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Jaguar’s James Barclay: “We experienced some issues which we will work hard to address”

Jaguar TCS Racing Team Principal James Barclay has confirmed that the side will “address” the technical issues they experienced at the season-opening Mexico City E-Prix, after the team endured a challenging start to the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

The Gen3 era certainly didn’t start how the British team would’ve liked it to at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, after Sam Bird‘s weekend was ridiculed by technical issues. The Formula E veteran missed the vast majority of Free Practice Two after his Jaguar I-TYPE 6 grinded to a halt. His weekend didn’t get much better from there, after qualifying in twenty-first before retiring from the race on the fifth-lap, after suffering an outbound drive shaft failure. Overall, it was a weekend to forget for the British driver.

For Mitch Evans, it was a better weekend; however, it still wasn’t what the New Zealander would’ve been hoping for. Evans missed out on the duels by the finest of margins, before going on to make up two places in the race from where he started. It meant the Season Eight Vice Champion finished in eighth-place, meaning he at least got some points to get his and the team’s tally’s underway.

Reflecting on the weekend, Barclay believes there are “some positives” which can be taken away from it, with the main one being that the car’s overall performance looked promising. Jaguar’s Team Principal recognises, though, that they do have some issues to fix quickly, with the Diriyah E-Prix being next weekend.

“It’s been a mixed race for us here in Mexico City with some positives but also some areas we need to address. The Jaguar I-TYPE 6 has demonstrated it has strong performance both in one lap, race pace and efficiency. This was evident with three Jaguar powered cars in the top ten points scoring positions. We experienced some issues which we will work hard to address ahead of the next race in Saudi Arabia to keep making progress.”

Mitch Evans: “I was hoping for a little more” from Mexico City

It certainly wasn’t the start to Season Nine nor Gen3 that Mitch Evans would’ve been hoping for, after Jaguar TCS Racing struggled at the season-opening race of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

It was a weekend of surprises at the Mexico City E-Prix, as all the powertrain suppliers bar the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team struggled at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Evans never looked truly comfortable during Free Practice, something that was highlighted in qualifying after the Season Eight Vice Champion failed to make it to the duels.

Evans started the first race of the Gen3 era in tenth place, after missing out on the duels by just five hundredths of a second. The race itself certainly wasn’t an eventful one by the all-electric series standards, with Evans having battled from tenth to claim eighth at the season opener, securing at least some points. Scoring points consistently is likely to be a huge factor this season, meaning his eighth-place finish could end up coming in handy come the end of the season.

Understandably, the New Zealander was “hoping for a little more” from the race, after being impressed by the Jaguar I-TYPE 6’s “great efficiency”.

I was hoping for a little more today as my Jaguar I-TYPE 6 had great efficiency which is really promising. I lacked a little balance which meant I couldn’t do as much with the energy advantage as I would have liked. I made some positions and scored some points today and we needed that as a team. We’ll come back stronger over the next few races.”

Sébastian Buemi ‘really happy’ with Mexico City performance but believes a ‘slightly better result’ was possible

Sébastian Buemi made a strong start to life as an Envision Racing driver, after the Swiss driver finished sixth at the season-opening race of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

The former Formula E Champion showed promising pace throughout the Mexico City E-Prix, which resulted in the former Nissan Formula E Team driver making it safely into the duels. He was unfortunately knocked out in the Quarter-Finals after being beaten by eventual polesitter Lucas di Grassi, resulting in a fourth-row start for the experienced driver.

Buemi lost a place early on in the race at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, but shortly regained seventh after overtaking rookie Sacha Fenestraz. The Swiss driver was soon back behind Fenestraz and António Félix da Costa, though, after activating his Attack Mode, before battling back past the two drivers. This moved Buemi into sixth rather than seventh, after Dan Ticktum dropped from fifth to last after serving a penalty. Buemi pushed hard to reduce the gap to the top five, something he brilliantly did.

He ended looking behind rather than forwards, though, as Da Costa tried to force a move on Envision’s newest signing. In the end, Buemi had to settle for sixth, leaving the driver with mixed emotions. Whilst Buemi was “really happy” to score some solid points, he left the weekend believing that the result could’ve been “slightly better”.

“My first weekend with Envision Racing and the GEN3 era, and I am really happy with sixth place. I think we actually could have achieved a slightly better result, and we finished the race with a lot of energy remaining, and we had good pace.

2023 Dakar Rally: Austin Jones leads American Red Bull 1–2 in T3

After winning the 2022 Dakar Rally in the T4 category, Austin Jones made the jump to T3 for the 2023 race. It did not take long for him to get accustomed to his new environment as he kept fellow American Red Bull driver Seth Quintero at bay en route to the overall win.

Jones is the sixth racer to win an overall in at least two different classes and the second to achieve it in T4 and T3, which are both SSV/UTV classes but the latter are racing-specific while T4s are production models. Defending World Rally-Raid Champion Francisco López Contardo, who finished fifth, won the 2019 and 2021 T4 crowns followed by T3 in 2022. Other multi-class winners include Hubert Auriol (twice on Bikes, 1992 in Cars), Nani Roma (2004 on Bikes, 2014 in Cars), Josef Macháček (2009 on Quads, 2021 in T3), and Stéphane Peterhansel (six on Bikes, eight in Cars).

T3 and T4 are typically dominated by Red Bull, who has a new factory programme courtesy of Can-Am, and this remained the case in 2023 as the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team and Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team won all but four stages. The American-only Junior Team, which consists of Jones and Quintero plus Mitch Guthrie in an MCE-5 T3M, combined for eight victories; although Guthrie led the way with five wins, mechanical problems during Stage #5 while being the overall leader eliminated him from contention and relegated him to twenty-third.

Red Bull drivers nearly occupied the entire top five, with former Red Bull Factory member (though still affiliated with the brand) Guillaume de Mévius spoiling the party by finishing third with a stage win. De Mévius had led much of the Rally since taking the top spot from Guthrie before vehicle trouble in Stage #11 enabled Jones to surpass him. The Junior Team drivers and de Mévius finished ahead of the Factory Team’s Cristina Gutiérrez and López.

After winning a Dakar record twelve stages in 2022, Quintero only claimed two in 2023, though factors like a disastrous Stage #4 in which he lost power steering and ran out of fuel twice hampered him. By the end, he finished runner-up to Jones by nearly an hour but is satisfied with second as “to finally drive through every stage of the Dakar feels amazing.” His twenty career T3 stage wins still have him in a league of his own as Guthrie holds the second most in the class with just five.

Steiner Applauds Liberty Media, Domenicali for ‘More Transparent’ Formula 1

Guenther Steiner has praised the way that the FIA Formula 1 World Championship has become more transparent since Liberty Media took over and Stefano Domenicali became CEO.

Liberty Media took over the control of Formula 1 ahead of the 2017 season after buying out long-term owner Bernie Ecclestone, and they have introduced widespread changes to the sport to try and make it more open and available to everyone.

Domenicali’s appointment as CEO has also received a lot of positive feedback, and Steiner, the Team Principal of the MoneyGram Haas F1 Team, says the sport feels a lot more inclusive now than in the past with everyone being more informed of what’s going on behind the scenes.

“I think they are different. Definitely, they are different,” said Steiner to the Beyond the Grid podcast. “Everybody’s included.

“Before with Bernie, the big teams always had a little bit of an advantage, but it’s for a good reason. They’re putting more into the sport that they are supplying power units and stuff like this.

Kevin Harvick enters SRX Stafford, Berlin

Kevin Harvick‘s retirement tour will take him to a series that detractors like to call a retirement tour. On Tuesday, the Superstar Racing Experience announced Harvick will make his debut in the 2023 season opener at Stafford Motor Speedway on 13 July. He will also run the Berlin Raceway round on 3 August.

“NEWS: We’re happy,” begins SRX’s social media announcement. “Kevin Harvick will join SRX for the season opener at Stafford Speedway on July 13th and Berlin Raceway on August 3rd.”

Harvick is set for his twenty-fourth and final season as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver. The 2014 series champion has raced for Stewart-Haas Racing since said year; the team is co-owned by SRX operator and inaugural champion Tony Stewart.

The Stafford round takes place three days before the Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway approximately 225.308 kilometres away. Berlin and Michigan International Speedway are also roughly the same distance apart. Making scheduling easier is SRX’s move to Thursday nights as part of the series’ new broadcasting deal with ESPN, giving Harvick plenty of time to prepare for his main championship afterwards.

“I’ve watched the SRX Series the last couple of years and it looked like a lot of fun,” Harvick told ESPN’s Ryan McGee. “With the way the schedule worked out, it wasn’t very convenient with my schedule, but this year with it being on Thursdays it was easy to coordinate.

Getting Technical Regulations Wrong Leaves Teams ‘Always’ Playing Catch up – Verstappen

Max Verstappen says the results of 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season proved that if a team can get their interpretations of the technical regulations correct then success will come, and those that did not will always be playing catch up.

The Oracle Red Bull Racing team were one of the few teams to get their car right during the 2022 season, and they were rewarded by taking seventeen of the twenty-two victories available, fifteen of which went the way of the Dutchman as he claimed his second World Drivers’ Championship.

Verstappen says the time it took Red Bull to catch up with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team in the years up to the regulation change of last year highlights the need to be on top of their game quickly, but those teams that struggled in 2022 are still likely to be trying to catch up with their development in 2023.

“You see this when the regulations change and some teams hit it spot on,” said Verstappen to Viaplay, as quoted by RacingNews365.com.  “Once you hit it spot on and you know what you are doing, you more or less work from there and you make small steps [forward].

“But when you get it wrong, you really have to reinvent and try again and you’re always behind and then you have to try and catch up. You saw that with us in that it took a few years [to challenge Mercedes].

Hill Motorsports downsizes to one truck for 2023

After running the full 2022 season, Timmy Hill will share a truck with his younger brother Tyler for the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. On Tuesday, Hill Motorsports announced the #5 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has been shuttered and they will exclusively focus on the #56 split between the brothers.

The team opened the #5 for Tyler to run part-time in 2022. He failed to qualify at Circuit of the Americas and RIchmond, but made seven races with a best finish of twenty-first at Kansas.

Meanwhile, Timmy contested the full calendar in the #56. Created in 2019, the truck ran the entire 2020 and 2021 schedules with a rotation of drivers before Timmy became its permanent driver for 2022. However, the truck took a step back in all statistical categories as it did not record a single top ten. The older Hill finished twentieth in points with his highest run being fourteenth in the opener at Daytona.

“It’s exciting to finally have our plans set for 2023 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series,” said Timmy. “After a year of running two trucks we felt it was best to return to one truck and focus on getting our competitiveness where we expect it to be. I have high hopes for the season and what we can accomplish.”

Timmy will pilot the #56 at Daytona on 17 February.

Trackhouse decides against PROJECT91 entry for Daytona 500

NASCAR Cup Series fans have quickly taken a liking to Trackhouse Racing Team‘s PROJECT91, a programme intended to bring international racing stars to the sport, especially after a generally successful début with Kimi Räikkönen in 2022. However, they will have to wait a little longer to see the #91 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in action.

Despite initial hope of the #91 entering the season-opening Daytona 500, Marks tweeted Tuesday that it will not take place and the car will instead continue to run road course races. Consequently, only full-timers Ross Chastain (#1) and Daniel Suárez (#99) will represent the team in the 500.

“We took a hard look at the Daytona 500 with @THProject91 but at the end of the day decided to focus on the road courses and the 1/99 @ Daytona,” said Marks. “We have some exciting P91 stuff being finalized.”

The #91’s first race at Watkins Glen International came with much fanfare as Räikkönen is one of the most popular drivers in racing today. Although the race ended in a crash, the 2007 Formula One World Champion did not rule out a return in the future, and Marks backed him up in November by saying he “operate(s) under the assumption that it’s kind of [Kimi’s] ride until he tells me otherwise.”

While Räikkönen has not confirmed any starts for 2023, three-time and reigning Supercars Champion Shane van Gisbergen revealed in September that he had talked with Marks about potentially racing the #91 if there is no schedule clash. There are six road races on the upcoming Cup schedule: Circuit of the Americas on 26 March, Sonoma Raceway on 11 June, the Chicago Street Race on 2 July, Indianapolis Motor Speedway on 13 August, Watkins Glen on 20 August, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on 8 October.

Russell Praises ‘Incredibly Inspiring’ Hamilton: “He does things so differently”

George Russell says Lewis Hamilton does things ‘so differently’ to other people, but despite this, his fellow Briton has been so successful during his career so far, including winning seven World Drivers’ Championships.

Russell will be Hamilton’s team-mate for a second FIA Formula 1 World Championship season in 2023 at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, and he will go into the year on the back of beating his countryman in the standings.

The one-time race winner – he took his maiden victory in the 2022 São Paulo Grand Prix – says his champion team-mate has shown himself to be ‘incredibly inspiring’ with what he does off-track as well as on it.

“Lewis is an incredibly unique character,” said Russell to The High Performance Podcast.  “I think he’s incredibly inspiring with all of his activities and projects he has off-circuit.

“When you look at drivers from the past who are just pure racing drivers, [who think] ‘I’m going to wake up living and breathing this sport’, he does things so differently to so many other people, yet has still had so much success along the way.”

NASCAR introduces podium, medals for Busch Light Clash

NASCAR, and stock car racing as a whole, is a bit different from other forms of racing as it eschews podiums in favour of a Victory Lane for the winner. But the sanctioning body is willing to try something new as the 2023 Busch Light Clash looms. Scheduled for 5 February, it will once again take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will do so again in 2028. Owing to the venue’s history as an Olympic site, NASCAR will introduce a podium ceremony along with gold, silver, and bronze medals for the top three finishers in the Clash’s final race.

The medals are produced by Jostens, who produces rings for the Super Bowl champions and related memorabilia for high schools. One face will feature the Busch Light Clash logo while the opposite has a graphic celebrating the Coliseum’s centennial anniversary and NASCAR’s own seventy-fifth celebration. The winner’s medal weighs 4.7 ounces (133.243 grams) and is covered in 24-karat gold.

The podium ceremony will take place underneath the Coliseum’s Olympic cauldron.

“These will be tremendous prizes for our drivers who are competing inside a venue that’s hosted two Olympic Games and is preparing for a third,” said NASCAR senior vice president for racing development and strategy Ben Kennedy. “Not only do the medals honor the rich tradition of this stadium, but they also provide a special element unique to NASCAR’s 75th anniversary.”

It may seem sacrilegious for NASCAR to have podiums and medals, even for an exhibition, but the Clash will not be the first time such as been awarded. In 1995, the top three at the two Atlanta Motor Speedway races received medals to help build up hype for Atlanta following the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Travis Pastrana enters Daytona 500 with 23XI Racing

Travis Pastrana is known for his rallying exploits, but he likes to dabble in stock cars from time to time even if he abandoned his full-time NASCAR career a decade ago. This continued interest has procured a chance for him to check off another item on his bucket list in February: the Daytona 500.

On Tuesday, 23XI Racing announced Pastrana will attempt to make his Cup Series début in the Daytona 500, driving the #67 Toyota Camry. The news was initially teased on Friday before being reported by Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic, and the team formally confirmed the news four days later.

Pastrana needs little introduction as one of the most iconic names in motorsport, and action sports in general, today. In 2012, the eleven-time X Games gold medalist decided to enter NASCAR by competing in the now-Xfinity Series and Craftsman Truck Series. He eventually ran the full 2013 Xfinity slate for what is now RFK Racing, where he finished fourteenth in points with four top tens and a pole at Daytona’s sister superspeedway Talladega. However, unstable funding and poor performance by his standards prompted his departure at year’s end.

In the decade since, he made one-off returns to the Truck Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His most recent start was a twenty-first in 2020.

“I’m thrilled at the chance to race in the Daytona 500,” said Pastrana. “t’s the one event every year that all my friends and family come together to watch at our buddy Dale’s house and it’s an event I’ve wanted to race my entire life. My first Supercross win came at Daytona when I was sixteen years old, and I qualified third at Daytona for the Xfinity Series in 2013. That race didn’t end up well, but I was able to finish tenth despite the fact I crossed the finish line backward through the infield grass at 180 mph.”

Zak Brown Giving ‘No Promises’ to Palou, O’Ward over Future Formula 1 Chances

Zak Brown insists no guarantees have been made to either Álex Palou or Pato O’Ward about possible chances to race in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship despite both being a part of the McLaren F1 Team’s driver roster.

Palou has already been confirmed as one of McLaren’s reserve drivers, although a lack of a Superlicence means O’Ward is unable to take up a similar role.  However, the Mexican will still join the Spaniard in being a part of the test driver line-up for the 2023 season.

Both drivers experienced free practice sessions during the 2022 season, Palou participating in the opening session of the United States Grand Prix weekend and O’Ward the same in Abu Dhabi.  Both had also had opportunities to drive the 2021 MCL35M at various times throughout the year.

Brown, the CEO of McLaren, hopes that O’Ward will finally be eligible for a Superlicence of his own by the end of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season, but neither he nor Palou are in line for a move to Formula 1 at this moment in time and no assurances of that happening have been given.

“We announced Álex as our reserve driver because he has his Superlicence,” said Brown to RacingNews365.com.  “He’ll continue testing with us and Pato will continue as well once we solidify our testing plans, but he doesn’t have a superlicence.

2023 Dakar Rally: Alexandre Giroud goes back-to-back in Quads

In 2022, Alexandre Giroud and Francisco Moreno Flores finished first and second in the Dakar Rally‘s Quad category. Fast forward to 2023 and even a tougher course did not change the top two.

The reigning World Rally-Raid Champion, Giroud defeated his fellow Drag’on Rally rider Moreno by forty-three minutes, making it a much closer result than last year when he won by over two hours. Giroud is the first back-to-back Quad winner since Alejandro Patronelli won in 2011 and 2012. The Frenchman kept a clean sheet better than his country in the FIFA World Cup Final as he never surrendered the overall lead across all fourteen stages. Ironically, the football analogy means the Dakar Quad 1–2 was an inverse of said match as Moreno is Argentinian.

It was not a “perfect” sweep as he did not win every stage, but winning the first four legs built up a massive advantage over Moreno. When Moreno broke the streak by taking Stage #5, he was still forty minutes back.

2021 Rally winner Manuel Andújar joined the fight when he bookended the cancelled Stage #7 with two wins, the latter of which saw an uncharacteristically difficult day for Moreno that caused Giroud to pull ahead by over an hour. However, Andújar fell out due to mechanical problems during the Empty Quarter Marathon.

Laisvydas Kancius and Marcelo Medeiros won every leg in the second half, with the former notching two and the latter enjoyed four in a row. Kancius could have had a third victory in Stage #8 but it evapourated when his Quad broke down. However, an early crash for Medeiros and retirement for Kancius respectively relegated them to ninth and seventh in the overall.

2023 Dakar Rally: Charan Moore rides without help to Malle Moto win

Malle Moto, officially known as Original by Motul, might be the hardest class to race at the Dakar Rally as bike riders do not have crews to help them and only some supplies. The difficulty were upped even more for the 2023 Rally due to its longer route, but Charan Moore was up for the challenge.

Moore battled with Javi Vega throughout the fourteen stages. After Moore took the overall lead by winning the first leg, Vega gave chase before losing ground when Mike Wiedemann won Stage #3. Vega finally got by Moore with a Stage #5 victory, though it was short lived as he lost it a day later.

When the Rally resumed following Stage #7’s cancellation for rain, Mário Patrão threw a wrench into Vega’s pursuit by finishing second to Moore in the next two legs and Vega’s deficit grew to over twenty-three minutes, further exacerbated by a Stage #9 fall. Vega, despite nursing rib pain, received a mulligan when Moore respectively suffered gearbox and radiator failures in Stages #10 and #11, enabling Vega to pull ahead.

Moore was able to recover by winning the second half of the Empty Quarter Marathon before delivering the coup de grâce in the fourteenth and final leg. In addition to winning Malle Moto, he finished twenty-eighth overall among all bikes and twelfth in Rally2, which Malle Moto is grouped within but has its own standings.

He described the race as “[a]n incredible journey. A rollercoaster from start to finish. Bike issues, a complete engine change, radiator issues, bush mechanics – all ace out from the comforts of a tent and box of tools and spares but enjoyed every second!


RaceScene.com