Motorsports Racing News & Blog Articles

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

Racers Volodymyr Giba, Volodymyr Chernysh among Ukrainian troops killed in action

Volodymyr Giba and Volodymyr Chernysh, both motorsport drivers, were among the casualties over the fall as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. Chernysh was killed in an assault near the infamous frontline at Bakhmut on 10 September, while Giba died two months later on 13 November.

Giba competed in the Ukrainian Trophy Raid Championship in the mid-2010s. Nicknamed the Zaporizhzhia Cossack, he raced a GAZ-69 (a Soviet-era military off-road car) in the TR1 and Tourism-Hard categories.

He co-founded MIDA, a shoemaker in Zaporizhzhia that specialises in winter, casual, and athletic shoes made from cow leather; he also oversaw the company as commercial director. For his role, Giba served on of the board on the Ukrainian Association of Light Industry Enterprises (UKRLEGPROM), which focuses on textile and footwear production, before joining the Ukrainian military shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion in 2022.

“From the first days of the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Giba stood up for the defense of our State,” wrote UKRLEGPROM chair Tatiana Izovit. “In 2021–2022, was an active member of the Board of UKLEGPROM, consistently advocating the development of domestic light industry. He was an incredibly positive, professional, balanced person who was in love with Life!”

“There are no words… The Zaporizhzhia Cossack has left,” commented Dakar Rally veteran and colleague Vadim Pritulyak.

“Military-type” rations to be distributed for 2024 Dakar Rally’s Chrono Stage

Sebastian Bühler and Adrien Van Beveren might be sitting in chairs and enjoying their food in bowls with utensils in this article’s featured image, but they won’t have such cozy confines or fine cuisine next year. Since the 2024 Dakar Rally‘s new Chrono Stage spans forty-eight hours and requires them to stay overnight in camps away from the bivouac, the Amaury Sport Organisation will supply a “military-type ration” for all competitors to stave off hunger.

According to L’Équipe, one of the ration packs will include items like sardines in oil, leek and potato soup, canned pasta with Bolognese sauce, cream of fruit, and coffee. A flameless heater, similar to what is used for military MREs, is also packaged; these operate by pouring water into the pouch, which triggers a chemical reaction that heats it up without the need for fire.

While L’Équipe and the ASO share a parent company, writer Jérôme Bourret did not mince words about the offerings and remarked that he is “not sure the menu will please everyone” and unfortunate souls who cannot figure out how to use the heating kit will have to eat the rations cold.

“Not necessarily digestible after ingesting sand all day,” Bourret quipped.

The Chrono Stage takes the place of the two-stage Empty Quarter Marathon. It serves as the sixth leg of the twelve-stage rally, starting and ending in Shubaytah, with 584 kilometres of its 818 km total being timed sections. By 4 PM on 11 January, competitors must report to one of six rest areas scattered throughout the route, whichever is closest to their on-track location, to spend the night. These camps are barebones with simple necessities such as a tent, sleeping bag, garbage bags, toilet paper, and water for each person, whereas they do not have resources like restrooms and Internet and cellular service. Compared to the Empty Quarter Marathon, where everyone was at least in the same place, the Chrono Stage camps will likely be more rudimentary with fewer people in each and so many of them spread out across the desert.

Gert Huzink to race as Jongbloed Dakar Team in 2024

Gert Huzink has long raced a white-and-green truck at the Dakar Rally as the CEO of Riwald Recycling. For 2024, however, his Renault C460 truck will undergo a palette swap for white and blue as tax law firm Jongbloed Fiscaal Juristen picks up title sponsorhip of his operation, branding them Joengbloed Dakar Team.

Rob Buursen and Martin Roesink will return as his co-driver and mechanic, respectively.

“With Jongbloed Fiscaal Juristen, we have a strong partner that supports and values our ambition,” said Huzink. “We want to race at the top and be at the forefront in green innovation. The fact that we have such an enthusiastic sponsor behind us in these times gives us a lot of confidence and extra motivation to fulfill that ambition.”

The team was long known as Riwald Dakar Team via Huzink’s scrap recycling company, which he founded in 1989 and ran until it was sold to ArcelorMittal in late 2022. He remained involved during the transition period and still ran the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship under the Riwald banner before announcing their exit on Friday.

Huzink retired from the 2023 Dakar Rally with an engine failure after six stages, ending an otherwise strong outing in which he claimed the third leg. He ran his final race with the Riwald name at the Rallye du Maroc, the last race of the W2RC and just the second for the T5 (now Truck) category, where he finished sixth in class and last among finishers but won the fifth stage.

Kade Walker undergoing treatment for brain injury after Baja 1000 crash

Kade Tinkler-Walker suffered critical injuries including a traumatic brain injury after crashing while competing in last Thursday’s Baja 1000, resulting in hospitalisation at Scripps Health in San Diego where he remains unconscious. His team SLR Honda has opened a fundraiser on the Road2Recovery Foundation’s website.

Walker was competing for the #7X Pro Moto Unlimited team led by Mark Samuels, who had won the last three Baja 1000s in the bike category. He fell off his Honda at Race Mile 823. The ensuing effort to get him to safety was set back by Mexican federal law that prohibited helicopters from flying at night while his accident occurred one of the more desolate locations on the course, which Samuels called a “worst case scenario” as the process ended up taking nine hours to complete.

The #7X team, who was five miles away, was informed by a chase truck from Trophy Truck team McMillin Racing that Walker had not gone through their pit area while other bikes already had. They arrived at the sceene thirty minutes later. Despite being told by SCORE International about medical helicopters being en route, the aforementioned law grounded them and forced the crew to take action, driving him to the nearest access road. Walker was finally in an ambulance at 1 AM on Friday before McMillin sent a team plane to fly him from San Felipe back to America.

The lengthy extraction drew widespread condemnation from fans and industry figures about the race’s safety measures, with Samuels saying it was “pretty disappointing that there was not much help from SCORE. There’s not much help outside of anything except for us.”

Walker did not suffer broken bones while his other vitals were steady, but remained in critical condition due to the head injury. The latest update from Samuels on Wednesday explained his traumatic brain injury will keep him unconscious for roughly thirty to sixty days depending on its severity. Doctors have also placed him under medical sedation to reduce strain on his body while in his state before gradually gauging if he could breathe without needing a ventilator.

36 priority drivers for 2024 FIA cross-country season

Thirty-six will have priority driver status from the FIA for the 2024 season when they compete in the World Rally-Raid Championship or any of the three Baja Cups (World, European, Middle East).

Priority status is available those who registered for the 2023 W2RC, which earns them points in the championship, with Silver as the minimum while Gold and Platinum are higher tiers for more achievements during the two years of the W2RC’s existence.

There are now six drivers with the top Platinum priority, which is handed out to Dakar Rally winners in the past five years and the top three in the 2022 or 2023 W2RC. The same quintet from last season retain their statuses, while Juan Cruz Yacopini now has the designation after finishing third behind Nasser Al-Attiyah and Yazeed Al-Rajhi in the 2023 standings.

Eighteen drivers have Gold classification, which they earned by either winning a W2RC round, a Dakar Rally between 2014 and 2018, or finishing top five at Dakar between 2019 and 2023. The lattermost caveat allows five-time bike champion Cyril Despres to maintain Gold eligibility despite not having raced at Dakar since 2021, having finished fifth overall in the 2019 edition.

New for 2024, champions of the side-by-side T3 and T4 classes (now respectively Challenger and SSV) have been promoted to Gold status, meaning Seth Quintero and Rokas Baciuška are now become Gold drivers. Francisco Lopéz Contardo, the 2022 T3 champion, already had the classification. On the other hand, with the elimination of the T5 Truck championship after 2023, its competitors are no longer eligible for priority status, a case also shared with Stock/T2.

Tacita fielding two electric bikes in 2024 Dakar Rally’s Mission 1000

In 2020, Tacita Motorcycles made history as the first all-electric motorcycle team to compete at the Dakar Rally. Four years later, the Italian manufacturer will make their return with two Tacita Discanto bikes competing in the Mission 1000 under the Tacita Formula Corsa name.

Their 2020 effort was technically limited to just a special twenty-kilometre route on the final day, though Diego Pederiva and his T-Race Rally bike were still allowed to take the finish as part of the Dakar Experience like those who completed the rally even if they were eliminated from overall contention by stage retirements. The team also followed the rally from beginning to end with their solar-powered trailer dubbed the T-Station.

The Dakar run came after eight years of developing a rally programme that began at the 2012 Merzouga Rally in Morocco, a year after the company’s founding.

“Tacita is an exciting adventure, and not only for the participation in the most difficult competition in the world such as the Dakar, but for the technological challenges that see us as protagonists,” said Tacita CEO Luca Oddo. “Like us, our investors had the courage, the spirit and the foresight to believe in a project that comes from far and that sees the values of sustainability and a better future merged into our brand. Innovation is our silent and discreet companion that accompanies us on this journey and that accompanies anyone riding a Tacita motorcycle.”

The Discanta will be Tacita’s flagship model starting in 2025. Each bike weighs 180 kilograms and features a more balanced weight distribution than the T-Race Rally thanks to a new chassis and battery layout. The battery packs can be replaced with a new set during the scheduled pit stop in a given stage traditionally used for refuelling. All Tacita bikes feature a five-speed gearbox and liquid cooling for the engine. Tacita conducted a test run at Château de Lastours in June as part of the 2024 Dakar Rally presentation.

Ecurie Freres d’Armes plans Dakar Classic return in 2025

Ecurie Frères d’Armes, a French project dedicated to fielding old military vehicles for combat veterans in rallies, will run their second Dakar Classic in 2025.

The team was founded by Emmanuel Rivière, a French Army captain who raced historic cross-country rallies like the Rallye des Pionniers in restored military cars, and his wife Sandra. They made their Dakar Classic début in 2023 with Mickaël Ranchin and Philippe Robert sharing a 1990 Peugeot P4, the light utility vehicle of choice by the French military for over four decades. Ranchin and Robert finished forty-second overall and seventeenth among H1-spec vehicles.

In 2015, Ranchin was serving as a paratrooper commando in the French-led Operation Barkhane in Mali when his vehicle was hit by an anti-tank mine, resulting in eighteen months hospitalisation and severe leg injuries though he was able to keep the limb. Robert, on the other hand, lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. Both befriended each other while training for military athletic events like the Invictus Games before tackling off-roading together.

The Rivières also entered the 2023 Classic in a 1983 ALM ACMAT TPK military truck, finishing seventieth in the general ranking and fourth among H0T trucks. Their truck was a replica of another ACMAT ran the 1981 Paris–Dakar Rally with members of the civil defence and training division. Both the Peugeot and ACMAT were still being used by the French Army until recently.

“There are always people from the military, which is a large family, who come to the aid of their comrades, those who have paid the price in blood,” explained Ranchin. “[Emmanuel] was looking for resilient profiles whose injuries do not raise questions when it comes to spending two weeks on the Dakar. […]

Pinty’s Series renamed to NASCAR Canada Series

Since 2020, NASCAR has been trending towards common names for its series for better brand recognition despite dropping title sponsorships. This pattern will continue in 2024 as the Canadian NASCAR Pinty’s Series has been renamed to the NASCAR Canada Series.

The name will be the fourth different identity in series history. It was originally formed as the CASCAR Super Series before becoming the the Canadian Tire Series from 2007 to 2015. Pinty’s assumed naming rights in 2016, and will remain involved with the Canadian Series as a presenting sponsor alongside Evirum.

“Canadian motorsports fans are incredibly passionate, and the new NASCAR Canada Series name appropriately captures their nationalistic pride,” said NASCAR chief international officer Chad Seigler. “The series features Canada’s biggest racing stars, competing at the top tracks across the country. With an influx of talented young drivers and a garage full of healthy and competitive teams, interest in the series is at an all-time high. We are excited to build off recent momentum and deliver great racing to fans across Canada.”

The transition to generic series names began in 2018 with the NASCAR México Series, though it also had title sponsorship in conjunction before becoming its current name in 2023. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series followed suit in 2020 to become simply the NASCAR Cup Series with four presenting partners. The Whelen Euro Series is also known as the Euro Series for short.

The 2024 season begins on 19 May.

Andros Trophy to run 35th and final season in 2023/24

The Andros Trophy (Trophée Andros), perhaps the most well known ice racing championship today, will come to an end after the 2023/24 season.

“Winter 2024/2025 will be the first since 1990 in which I will no longer be the biggest customer of Météo France,” said series co-founder Max Mamers. “Thirty-five editions is more than a single adventure, it’s a successful life story, a legacy which ends almost naturally. Let’s not be sad about this end, but rejoice in these thirty-five seasons.”

Mamers and Frédéric Gervoson created the championship in 1990, which became becoming the top ice racing series in France. In 2003, the Trophy introduced a Canadian round that lasted three seasons before reverting to its French-only schedule.

As a national championship, much of its driver roster are French nationals. Yvan Muller was a ten-time Andros Trophy champion before breaking into touring cars, while Alain Prost became a thrice champion following his legendary Formula One career. Twenty F1 drivers in total like Romain Grosjean, Martin Brundle, and Jacques Villeneuve have also taken part, as have Olivier Panis and his son Aurélien who won the 2019/20 title. Other major names include rally legends Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier, Dalkar Rally champions Stéphane Peterhansel, Luc Alphand, and Ari Vatanan, and even non-French competitors such as rallycross ace Andreas Bakkerud.

It was rebranded to the Andros e-Trophy in 2019/20 following a full shift to electric cars.

Roussel: FIA had to “review everything” for rally raid class renamings

To distinguish between cross-country rally classes, the FIA has long used a naming system similar to the formula ladder, prefixing the letter “T” (derived from “tout terrain”, French for “off-road”) followed by a number. As of 2023, the top-level Prototype cars is T1, production cars are T2, side-by-side vehicles get T3 and T4, and trucks are dubbed T5. In October, the FIA announced they will drop these monikers for 2024 in favour of actual terms with T1 becoming “Ultimate”, T2 turning into “Stock”, T3 is “Challenger” while T4 switches to “SSV”, and T5 gets “Truck”.

While respectively dubbing T4 and T5 as SSV and Truck for the, well, side-by-sides and trucks is blatantly straightforward, the brainstorming process for the other classes was a bit more complicated than that. In an interview with Relevo, FIA cross-country category manager Jérôme Roussel revealed the new names came following a long deliberation among him and his peers, even taking them to ChatGPT for ideas.

According to Roussel, the Amaury Sport Organisation approached the FIA after the 2023 Dakar Rally about creating “more attractive” names for the categories that would allow new fans to better understand them than the current T-based structure. This was particularly imperative in the event of new classes being added, as the trucks were previously T4 before SSVs were split into two categories to separate purpose-built race cars from production models.

“We didn’t want to keep the numbers because sometimes current T3s can put some T1s in a tight spot, and the T4s against the T3s. So it didn’t make sense to keep them,” he explained. “They had to be international names, not too specific to one language. Something that wasn’t already used in other motorsport categories and wasn’t overused in the current market.”

Although each class already had its own alternative identity that is used in the FIA’s vernacular such as Prototype for T1 and Light Prototype for T3, the ASO was hoping for “more appealing” names to roll with.

Tamara Molinaro to race for JBXE in Chile

With Hedda Hosås now at NEOM McLaren XE for the Copper X Prix, JBXE has signed Tamara Molinaro to work alongside her former Extreme E Championship Driver colleague Andreas Bakkerud.

Molinaro has served as a Championship Driver for XE since 2021, eventually running the full 2022 calendar for XITE Energy Racing after taking over for Klara Andersson who tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the opener. XITE finished eighth in points with a runner-up finish at the first Island X Prix.

She returned to her reserve duties for much of 2023 before taking over for the injured McLaren driver Emma Gilmour at Island X Prix II, finishing tenth in Race #1. With Gilmour still recovering from her rib fracture, Hosås will sub in her place at McLaren, leaving Molinaro to fill the JBXE ride.

“Being a part of this series as a Championship Driver is always special, but a race seat is something I have wanted for a while and to return alongside Andreas is a really exciting prospect,” said Molinaro. “It is great to be a part of Jenson’s (Button) team as well, and I can’t wait to get back out there in the Atacama Desert and go racing again.

“This is the fifth different Extreme E team I have worked with since the championship launched. It is not always easy to adapt quickly to get back into a good rhythm, however I am hopeful that alongside Andreas I will be able to do just that when we go racing once again.”

Lack of sponsorship forces Ahmed Alkuwari’s 2024 Dakar Rally withdrawal

Funding woes have forced Ahmed Alkuwari Fahad to drop his plans of running the 2024 Dakar Rally. It would have been his fifth time racing the event, doing so in the Challenger (formerly T3) class.

“Not all plans come together,” wrote Alkuwari. “I am saddened to say I will not be racing the 2024 Dakar due to the lack of sponsorship.”

Alkuwari was due to compete for X-raid Team in a YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype once again. He finished seventeenth overall in T3 at the 2023 edition; with Manuel Lucchese as his co-driver, he notched two top-ten stage finishes with a best run of seventh in the fourteenth and final leg. He was the third-highest X-raid Yamaha in the final classification behhind Ignacio Casale and (tenth) and Ricardo Porém (twelfth).

Even if he was able to race the 2024 Dakar, Alkuwari would not have had Lucchese by his side. Lucchese planned to race on a bike, a discipline where he and Alkuwari had initially befriended each other, but an injury he sustained in April forced him to back out.

An engineer and former member of the Qatari national shooting team alongside five-time Dakar champion Nasser Al-Attiyah, Alkuwari switched to racing side-by-side vehicles in 2018. After running that year’s Rallye du Maroc, he made his Dakar Rally début in 2019 where he retired after nine stages.

Hedda Hosas filling in for Emma Gilmour at Copper X Prix

Hedda Hosås will move from JBXE to NEOM McLaren XE for the Extreme E Championship-ending Copper X Prix in Chile. She fills in for Emma Gilmour, who is still recovering from her fractured rib in Island X Prix II practice, as team-mate to Tanner Foust.

“I’m looking forward to competing for the NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team in Chile next week,” said Hosås. “I’m sending all my best wishes to Emma for a speedy recovery and hope I can do her and the whole team proud.”

Hosås is no stranger to subtitute duties, having made her series début at the 2022 Desert X Prix as Extreme E’s Championship Driver who stepped in for the injured Christine GZ. She ran the rest of the season with JBXE, scoring a third-place finish at the first Island X Prix, and remained with the team for 2023. Sharing the ride with Heikki Kovalainen and Andreas Bakkerud, the latter previously a Championship Driver himself, JBXE is ninth in points entering the final round.

JBXE has not announced Hosås’ replacement for Chile. Championship Driver Tamara Molinaro replaced Gilmour in the McLaren car following her injury.

“I have been making good progress with my recovery, but do not feel well enough to compete yet,” commented Gilmour. “I’m confident that Hedda will do a good job to help bring the team some well-deserved success. I’m looking forward to supporting the rest of the team on the ground and helping them to end the season on a high.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics reveals 2024 Dakar Rally programme

Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics will field two Toyota Hiluxes at the 2024 Dakar Rally for team leader Benediktas Vanagas and Vladas Jurkevičius. Kuldar Sikk will serve as Vanagas’ co-driver on the #223 while Aisvydas Paliukėnas does so on Jurkevičius’ #240.

Vanagas will be running his twelfth Dakar, hoping to turn his luck around after crashing out of the last two. He has raced a Hilux since 2015 under the TGR Baltics banner, upgrading to one prepared by TGR proper in 2023. After Dakar, he has mainly raced in the FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas or loaned his Hilux to other competitors including João Ramos and that year’s Dakar champion Nasser Al-Attiyah.

His #223, nicknamed BlackHawk VIII, retains its black livery with a Vytis (armoured knight riding a horse) as a nod to the Lithuanian coat of arms. Sikk remarked during the team reveal on Tuesday, “It’s black again,” to which Vanagas quipped, “Surprise, surprise.”

Sikk, who hails from fellow Baltic country Estonia, joined Vanagas in 2023. He is a longtime co-driver in the World Rally Championship.

“I would really like to finish it,” Sikk said with a laugh. “I think from that goal, we can do everything. I have been in rallying and in rallying it’s more easier to say that ‘I want to be third, first.’ In the Dakar, I think most of the people are going there to win, but actually you have to have a second thought: you have to finish, and if you finish, then you can have a shot.”

KH-7 Epsilon’s hydrogen truck entering 2024 Dakar Rally Mission 1000

KH-7 Epsilon Team entered the 2023 Dakar Rally with a MAN TGA 26.480 6×6 truck that ran on a fuel blend of hydrogen and diesel, but was not allowed to compete in the Truck category alongside the traditional diesel vehicles. The team will return for the 2024 race, albeit in the new Mission 1000 class for cars and bikes using hydrogen, electric, or hybrid power. Jordi Juvanteny will once again be its driver with José Luis Criado and Xavi Ribas sharing the cockpit.

Barred from racing in the class formerly known as T5, KH-7 was forced to contest the 2023 Rally in a new “Challenge New Energy” category, meaning the MAN was not classified alongside the T5 entrants and had to start behind every truck. Their race ended abruptly when the truck rolled during the Empty Quarter Marathon.

“We would have preferred to run the entire Dakar, but at the moment the rules do not allow it,” explained Juvanteny to “They do not foresee the use of hydrogen, so we have opted for this category since we could not be left without Dakar.”

KH-7 had won the 6×6 truck subcategory at Dakar every year from 2019 to 2022 and is a sixteen-time champion. In 2022, the team intoduced a zero-emission truck that raced on a mix of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The 2023 MAN’s diesel/hydrogen fuel mix was balanced at fifty-fifty apiece, though KH-7 plans to increase the hydrogen ratio to ninety percent for 2024.

The Dakar Rally hopes to mandate zero-emission vehicles by 2030, and the introduction of Mission 1000 is designed to be an early step towards that goal. Mission 1000 will consist of a dozen vehicles that follow the main Dakar Rally, but will compete on a separate 100-kilometre course.