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Alpinestars Competition Winners Announced

Four drivers have each won a pair of top-level Tech 1-T race shoes from leading performance apparel manufacturer Alpinestars in the latest SAFEisFAST.com competition.

The competition received a record number of entries, from various age ranges and different motor sport disciplines across the world. The four winners, who all correctly answered a set of safety-related questions, are:

Pat Daly (US)

Shannon Maher (US)

Advait Deodhar (India)

Johnnie Mulholland (Northern Ireland)

Developed and tested in Formula One, the Tech 1-T is one of the most advanced race shoes available. With its ultra-lightweight, multi-compound construction, the Tech 1-T ensures durability and comfort, precise fit and the ultimate in pedal feel and feedback.

The Winners

Pat Daly currently competes in the Skip Barber open wheel race series. The 61-year old is a multiple Masters (over-40s) and Grand Masters (over-50s) champion and is still an active instructor for the racing school.

Shannon Maher takes part in autocross events racing her Mustang GT. The 20-year old competes in the SCCA Texas region.

Advait Deodhar finished runner-up in the MRF Formula Ford 1600 series last year. The 24-year old is now set to race in F2000 next year.

Johnnie Mulholland currently races in the Ginetta Junior Ireland series. The 16-year old finished third in this year’s championship.

All four drivers will be able to select their own pair of Tech 1-T race shoes, choosing from a range of colours and sizes.

Published on 20 November 2014 at 03:55PM by , tags

Overtake of the Week - Simon Pagenaud

It is a blast from the past this week as our latest Overtake award is from the 2012 IndyCar Championship. The supreme skill involved in Simon Pagenaud’s double overtake at the Grand Prix of Alabama however ensures it is a worthy winner.

On the opening lap of the race, the blue and white machine of Simon Pagenaud was dicing with the black and white car of our latest ‘Ask A Pro’, Will Power. Heading in to the tight hairpin left-hander, they were both coming up fast on E.J. Viso.

With Pagenaud on the outside, Power made his move ,down the inside of Viso. The Frenchman however, as he was on the outside line, could afford to brake later and go deeper into the corner.

Viso was left with few options as he was attacked from both sides and the Australian Power sliced ahead. Pagenaud however saw an opportunity to not only attempt a pass on Viso, but Power as well. He managed to get on the throttle early and find grip around the outside of the turn.

Viso was relegated two positions at the corner and Pagenaud was now able to attack the future IndyCar Series champion for another place.

Getting a great exit out of the corner, Pagenaud was able to pull alongside the Team Penske car and down the back straight, move ahead. He was able to do this due to his grippier tyres but also a smooth throttle application that ensured he did not spin his tyres unnecessarily.

Will Power was to have the last laugh however as he went on to claim victory in the race. If you have any questions for the Australian about overtaking or any other racing matter, then ask him here.

Watch the overtake here (move at 6:51):

Published on 12 November 2014 at 05:00PM by Orry, tags

Overtake of the Week - Michael Ammermuller

All eyes may have been on the Formula One title battle in Austin, Texas this weekend but the supporting Porsche Supercup also provided some spectacular action and secured driver Michael Ammermuller the latest Overtake of the Week award.

Ammermuller’s black and white Lechner Racing Team Porsche was fighting with the yellow car of Philipp Eng and title contender Earl Bamber, in the white and red Fach Auto Tech entry. After plenty of jostling in the previous corner on lap 11, all three cars raced down the long back straight at the Circuit of the Americas with Ammermuller sandwiched in the middle. The white Porsche of Ben Barker joined them stealthily as the German Ammermuller forced Bamber tight to the inside of the track.

As the drivers crested the rise on the back straight, all vied for the best piece of tarmac and diced wheel-to-wheel mere inches apart. Kiwi driver Bamber managed to edge his way ahead of his rivals, with Ammermuller briefly pushed down to third by the Austrian Eng.

The trio fanned out as they approached the braking zone for the next corner, a tight left-hand turn. Ammermuller was forced to stay in the middle of the track whilst the 24-year old Eng quickly switched to the racing line, and Bamber was left on the inside.

Compressing together as they hit the brakes, British racer Barker weaved around behind them trying to work out the best course of action. Each driver attempted to brake at the last possible moment and it originally looked like the 24-year old Bamber would have the best possible position on the inside line. It was Ammermuller however who was bravest and stood on the anchors later than his rivals.

At the turn in to the corner, the black and white Porsche moved across the front of Bamber to take the lead. The 28-year old, who was searching for his first victory of the season, still had to ensure he could slow down enough to make the corner.

With extensive run-off areas at the Circuit of the Americas, Ammermuller’s gamble was well thought out. He ran across the exit kerb but maintained enough momentum to keep ahead of the chasing pack. Crucially, he had ensured that he could grab the inside line for the next section, two tightening right-hand corners.

Slicing back on to the circuit, he pushed Bamber wide, which pushed Eng even wider, and he gave no quarter to Ben Barker in fourth. With a lead pack of four cars that you could have thrown a blanket over, Ammermuller maintained the lead with Bamber wisely settling in to second. Eng and the 22-year old Barker were left to scrap it out for third and fourth.

Ammermuller went on to claim victory whilst Bamber took second and the Mobil 1 Porsche Supercup title with it. The overtake, whilst not particularly clean, demonstrated great determination and fight to get to the front. With a championship contender in the mix, it was important that all drivers treated each other with respect and didn’t take each other off. They managed to do this superbly and entertain the fans with some high-risk and engaging racing.

Watch the full move here (skip to 25:09):

Published on 05 November 2014 at 06:09PM by Orry, tags

Overtake of the Week - Jonathon Webb

The latest Overtake of the Week award goes to Jonathon Webb for a brave move whilst racing in Australia’s V8 Supercars series at the famed Surfers Paradise street circuit.

A narrow yet stunningly quick circuit, concrete walls are plentiful and overtaking opportunities are at a premium. Any move must be decisive if it is to be successful. Jonathon Webb, in his yellow Team Tekno Commodore, was exactly that as he passed Alex Premat’s blue Polestar Racing Volvo in the Gold Coast 600.

Having started down in fourth position, Webb soon moved up to third. Premat had started from pole position but had been passed early on to lie second.

Racing down the long, fast back straight, Webb was looking for a way past the Frenchman Premat. Heading into the right-left flick at turns seven and eight, he had managed to close the gap and place his Commodore on the left rear of Premat.

Fighting wheel-to-wheel into the section at 125 mph, Webb was unwilling to back down and entered the series of corners alongside the Polestar Racing machine.

As both drivers squeezed their way through the turns, they came extremely close, mere centimetres separating them. As they took the left flick exiting the section, Webb ran close to the inside concrete wall, looking to surge ahead of the ex-Formula One test driver.

Shooting out on to the next small straight, both drivers were positioned evenly side-by-side. Webb had done well to put himself in position alongside Premat but needed to finish the move off into the Beach Chicane, another extremely quick set of corners where drivers attack the curbs.

With a straight approach into the chicane, both drivers could still enter the corner first. However it was the Commodore, with the preferable line, that stood on the brakes the latest and nudged ahead of Premat.

The Volvo driver, realising the position was all but lost, sensibly opted to fall in line behind Webb and surrender third position.

It was a true racing example of bravery and determination from Webb. To attempt an overtake in such close confines and at such speed does not just rely on boldness however. It requires great car control, preciseness and an ability to envision the overtake and how it will progress. All of these things were on show from the 30-year old in this move and credit must also go to Premat for allowing Webb the room to make the pass.

Watch the move in full (at 0:25) here:

Published on 29 October 2014 at 04:06PM by Orry, tags

Overtake of the Week – Josef Newgarden

Our latest Overtake of the Week comes from Round 15 of the 2014 IndyCar Series at Mid-Ohio in August. Josef Newgarden, racing for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, pulled off an impressive ‘faking’ manoeuvre to get past Sebastien Bourdais.

This move is a classic overtake. In essence, the driver behind mentally outwits his rival and makes him place his car in a defensive position where his competitor no longer is. This affords the driver behind more room to dive the other side and pull off the pass.

Newgarden in the white car with fluorescent yellow trim was closing on Sebastien Bourdais in the green nosed machine. Battling for second place on the track, the American had stormed through the field and was shaping up to pass the Frenchman.

Coming off a quick right-hander, Newgarden pushed his car to the outside of Bourdais. The four-time Champ Car titleholder glanced in his mirror and began to cover the move of the 23-year old Tennessee native.

Both cars raced down the short shoot to the next turn, a hairpin right-hander. Bourdais, utilising all his experience, positioned his car almost directly in the middle of the track. This seemingly served to cover any attempt from Newgarden to dart to the inside and force him on a longer racing line around the outside of the next corner.

As both drivers entered the braking zone, Bourdais made a legitimate move to the outside to take the normal and fastest racing line and cover Newgarden. As he did so, Newgarden jinked back to the right of the ex-Formula One driver and stamped on the brake pedal.

Initially unsighted, Bourdais began turning in before realising the American had managed to undercut him. Both cars were separated by mere inches as they both fought over the apex of the corner.

However, now holding the inside line and carrying added momentum into the corner, Newgarden slipped ahead and forced Bourdais to take a wider line. Displaying all his years of motor sport experience, the 35-year old decided to give up the place to the hard-charging American and not risk his entire race on this one corner.

Exiting the corner, Newgarden had clearly made the move stick and opened up a few car lengths advantage on Bourdais’ KV Racing Technology entry.

The overtake demonstrated Newgarden’s bravery and opportunism while also highlighting Bourdais’ experience in defending and knowing when to admit defeat.

Newgarden looked set to compete with Scott Dixon for the win at Mid-Ohio before a late error in the pit lane caused him to drop back down the field. Bourdais eventually took the runners-up spot but the race was still memorable for Newgarden and his clever overtake on one of the most experienced drivers in the IndyCar field.

Watch the move in full (at 2:34) here:

Published on 23 October 2014 at 01:49PM by Orry, tags

Overtake of the Week - Ma Qing Hua

One of the most spectacular and daring overtaking manoeuvres a driver can make is the late braking pass. Throwing the car down the inside of an unsuspecting rival, making the apex of the turn and not running into your fellow racer takes expert timing and precision. For his late braking move in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race in Beijing this weekend, Ma Qing Hua wins our latest Overtake of the Week award.

Competing in selected rounds of the WTCC calendar, the Chinese driver racing for Citroen was battling with the red Lada of James Thompson. Squabbling over eighth place, Qing Hua looked too far behind the British driver to attempt a pass into turn one on lap 17.

However, he carried good speed coming out of the final turn and began edging closer towards Thompson. The former British Touring Car Champion took his normal line as Qing Hua followed behind in his slipstream.

As they both took the racing line into the first corner at the Goldenport circuit, it still seemed that the white Citroen of Qing Hua was too far away to attack the Lada. However, he positioned his car just outside of Thompson’s right rear wheel, preparing to make a move if it was possible to break later.

Thompson hit the brakes and Qing Hua sharply moved to the right as he saw an opportunity to make the move. Thompson at this stage still appears unaware of the Citroen’s presence as he shapes up to take his normal line into the corner.

As both cars turned into the corner, Qing Hua was alongside Thompson. Fully committed to the move, both drivers had to race fair to ensure they did not make contact and wouldn’t crash. The British driver attempted to defend his position but did not push the Citroen off the track.

At the apex of the corner, both drivers were still vying for the position and raced extremely closely. However, with a great amount of respect shown to each other, they both stayed on the track and continued the battle to the exit of the corner.

The momentum that Qing Hua carried into the corner forced both of them wide. Thompson attempted to hang on to the position by keeping his speed up around the outside of the corner. However, the Citroen just kept its nose in front and the Lada drifted further wide. Even though the cars were practically touching, there was minimal contact between the two.

Thompson, recognising the position was lost, backed out of the corner and Qing Hua sped through.

Touring car racing is renowned for its physicality and wheel-to-wheel action, with rivals often clashing door-to-door. However, good racing is still clean racing no matter what the series. This move demonstrated excellent opportunism but was not a crazy lunge. Both drivers showed excellent reserve and caution to give each other enough room and exit the corner with both cars still intact and in the race.

Watch the overtake here and full coverage of the race:

Published on 08 October 2014 at 03:31PM by Orry, tags

Overtake of the Week

In a new regular feature, we will be taking a look at an overtaking manoeuvre that has caught our eye from a race weekend. Using examples from the very best in international motor sport we will continue to educate drivers in the best racing practices.

Our first ‘Overtake of the Week’ award goes to 19-year old French driver Matthieu Vaxiviere. Racing in the extremely competitive Formula Renault 3.5 series at the Hungaroring, the Frenchman, driving the black Lotus car, was locked in a tight battle with Malaysia’s Jazeman Jaafar. He managed to overtake his rival in a move that showed bravery and commitment coupled with level-headed analysis and a strong understanding of racing conditions.

Scrapping for seventh place, both drivers were looking to score championship points whilst also trying to impress team bosses, sponsors and potential onlookers in the motor sport community.

Vaxiviere, a member of the Lotus F1 Junior Team, had caught Jaafar but was struggling to find a way past. Exiting turn one, he had already tried to pass the Malaysian driver but had not succeeded. However, the move was still on despite Vaxiviere being on the outside going into turn two.

Approaching the hairpin left-hander, the Frenchman believed he had enough grip to maintain his position on the outside of Jaafar and could complete the move going in to the next right-hander. It was a brave but calculated decision with plenty of trust in his fellow driver not to run him off the track.

As the two drivers continued through the corner, Vaxiviere was able to get on the power earlier and edge his nose ahead. The Malaysian driver had to respond at this point and was forced into picking up his power momentarily too soon.

The stab of the throttle caused the car to lose grip and Jaafar slid towards the exit of the corner. At this point, Vaxiviere was able to maintain his position on the outside of him and force Jaafar to lift off the throttle.

Clearly having lost the next corner, Jaafar was forced to switch to the wider line and give up the position to the charging 19-year old.

It was a fantastic move that demonstrated commitment to the pass. It also highlighted Vaxiviere’s understanding and analysis of events around him. Aware of his greater grip levels, he was willing to make a move that usually would not have been possible. This allowed him to get past his rival more speedily and improve his position.

Credit must also go to Jaafar who showed measured driving in defending his position but not running into the other car or engaging in dirty tactics. Both drivers were safe and fast.

Watch race highlights here (Vaxiviere’s overtake is at 1:10):

To learn more about overtaking, check out this SAFEisFAST video: Overtaking

Published on 16 September 2014 at 05:14PM by Orry, tags

Pagenaud Set for Honda F1 Test?

French IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud may be in line for a Formula One test with Honda, as the Japanese manufacturer ramps up preparations ahead of its return to the series with the McLaren team.

Pagenaud, who currently races under Honda power for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, has impressed in IndyCar this season taking two wins. Known for his testing abilities, the Frenchman has been heavily involved with the development of numerous Honda racing engines. With Formula One using new 1.6-litre turbocharged engines with complicated energy recovery systems, Pagenaud’s experience could prove invaluable.

Speaking with Racer magazine, the IndyCar Series front-runner was positive on his chances of the test happening, saying: “I’ve been in touch with some people, some promising things are happening, so we’ll see.”

When asked whether his previous testing experience and engine knowledge would be an advantage, Pagenaud commented: “I think that would be one of my biggest values. I would love to test with the hybrid system, especially for someone like me who loves technology, so I would like to help in any way.”

Pagenaud has been a keen supporter of SAFEisFAST.com, featuring in a number of tutorial videos. Check out his tips on maintaining focus and concentration throughout a race in the video: The Mental Edge.

Published on 04 August 2014 at 09:38AM by , tags , , , ,

New Zealand Driver Wins Stand 21 Competition

Young Kiwi racing driver James Munro has won a top-level Stand 21 race suit in the latest SAFEisFAST.com competition. The 17-year old correctly answered a set of safety-related questions and was drawn from the pool of successful entrants.

The competition attracted a large number of entries, particularly from young aspiring racers around the world. The Stand 21 La Couture race suit, as worn by the Porsche LMP1 team including Mark Webber, is homologated to the highest FIA standards and features patented ‘Heat Stress Control’ technology.

Stand 21

Munro is currently racing in the Formula Masters China series, where he leads the championship. He began karting in 2009 and was successful at the national level before graduating onto cars. He stormed to the 2013 New Zealand Formula Ford title, wining 10 out of 15 races along the way. Having won six of the eight races so far in Formula Masters, Munro looks set to add another title to his CV.

The New Zealander will be fitted for his made-to-measure suit before it is manufactured for him by Stand 21 at one of its factories around the world. Stand 21 was founded in Dijon 45 years ago and has developed into a world-leading provider of head to toe, handcrafted racing wear.

The company also helps to spread motor sport safety knowledge through the “Racing Goes Safer” foundation (racinggoessafer.org), which organizes lectures to meet directly with the motor sport industry and showcase the latest advances in this area.

To learn more about Stand 21, visit the website here: www.stand21.com

Published on 28 July 2014 at 01:22PM by , tags

HPD to sponsor SCCA FF 45th Anniversary

Honda Performance Development has been named presenting sponsor of the Formula F 45th Anniversary, part of the SCCA Summer SpeedFest, Aug. 9-10 at Barber Motorsports Park.

As a presenting sponsor of the event, HPD will have a large presence on site, including displays and giveaways, and will provide the weekend’s pace car – a race-prepared Honda CRZ.

HPD will also post contingency payouts at the same level as the U.S. Majors Tour, offering $500 for a win, $300 for second-place, and $150 for a third-place finish in Formula F while running a Honda motor.

“We’re thrilled to announce HPD’s involvement with this Formula F birthday celebration, and especially for the true support that they’re throwing behind the competitors for this milestone weekend,” Lisa Noble, SCCA President/CEO, said. “In addition to the support as presenting sponsor, HPD is helping us put the finishing touches on a celebrity appearance that we should be able to announce in the coming days. This event is shaping up as a ‘can’t miss’ for those in the small formula car community.”

The Formula F 45th anniversary event is the focal point of the SCCA Summer SpeedFest at Barber Motorsports Park. Highlighting the weekend is the Saturday night Formula F birthday celebration open to drivers, participants, workers and crew members of each class participating in the weekend, including dinner, at the track. The celebration will feature industry celebrities and legendary racers.

On the track, run groups will feature cars from each era of the Formula F timeline, ranging from vintage racers to what are now known as “ClubFord” through the current National Championship-eligible specs. Each class will race both on Saturday and Sunday, with a 45th celebration planned at the track for Saturday night featuring industry celebrities and legendary racers.

In addition to the Formula F and Formula Ford classes, Formula 500/600, Formula Vee and Spec: RaceAtom races are a part of the weekend. HPD will also post contingency to Honda-powered Formula 600s.

Registration is now open for the SCCA Summer SpeedFest, with schedule and supplemental regulations also posted at SCCA.com/FF45th.

Published on 25 July 2014 at 11:56AM by , tags ,