogen power for 2023 Dakar Rally8 December 2022: Martin Šoltys returns to Buggyra Tatra for Dakar 202312 December 2022: X-raid Team to race MINI Cooper Plus in T1+ at Dakar 202313 December 2022: Century Racing brings 10 cars to Dakar 2023, including 2 new CR6-Ts13 December 2022: Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team created ahead of 2023 Dakar Rally20 December 2022: Josef Macáček replaces injury-sidelined Yasmeen Koloc at Dakar 202322 December 2022: Appendicitis sidelines Konrad Dąbrowski for Dakar 202323 December 2022: INTERVIEW: Aliyyah Koloc prepares for Dakar Rally début29 December 2022: Julio Estanguet, Ignacio Sanchís withdraw from Dakar after late health incidents6 January: Yasir Seaidan penalised, faces disqualification for co-driver’s watch6 January: FIA clears Carlos Sainz Jr. for closing father’s door9 January: Erik van Loon remains committed to 2023 being final Dakar9 January: FIA penalties mount on rest day10 January: Spectator dies in accident during Stage 911 January: Aleš Loprais withdraws from Dakar after fatal accident

Overall winners

ClassNumberCompetitorTeamTimeRecap
T1200Nasser Al-AttiyahToyota Gazoo Racing45:03:15Recap
T2250Ronald Basso*Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body107:39:42Recap
T3303Austin JonesRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team51:55:53Recap
T4428Eryk GoczałEnergyLandia Rally Team53:10:14Recap
T5502Janus van KasterenBoss Machinery Team de Rooy IVECO54:03:33Recap
RallyGP47Kevin BenavidesRed Bull KTM Factory Racing44:27:20Recap
Rally217Romain DumontierTeam Dumontier Racing47:03:58Recap
Malle Moto40Charan Moore*HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing52:24:42Recap
Quad151Alexandre Giroud*Drag’on Rally Team56:44:30Recap
Classic778Juan Morera*Toyota Classic428 pointsRecap
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

Stage recaps

StageDateOverall Cars winnerOverall Bikes winnerRecap
Prologue31 December 2022Mattias EkströmToby PricePrologue
11 January 2023Carlos SainzRicky BrabecStage #1
22 JanuaryNasser Al-AttiyahMason KleinStage #2
33 JanuaryGuerlain ChicheritDaniel SandersStage #3
44 JanuarySébastien LoebJoan BarredaStage #4
55 JanuaryNasser Al-AttiyahAdrien van BeverenStage #5
66 JanuaryNasser Al-AttiyahLuciano BenavidesStage #6
77 JanuaryYazeed Al-RajhiCancelled due to rainStage #7
88 JanuarySébastien LoebRoss BranchStage #8
910 JanuarySébastien LoebLuciano BenavidesStage #9
1011 JanuarySébastien LoebRoss BranchStage #10
1112 JanuarySébastien LoebLuciano BenavidesStage #11
1213 JanuarySébastien LoebJosé Ignacio CornejoStage #12
1314 JanuarySébastien LoebKevin BenavidesStage #13
1415 JanuaryGuerlain ChicheritKevin BenavidesStage #14
Follow @TCFoffroad: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

2023 Dakar Rally: Husband/wife duo Juan Morera, Lidia Ruba win Dakar Classic

The Dakar Classic is like a moving museum of racing history as competitors race through the deserts of Saudi Arabia in vehicles built between 1979 (the first year of the Dakar Rally) and 1999. It also stands out from the Rally in that one’s position is based on navigation ability rather than time, meaning the winner is determined by whoever has the fewest points like in golf.

As if it were a guerrilla army (or the Rally’s T2 category), Toyota Land Cruisers dominated the Classic. Six finished in the top ten with all but one being the HDJ80, a model of the Land Cruiser that peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including a 1–2 finish led by Juan Morera. Morera and his wife Lidia Ruba Cuartero recorded 428 points, 101 fewer than Carlos Santaolalla, with two stage wins. It was a strong rebound for Morera, a businessman who raced a Fiat Panda in 2022 but was plagued by mechanical troubles.

“Reality has surpassed my dreams,” said Morera. “It sounds like a cliché, but it’s the plain truth. We knew we could do well, but everything went very well for us and that’s what allows you to win the Dakar.”

Land Cruisers swept the podium as Paolo Bedeschi was third in the BJ71, which existed at around the same time as the HDJ80.

“These days have been intense, tiring, challenging, but also full of emotions,” posted Bedeschi’s co-driver Daniele Bottallo. “We placed third overall in the Classic category and this pays off for all our efforts. The Dakar, the ‘toughest race in the world,’ tests you both physically and mentally. In addition to the medal and the trophy, I bring home many feelings, many good memories of exciting moments. Met many interesting people, saw beautiful landscapes, lived a dream.”

Formula 1 chooses not to replace Chinese Grand Prix on 2023 calendar following cancellation

The 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship schedule will not include a replacement for the cancelled Chinese Grand Prix, creating a four-week gap between the fourth race of the year in Australia and the following race in Baku.

As a result, the schedule will only have 23 Grands Prix instead of the 24 that were originally anticipated; had China’s plans not fallen through, that number would have broken the previous season’s record. F1 had confirmed recently that the Chinese Grand Prix will not take place in 2023 ‘due to the ongoing difficulties’ posed by Covid-19 in the country, which was no surprise for many.

Racing in China posed too much of a risk and therefore it will be absent from the calendar for the fourth year running with no replacement. The news will disappoint many, with some hoping for the return of fan-favourite tracks such as the German Grand Prix and the Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello.

The season will start on 5 March with the Bahrain Grand Prix being the first of 23 races.

Greystone GT return to British GT with new lineup for 2023

It’s all change at Greystone GT who return to the Intelligent Money British GT Championship with Andrey Borodin and Oli Webb. Both drivers made appearances in 2022 in separate cars, Borodin partnering Ed Pead at Brands Hatch whilst Oli Webb lined up alongside Iain Campbell at Spa Francorchamps. The pro-am duo will take on all seven events in the McLaren 720s GT3 and form part of a potential two-car lineup for Greystone GT.

Greystone GT added a race team to its successful high-performance test day operation in October 2020 and made their British GT debut in 2022 with a full season entry for father and son, Stewart and Lewis Proctor, the duo took several Silver-Am class podiums throughout the season.

Borodin began his racing career in 2020 and has experience racing the McLaren 720S in GT Cup, Webb’s background includes a European Le Mans Series title, regular appearances in LMP1 in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Formula Renault 3.5 series.

“It’s super-exciting to be racing full-time in British GT for the first time,” said Webb. “Before I joined Greystone GT I hadn’t done a UK series since F3 a decade earlier, but all the tracks came back quite easily. Greystone GT feels like a home from home and it’s a great feeling to arrive at a track knowing your car is going to be fast, consistent and extremely well-prepared.

“Andrey has a lot of potential, but right now is pretty light on experience compared to most of the other Am drivers we expect to be up against. That means we’ve set realistic targets in terms of pace and consistency through the first half of the season with the aim of looking at good results from mid-season onwards. I can’t wait to get started.”

eROC World Finalists set to vie for 2023 Race of Champions Nations Cup slots

Since 2018, the Race of Champions has allowed the best in sim racing to enter real-life vehicles and challenge the stars of the motorsport world in the Nations Cup. This will continue for 2023 as Lucas Blakeley, Jarno Opmeer, Martin Palm, and Michael Romanidis will head to Sweden for the eROC World Finals where the winner and runner-up will comprise the Team eROC All Stars.

Assuming the format remains the same as in 2022, the World Final will consist of sim races in addition to turning flying laps on the real-life snow circuit.

The final four were set after an invitational tournament in Assetto Corsa conducted on Monday. Sixteen drivers were invited.

Opmeer was automatically locked into the World Final as the 2022 eROC winner. Blakeley, who finished second in that event to be Opmeer’s Nations Cup team-mate, pulled off a major upset when he defeated Sebastian Vettel in their race. While it was not enough to seal the deal as Vettel and Mick Schumacher lifted Team Germany to the 3–1 win, it certainly created a lifelong memory for Blakeley, who won the 2022 F1 Esports championship for McLaren Shadow. Blakeley clinched his spot after beating Gran Turismo Nations titlist Coque López in the invitational’s final.

Touring car sim racer and photographer Palm previously qualified for the 2022 World Final and will be the Swedish representative.

France’s Sebastien Loeb, Adrien Tambay join forces for 2023 Race of Champions

Upon defeating Sebastian Vettel in 2022, Sébastien Loeb tied fellow Frenchman Didier Auriol for the most individual Race of Champions victories with four. For 2023, he will aim to surpass Auriol as he returns to the race on 28/29 January. He will represent Team France at the Nations Cup alongside ROC newcomer Adrien Tambay.

Loeb and Auriol comprised the French delegation at the 2022 Nations Cup, where they were eliminated 3–1 by Team Nordic’s Tom Kristensen and Johan Kristoffersson in the quarter-finals. While unceremonious, Loeb got to flex his legendary rally résumé on the snow/ice of Sweden in the individual tournament when he defeated Nations Cup winners Petter and Oliver Solberg, followed by Mattias Ekström and Vettel. Loeb previously won in 2003, 2005, and 2008.

The ROC entry comes just two weeks after Loeb finished runner-up in the Dakar Rally‘s Cars overall for the second straight year. Had it not been for early setbacks, he would have enjoyed one of the greatest runs in the Rally’s history as he won seven stages including a record six in a row. Despite not taking the Rally win, he is the World Rally-Raid Championship T1 points leader thanks to the leg victories. The Rally also saw his Sébastien Loeb Racing team début a new factory partnership with Polaris, who will again bring the RZR to ROC; Loeb defeated Vettel in the final in a Polaris RZR.

The 48-year-old is also coming off winning the 2022 Extreme E championship for Team X44. He has enjoyed success in virtually every discipline that he’s run, ranging from the aforementioned to his nine World Rally Championships and two World Rallycross wins.

“I have so many good memories from the Race of Champions, going back twenty years,” said Loeb. “It’s always great to meet up with all the other drivers in such a nice atmosphere. In the racing we have to adapt to all the cars, which becomes even more complicated when you’re faced with snow and ice in Sweden. It isn’t easy going up against all the guys from the Nordic nations who know these conditions so well, so I was happy last year to find out I still have the pace. It was a fun battle with Seb in the final, and I would love to go all the way again this year. It will also be enjoyable to join up with Adrien Tambay for Team France in the ROC Nations Cup. Here’s hoping we can pull off a French double.”

Polaris RZRs return for 2023 Race of Champions

Polaris will return as the official off-road vehicle of the Race of Champions, which is set to take place on 28/29 January. As part of the partnership, Polaris will supply vehicles for both competition and support usage, the latter of which includes snowmobiles and UTVs for logistics and travel across the snowy terrain of Pite Havsbad, Sweden. From a racing standpoint, the Polaris RZR Pro XP will be used by competitors. It is an all-wheel-drive UTV with a 181-horsepower engine and will come with studded tyres to better grip the snow/ice surface.

“Polaris is extremely proud to have been chosen again this year as the official off-road vehicle supplier for the star-studded Race of Champions (ROC SNOW + ICE) that will take place at the end of this month on the frozen ocean of Pite Havsbad in Sweden,” reads a statement from the company. “Continuing on from the successful partnership for last year’s event, Polaris Sweden will be supplying a fleet of Polaris RZR vehicles to support the highly competitive off-road racing at the Race of Champions.”

The final round of the 2022 Race of Champions’ individual tournament was decided in RZRs as Sébastien Loeb defeated Sebastian Vettel. Loeb, a four-time ROC champion, recently formed a partnership with Polaris that allowed his Sébastien Loeb Racing team to compete in RZRs at the Dakar Rally in early January; Florent Vaysadde led the programme with an overall finish of tenth in the T4 category.

The UTV was also used in the 2022 eROC Invitational, a hybrid esport/real-life event between sim racers with the winners forming a team at the ROC Nations Cup. Lucas Blakeley and Jarno Opmeer set the quickest times in the Polaris to become eROC All Stars, though they fell to Vettel and Mick Schumacher. Schumacher, who will once again partner with Vettel to comprise Team Germany in 2023, called the RZR his favourite vehicle of the ones at ROC 2022, opining that “the electric rallycross car is really fun but the Polaris has the upper hand for me right now.”

The RZR is perhaps Polaris Inc.’s most well-known product. It is a popular vehicle among UTV racers in desert competition like SCORE International and Best In The Desert, where it has shined despite a reputation as a glorified golf cart that permeates the UTV classes. Polaris Government & Defense also supplies military variants for the United States Armed Forces under the MRZR designation, with other customer militaries including the Royal Marines, Latvia, New Zealand, and Turkmenistan.

Russell Adapted to W13 Quicker than Hamilton due to Williams Experiences – Andrew Shovlin

Andrew Shovlin reckons George Russell’s time with Williams Racing meant he was able to adapt to the difficult W13 faster than Lewis Hamilton was able to as the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team struggled early on during the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

From being a front-running team throughout the turbo hybrid era, Mercedes found themselves falling away from the leading battle, with Scuderia Ferrari and Oracle Red Bull Racing getting a jump on them.

Early in the season, Russell and Hamilton were often found fighting in the midfield rather than at the front, and it was Russell who appeared to get the best out of the car when it was at its worst.  As the season continued and Mercedes improved their performance, the gap between the two drivers closed, and Hamilton ended the year looking the stronger of the two. 

However, Shovlin, the Track Engineering Director at Mercedes, reckons the early season form from Russell was because of his time with Williams, which was a much more difficult car to drive compared to those cars Hamilton had been used to previously.

“The routes [of] Lewis through to that point and George through to that point were quite different,” said Shovlin to Motorsport.com.  “Lewis I think had a rather sort of sudden period of adjustment from a car that he knew that he could if he delivered what he was capable of he’d be fighting for the win at any given weekend.

William Sawalich to run 6 NASCAR Truck races in 2023

Although Toyota’s driver development programme took a hit following Kyle Busch and his team’s move to Chevrolet, they still have plenty of talent in the pipeline. One of them is William Sawalich, who will pursue the 2023 ARCA Menards Series championship for Joe Gibbs Racing. Although he has yet to even make a start in ARCA, Toyota is also giving him reps in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as he will run six races in the #1 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro for TRICON Garage.

Sawalich has been one of the rising prospects in his seven-year racing career, primarily competing in late models. In 2022, he recorded six wins in the CARS Tour Pro Late Model Series and two in the Southern Super Series, among others. He joined JGR in December on a multi-year deal.

“Late model racing is a foundational piece in the history of our race team, and it has been a pleasure to watch William’s success and maturation in those series,” said TRICON owner David Gilliland. “We believe he will fit right in at TRICON and we are super excited to have him as part of our driver lineup.”

At only sixteen years of age, born months after the releases of the iconic racing films Cars and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Sawalich will be the youngest driver to compete in a NASCAR national tier.

His Truck début will take place at Martinsville Speedway on 14 April. Three months later, he returns to the series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on 8 July followed by Richmond Raceway (29 July), Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park (11 August), Milwaukee Mile (27 August), and Bristol Motor Speedway (14 September). The ARCA Menards Series is also supporting the Mid-Ohio, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Bristol rounds, with Sawalich running both series on the same day at all but Mid-Ohio.


RaceScene.com