Welcome to one of the most awaited weekends in racing (aside from the fast-approaching 24 Hours of Le Mans just three weeks away). Enjoy your morning coffee as Formula 1 takes the narrow and magnificent streets of Monaco. Bask in the afternoon sun in the bleachers (or at home) as you watch the Indianapolis Motor Speedway choose the 102nd winner of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” also known as the Indy 500.. And if you’re into it, NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600 is just after that to cap off your evening.
Photo: Andretti McLaren Honda driver, Fernando Alonso, crosses the yard of bricks in front of the Pagoda during the 101st running of the Indy 500 in 2017. Image by Walter Kuhn.
The 102nd Indianapolis 500: What to know
/// Andretti Herta-Curb Agajanian’s Marco Andretti reached the highest speed, at 231.802 MPH on the speedway this week, earning a hefty prize of $10,000 for the team.
/// SPM, Canadian sweetheart and Mayor of Hinchtown, James Hinchcliffe, and Dale Coyne Racing’s Pippa Mann were the “bumpees” of the returned Bump Day qualifying. Hinch, as a series regular, released a statement letting fans know he would not be running after the post-Bump Day rumors set off SPM could potentially buy a teammate’s seat so the Canadian driver could participate. Mann released her own statements regarding her own missed qualifying and the disappointment surrounding it.
/// SPM’s news continued with their announcement of the letting go of Engineer Leena Gade Thursday after Hinch’s 500 blunder.
/// Drivers have mentioned the new aerokits appear to be making it a bit more little difficult to pass on the oval compared to last year.
/// Ed Carpenter Racing’s own, Ed Carpenter lands the 500 pole for the 3rd time in his career with a soaring average speed of 229.618 MPH. All three of his cars ran in the fast nine (the other two cars belonging to Spencer Pigot and Danica Patrick). But can he finally make it to the winner’s circle?
It may be the Indy 500 weekend, but the Penske duo, 2016 IndyCar Champion Simon Pagenaud, and current reigning champion, Josef Newgarden, haven’t slowed down a bit. In what Newgarden thought would be a night out, turned into what could be considered the most epic and elaborate of the autograph pranks by Pagenaud involving a U-turn and the police. But instead of spoiling the action, here’s the link to watch and see for yourself.
Bigger Sound, Better Engine
The engine configuration for the 2021 season was released this week and it builds on the promise of louder, more powerful engines (as you would only hope in a series). The new engine will be a 2.4L twin-turbocharged V6 producing an additional 100 horsepower, and aimed to produce over 900 hp in the push-to-pass zones when activated.
Indy 500, Indianapolis, Indiana, Sunday, May 26, 12:00 PM on ABC/ESPN
Get your sunscreen, hats and sunglasses ready, it’s time for racing.
See above (What to Know) for more of the details surrounding the 102nd running. Barring any difficulties with technology or internet connections, you can follow the action live with GpGrl from Turn 4 of IMS on Twitter (@GpGrlTweets) and Instagram (@GpGrlPhoto).
The launch and [somewhat] failure of F1 TV Access/Pro
If you are a fan and follower, like myself here at GpGrl, you may have paid the nominal ($80) yearly fee to participate in what you were promised to be the best thing in live-streaming for motorsports. OR so, we thought. The Spanish Grand Prix was the promised launched of the F1 TV Access/Pro subscription, complete with all the goodies listed here from a couple weeks back (insert link from blog…). But as we all logged in to take in the action, we were sorely disappointed.
Luckily, F1 cares and after a barrage of unhappy social media posts (and I’m sure thousands of angry emails as well), they released a statement issuing a refund for the weekend ($6-ish dollars for the American folk), while they worked out the kinks. Heading into Monaco weekend, hopefully everything runs a little more smoothly. Good luck out there.
Monaco GP, Sunday, May 26, 9:00 AM ON ESPN or the F1 TV Access/Pro if it’s working
Enjoy the first of the best two races of the season/day with F1 in the elusive, beautiful Monaco. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel laid claim to the win last year after a controversial pit stop for the Red Stallion team gave Kimi Raikkonen’s lead to the German driver. Pascal Wehrlein ended up on his side and Jenson Button told Fernando Alonso he would pee in his seat while Alonso ran the Indy 500.
Much Ado Abt Berlin!
An exciting 1-2 win for the Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler team this weekend in Berlin. Daniel Abt with a great start after his pole-winning qualifying run, managed to keep his pace and end with the home-winning position. Teammate Lucas Di Grassi completed the 1-2 finish for the team. And championship leader, Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne (still 40 points ahead of D.S. Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird), didn’t go home quietly, and after an impressive finish landed the third podium spot.
Massa to Formula E with Venturi
Former F1 and Williams driver, Felipe Massa retired from F1 at the end of the 2016 F1 season. And then he returned to F1 for the 2017 season. And retired again from F1. As retirement is rough…Massa announced his return to open wheel for Formula E, taking on the one-seater electric series with team Venturi, of whom he tested with this week.
Formula E will open in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
May 17, Formula E, in tandem with Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdullah Al Faisal, made the announcement the series would be gracing the streets of the Ad Diriyah district for the Saudi Arabian race. The new Middle Eastern race will be the introductory round of the 2018/2019 Formula E season, which also marks the debut of the next-gen chassis.
Zurich E-Prix, June 10
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, June 2