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Racing Notebook – Tuesday, February 4

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A.J. Foyt Racing

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Tuesday’s racing notebook includes news from A.J. Foyt Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR and Front Row Motorsports.

Bourdais and Kellett Complete A.J. Foyt Racing 2020 Lineup:

  • Four-time open wheel Champion Sebastien Bourdais and rookie Dalton Kellett are going to split the driving duties on the No. 14 Chevrolet on the road courses.  Bourdais is schedule to run four races: the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Grand Prix of Portland.  Kellett will make his IndyCar debut at the Circuit of the Americas and will be behind the wheel at the Indianapolis Grand Prix, the Duel in Detroit, Elkhart Lake, Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Monterey, CA.  Kellett will compete in a third Foyt car at the Indy 500.  Tony Kanaan is going to drive the car on the five oval races (Indy 500, Texas Indy 600, Indy Richmond 300, Iowa 300 and Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway).

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Partners with Zeiss:

  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is partnering with Zeiss Industrial Quality Solutions for their IndyCar program.  Zeiss is an internationally leading technology company operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics.  RLL will utilize the T-SCAN 20 3D Scanning System that features new camera technology and high-quality Zeiss optics which increase the precision with cutting-edge 3D scanner technology.  The reliability of system ensures consistently efficient measuring processes.
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Pennzoil to Sponsor the NASCAR Xfinity Road Course Race At Indy:

  • NASCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are revealing details about the Xfinity Series inaugural race on the IMS road course on Saturday, July 4th.  The Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard will consist of 62-laps on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course that includes portions of the famed 2.5-mile oval.  Stage lengths will be 20-laps, 20-laps and 22-laps.  NASCAR driver Matt Di Benedetto tested both the 14-turn course and the 12-turn configuration on January 22 and his feedback was influential in NASCAR’s decision to use the 14-turn layout.

Front Row Motorsports announces “We Care” Campaign:

  • Front Row Motorsports (FRM) today announced a new season-long marketing initiative called “We Care”.  FRM has partnered with www.ClassicCars.com and the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) to launch the “We Care: Safe Driving” campaign. Running through the spring NASCAR race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, FRM along with drivers Michael McDowell, John Hunter Nemechek and Todd Gilliland will focus on supporting and sharing messaging to “leave the speeding to the professionals.”  Speed is a factor in 26% of all fatal traffic crashes, killing more than 9,000 people every year.

Cosmetic Gasket extends partnership with NASCAR:

  • NASCAR and Cometic Gasket, Inc. announced today an expansion of their multi-year official partnership, designating the company the sponsor of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series™ pole award. The Cometic Gasket Pole Award will be awarded to the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver with the fastest qualifying time each week, starting at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 14. Cometic Gasket’s relationship with NASCAR dates back nearly a decade when it became the “Official Gasket of NASCAR®.”
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GMC Hummer EV Partners With Chip Ganassi Racing’s Extreme E Entry

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Chip Ganassi Racing Extreme E

LONDON, ENGLAND (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – GMC is partnering with Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) on the team’s Extreme E program, which makes its debut in April.

CGR’s 550-horsepower electric SUV, which features a unique grille, graphics and bodywork, was inspired by the GMC HUMMER EV, the world’s first all-electric supertruck.

“I can’t think of a better fit than showcasing the look of GMC’s HUMMER EV in Extreme E with Chip Ganassi Racing,” said Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. vice president, Performance and Motorsports. “Both GMC HUMMER EV and the Extreme E series are designed to be revolutionary – to challenge perceptions of electric vehicles and to showcase their true capability.”

“It’s truly an honor to represent GMC, especially during such an exciting time in auto racing,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “The new GMC HUMMER EV is going to be a game changer in terms of how the world views off-road EV capability, and we couldn’t be more proud to represent GMC in such an innovative new series.”

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Sara Price and Kyle LeDuc are CGR’s pair of drivers in the series, which will highlight the impact of climate change and human activity in some of the world’s most remote locations while promoting sustainability and the adoption of electric vehicles to help protect the planet.

“We feel very proud to welcome GMC and its iconic GMC HUMMER EV to the Extreme E family, as it joins forces with our Chip Ganassi Racing team,” said Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Extreme E. “Not only will Extreme E be a thrilling motorsport, it will also showcase the performance and benefits of electric vehicles.”

Extreme E 2021 Calendar:

Desert X Prix: AlUla, Saudi Arabia: April 3-4, 2021
Ocean X Prix: Lac Rose, Senegal: May 29-30, 2021
Arctic X Prix: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland: August 28-29, 2021
Amazon X Prix: Para, Brazil: October 23-24, 2021
Glacier X Prix: Patagonia, Argentina: December 11-12, 2021

Reservations are being accepted for select trims of GMC’s new supertruck, the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV, which will launch with initial production this fall. The HUMMER EV will be a fully electric addition to GMC’s portfolio powered by General Motors’ new Ultium battery system. The HUMMER EV Edition One will offer a three-motor e4WD propulsion system with GM-estimated best-in-class 1,000 horsepower and a GM-estimated 11,500 lb-ft of torque.

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PPG To Sponsor Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin And Austin Cindric

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Joe Skibinski

MOORESVILLE, NC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Pittsburgh headquartered PPG Industries is expanding their partnership with Team Penske.

PPG – a global manufacturer of paints, coatings, and specialty materials – will be featured as the primary sponsor on the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet driven by Scott McLaughlin for 10 races during the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

“PPG is a global, industry-leading brand that has been a terrific partner with Team Penske for more than three decades,” said team owner Roger Penske. “Our relationship with PPG has continued to grow and reach across all areas of our business. We are excited about the newest racing opportunity in our partnership as PPG teams up with the No. 3 team and Scott for his first full season competing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.”

“The relationship with Team Penske has been extremely successful for PPG, both on and off the track,” said Bill Shaw, PPG director, strategic accounts, automotive refinish. “We are excited to add another chapter to our history with Scott McLaughlin and the No. 3 PPG Dallara/Chevrolet team. Scott has proven himself to be one of the most talented racecar drivers in the world, and we know success in his new opportunity with the team is just around the corner. PPG is excited to be a part of that.”

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McLaughlin made his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut when he raced for Team Penske in the 2020 season finale at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The 27-year-old native of Christchurch, New Zealand, will embark on a new challenge this season as he transitions to open-wheel racing with a full-season INDYCAR program following an incredibly successful four-year run with the DJR Team Penske Supercars program, helping secure three team championships and winning the driver’s title in each of the last three seasons.

“It is surreal to think my first full season in the INDYCAR SERIES is almost here,” said McLaughlin. “I am truly living out my dreams and to have PPG on board as our primary partner is amazing. I watched the beautiful blue and white PPG cars compete over the last few years, and they look amazing on track. It is going to be an honor to represent PPG in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet this season.”

In addition to the partnership with McLaughlin and the No. 3 team in 2021, PPG will also continue to serve as a sponsor for Team Penske’s NASCAR Xfinity Series program with 2020 series champion Austin Cindric. Cindric will pilot the No. 22 PPG Ford Mustang in races this season at the Daytona Road Course, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Mid-Ohio and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.

Locally, PPG is the naming rights holder for the Penguins PPG Paints Arena and this year the PPG logo is on the helmets of Penguins players.

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Indy Autonomous Challenge Race Car Unveiled

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Indy Autonomous Challenge/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The world’s first high-speed, head-to-head autonomous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will feature Dallaras as the race cars.

Energy Systems Network (ESN) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) this week unveiled the official race car that will be autonomously driven by scores of university teams in the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) at the Racing Capital of the World on Oct. 23, 2021.

Dallara has been the sole racecar supplier of the Indy Lights series since 2002, and now the modified Dallara IL-15 is the official IAC racecar.

“Dallara is the best racecar engineering company in the world, yet designing the chassis for autonomous racing was really challenging,” explained Stefano dePonti, CEO and general manager of Dallara USA. “Dallara loves innovation and technological challenges, and we share the IAC’s passion for education and motorsports.”

“The Dallara-built IAC racecar is the most advanced, fastest autonomous vehicle ever developed,” stated Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of ESN, and co-organizer of the IAC. “Our IAC sponsors are providing radar, lidar, optical cameras and advanced computers, bringing the value of each vehicle to $1 million.”

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One of the teams competing in the challenge is the Panther AV RAS-ing team from the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.

Panther AV RAS-ing is part of more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, PhDs and mentors who excel in artificial intelligence software that have responded to the challenge.  The challengers represent 39 universities in 11 countries on four continents and 14 U.S. states.

The IAC is scheduled for October 23, 2021, at the IMS, with a qualifying simulation race during the Indy 500 week in May. The total IAC prize purse is $1.5 million: $1 million awarded to the winning team of the October IAC race, and an additional $500,000 for winners of the hackathons and simulation races.

“The IAC is going to bring the best minds from around the world to solve a very complex problem, right here at the Racing Capital of the World,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “As the birthplace of motorsports’ innovation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a fitting setting for this event, and we can’t wait to see the winning entry cross the Yard of Bricks into history.”

Two companies headquartered in Western Pennsylvania are sponsors of the event.  Ansys, a global leader in engineering simulation that is headquartered in Canonsburg, and Aptiv, an autonomous vehicle company who is relocating from O’Hara Township to Hazelwood Green.

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