IndyCar sezona 2019
Posted 10 January 2019 - 18:31
IndyCar announces NBC Sports TV schedule
By: RACER Staff | 22 hours ago
IndyCar’s new partnership with NBC Sports Group will see a 60 percent increase in network television exposure as eight races — including the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca — will air on NBC in 2019. Nearly 350 hours of IndyCar action will be broadcast between linear and digital platforms as NBC Sports Group becomes the exclusive home of the series.
NBCSN, which enters its 12th consecutive year telecasting IndyCar events, will air the remaining nine races; the television schedule for qualifying sessions will be announced at a later date.
All on-track action will be available through NBC Sports. NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer streaming product, will offer an ‘IndyCar Pass’ package that will feature live practice and qualifying sessions, same-day race airings and Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires events. Details on how to sign up for IndyCar Pass on NBC Sports Gold will be announced soon.
“This will be the most complete and robust season of IndyCar viewing for our fans,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company. “Fans can not only see everything that happens on the track, they can see races at their convenience on the same day via IndyCar Pass, which until now had not been available.”
The Indianapolis 500 — which will air on NBC for the first time this year — will receive special promotion as part of NBC Sports’ “Championship Season” marketing campaign, a May-to-July spotlight of high-profile championship events airing on NBC Sports platforms such as horse racing’s Triple Crown, the NHL Stanley Cup Final, French Open tennis, and the Tour de France endurance cycling race. One promo aired during last Sunday’s NFL playoff game between the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.
The 2019 IndyCar Series season kicks off on NBCSN with the street race in St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 10. Also appearing on NBCSN are the inaugural race at Circuit of The Americas on Sunday, March 24 and three Saturday night races at Texas Motor Speedway (June 8), Iowa Speedway (July 20) and Gateway Motorsports Park (Aug. 24).
IndyCar coverage on NBC begins with the IndyCar Grand Prix on Saturday, May 11 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Following the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26, NBC will carry both races on Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit (Saturday-Sunday, June 1-2), Road America (June 23), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (July 28), Portland International Raceway (Sept. 1) and the finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (Sept. 22). The races in Portland and Monterey represent a final push to crown the IndyCar Series champion live on network television.
“As the exclusive home for IndyCar, NBC Sports will provide fans with more IndyCar coverage than ever before in 2019,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN.
“From centralized, seamless coverage on NBC and NBCSN to unparalleled support surrounding the 103rd Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, NBC Sports will super-serve IndyCar Nation through its best-in-class television, digital, production and marketing assets.”
For a printable version of the 2019 schedule, click here.
Edited by Rad-oh-yeah?, 10 January 2019 - 18:32.
Posted 12 January 2019 - 02:50
IndyCar set to try again on LED panels
By: Marshall Pruett | 6 hours ago
The IndyCar Series has asked two of its teams to install new LED panels during a test next week at Sebring International Raceway, and if the units function as anticipated, they could return for the full season.
Andretti Autosport and Ed Carpenter Racing are expected to carry out the durability and functionality tests with the LED panels, which have already been subjected to vibration tests by IndyCar’s engineering department. Although the vendor’s name has not been released, it’s believed the panels are made by an outfit with extensive experience with open-wheel and sports car racing electronics.
The new panels are said to deliver the same pieces of information as the last units, including track position, track condition, pit stop duration, and a variety of other mobile messaging options. Of the new capabilities offered, the 2019 LED panels can be set up to show IndyCar’s AMR Response Team key vehicle information when they arrive at the scene of a stall or crash, with alerts as to whether the engine is still running, if the car is in gear, and other tailored data awaiting the crew as they approach the vehicle.
IndyCar used its most recent LED panels, made by SPAA05, during the early rounds of the 2018 season, but was forced to pull them from the cars after normal chassis harmonics encountered at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway caused the circuitry in the devices to crack or fail altogether. With no immediate fix available for those units, the series sought a new solution with the unnamed vendor that solves the harmonics issues and expands the range of information that can be displayed for fans and safety workers.
Posted 14 January 2019 - 22:40
Vezite se, polecemo!
IndyCar's 2019 testing begins
By: Marshall Pruett | 3 hours ago
The IndyCar Series is back in action this week as testing for the 2019 season begins with private outings at Florida’s Sebring International Raceway.
Dale Coyne Racing’s Honda-powered outfit kicks off the season on Sebring’s short course with two cars in action today, and once the Illinois-based outfit is finished, almost half of the field will take over the circuit on Tuesday.
Andretti Autosport and its four Honda entries, the two Ed Carpenter Racing Chevys, two Rahal Letterman Lanigan Hondas, the pair of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Hondas, and one Honda from defending series champions Chip Ganassi Racing will put 11 entries in motion.
So far, the two days at Sebring are the only tests planned ahead of February’s western swing where most of the field will spend Friday the 8th at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, then head to Circuit of The Americas for IndyCar’s Open Test in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 12-13.
“In a lot of ways, this off-season has gone by quicker than others,” ECR owner/driver Ed Carpenter told RACER. “The last time we were on track was for a test in October, and we’re happy to be in the Sunshine State to get our first test going, and then we have a little breather, and then it’s back to it at Laguna and COTA.”
With its most recent trip to Victory Lane coming in 2016, Carpenter is hopeful the engineering advancements made by his team will help ECR returnee Spencer Pigot, newcomer Ed Jones, and his own efforts on the ovals.
“It will be good to see how our off-season work has been and how it compares to the others,” he said. “I feel like every offseason we do a good job; I have confidence in our people and our processes, and we did a lot of things right last season, but had areas of improvement.
“Most of us hold onto our limited number of test days, and tomorrow’s always fun because we go play with our new ideas and it’s out first step to see how well we’ve done. One test day is not going to make or break your season, but you hope you come out and show well in that first test.”
Posted 16 January 2019 - 03:11
Hinchcliffe leads Sebring test
By: Marshall Pruett | 28 minutes ago
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports topped the first major private test of the year held at Sebring International Raceway with team veteran James Hinchcliffe at the controls of his No. 5 Honda.
Of the 11 cars that spent the day on Sebring’s short course, nine were powered by Honda and two featured Chevy engines. Hinchcliffe’s unofficial best (51.37s) for SPM was slightly faster than Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach (51.46s) and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato (51.48s).
“It doesn’t hurt,” Hinchcliffe told RACER of being fastest. “This was one of those tests where, across the 5 car, we had a really big list — some ridiculous things you’d never try on a race weekend — and it was important too stick to that and not get lost chasing a fast lap time. We stayed committed to it, found some things that were quick, some that weren’t, and we learned a lot.
“The best takeaway of the day is we stuck to our plan and got better. It’s the first time we’ve all worked together since there was a lot of shuffling on the team side in the off-season. It was a pretty solid day.”
Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (51.62s) and Alexander Rossi (51.66s) completed the all-Honda top five, and in sixth, Ed Carpenter Racing newcomer Ed Jones (51.85s) registered the quickest time for the Bowtie.
The pair of Swedish rookies claimed seventh and eighth as Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist (51.97s) and SPM’s Marcus Ericsson (52.00s) set nearly identical times. ECR’s Spencer Pigot (52.03s), Andretti’s Marco Andretti (52.13s), and RLLR’s Graham Rahal (52.23s) rounded out the runners.
Spencer Pigot’s car gets prepped (Image by ECR)
“The first day back is always about acclimatizing to the team, and I wasn’t the only one that was new,” Jones said of his on-track introduction to ECR after spending 2018 with the Chip Ganassi Racing organization. “My engineer, Peter Craig, isn’t new to IndyCar, but he’s just come back from the Furniture Row NASCAR team, so it was his first test with the team. Getting everyone to click was needed, and it happened very quickly.
“The new change for me was driving the Chevy engine after using the Honda in the past. There were some differences that stood out to me, which was good; it helped me to understand why we benefited at some track before, and Chevy benefited at others. It was my first opportunity to see both sides, and it’s great to see how competitive both sides are and I know Chevy is working hard on their end.”
Dale Coyne Racing, which took part in a private Sebring test on Monday with Sebastien Bourdais and Santino Ferrucci, performed alterations to the circuit layout, making a lap time comparison with Tuesday’s runners impossible.
Posted 17 January 2019 - 17:26
Power, Penske receive Baby Borgs
By: Mark Glendenning | 9 hours ago
Eight months after crossing the yard of bricks, Will Power ticked one of the last ceremonial boxes for an Indianapolis 500 winner when he collected his replica Borg-Warner Trophy at the NAIAS in Detroit on Wednesday evening.
The 24-inch ‘Baby Borg’ replicas of the perpetual Borg-Warner Trophy have been given to Indy winners since 1988.
“Obviously it was a real honor to get up there with Roger [Penske] in front of the head of GM and receive the trophy,” Power told RACER.com.
“Everything that has gone with winning the race has been just fun, and exciting, and I’ve really enjoyed it, and this was another reminder of winning the biggest race in the world.
“I was really looking forward to getting the Baby Borg, because I didn’t realize you got your face on that as well. I’ve seen my portrait on the big trophy a couple of times and it’s kind of funny… you don’t know what to think about it, but it’s a cool thing to be in there among all these legendary drivers that have won the 500 in the past.”
After accepting the Baby Borg for the winning owner, Roger Penske said that the Power’s achievement was proof of the work he’d put into oval racing – an area that had not been his natural habitat when he first arrived in the IndyCar Series.
“Certainly well-deserved,” Penske told RACER.com. “I think that’s what it was so special last year. I don’t have a favorite driver or a favorite win, but this one was pretty special. Will’s ability to learn on the ovals… he was the best on the road courses, best in qualifying, but he didn’t have the experience on the ovals, and he has worked hard with his engineer and with the team, and certainly he didn’t win [the 500] by luck. He drove to the front and won the race.”
Penske’s record of 17 Indy 500 wins as an owner is among the most imposing in the record books: nobody else has more than five. (A tally shared by Lou Moore and Michael Andretti). From Penske’s standpoint, the Baby Borg is as much a testament to the work put in by the team as it is Power’s performance at the wheel.
“When you have 17 Baby Borgs and you look a the career our team has had… I guess my job is to pick up the trophies, but it’s really about Tim Cindric and that whole team and what they’ve done over the years,” Penske said.
“And when you go back over the years and the many people that have been involved with us, they’ve all made a huge difference. We’ve just stayed up with it. We have very little turnover; people grow within the company, within the race team, and that’s the secret sauce, because when we go to Indy, I think we’ll have over 400 years of [collective] experience to put behind the four cars we’ll run this year. That continuity makes a huge difference, and I think it’s a competitive advantage.
“I don’t need to finish second when you’ve win as many times as we have. But we don’t win all the races, and you just have to be good losers and work harder to be better the next race, and that’s what we continue to do. One of the problems we have is, we know all the pitfalls and we try to plan for the pitfalls, and some people out there don’t even know that this thing could happen. That makes our job even tougher, the high expectation from our sponsors and our drivers that we’re going to produce a winner.”
Having seen first-hand the impact that Indy success had on drivers in the past, Penske is convinced that Power will step up another level heading into 2019.
“No question he’s got the confidence now; he knows he can do it,” he said. “He’s in the best shape he’s ever been in, and in the testing we’ve had, he has been excellent. But he’s a different guy now. He broke through. When you do that, you know you’re a winner. It’s a big part of your resume, and if you don’t have that – even if you’ve been champion – it makes a big difference.”
Penske’s optimism was echoed by Power himself.
“I have as much motivation as I’ve ever had – a lot of energy, and I’m fitter than I’ve ever been,” he said. “I’m just really looking forward to the season. I’m aware that this doesn’t last forever. You can’t race for your whole life, so I want to make the absolute most of the next few years – enjoy it, but be very successful.
“My confidence… I love oval racing now. It is seriously my favorite part of IndyCar racing. It’s funny, now I have to think about how I can improve on the street courses, where I’ve struggled a little bit over the last year.
“But if I look at the season as a whole, there’s just no weakness there. It’s just a matter of getting it put together and trying to have a season with no mistakes, and that’s what’s stopped us a few times. When I think about the last decade of racing, and the amount of races that I have won in that time, I really feel like I should have two or three championships.
“But you have to try to minimize the mistakes. It’s not always mistakes – last year we had mechanical failures, I made a couple of mistakes, we had that thing at Barber where it was wet and I just aquaplaned into the wall… eliminate a couple of them, and you’re right there. If I can get a clean season, I think we’ll be in really good shape.”
Posted 18 January 2019 - 01:27
Modifikacija aeropaketa za superspidveje, u nameri da se popravi stabilnost bolida:
IndyCar to offer more rear wing options at superspeedway races
By: Marshall Pruett | 5 hours ago
The NTT IndyCar Series will provide its teams with more options to generate downforce at its superspeedway events in Indianapolis, Pocono, and Dallas-Fort Worth.
The change in philosophy comes after consulting IndyCar’s drivers and race engineers on the best way to create more dynamic racing at the Indianapolis 500 and the Pocono 500, in particular, with its new-for-2018 universal aero kit.
Both marquee events fell short of expectations after teams complied with rules calling for reduced downforce; a narrow range of aerodynamic tuning options, especially at the back of the cars with strict limits on rear wing angles, made it difficult to achieve an aero balance that met each driver’s needs.
The new solution offered by IndyCar is to provide more aero tuning freedom in superspeedway trim, specifically through downforce-adding Gurney flaps atop the spec rear wing element at the rear of the Chevy- and Honda-powered Dallara DW12s.
Three 3/8-inch tall flaps, which are optional, have been approved for use that vary in width and downforce production. The first, 13.2 inches wide, adds 50 pounds of downforce. The second, at 24.5 inches wide, provides a 100-pound increase in downforce. And the third, which spans the full width of the wing, offers 200 pounds of downforce.
IndyCar has approved the 50- and 100-pound flaps for Indy, and all three for Pocono. The pieces are not permitted at Texas Motor Speedway.
“They give pretty substantial amounts of downforce because the rear wing is so small,” Simon Pagenaud’s Team Penske Chevy engineer Ben Bretzman told RACER. “This is in response to how we’re going to make the racing better, and I think some of that will also be achieved by the tires Firestone is bringing. I know IndyCar is trying to get to a downforce level where we can have more overall downforce and grip, and this gives us more options to make the cars handle better — especially in traffic.”
Extreme heat at the Indy 500 exacerbated the problem. Teams piled on all the downforce allowed in the rules, and yet, with the hot air serving to reduce overall downforce, all manner of handling imbalances — and numerous crashes — were seen. Bretzman believes the options to add rear downforce, which can be balanced by adding more front wing angle, should improve the situation without giving teams the ability to run excessive downforce.
“It was so hot in the race, and we were maxed out on downforce, so there were things that made it challenging to cope,” he said. “It was very tough to run behind people, and this solution comes from everyone working on it to help improve the show. We’ve had a lot of downforce levels we’ve run at Indy with the DW12, and we have an idea of what we need to put on that good racing, which IndyCar is aiming to hit with the UAK18 kit and these changes.”
IndyCar reveals speedway front wing tweaks
By: Marshall Pruett | 2 hours ago
Complementing the new rear downforce options the IndyCar Series has given its teams on superspeedways, one downforce addition and one wing modification have also been ratified for 2019.
With teams calling for an increase in rear downforce, and those requests having been met, a similar need for more front downforce has been met with the option of installing a third piece to the ‘Pocono’ front wing extensions. Despite its small size, the 3/8-inch tall and 5.5-inch wide Gurney flap will generate more downforce across the front axle, and can be used — asymmetrically, if desired — to help improve aerodynamic balance.
“To place more power on the front wing, they’ve allowed the extensions for all tracks, and that should give us the better ability to add downforce if we feel it’s warranted,” Scott Dixon’s championship-winning race engineer Chris Simmons told RACER. “And it’s also meant to improve a driver’s ability to pass on the big ovals by giving that extra front grip.”
Harder racing should come as a byproduct of making more front and rear downforce options available on the superspeedways, and in an effort to curb the problems caused last year when pursuing cars lost front downforce while running in turbulent air, the series has instructed its teams to notch the outer portion of the front speedway wings.
“We did some testing with IndyCar late last year and tried this change,” Simmons added. “IndyCar did some CFD work to find why it wasn’t easy to follow other cars, and one of the studies found the air separated at the edge of the wing next to the end plate, where it stalls, and the solution they came up with was to shorten the chord at the ends of the wing by cutting out the notches, which reduces the stall, cleans up the air and makes the front wing more efficient and consistent for the drivers in traffic.”
Edited by Rad-oh-yeah?, 18 January 2019 - 22:00.
Posted 18 January 2019 - 21:58
SPM predstavio bolide za narednu sezonu - #5 Dzejms Hincklif. #6 Robert Vikens ako (kada) se oporavi, #7 Markus Erikson.
Posted 18 January 2019 - 22:04
Arrow becomes title sponsor at SPM
By: Marshall Pruett | 5 hours ago
In the biggest move to date for the 19-year-old organization, Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson have relaunched their NTT IndyCar Series team as ‘Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ in deference to new title sponsor, Arrow Electronics.
The expansion of the relationship between Arrow and SPM, which began in 2013, has seen the Denver, Colorado-based technology firm grow from partnering with Schmidt to create the ‘SAM Project’ using a Corvette fitted with Arrow’s electronics that allowed the quadriplegic team owner to drive the car without the use of his hands and feet, to sponsoring one SPM Indy car, to its current role as the team-wide primary sponsor.
“This announcement is nothing short of a lifelong dream come true,” Schmidt said. “[Arrow chairman, president and CEO] Mike Long and the entire team at Arrow first had the vision to create a system that enabled me to get behind the wheel after 16 years of paralysis which, in and of itself, has changed my life and the lives of millions worldwide.
“Now, by becoming our team title partner, they have given us the resources to fulfill another lifelong dream to win the Indy 500 and a championship in the IndyCar Series.”
Said co-owner Ric Peterson: “We couldn’t ask for a better partner for our team than Arrow. They’ve been by our side the last four years through the highs and lows, always pushing us closer to our goal: becoming Champions. We’re very excited for this next chapter of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.”
As part of the Arrow SPM rebranding, both of its Honda-powered entries will carry matching black and gold liveries for James Hinchcliffe in the No. 5 and his new teammate Marcus Ericsson in the No. 7.
“[When] we started this journey, Arrow was maybe $300 million in sales with automotive companies; we’re almost $3 billion now,” Long said. “This relationship has given us credibility with the automotive manufacturers. It keeps our engineers sharp because in IndyCar you’re dealing with milliseconds, you’re not dealing with seconds.
“Anything we can do to help this team win is what we want to do. I think we also want to build an iconic brand in automotive – just like the old days when you saw Marlboro out there, that’s what we’re striving for. Arrow Schmidt Peterson is our way to do that.”
Long joked, “We’ve got a good driver at least somewhere in here, and since only one can win the Indy 500 we’re expecting one of them to do it. All in all we’re as happy we can be. We have a great set of drivers, good attitude, good representatives for Arrow. Wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Three Arrow SPM Hondas were unveiled today at the Pepsi Center, including Robert Wickens’ No. 6, which will be ready for the injured driver whenever he’s able to return to the cockpit.
PRUETT: Arrow SPM's Big 4 dreams
By: Marshall Pruett | 4 hours ago
Last year, it was turning the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports organization upside down in an effort to spark a new wave of competitiveness in the IndyCar Series.
This year, it’s drilling deep, driving anchors into the ground that will form the long-term foundation of an organization on the rise.
The renamed ‘Arrow SPM’ team, announced today near the home base of its primary sponsor Arrow Electronics, holds aspirations of being mentioned with the same reverie of the sport’s most successful entrants — a ‘Target Chip Ganassi Racing’ or ‘Marlboro Team Penske’ — where the brand and team are received as one.
In the transition to ‘Arrow SPM,’ the team founded by Sam Schmidt, co-owned by Ric Peterson and presided over by Jon Flack, has evolved to a point where it’s reasonable to ask its employees to achieve the same standards of excellence that drive the Ganassis, Penskes, and Andrettis in IndyCar’s paddock.
Those heightened expectations stem from Arrow’s sizable increase in its partnership with SPM that spans funding — for the first time — of both full-time entries. It’s in the mobile Arrow SPM hospitality compound — one of cartoonish proportions — that will play host to thousands of guests. It’s in the plans for a massive new race shop, the sheer size of which speaks to the company’s investment in the team. It’s in the quality of staff hired to drive the matching Nos. 5 and 7 Arrow Hondas, and the crew members to support the program.
And, more than anything, it’s the new, long-term commitment between Arrow and SPM that allows the team to build upon its foundation for years to come, knowing it won’t need to focus most of its time pursuing major funding to survive.
Freed from the hand-to-mouth dynamic that often keeps a team from reaching its full potential, Arrow SPM, along with its associate sponsors, enters the upcoming championship run with a singular focus on winning races, and possibly a title, rather than the usual concerns of how budgetary shortfalls will be filled.
No team, even the wealthiest in the sport, would dare say they have all the money they need to compete. But for those like Arrow SPM, whose efforts to complete its funding for Robert Wickens’ entry in 2018 continued while the season was under way, it was an accepted norm.
Establishing new norms — the kind that have made IndyCar’s Big 3 all but unbeatable — is where the current challenge falls for Arrow SPM.
“It’s just absolutely massive for the long term in terms of where we are going and heading as a company, and putting us in a position to consistently fight for championships, fight for Indy 500s,” Flack told RACER. “We want to be in the conversation as one of the leading motorsports teams in the world, and Arrow being the title of our team is a big step towards where we are trying to go.
Could the new partnership with Arrow put SPM into the same realm as IndyCar’s traditional Big 3? Image by Levitt/LAT
“What this does for us is, many of the decisions that the company have made tended to be a year at a time. Arrow stepping up to this level — and there’s many other partners that have made long-term commitments to us as well — it just brings a stability to the business. That impacts our decisions on drivers, impacts our decisions on all the investments and engineering and technical initiatives. It just gives us a much longer runway, and you find that it impacts pretty much every decision that we make as a result.”
SPM has been a championship contender as recently as 2018, when newcomer Wickens led the retooled team with top five performances throughout most of his injury-shortened campaign. Prior to the Canadian’s phenomenal efforts, former driver Simon Pagenaud delivered SPM’s greatest result with third overall in the 2013 championship, but the program’s structure bore no resemblance to what’s in place today.
One strong lead entry, countered by an underperforming second, had become routine during Pagenaud’s tenure, and when James Hinchcliffe arrived to lead the effort as his replacement in 2015, the same strong/weak dynamic continued until his countryman Wickens landed in 2018.
Despite having two formidable cars last season, they were funded through separate sponsorship streams. It was the only thing keeping SPM from realizing its dream of having one company commit its name to both cars and, in turn, elevate the operation to a new level. The road to becoming Arrow SPM, as Flack explains, was many years in the making.
“I give Sam a ton of credit, because he started the relationship with them calling him and had this idea of trying to reposition themselves,” he says of the relationship that began in 2013. “They historically have been the largest technology distribution company in the world, and sellers of components, and they’ve been really trying to diversify the company and demonstrate that they are a solutions company as well. And so that’s what really spawned our partnership back in the beginning.”
The initial project between Arrow and SPM involved building a Corvette. Dubbed the ’SAM Project,’ Arrow’s engineers integrated a variety of control systems in the car that allowed Schmidt, a quadriplegic since an Indy car crash in 2000, to drive by operating the throttle, brake, and steering wheel through custom head controls:
It remains the benchmark for collaborative success between the organizations; a need to surpass SAM’s marketing impact will push SPM to deliver greater returns on Arrow’s wide-scale investments going forward.
“By 2017, Arrow shared a desire to raise its at-track hospitality, which then spawned [the gigantic] ‘Club 5’ and they entertain in a very high level, premium way, but they made it very clear that in order to grow the relationship to an even bigger scale, they needed more SAM-like stories out of the race team,” Flack said.
“We have to align and integrate together to develop those stories out of the team. And they had to get more customers and suppliers out devouring IndyCar and get them out to the racetrack. So a big part of that leap to now get them to title sponsor of the team was the competitive steps we took in 2018, and with ‘Club 5’ where we entertained. It was a big success.
“Good business results then set the stage to say, alright, some of the most iconic motorsports teams in the history of the sport have had title sponsors over the entire company — Williams Martini Racing, Red Bull — and for us, in this day and age, to have a leading, global, $30 billion technology company that is wedged in the middle of the tech sector as our title partner… it’s really a dream come true.”
Marcus Ericsson has moved across from F1 to fill the gap left by the injured Robert Wickens. Image by IndyCar
With Wickens’ immediate future tied to defeating the paraplegia he suffered during the crash in August at Pocono, Arrow SPM will rely on Hinchcliffe and new teammate Marcus Ericsson to take the fight to Ganassi, Penske, and Andretti.
Despite the uncertainty of his return, Flack says Arrow has treated Wickens, who is undergoing rehabilitation near its Denver, Colorado headquarters, like a member of its family. A similar expression of compassion and commitment from the company was also shown in May when Hinchcliffe failed to qualify for the Indy 500, IndyCar’s biggest race of the year.
“I don’t know how many people have connected that dot but boy, Robby being in Denver rehabbing next to Arrow’s headquarters, that gives us a lot of relief,” he said. “The fact that they are there together, and just time and time again, Arrow has been there for our organization, whether it was the Indy 500 and James last year, or now with Robby.
“Arrow’s CEO [Michael J. Long] gave a very emotional speech to our team after James didn’t make it into the 500, and that helped get us up off the mat and get going and forge ahead, and the CEO told us, ‘You have to do that, guys. You’ve got to power ahead.’ And so Robby being there, in their backyard, gives us a lot of comfort. They have stayed close to him. They’ve offered any and all support to him and his family.
“He’s joined them in their suites at Broncos games, and any opportunity he’s had to get out and about a little bit and get his mind off of the physical therapy. They’ve just been fantastic. That’s why we revealed three cars, including Robby’s in Arrow’s black and gold livery, today.”
It’s clear that Arrow, like many sponsors in the IndyCar paddock, is filled with remarkable business people who are heavily invested in the human side of the sport. Benevolence and kindness aside, SPM has also accepted a daunting task in signing Arrow as its title sponsor.
One thing is for sure: Wherever the bar for commercial and marketing deliverables rested before, it has been raised considerably under the new arrangement. Reaching the new bar, on and off the track, is all that matters if SPM wants to keep Arrow engaged.
“We spend a lot of time sitting with Arrow as a consultant to understand what their objectives are,” Flack said. “We ask, ‘Where can we, as a team, deliver the most value to you?’ The days of just putting stickers on race cars and not leveraging and activating those relationships ended some time ago. And to get maximum value, you have to deliver more and more areas than ever before.
“So one of those core objectives is we’ve got dedicated Arrow engineers assigned to the team. We talk about performance areas, competition areas, safety areas, that we think are opportunities for us. They put really smart, technical talent into our business, and we try and roll up our sleeves and come up with solutions together. And if we are successful in doing that, we’ve created some great storylines and content that they can use through digital channels. That’s a key pillar. That’s a very important priority for the relationship.”
Although it’s far less sexy and interesting than seeing Hinchcliffe or Ericsson driving an Arrow-branded IndyCar into victory Lane, SPM’s senior management team could hold the key to signing the company to its next title sponsorship contract, and another after that, by what takes place in ‘Club 5.’
Arrow SPM’s ambitions loom as large as the gigantic Club 5 hospitality unit. Image by Nelson/LAT
“Then you do have the whole customer entertainment platform,” Flack continues. “We target well in advance, relationships that are important to them, where they think there’s business opportunity to grow by getting the customers and suppliers engaged in this program and getting them out to the races. They’re able to sit there and have business discussions about where there are opportunities to do more business.
“They’ve got a good handle internally on the tracking of every customer that is coming to the racetrack to see if, after the event, they’ve earned more business and/or retained more business as a result of the race weekend, and that’s valuable.
“Another really underestimated area of a partnership with an organization such as ourselves is the internal employee engagement piece. We’ve got a show car that sits in their lobby year-round. Our drivers regularly come in and out of visiting their headquarters, and various offices around the country. And for a company that historically hasn’t been as focused on its brand, and is much more of a B2B company, the relationship with SPM is a very meaningful piece for engagement internally with their employees, and gets them fired up. We’re partners with these guys. Sometimes you underestimate employee engagement, but I happen to think it’s really critical too, and we put a lot of energy into that also.”
The title sponsor engagement and B2B playbook has been crafted and mastered by the very teams Arrow SPM is pursuing. Those teams have also hand-delivered championships and Indy 500 wins to their sponsors. That’s the next chapter for all involved with the program.
Wedging SPM into the Big 3 — making it the Big 4 — and rewarding Arrow’s faith with a steady delivery of business and racing victories is finally attainable. And in the coming months, Ganassi, Penske, and Andretti will know whether there’s a reason to be concerned.
Posted 21 January 2019 - 16:34
- Karlin zvanicno potvrdio Ciltona u bolidu #59 za kompletnu sezonu i Ciltona u #23 za Indi 500 plus jos nekoliko trka.
Posted 22 January 2019 - 17:33
- Dxek Harvi potvrdjen u MSR bolidu #60 za ukupno 10 trka - Indi 500 + 9 "redovnih" staza (St. Pit, COTA, Barber, Long Bic, VN Indijanapolisa, Elkart Lejk, Mid Ohajo, Portland i Laguna Seka. Preskace ovale Teksas, Ajova, Pokono i Gejtvej plus jos dabl-heder u Detroitu i Toronto.