Posts Tagged ‘ Tomas Scheckter ’

@, #hashtag, RT, FF

Posted on: May 14, 2011 | Comments (1) | Drivers, Fans, New Media | By: Daniel

It’s an odd post title, but it’s a fitting one for a discussion on Twitter. Twitter has hit it’s stride this season with more and more teams, drivers, journalists and sponsors joining the online dialogue. The most pleasant surprise are the amount of driver’s genuinely using Twitter to reveal their personalities. A video interview in pit lane isn’t always the best way to know someone. 140 characters in a tweet on the other hand…

TK Tweet

TK ready for Indy

Twitter is obviously on the rise. It’s a social tool that people are finally understanding and utilizing. IndyCar blogger, @pressdog wrote a four-part series earlier this year, illustrating it’s growing importance within the sport. Followers of @IndyCar have grown over 300% in just over a year. It’s become a more accepted method of communication and we use it to share race updates, official results, news stories, videos, Flickr images, blog posts and lots more.  There are now multiple voices around the INDYCAR experience. We are listening.

Yesterday, we interviewed James Hinchcliffe (video below). It got me thinking about driver’s that are web savvy. I remember watching Hinch last season and being impressed by his personal online strategy. His site, videos, and use of Twitter were exceptional. He was ahead of the game. And now, the game has caught up with him and embraced the web community. In my opinion, it’s the most important way we (and I mean ‘we’) can help grow the INDYCAR brand. We all have a voice to help grow this sport.

There have been lots of memorable Twitter moments recently. These are bringing the online world into the at-track world. They are bringing together the personalities of the sport into a new environment. They are giving our faithful, loyal fans new ways of connecting to the speed and racing action. Twitter is removing traditional walls. Some quick examples -

Tomas Scheckter’s blog post last December got some real chatter online and then on Twitter.

Most races are followed by some interesting driver banter – all before our Twitter eyes.

Today, Scott Dixon gave away a watch to one lucky fan. All of this was done through Twitter!

Scott Dixon & a deserving fan

Tweet with drivers and you could win!

And a current contest from Ryan Briscoe: “Who wants to win a trip and be my guest at this years Indy500? Guess my qual speed to win! Go to www.ryanbriscoe.com for details”.

For fans, I can’t think of a better way to follow the sport or a favorite driver. You can tweet directly at them and there will be a lot of chatter this month of May. What are you waiting for?

So – we’ve created a full listing of IZOD IndyCar Series drivers on Twitter for you HERE.

Check them out, follow their tweets, join the conversation and as always, let us know what you think.

You can follow @IndyCar, here.

A Win-Win Proposition

Posted on: April 12, 2011 | Comments (1) | iRacing | By: DPhillips

Will Power’s win at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday may have been his first of the 2011 IZOD INDYCAR Series, but it was not his first victory of the season.  In February, Power scored back-to-back wins at Summit Point Raceway in a Pontiac Solstice.  And if you think Oriol Servia is still looking for his first win of the year after top ten finishes at St. Petersburg and Barber Motorsports Park, think again: Servia notched a win in Legends Cup competition at South Boston Speedway back in January.

iRacer and IndyCar Series competitor Will Power

Will Power on track in Barber

If that sounds confusing, consider that Power and Servia are members of iRacing.com, the world’s foremost online race simulation service.  They’re not alone.  A growing number of IndyCar Series regulars belong to iRacing, including Justin Wilson, JR Hildebrand, Vitor Meira, Danica Patrick, Mike Conway, Simona de Silvestro, Rafael Matos, Takuma Sato and Tomas Scheckter.

So too does Simon Pagenaud, who pinch-hit for injured Ana Beatriz last weekend, and wheeled the Dreyer and Reinbold Honda Dallara to an eighth place finish in his IndyCar debut.

Simon Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud in the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing #24

Pagenaud is no stranger to high-powered open wheel cars, of course.  He and Power were teammates in the 2007 Champ Car Series and, since then, he has enjoyed considerable success in sports car racing, winning the American Le Mans Series prototype championship (with Highcroft Racing) and the Spa 1000K (with Peugeot) last year.  And if driving a Honda Dallara, Panoz Cosworth, HPD ARX-01e and Peugeot 908HDI at the highest levels of the sport qualifies him as an all-rounder, consider Pagenaud’s iRacing resume.  In his most recent online events, the Frenchman raced a Honda Dallara, VW Jetta TDi, SpecRacer Ford, NASCAR Late Model, Legends Ford and Skip Barber F2000 everywhere from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway and Lime Rock Park to Oxford Plains, South Boston and Stafford Motor Speedway.

Like most professional iRacers, Pagenaud uses the service for professional and recreational purposes.

“iRacing is good training,” he says. “It’s good to be able to race against other good drivers online. It brings you the kind of pressure you can have on a race weekend when you race against real people. It’s the same as the real world where you only get one chance: if you crash, you’re done! Just like real.

“Also the car models are very close to reality, and the tracks are very, very close to reality as well. So it’s a good training device for us drivers. I use the Formula One car mostly because its downforce level is very close to the prototype cars, but I love the IndyCar also because it’s the kind of racing that I love. And I also race NASCAR a few times because it’s good fun.”

All of the more than 40 tracks available on iRacing are laser-scanned to within two millimeters of accuracy.  That means if there’s a crack in the pavement entering the first turn – whether it’s the Milwaukee Mile or Infineon Raceway – you’ll feel it; and if there’s a severe bump, you’ll not only feel it, you’ll have to adjust your line accordingly.

“Accuracy is the most important thing,” says Wilson. “In the iRacing simulation, the corner spacing and radii are exactly right. Bumps, camber changes, curbing, changes in surface all have an influence on the optimal line, and iRacing has that level of detail. It’s great for learning tracks and cars, but even if you already know a track, you can refresh yourself, so you’re not spending the first session getting up to speed. You can attack straight away.”

Justin Wilson

IZOD IndyCar Series competitor and iRacing Member, Justin Wilson

Small wonder Hildebrand logged a few hundred laps at Phoenix International Raceway in iRacing’s virtual Dallara before his “try-out” test with Panther Racing last fall; or that, having never driven at Barber Motorsports Park before, Servia got to know the track forwards and backwards before last month’s pre-season test there with Newman/Haas Racing.  Likewise, Power logged a ton of laps on iRacing’s version of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course before his first race there last year . . . and started from pole position.

“All the tracks on iRacing are spot on,” he says.  “If you practice iRacing on a track you’ve never driven before, you will know that track when you drive it in a real car.  (But) it’s also a lot of fun. There’s a huge variety of different cars and tracks, from short tracks and speedways to the great road courses; Legends, Formula One, Solstice, MX5, IndyCar, Sprint Cup . . . the diversity of different styles of racing is fantastic.”

And you’ll never know who you might meet in your next iRacing event . . .

“You’re racing against real people on iRacing,” Power continues. “The other day I passed a guy at Lanier Speedway in a Legends race and he came on the voice chat and said, ‘Is that you Will? It’s me, Oriol [Servia].’  When I told him it was me, Oriol said, ‘If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have let you past so easily!’”

This week I figured I’d go a bit of a different direction and put on display five of my favorite IndyCar moments.  This is by no means a definitive list as to the “greatest” moments ever in IndyCar but it’s more of a quick highlight reel of some of my favorite moments.  I hope to write a post of this “type” more often and expose more of my favorite moments from the past couple years as well as the “good ole’ days.”  Feel free to post links or descriptions to your favorite moments in IndyCar.

1.) Helio Castroneves at Indianapolis 2007

How can you not be amazed by that?!  The move he makes in that video is completely insane.  It truly shows the level of bravery some of these guys have.  Taking the the low-side on that pass, coming with in inches of the wall, and never backing off the throttle… THAT is IndyCar racing.  I can’t imagine how much fun it is driving a Team Penske Racing Indycar, he’s off the throttle going into 1 but he’s still passing cars!

2.) Tomas Scheckter at Indianapolis 2004

If you’ve watched IndyCar racing since 2002 you know one thing… Tomas Scheckter loves the outside pass.  In this video from the 2004 Indianapolis 500, Tomas passes seven cars going into turn three.  What the video doesn’t show is how Tomas had to catch the car going into three.  You can hear him come off the throttle but unfortunately can’t see his steering wheel.  If you happen to attend an IndyCar race that Tomas is racing in during the 2011 season be sure to keep your eye on him during the starts and restarts, he won’t disappoint.

3.) Vitor Meira at Indianapolis 2008

While this move was quite risky and could be considered “dirty” (as I’m sure Ed Carpenter thought) it’s pretty incredible.  IndyCar racing is all about taking it to the extreme limit.  Everyone wants to win so badly that coming down to the final laps of a race the “all or nothing” mentality sets in.  Vitor has finished second so many times I’m sure all he was thinking about was “WIN” and he sure as heck went for it.

4.) Tomas Scheckter at Milwaukee 2007

Yep, it’s another Tomas Scheckter highlight.  The guy is mighty exciting to watch.  I have no idea how he does it but he seems to find grip where no one else can find it.  I particularly like this video because you can really see how much work he’s doing in the cockpit making those passes.  He’s definitely using the “pitch and catch” method on the high side.

5.) Dario Franchitti at Sao Paolo 2010

I’m pretty partial to road and street racing and I chose this video for a couple of reasons.  It’s not necessarily a “highlight” but it shows how much skill it takes to muscle one of these beasts into turning left and right.  It also shows that Tony Cotman is the MAN at designing tracks.  This place is amazing…great scenery, bumpy, and super long straights into heavy braking zones.  Personally I didn’t want them to grind the track coming off the last corner because I thought the lack of grip added another element of skill to the race, but then again I don’t own a team so I understand. :D

I look forward to hearing/seeing some of your favorite moments and showing you guys some more of my favorites in the future!

Tomas Scheckter Uncensored

Posted on: December 15, 2010 | Comments(34) | Drivers | By: Tomas Scheckter

Editors Note: Over the course of the off-season Tomas Scheckter will be writing from time to time updating us on his current racing pursuits, telling us his most memorable moments, and providing the fans with insight from inside the cockpit.  Tomas is one of the most exciting drivers to watch in the IZOD IndyCar Series and as you’ll soon realize he’s got a lot to say.  He’s not afraid to express his opinions so keep that in mind… these blog posts are HIS opinions.

First things first, I have to admit I have never written a blog before and, to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever read one before.  A friend approached me and asked me to write up something after some heated exchanges between myself and Paul Tracy on Trackforum.com (more on that later).

The same friend who got me to write this blog recently brought by a recording of a TV show that aired in England not long ago and it really inspired me.  The title of the show was “When Playboys Ruled The World.” It’s a documentary that covers the lives of Barry Sheene and James Hunt.  It was during the year 1976 in which Barry Sheene won his 500cc Championship (which later became MotoGP) and James Hunt won the Formula One World Championship.  These two were no ordinary champions. They lived life to the max and on the ragged edge.  James had even been known for punching track marshals for restraining him after an accident.  James and Barry were no strangers to the party scene either, even to the point that James sported a badge on his race suit that said “Sex Breakfast of Champions.”

James Hunt and Tomas’ Father, Jody Scheckter, are interviewed after the 1976 British GP

The side of these two that most didn’t see, and the documentary brought to light, was the tangible danger they faced weekly.  They speak during the documentary how each of them lost upwards of 25 friends to the sports they loved.  I like to think of myself as quite fearless and there is really only one moment in my career where I remember feeling fear.  It was the morning Paul Dana passed away at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  I’d seen Paul that morning as he parked his rental car right next to my bus and I remember greeting him.  During the morning warm-up a yellow came out to clean up an incident and after about 15 minutes they cancelled the session, which they NEVER do.  I knew my teammate Ed Carpenter had been involved but I didn’t know how bad it was.  I went back to my motorhome after the session had been ended early to take a quick nap before the race got going.  I was sitting on my bed as it came across ESPN that Paul had passed.  I was in complete disbelief, my stomach turned, and my girlfriend at the time did her best to console me but I was feeling completely disconnected.  About 3 minutes later my team manager called and said “Tomas, the race is back on, driver intros in 30 minutes.”  I hadn’t felt confident in the setup of my car during warm-up and this tragic incident didn’t boost my confidence any.  I have no idea where I finished in that race but I knew it was the best finish Vision Racing had at that point.  After I got out of the car there were some people trying to come speak to me.  I was in no mood to speak to anyone, pit lane lost a great individual that day and my great friend and teammate was in the hospital.

The feeling of fear is what sometimes drives us to the limit.  It’s not the speed that’s exhilarating; we’re all used to the speed. It’s knowing that there’s a chance you might not come out the other side of the corner.  It gives you that feeling in the pit of your stomach, as much as you hate it, it becomes addictive and that’s why it’s so hard to walk away from this sport.

There’s no track in the world that gives that feeling more than Indianapolis and that’s exactly why I think we need to be going 230 – 240 mph.  Great ad campaigns like IZOD’s and leadership are of the upmost importance to any sport, but racing is sexy, dangerous, loud, scary, and on the edge.  It’s all about speed, going for it, and breaking records.  220 is a thing of the past, if we’re approaching 240 we’ll be on the front page of every major newspaper in the country.  Racing needs to get back to being on the edge, being on the edge is what Indy is all about.  It’s the bravest drivers at the fastest track taking it to the absolute limit.  We’re not playing ping-pong, darts, or bowling.  We’re driving IndyCars at the greatest racetrack in the world and that’s a privilege.  If you want that privilege, you have to ask yourself, “Am I willing to take that risk?”  If the answer is no then it’s time to hang it up.  There’s no greater feeling in the world than being able to say you were lucky enough to be one of the 33 drivers at Indianapolis.

Tomas putting on his helmet

Tomas Scheckter

My dad will probably hate me for saying this as he was the head of the Drivers Association when he was in Formula One.  They focused a lot on safety but back in his days they lost 2-3 drivers a year.  It’s a whole different world today.  I’m not trying to say I want to see people get hurt or anything but I do think it’s important that we get the fans respect back.  There are things we can do better to increase the safety, but still allow for higher speeds.  Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti have started having some meetings with drivers to get everyone’s point of view on safety, etc.  It’s my opinion we can absolutely go 230-240 mph safely.

During this same documentary, they spoke about James’ and Barry’s exploits as “ladies men” and how open they were about it.  Gerhard Berger made one comment that regardless of their extra-curricular activities they were still able to get the job done.  Being great drivers made these guys famous, but their personalities and emotions made them legends.  We need more of that.  A good example was last year. I  was sitting in my car after the Edmonton race, completely exhausted, seeing Helio Castroneves running around shouting and grabbing people (who easily could have tossed his butt all the way back to Brazil.)  I loved that.  It showed true emotion and it showed just how much emotion we all have invested in this.  My other thought was, the WWE needs to get Helio in the ring, he’s a great performer.
I fully understand that racing is expensive and sponsors want a certain image but I think for the overall popularity of the sport everyone needs to loosen up.  I would love to go back to the ‘70s or ‘80s and drive past the Snake Pit after a long day at the track.  I would love to not be afraid to tell someone to stop “crying like a baby,” even though I’ve done that anyway.  I read Graham Rahal’s tweets. He is a great kid and super talented but he is about as exciting as British politics.  He is in his 20s, he drives the fastest cars in the world and he’s speaking about holding hands and getting double frappaccino with whipped cream.  I’m not saying rob a liquor store or anything crazy like that but let loose, live a little.

I think anyone who steps into a race car has to be mentally and physically prepared.  I spend a ton of time in the gym and I sleep in an altitude tent in preparation for race weekends.  I weigh myself every single day.  It’s important to have respect in combination with fun.  As much as we all enjoy chasing girls we still control some very powerful machinery and take our own lives as well as the lives of the spectators into our hands every time we go on track.  With that type of responsibility if you don’t have respect for it you shouldn’t be involved.

I hope I didn’t make too many people angry over the course of this.  I can honestly say I love each and every single one of you fans and the amount of support you’ve shown me over the years has been incredible.  I hope to be writing more often here.  And hopefully, if everything comes together, I’ll see you all at the greatest place on earth, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

iRacing revealed

Posted on: June 21, 2010 | Comments(11) | Drivers, New Media, iRacing | By: Brian

Ever wanted to go wheel-to-wheel in an IZOD Indycar Series Dallara?  Dreamed of passing Tomas Scheckter on the outiside in turn one at Indianapolis?  Wondered what it would feel like to be chased around Watkins Glen by Justin Wilson and Will Power?  Yearned to fight for a championship and clinch it in the last race?  Well… I’ve experience it all and you can too.

If you’re an avid gamer or hard-core IZOD IndyCar Series fan chances are you’ve heard of iRacing previously.  If not, allow me to educate you.  iRacing is in one word… INCREDIBLE!  It’s an internet based racing simulator where any member can hop in and race cars ranging from a Pontiac Solstice to the famed Honda powered Dallara IndyCar on race tracks spanning from the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

iRacing Action

iRacing Action

[More]

This weekend’s stop on the IZOD IndyCar Series circuit in Iowa is jammed packed with action. For the first time in Indy Racing League history all 4 series, leagues will be competing on the same weekend in the same city on the same oval…The IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights Series, Star Mazda Championship and the USF2000 Series. This completes the progression for up and coming drivers who are aspiring to be IZOD IndyCar Series drivers.

I’ve been to Iowa, many a times in my day…but that is a different topic. I’ve only been to Iowa Speedway once, in 2009 and I was impressed. I personally think its cool to see IndyCars on short ovals, and Iowa Speedway is short. I have a certain appreciation for people like Tomas Scheckter and Tony Kanaan who seem to be able to pass anyone at anywhere on restarts especially on tracks as tight as Iowa.

Brian Herta and Daniel Herrington Grill their Meat (2009)

But there is another reason that Iowa is so cool. I wish I could name the restaurant but I can’t. More important than the name is the style! Last year I ventured over to this unnamed restaurant with a few co-workers from IMS Productions and the IRL. We walked in the doors and behind the hostess was a large meat locker. That’s right a MEAT LOCKER. I immediately started to drool.

Then I looked around and saw 2 enormous grills. Yep, I got to grill my own dinner. Not only did I get to hand pick my meat out of a locker, but I got to grill it along side a freshly garlic buttered slice of texas toast.

So this weekend, I am watching from Indy. I’ll be on Race Control and I’ll also switch over to Star Mazda and USF2000.com for LIVE streaming of their events on Saturday evening.

If you are in Iowa, seek out the place where you can grill your own meat. Its fun and tasty!

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The Beautiful Game

Posted on: June 5, 2010 | Comments(6) | Drivers, Random | By: Daniel

I know we’re in the midst of a pretty exciting IndyCar season, but I wanted to take the opportunity to mention something else occurring this summer – the World Cup. I’m a huge soccer fan and will be glued to the TV June 11 – July 11, rooting for England (hey, I was born there) and hoping for some magical goal, incredible matches and a thrilling cup final. Player of the tournament? My pick is Wayne Rooney. Disagree?

I know soccer isn’t very popular in the US, but it’s huge a sport and there are many similarities to IndyCar – the global appeal, Brazilians seem to always do well, cool fans, great athleticism, etc.

There are 32 teams at the World Cup. There are 26 drivers in tonight’s Firestone 500k race at Texas Motor Speedway. So what’s the Nation/Driver breakdown? Before I get into that, check out Rafa Matos visiting the Kansas City Wizards of MLS.

Teams going to South Africa

Australia – Ryan Briscoe, Will Power

Brazil – Helio Castroneves, Mario Moraes, Tony Kanaan, Vitor Meira, Raphael Matos, Mario Romancini

England – Alex Lloyd, Justin Wilson, Dan Wheldon, Jay Howard

Japan – Hideki Mutoh, Takuma Sato

New Zealand – Scott Dixon

South Africa – Tomas Scheckter

Switzerland – Simona de Silvestro

USA – Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sarah Fisher

Not in the World Cup :(

Belgium – Bertrand Baguette

Canada – Alex Tagliani

Scotland – Dario Franchitti

Venezuela – E.J. Viso, Milka Duno

We had some time down here in Texas, so IMS Productions asked some of the drivers what their picks were for the World Cup. Take a look -

Who’s your pick for the 2010 World Cup?

And, BTW – IndyCar staffer Arni Sribhen and Indy Lights driver Martin Plowman have a friendly wager going on the England vs USA match June 11. Stay tuned for a blog post on that.