Posts Tagged ‘ Andretti Autosport ’

USF2000 driver Zach Veach has brought together his team, Andretti Autosport, The Michael Andretti Foundation and Racing for Kids to partner with FocusDriven to bring awareness and support to a family who was tragically affected by a distracted driving incident.

The Andretti Autosport fleet is carrying special car decals at the Milwaukee Mile to spread awareness and help raise funds for the family of Xzavier Davis-Bilbo. Six-year-old Xzavier was paralyzed in October 2010 when a driver, who was texting while driving, struck him while he and his sister crossed the street.

USF2000 driver Zach Veach affixes his new decal for Milwaukee

Fans can help Zach ( Twitter @ZachVeach ) and Andretti Autosport (Twitter @FollowAndretti ) raise awareness too. Click here to download an image of the same decal on Zach’s car and share with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter using hashtag #DriveForFans.

Comment below to leave your messages of support for Zach’s efforts to stop distracted driving and you could win a USF2000 tire autographed by Andretti Autosport drivers. Zach will share your words of support with Xzavier’s family and help select the best comment in support of stopping distracted driving to win this very cool prize.

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The month of May is known to be the most hectic month for the IZOD IndyCar stars, but it’s just as crazy for the helmet painters, in particular at the ArtRotondo.com shop, when you paint for many of the Indycar drivers. The month of May is an incredibly hectic month but that all comes to one big reward on that historical race day. This year being the centennial year, it is a tremendous honor for us to be part of this great race, alongside so many of this Series finest drivers. We’re truly living a childhood dream by being involved in this great race and hope that one of our drivers will be the first to cross the finish line on this coming May 29th, 2011.

This year’s Indy 500 will not only mark the 100th anniversary of the great American race, but it will also mark the heroic return of IndyCar star Mike Conway. He will return on board his Andretti Autosport IndyCar to face the track which prematurely took him out of his 2010 season. For this tremendous event we had no choice but to make a special Indy 500 themed helmet for his triumphant return, we put the complete focus on the speedway’s landmark tower and hope it will bring him that extra edge in this grueling 500 mile dash.

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Mike Conway's new helmet

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With the Indycar season opener at St-Petersburg right around the corner, ArtRotondo.com is hard at work making sure that our INDYCAR drivers have the finest and most original looking helmets on the grid. Through our previous IndyCar.com blogs we have been documenting our latest works for our Indycar drivers which follows with these newest creations. (Check out past posts here)

We’ll start with Belgian driver Bertrand Baguette who impressed many last season with his end of season surge to the front pack. He returns this year with his classic helmet design but this time on the brand new Schuberth SF1 carbon fiber helmet which is one of the most worldwide renowned and sought after helmet in all of racing. He will be sporting these tremendous lids throughout his 2011 season.

Bertrand Baguette's 2011 helmet design

Bertrand Baguette's 2011 helmet design

Another one of our latest works is for the “comeback kid” himself, Mike Conway. Mike will be making his return this season with none other than Andretti Autosport and will be sure to make his comeback memorable. For the occasion, we tweaked Mike’s design just a tad to give him that extra “out of the box” look than his previous design from last season. To all who thought his helmet couldn’t get any nicer, well I think the pictures speak for themselves. It is simply a true honor to be doing Mike’s helmets and especially this year after all the rehabilitation and courage he showed after his major incident at the Indy 500, a true remarkable story which can only get better.

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver, Mike Conway's helmet

Mike Conway's 2011 helmet

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver, Mike Conway's helmet

Mike Conway's 2011 helmet

Finally we wanted to stay in the Andretti Autosport stable and present to the Indycar fans, the one that many believe to be the next American born open wheel prodigy Sage Karam. This season will be Sage’s first season in the Star Mazda series, after winning every championship in every category he has ever driven, Sage looks to continue his streak in the Star Mazda series in 2011 and to continue his climb in the Indycar ladder system.

Star Mazda Series Driver, Sage Karan's helmet

Star Mazda Series Driver, Sage Karan's helmet

Star Mazda Series Driver, Sage Karan's helmet

Star Mazda Series Driver, Sage Karan's helmet

Our crazy pre-season helmet rush is far from being over, we’re still creating unique designs for our Formula 1 drivers, Nascar drivers, ALMS drivers and, of course, for our IndyCar drivers,  so keep on checking back on the Indycar.com blog for all of our Indycar Series drivers helmets to come!

It’s not every day that we start working with a driver new to the team. When we do though, it’s always an adjustment for everyone involved—the driver, the crew, engineers and the whole team. The driver relies on not only his skills on the track during a race; he also puts his life into the hands of the team’s crew, engineers and equipment every time he straps into the car.

It starts with building the relationship between the driver and the team. There are usually 10-12 new faces, from the strategist to the engineers to the over-the-wall guys. Because the driver is in constant contact with the strategist during races, it’s always helpful to make sure everyone is on the same page before even getting into the car. The same goes for spotters and me—the crew chief. We, as a team, talk to the driver a lot about his expectations and what he wants to get out of the season.

There are physical differences for the driver, too. Each IndyCar team operates in its own way and sets up its cars slightly differently. The layout of the cockpit and even the placement of the steering wheel may be specific to the team. We spend a lot of time with the new driver to make sure he is comfortable with the car so he can control it on the track.

For example, Mike Conway came into the shop this week for his seat fitting. The seat fit is a big part of adjusting the car for the new driver. Race car seats aren’t ‘one size fits all.’ If you’ve ever had the chance to sit in a race-ready IndyCar, you know what I mean. Each seat is designed and molded individually for the driver. We also check the height of the seat, the position of the pedals, and the position of the mirrors.

Andretti Autosport's Josh Freund

Josh Freund prepares for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season at Andretti Autosport

For the team, it’s not just the driver-crew relationship that has to work. All of the crew members must gel together in order for a good team to form at the shop and track. It takes time and sometimes rearranging to get the right mix of guys. Our team manager Kyle Moyer looks at a lot of aspects to build a good crew: experience, practice, over-the-wall timing and the general chemistry. Some mechanics go over the wall while some don’t, and vice-versa. From season to season, Kyle typically keeps the same guys on the same crew for consistency. However, when a new driver is added to the team lineup, there can be some shuffling necessary to get the right mix.

This year, I will be working with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Though he’s not new to the team this year we haven’t worked together as crew chief and driver, which means we’ll go through some of the same adjustments as Mike and his crew chief, Jeff Simon. Even though there’s always a learning curve, I think we’ve got the right tools and people to get good results right away.

Andretti Autosport's Josh Freund

Josh Freund prepares for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season at Andretti Autosport

Similar to other Midwestern cities this week, Indianapolis was slammed with ice and snow storms causing team shops and even the INDYCAR offices to take a snow day. Despite the weather (and a newly formed ice rink in the INDYCAR parking lot) nothing can stop the momentum towards an exciting 2011 season.

Fans can now follow Verizon Team Penske driver, Will Power, on Twitter @12WillPower

Fans can now follow Verizon Team Penske driver, Will Power, on Twitter @12WillPower

Let’s start with Social Media (I might be partial) this week Verizon Team Penske driver, Will Power joined Twitter as @12WillPower. I know, I know, this is not the biggest news in racing per-say. BUT, it is a big deal when you consider the fact that now IZOD IndyCar Series fans can get live updates directly from Will. There’s nothing cooler at the track than an all-access pass, right? Well consider this piece of news to be your year-round all-access pass to learning more about one of your favorite drivers. This week, Will Power could also be found blogging on SpeedTV.com (check it out here). In the blog, Power shares what he’s been doing in the off-season to physically and mentally prepare for the 2011 season.

Will Power was not the only driver caught blogging this week. Ryan Briscoe shared his Super Bowl plans with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Australian ‘Cheesehead’ had plenty to say about the Packers and why he’s a fan. (Check out Ryan’s first post here and second post here). Read more about how Briscoe and his fellow Penske drivers, Helio Castroneves and Will Power, will be spending Super Bowl Sunday here.

Penske also announced new sponsors for their 2011 rides in Guidepoint and PPG. Check out two new schemes that will be on track this season:

Team Penske Guidepoint No. 6 car

No. 6 Guidepoint Team Penske IndyCar

Team Penske PPG No. 6 car

No. 6 PPG Team Penske IndyCar

From Social Media let’s jump over to this week’s announcement that Takuma Sato and E.J. Viso will return as anchors for the 2011 season at KV Racing Technology-Lotus (read more here). In the article, Viso shares the positive steps taken in 2010 that have the teamed poised for success in 2011. Lotus’ motorsport director, Claudio Berro wants fans to know that “last year was all about learning. This year, we would really like to achieve some podium finishes.”

Fans were excited to hear that Sebastien Bourdais spent this past week testing with Dale Coyne Racing along with Martin Plowman (full article here). Andretti Autosport unveiled that Mike Conway will be their fourth man in a 2011 line-up that already includes Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Find out more about what Conway’s done to rehab from last season’s Indianapolis 500 injuries here.

Edmonton Indy promoters plan to unveil the race’s new circuit layout and ticket plans this Tuesday, February 8 (read more here). So far, they have only shared that the new layout places a few grandstands incredibly close to racing action — something that should get fans excited for Edmonton. Keep an eye on IndyCar.com for the new circuit layout as soon as it’s announced.

Today the Super Bowl takes place in Dallas, Texas, so I will close with a little humor from nearby Texas Motor Speedway which found itself covered in snow just a few days ago. Check out their Facebook page for a photo of the track.

We’re officially seven (7) weeks away from the start of the 2011 IndyCar season, what in the news this week has you most excited?

For us, the off-season is like pressing a “reset” button. After the checkered flag at the last race of the season, the cars usually aren’t in their full, recognizable, 100 percent form until the green flag of the next season’s opening race.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail

It starts in the composite department of the shop with a body fit. To start, the car is stripped down to the bare carbon to check each piece’s weight and check for damage from wear and tear throughout the season. It’s like bringing the car back to square one. After the car is bare, the composite guys will start to glue the car back together. They make sure all of the pieces have nice seams, so the car is as smooth as possible to create better aerodynamics. The glue is a mixture of a high-solvent and resin, which holds each carbon fiber piece together. The carbon usually sets overnight or bakes in the oven for about 2 hours, depending on our time constraints.

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Hi, my name is Josh Freund. You may have seen me around the paddock or on pit lane with Andretti Autosport. I work as the crew chief for the #11 team. During the off-season and through the 2011 season, I’ll be updating you on everything that goes on inside an INDYCAR race shop. From composite work to decals, and from testing to the first race, I’ll let you become a part of the team.

#11 Crew Chief, Josh Freund

#11 Crew Chief, Josh Freund

Growing up, I can’t say that I knew I would end up working on race cars. I did grow up in Indianapolis, the racing capital of the world, but I had intentions of being involved with aircrafts in some way, either as a pilot or a mechanic.

I got my start in racing the same way as a lot of others—karting. In 1998, I was offered a job at Players/Forsythe as a front-end mechanic for driver Lee Bentham who drove for the Toyota Atlantic Series, better known as go-karts.

In 2000, I moved into the IndyCar Series as a mechanic for driver Patrick Carpentier and in 2003 I became lead mechanic. After the end of the 2003 season, I joined the Andretti Autosport team and became a lead mechanic on Dario Franchitti’s car. We earned four wins that year—definitely a good year. In 2007, I was a part of Andretti’s ALMS team as a mechanic before going back to Indy cars shortly after as crew chief for Hideki Mutoh. As I mentioned before, I’m now crew chief for the #11 car in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Andretti Autosport #11 crew at Mid-Ohio

The #11 Andretti Autosport pit crew

During the race, you can find me in the pits changing the outside front tire. Back at the shop during the off-season, I work on the car to be the best we can for the next season. As chief mechanic, I work with the engineers to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. We do a lot of testing and fiddling with certain parts of the cars to get an extra tenth of a second in speed. It can be really fascinating to see first-hand how even a tiny change (either in the shop or during a pit stop) can make a relatively big difference on the track.

My favorite part about my job is being with the guys. I’ve met many people working in this industry and I can say I enjoy working with the people here. Most of the guys here are my good friends. Even with a busy travel schedule and a lot of time away from home, we find a way to enjoy the time on the road.

Andretti Autosport #11 crew in pit lane

The #11 team at Mid-Ohio

Looking back at my career, I’m not sure what I would be doing if I wasn’t part of a race team. Fortunately, it’s not something I’ve never had to think about it. However, if I had to it all over again, I’d probably have my own business of some sort. My goal for now, though, is to keep winning races.

Now that you’ve heard a bit about my background, what do you want to know about the racing industry?

Flickr and IndyCar Teams

Posted on: November 21, 2010 | Comments(6) | Flickr | By: Daniel

I usually like to start the week with a blog post about Flickr. In this post, I thought I’d do some research and let you know if any of our IndyCar teams are using the Flickr world. We’re not the only ones that take lots of photographs over the course of a season and I found a few examples for you. Check out what some of the teams are doing.

KV Racing Technology, is incredibly active on Flickr with hundreds of images. Here’s a cool shot of E.J. Viso getting fitted in the new 2012 Safety Cell from Dallara. They cover all kinds of things through imagery.

EJ Viso at Dallara doing a seat fitting for the new 2012 Indycar

E.J. Viso in Italy at Dallara

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Flickr and most views

Posted on: October 24, 2010 | Comments(4) | 2012 Chassis Designs, Flickr | By: Daniel

The Flickr blog series continues again this week, this time revealing our most viewed images from 2010. Unlike last week where I wrote about Interestingness, the ‘most viewed’ statistic is easy to understand, simple to measure. It’s what our online community looked at the most.

So let’s start randomly – our 99th most viewed image so far this year?

2012 Fan Design by Phil Frank - overhead view

A Phil Frank Design #99

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Web Talk with Tony Kanaan

Posted on: September 6, 2010 | Comments(4) | Drivers, New Media, Web Talk | By: Daniel

This week we’re focusing on a few IZOD IndyCar drivers to learn how they use technology when they’re not driving 200 mph.  We asked them questions about their personal websites, Twitter, what sites they visit daily, their favorite YouTube videos, what makes them laugh and much more.

It’s Web Week on IndyCar.com. We’ll be releasing a new driver interview each day, revealing a new side to IndyCar and the drivers.

The first driver up in Web Talk is Tony Kanaan – which isn’t a bad choice for this topic.

Kanaan iPad

He's into technology

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