Performance Winter Tires

Performance winter tires are the ideal choice for some, but not every, winter tire buyer. True to their name, performance winter tires provide greater handling and steering response on cold, damp and wet roads than studless ice and snow tires. And compared to all-season tires, performance winter tires provide better traction in snow, slush and ice.

But performance winter tires fall short of the snow and ice grip of studless ice and snow tires. “The outright snow and ice traction of a performance winter tire is not quite as good as a studless ice and snow tire,” says Woody Rogers, product information specialist at Tire Rack Inc.

So which option is best for a driver who wants extra comfort and safety in the cold months? The answer depends on the vehicle, the local climate and the customer’s driving style.

Performance versus mainstream

Drivers who put studless ice and snow tires on their cars give up a bit of the steering response and handling and the “connected driving feel” of a performance tire.

“The performance winter tire is geared around a more powerful, higher performing vehicle, or a driver who wants to retain more of the sporty handling of his or her vehicle when the roads are clear,” says Rogers.

Performance winter tires typically have higher speed ratings and tend to come in lower profile sizes, making them better suited for American muscle cars, European performance cars, Japanese sports cars and performance luxury cars such as higher-end Lexus, BMW, Audi, and larger Mercedes.

“Performance winter tires are definitely more for these performance vehicles and not the mainstream,” says Rogers. But manufacturers offer performance winter tires for some mainstream sedans. “I’d say it’s fifty-fifty as to more mainstream fitments,” says Rogers. “You may find there are both options available or you may find there’s only the studless tire.”

He notes that a performance winter tire has better snow and ice traction than an ultra-high performance all-season tire. Performance winter tires bear the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol that indicates the tires meet the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association standards.

A performance climate

Most climates in the U.S. are what Rogers calls “performance climates,” where the roads are clear and wet during the winter months.

“You get icy patches, but it’s not like you are driving through slush and snow six days a week. As a general rule, more clear, dry and wet days, versus snowy days, shift you toward a performance winter tire.”

Ask what customers really want

Get through the snow with 1958 Mercedes Benz Unimog 401 available today! 

As in all tire sales, the type of winter tire a dealer recommends to customers comes down to what they need for their style of driving, the kind of vehicle they have and the available fitments. But the difference between performance winter tires and studless ice and snow tires adds another layer to the buying decision.

“Do customers want maximum snow and ice traction or a balance of snow and ice traction plus clear road handling? That will help them decide between a studless ice and snow tire or a winter performance tire,” says Rogers.

If a customer wants something better than an all-season tire and is willing to give up some snow and ice traction in exchange for better handling on clear roads, the choice is the performance winter tire. ■

Or plow through a snowbank with this 1990 VW Golf Counry Allround! Available Now!

Performance winter tires: a subset of UHP
Tire Rack considers performance winter tires to be a subset of the UHP tire category. “We drop the ultra-high part of it because it is not ultra-high performance from a traditional perspective, which is the dry and wet traction side of the equation,” says Woody Rogers, product information specialist.

“Because of the step down in dry and wet performance for this performance winter segment versus ultra-high performance summer or all-season, I don’t know anyone who is bold enough to say a tire is ultra-high performance and winter at the same time.”

Although the snow performance of all-season tires as a whole is improving, they lack the ice traction of a dedicated winter tire. Performance winter tires have been improving in the snow, too, but to a smaller degree.

“The winter performance is very high even for performance winter tires, so tire manufacturers are making them quieter, improving the wet traction, and working on other aspects, like dry road steering response. And that’s true for both studless ice and snow tires as well as performance winter tires.”

If a customer wants something better than an all-season tire and is willing to give up some snow and ice traction in exchange for better handling on clear roads, the choice is the performance winter tire.

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Ann NealSenior Editor

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What Is Trail Braking & How To Trail Brake

The number one skill that our race car coaches see across all levels of racing that separates the great drivers from the good drivers, and then the good drivers from the bad is the ability to trail brake.  Before we get into how to trail brake let’s first discuss what is actually is and why it is so important.

What Is Trail Braking

Trail braking means having a small amount of brake pressure still being applied as the driver carves the car all the way down to the apex.  It is important to understand that during the trail brake zone (after initial turn in all the way down to the apex) we are not applying a lot of pressure.  Instead, it should feel like you are simply resting your big toe on the brake pedal.

The goal here isn’t really to be slowing the car down.  Yes we are doing that, but in my mind I’m conciously doing this simply to try and keep weight on the front nose as I turn.  That is the big reason why I am doing it.

Do We Ever Not Trail Brake?

Yes, there are a few exceptions.  But these are exceptions to the rule.  Example corners of where we don’t trail brake are almost all limited to high-speed corners where there we do not need to brake on corner entry.  Some examples of corners on different race tracks would be:

The Kink at Road America

Turn 8 at Thunderhill

Turn 12 at Road Atlanta

You will notice there is a constant theme in these corners.  All high-speed corners where we don’t brake at all. So, for nearly every other type of corner where we will be braking, we will have some form on trail brake.  

This may mean we will see less initial brake pressure to be able to extend our brake zone to be longer but with lighter pressure for corners with typically short brake zones.  This is a great technique for the higher speed corners where we still need a little bit of braking to be done. The lighter pressure allows less weight to be transferred to the front end, which will keep the rear more settled.  This will allow us to still have the front grip we want without getting that over ration after turn in.

How To Trail Brake

The way I like to trach trail braking is as a 3 step process.  The first step of this process is identifying where our initial throttle application spot comes in.  

Initial Throttle Application – This is a golden rule that our race car coaches focus on.  We tell our drivers the following, “You are not allowed to get to throttle until the apex.  Until the point, you can start to unwind the steering wheel.”  

We really want to develop this discipline.  To understand why let’s talk about the two reasons why we see drivers apply the throttle before the apex:

  1. They feel the car has too much oversteer and the throttle settles the rear.
  2. The driver has over slowed, and when we overslow the only thing we can do is get to throttle.

So, let’s talk about point 1 first.  It is totally true that a little bit of maintenance throttle will settle the rear and create understeer.  There are some cases we want to do this, but in almost every scenario this will hurt us more than it will ever help. For most drivers the oversteer they are trying to fix is actually a good oversteer, we want that oversteer to rotate the car so we have the car pointed in the right direction mid-corner.  

We have a great article on oversteer and how to control it here:

How To Control Oversteer

I like the drivers I work with at Racers360 to think about maintenance throttle in the following way: Sure, it may make the car feel better.  But, you are essentially taking the ceiling of the ultimate amount of grip your car has, or the ultimate amount of entry speed you can bring in while still getting the perfect exit, and significantly lowering it.  

We need that weight on the front nose and that rotation to drive at a high level.  So, I would rather them focus on learning car control and experiment with the line for where a good level of rotation turns into too much rotation, rather than preventing any rotation from happening at all.

Now for point 2.  I want to break the bond between over slowing and getting to throttle.  The two should NOT be related in our minds.  

If we can be completely disciplined on not allowing throttle before the apex we may feel too slow on entry but we don’t turn one negative into two negatives and create a bad habit along the way.  Instead, once we feel like we are over slowing while turning into the corner and we take away the option of going to throttle to fix this issue our brain will naturally look for another solution to its problem.  

There are only two ways to fix over slowing. Those options are:

  1. Picking Up Throttle Too Early – Bad Solution
  2. Rolling More Entry Speed Next Lap – Good Solution!

Rolling More Entry Speed

So, now that we have built our discipline of not picking up initial throttle before the apex, we can focus on rolling more entry speed.  The first step of this next process is NOT braking deeper.  

We first focus on the back end of our brake zone.  Initially, I want the drivers I work with to do everything in the brake zone the same.  

Once they have mastered the discipline of the throttle application they will want to naturally start to roll in more entry speed.  Once they get to this stage I want them to focus on braking at the exact same initial spot, with the nice threshold pressure early in the brake zone.  But, here is the key thing that we tell them.

Focus on getting off of threshold brake pressure earlier and extending our brake zone to be longer but with much less time spent at heavy pressure and much more time spent on very light brake pressure.  Releasing the brakes should be a very slow process as we enter the corner.

The following graphic explains what we want to see using a data graph example.  The red line would be how their brake zone initially looks and the green line looks like what we see our drivers doing after a session with a Racers360 coach.

how does trail braking work

The Final Part

The very last thing that we want to see our drivers start to work on is braking later.  Only once they have mastered step one and two. Once they have mastered step 2 and still feel like they are over slowing, that is when we can focus on braking deeper.

It is so important to do this last not only because it is the highest risk part, but also because for lap time braking deep does nothing for us if we can’t combine it with good entry speed, a good turn in, a good apex, and a great exit.  Figuring all the rest out first lets us know what it all is supposed to feel like and we will know if we brake too deep because we won’t execute the rest of the corner how we want to.

So, when race car drivers get to this stage we teach our drivers to slowly bring their brake zones later and later lap by lap. Our objective here is to get it to the point that we start to make small mistakes such as:

  • Missing our turn in point
  • Too much brake pressure still on after turn in
  • Locking up the tires during straight line braking
  • Too much entry speed so we miss the apex or can’t get to throttle where we want to

Once we start making these mistakes we back up that brake zone slightly and then we know we are right at the limit!

By Dion von Moltke | December 7, 2018

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Kurt Busch to drive No. 1 for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019

After five seasons at Stewart-Haas Racing, Kurt Busch is moving to the No. 1 car of Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2019 season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and Monster Energy is coming along for the ride.

The driver, team and brand Monster Energy announced the news Tuesday on social media.

The 2004 Monster Energy Series champion is leaving SHR after compiling six victories there, including the 2017 Daytona 500 with crew chief Tony Gibson. He will replace Jamie McMurray, who had driven for Ganassi since 2010 when it was Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Monster Energy will be the primary sponsor.

“I am tremendously proud to be joining Chip Ganassi Racing and the prestigious group of alumni,” Busch said in a team release. “Along with Monster Energy, winning races and competing at the highest level, it’s what we are all about. Ganassi’s forward thinking approach is why I have decided to commit all my years of Monster Energy Cup experience to CGR.”

Busch is a 19-year veteran of the sport who has 30 wins on NASCAR’s highest level. He qualified for the playoffs in all five seasons while at SHR. His latest victory came in the Bristol Night Race in August 2018.

In the No. 41 Ford, Busch advanced to the Round of 8 in 2018 for the third time over the past four seasons. He was eliminated from this year’s postseason at ISM Raceway in Phoenix following an on-track incident late in the race.

Before SHR, Busch drove for Furniture Row Racing full time in 2013 and for part of the 2012 season. Busch began his premier series career driving for Jack Roush, and he was driving for Roush during his championship season in 2004.

“We have had the good fortune of having a lot of great drivers here at Chip Ganassi Racing across all forms of racing and Kurt Busch adds to that list of great drivers,” team owner Ganassi said in a news release. “He is a former NASCAR Cup Series champion and Daytona 500 winner and I believe still has a burning desire to win races and compete for a championship. In addition, getting to work with and represent a brand like Monster Energy makes it even that much more exciting.”

Kurt and brother Kyle each have at least 30 victories on the premier series level, the only sibling duo to accomplish the feat in NASCAR history.

McMurray’s plans for 2019 were not announced by the organization, and Ganassi said that news about his future would unfold in the coming weeks. The 42-year-old driver has seven premier-series wins — including the 2010 Daytona 500 — and has amassed 582 starts in 16-plus seasons. All but four of his campaigns in NASCAR’s top series came with Ganassi, which fielded his entries from 2002-05 and 2010-18.

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Porsche pulls cover off 2020 911 Carrera S and 4S

Porsche pulls cover off 2020 911 Carrera S and 4S

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Article by Damon Lowney
Photos courtesy Porsche

Porsche introduced the new 2020 911 Carrera S and Carrera 4S, the eighth generation of the automaker’s iconic rear-engined sports car, tonight at the Porsche Experience Center in Carson, California.

The 992-generation 911 represents an evolutionary change from the 991. A twin-turbocharged flat-six mounted at the rear produces 443 horsepower. Power is sent to the rear wheels in the Carrera S, or to all four in the Carrera 4S, via a new eight-speed automatic double-clutch PDK transmission. Porsche says a manual will be available at a later date. The flat-six uses an improved injection process and a revised turbocharger and intercooler layout to increase efficiency and power.

The Carrera S will do o-60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, or 3.3 with Sport Chrono package, and go on to a top speed of 191 mph. The Carrera 4S will accelerate a bit quicker: 0-60 mph comes in 3.4 seconds, or a blazing 3.2 seconds with Sport Chrono package. The 4S will reach 190 mph, Porsche says.

The new 911 is a bigger car than the one before it — and now rides on 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels — though it looks unmistakably like a 911. Porsche says the front is 45 millimeters wider, while the rears of both the Carrera S and 4S are the same width as the previous Carrera 4 and GTS. Previously the Carrera and Carrera S used a narrower body than the all-wheel-drive and GTS models. That body is aluminum intensive, according to Porsche, as all but the front and rear fascias are made of the metal.

The details are where we start to see how the 992 differs from the outgoing 991. Shutlines are different, the active rear spoiler spans nearly the entire width of the rear end, the taillight bar has now been cemented into the full Porsche lineup, and the exhaust tips poke through the rear fascia, instead of residing under it, à la 991 GT2 RS.

Inside, the cockpit looks familiar to anyone who’s sat in a 911. There are classic 911 cues such as a five-gauge dash (even if four of those gauges are digital — the tachometer is analog), but also a modern 10.9-inch center touchscreen and a glass center console with haptic “buttons.” There are also real buttons, switches, and dials.

Porsche didn’t give specs on weight, or even mention the base Carrera and Carrera 4, but we do know what these introduction models will cost. Carrera S: MSRP $113,200. Carrera 4S: MSRP $120,600.

Stay tuned to for more information as it becomes available.

Full Porsche Press Release

The new 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S and 4S – more powerful, more dynamic, unmistakably a 911

The eighth generation of an icon: Spectacular world premiere in Los Angeles

ATLANTA, Nov. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Faster, more emotional, and more connected – the eighth generation of the Porsche 911 is here. On the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the new 911 celebrated its world premiere at the Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles. With an exterior that unmistakably reflects the Porsche design DNA, a more muscular look, and a completely new interior layout, the new 911 is both timeless and modern. The next generation of flat-six turbocharged engines has been further developed to be more powerful than ever before, delivering 443 horsepower in the S models. Using an improved injection process, as well as a new layout for the turbochargers and intercoolers, the efficiency of the engine has been further optimized. Power is delivered by a new eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission. New assistance systems such as the standard Porsche Wet Mode for increased driver awareness on wet roads, and the optional Night Vision Assist with a thermal imaging camera, are part of the broadened array of available active driver assistance features. The new Porsche Communication Management (PCM) with a larger 10.9-inch touchscreen display (up from 7.0 inches in the previous car) and comprehensive connectivity, optional Adaptive 18-way Sport Seats Plus with improved lateral support, re-tuned PASM dampers, and extended digital features all ensure greater comfort and everyday usability.

911 Carrera S models with 443 horsepower
The turbocharged flat-six engine of the 911 Carrera S and 911 Carrera 4S now produces 443 horsepower. This corresponds to an increase of 23 horsepower compared with the previous model. Equipped with the 8-speed PDK dual clutch transmission as standard, the rear-wheel-drive 911 Carrera S Coupe needs just 3.5 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from standstill, and the 911 Carrera 4S Coupe with all-wheel drive takes only 3.4 seconds. This makes both cars 0.4 seconds faster than the previous model in each case. This advantage is increased by a further 0.2 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono Package, to 3.3 seconds for the Carrera S and 3.2 seconds for the Carrera 4S. The top track speeds are now 191 miles per hour (911 Carrera S) and 190 miles per hour for the all-wheel-drive version. A manual transmission will be offered at a later date.

Clear design language, unmistakable identity
The exterior design has been revamped and underlines the leap in performance of the new Porsche 911. Significantly wider wheel housings arch over large 20-inch front wheels and 21-inch rear wheels. At the front, the body width has increased by 45 millimeters (1.77 inches), making room for a wider front track. Correspondingly, the rear body width on both 911 Carrera S and 911 Carrera 4S has increased to 1,852 mm (72.91 in), the width of the previous 911 Carrera 4 and 911 GTS models. Flush integration of the electric door handles that extend outward when needed emphasizes the tapered and smooth side contour. Between the new LED headlights, the front luggage compartment lid with pronounced contours evokes the design of the first 911 generations. The rear is dominated by the significantly wider, variable-position rear spoiler and the seamless, elegant light bar which is now a feature on both two- and four-wheel drive variants. With the exception of the front and rear fasciae, the entire outer skin is now made of aluminum.

The completely new interior is characterized by the clear and straight lines of the dashboard with recessed instruments. Porsche 911 models from the 1970s provided the inspiration here. Left and right of the centrally positioned tachometer, which is characteristic for Porsche, two thin, frameless, free-form displays provide the driver with information. The PCM can be operated quickly and intuitively thanks to the new architecture. Located underneath the screen, a compact switch panel with five buttons provides direct access to key vehicle functions. In terms of digitalization, the 911 is more connected than ever before thanks to new functions and services. The standard PCM system features Porsche Connect Plus including online traffic information based on swarm data. (A subscription is required after an initial 12-month trial period.)

*The availability of Porsche Connect services is dependent on the availability of wireless network coverage which may not be available in all areas, and may be subject to eventual technology sun-set or deactivation, thus nullifying services. The vehicle equipment necessary to use Porsche Connect is only available factory-installed, and cannot be retrofitted. Likewise, the vehicle equipment may not work with future mobile networks yet to be deployed. Some functions may require separate subscriptions, or data charges may apply.

New assistance systems increase safety and comfort
As a world first, Porsche has developed the Wet Mode, which is included as standard equipment on the new Porsche 911. This function detects water on the road, preconditions the stability control and anti-lock brake systems accordingly, and warns the driver. A camera-based warning and brake assist system, also fitted as standard, detects the risk of collision with moving objects and initiates emergency braking if necessary. Night Vision Assist with a thermal imaging camera is optionally available for the 911 for the first time. The Adaptive Cruise Control option includes automatic distance control, stop-and-go functionality, and an innovative Emergency Assist function.

The 2020 911 Carrera S has a base MSRP of $113,200, while the 2020 911 Carrera 4S will be offered starting at $120,600, each not including the $1,050 delivery, processing and handling fee. The models can be ordered now and are expected to reach U.S. dealers in summer 2019.

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Johnson impresses Alonso with F1 test debut.


Fernando Alonso was impressed by Jimmie Johnson’s performance on his first time in a single-seater when he tested a McLaren Formula 1 car in Bahrain.

The two champions swapped cars during the event on Monday, with Alonso driving a NASCAR Cup car for the first time, while Johnson got behind the wheel of a 2013 McLaren MP4-28. After training laps in a McLaren road car, Johnson then shook down the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports machine, posting a 2m14s lap time.

Although Alonso wasn’t scheduled to drive the F1 car — having only started his final grand prix on Sunday in Abu Dhabi — he then completed a flying lap and set a 1m40.204s for Johnson to try and better. After an initial delay when Johnson’s helmet was lifting while in the F1 car, both got down to carrying out five-lap runs, with Johnson eventually posting a best lap just 0.2s off Alonso’s time, something the two-time F1 champion described as impressive.

“I think he was really gaining time every run he was going out,” Alonso said. “Sometimes you put new tires on these cars for the very first time and you are not able to extract the grip because you miss the braking point a little bit here and there and maybe you don’t maximize the grip available, but he was able to guess this extra grip that the new tires is giving to you, and extract that grip into lap time so I was very impressed with that.

“He had fun. He took the test very seriously, as I did — probably I was a little bit busier in the last two to three weeks and especially the weekend in Abu Dhabi, but I think both came here with the intention of having fun, yes, swapping the cars, yes, but not a normal swap like we saw in other occasions when it was swapping cars, doing a photograph and have one run and that was it.

“We came for a full day of testing, I used four sets of tires, I think he used three or four sets of tires, and we were swapping the cars, having fun, but also we wanted to feel the new environment in a representative way and in a speed that we could feel something that was close to what they feel normally.”

Johnson admitted the performance of the F1 car exceeded his expectations despite having time to prepare on the McLaren simulator at the team’s factory last week.

“It was mind blowing,” Johnson said. “The sensation of speed… Clearly the speed is so high. The simulator was a really nice experience, a great visual aid, but to have the wind moving by and the sensation of speed and the G-forces, it takes a little while to absorb that and have the newness of that go away and focus on what you’re doing.

“I felt like every time I went out, my surroundings moved slower and it was easier to piece together my braking points. Literally on the first outing, my helmet was trying to leave my head, and I was staring at the microphone in my helmet, it was so high! I was like, ‘I don’t want to stop but I think I should…’

“I got my helmet more under control and then it was really my eyes trying to find their way far enough ahead and far enough around the turns. At the end I really quit focusing on the braking markers themselves and was able to look at the apex and had an idea of when to hit the brakes and was putting together some good laps. It was fun.”

Johnson at speed (Image by McLaren)

On getting so close to Alonso’s time, Johnson says the whole day showed him how talented the Spaniard is behind the wheel of any car.

“Inside, it just feels good to be able to go out there and be able to be in the same second bracket as him, it’s very cool. I didn’t know how close I would get — the racer in me was of course focused on that and I was straight away asking: ‘What was his lap time? Can I look at the data and try and piece that together?’

“He had that same opportunity in my car to look at that data and go after it. I honestly think at the end of the day I got a way better swap experience than he did. If we could come for a day or two and get our gearing dialed in and do some suspension changes, with the proper tire, the car could have been quite a bit faster.

“But I rode with him in a car in Abu Dhabi in hot laps and again today, and he should be a dirt racer! He loves to be sideways and smoking the tires and every time I saw him in the Cup car the rear tires were smoking, even on our little laps after for the cameras. I don’t think he was ever straight on any of those laps either! He’s a very talented driver and he can drive anything.”

Alonso admitted the NASCAR was tricky to get to grips with, despite bettering Johnson’s one lap time by setting a 2m10.830s in the No. 48 Chevrolet.

“I think I was very far away from a very good lap,” Alonso admitted. “Driving style, it was still not very clear to me what is the best way to perform a lap. I found a lot of problem on braking; the car has very poor retardation because of the weight of the car and the steel brakes behave very differently compared to the ones I am used to.

“And traction, these tires with the amount of power that those cars have, it is very difficult to manage so in first gear, second gear, third gear you are still spinning the tires, and I didn’t know if it was better to go full throttle and spin the tires and really move forward or control with the throttle and maybe lose a little bit of performance on exit.

“So in the end, I think it is not so clear for me even after one day what will be necessary on these cars.”

The pair signed off with filming duties in each other’s cars before performing donuts on the pit straight at the Bahrain International Circuit.

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Lowndes left ‘numb’ after final full-time Supercars race

Craig Lowndes says he feels ‘numb’ after bringing his career as a full-time Supercars driver to a close in Newcastle this evening.

By: Andrew van Leeuwen

The veteran superstar made his final start as a series regular ahead of his new role as a dedicated Triple Eight enduro driver from 2019 onwards, his career as a full-timer yielding 107 race wins including seven Bathurst 1000 crowns.

There were a number of special tributes to Lowndes throughout the day, headlined by a guard of honour that stretched the length of pitlane in the build-up to the race.

While acknowledging that it was a special day, Lowndes said he feels ‘numb’ at the end of it all, and admitted that it’s something that will be easier to reflect on in the future.

“It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest,” he said.

“No doubt over the next couple of days it will come to realisation.

“[Race engineer John McGregor] made a comment going into the last lap to enjoy it for what it is. And I did. I could see the crowd waving and cheering on.

“[The guard of honour] was really nice. We all have a lot of respect for each other. To see the whole of pitlane come out on the apron to show respect, I’ll always remember that.

“To bow out of the sport on a high, and to really share the moment with everyone, to do that lap in the Commodore out of the sunroof – I haven’t heard a crowd cheer that hard in my life – that was really special.

“To be able to sit back in years to come and see how that all unfolded, I think the memories will be more special going into the future than right now.

“For me, at the moment, it’s a little bit… a bit numb, to be honest, knowing that I’m not getting into a car until October next year. It’s a bit different.”

Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

Photo by: Dirk Klynsmith / LAT Images

Something Lowndes did take some more immediate enjoyment from was his post-race burnout, although he admitted he had to be mindful of the hardware given the Bathurst-winning ZB Commodore has already been sold to collector and racer Scott Taylor.

“All I wanted to do was do a bigger [burnout] than Scotty [McLaughlin],” said Lowndes. “The engine is alright, I think it got to 105 [degrees]. It was in third gear, so I was making sure I didn’t blow it up.”

Lowndes finished his full-time career with an 11th place, spending part of the final stint in the lead before making a late stop in the hopes of a caution that might help him cut through the field.

“We opted to go for a long stint in the middle one to get a short stint home with green tyres,” he said. “And it started to work initially, but we got to a point where the tyres plateaued.”

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In 1996, Tony Stewart made his debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He put the car on the pole position for the famed Indy 500. Stewart went on to finish 24th that day.

In total, Stewart has run five Indianapolis 500 races in his home state. He best finish came in 1997 where he finished 5th. Soon after, Stewart moved to fender sporting stock cars. It’s now been 17 years since Tony Stewart ran the Indianapolis 500.

“The pageantry around the Indy 500 is unlike anything you see in NASCAR. It’s just history and tradition that makes the Indy 500 what it is,” Tony Stewart explained to NBC Sports.

With 618 NASCAR Cup Series races under his belt, 49 wins and 3 series championship, Tony Stewart parted ways with the cockpit of a stock car. He’s still very active behind the wheel. Stewart installed some tear offs on his helmet and returned to the dirt tracks.

Today, he’s full-blown into dirt sprint car racing. However, he’s new expressing interest in returning to the Verizon Indycar Series in a few one-off events. He has several offers to do so with competitive rides…

Is there any chance you’ll run the 2019 Indy 500?

“Not this coming year. I did what I normally do — I let my mouth open before I actually thought about what I was saying,” Tony Stewart explained.

“I mentioned that I was open to the possibility again. And I realistically am. I’ve talked to Michael Andretti. Roger Penske still says I have an open invitation. I think [Chip] Ganassi will put me back in a car.”

Tony Stewart in the Texas Motor Speedway media center
Tony Stewart in the Texas Motor Speedway media center

“A call and an email that I didn’t expect was from Bobby Rahal and David Letterman to run one of their cars. I don’t read email. So, I haven’t even responded to Bobby Rahal yet. I just found out I had an email from him. Sorry Bobby… I don’t do email.”

“The reason I wouldn’t do it next year — I’ve been here and done it. I’m not doing it to just do it. I’m doing it to try to win the race.”

“If you’re really going to do that — I mean, the Indycar Series is so competitive right now and the drivers and teams are so tough. You’re not going to just stroll in here like they used to do in the 70’s and 80’s.”

“I would want to run an oval race sometime this coming year. Just to get ready for maybe 2020 … If I’m going to do it.”

Stewart stated he would want to run one Indycar race on an oval in 2019 before possibly heading to the Indy 500 in 2020. So what other 2019 Indycar oval races exist? The Indycar oval list: Texas Motor Speedway (June), Iowa Speedway (July), Pocono Raceway (August), Gateway Motorsports Park (August).

“I’ve learned to never say never. But, I keep doing the math. I’m pretty sure 49 is not a real good age to try to resurrect an Indycar career.”

“Who knows. I’ve done a lot dumber things than that.”

“The other thing is I’ll have to lose about 20 pounds to get to the weight I need to be for those things. A good friend that used to be in NASCAR, Jay Frye runs the Indycar Series now. They’re doing an awesome job.”

“My buddy Marco Andretti, who introduced me to my wife, wants me to run one of their cars.”

“We’ll see. I’m having fun. I’ve raced 68 races this year.”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway dirt track
Indianapolis Motor Speedway dirt track

What do you think about the dirt track at Indianapolis?

“It was awesome. Doug Boles did an awesome job. I watched both nights. I was actually getting ready for our World 100 at Eldora this weekend.”

The World 100 is a huge dirt late model race hosted at Eldora Speedway. Ironically, it also suffered a postponement due to rain. After getting just one of the three nights in, the race has been rescheduled for October.

“To finally have a proper dirt track here — The race was unbelievable. I’m proud of the speedway for letting Doug do this.”

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Full-season entry list for 2018/19 FIA Formula E Championship confirmed

With the start of a new season of the ABB FIA Formula E championship less than a month away motorsport’s governing body, the FIA has confirmed the full-season entry list ahead of the season opener in Saudia Arabia on December 15.

This year’s expanded 11-team entry list will see 22 of the world’s top driving talents take to the grid, with the first round kicking off with the 2018 SAUDIA Ad Diriyah E-Prix – click here to purchase tickets.

All four former champions return to test their mettle in the new FIA Formula E Gen2 car, with Jean-Eric Vergne hoping to become the first back-to-back champion in the history of the series with DS Techeetah.

Six fresh faces will be facing their first Formula E race in less than a month, with Stoffel Vandoorne and Gary Paffett representing newcomers HWA Racelab, Max Guenther lining up for Geox Dragon, Felipe Massa for the Venturi Formula E Team, Alexander Albon for Nissan e.dams and Alexander Sims for BMW i Andretti Motorsport.

Several other top talents are returning to the championship for the upcoming campaign having raced in Formula E before but not contested the full fourth season – these include Robin Frijns for Envision Virgin Racing, Tom Dillmann for the NIO Formula E Team. Felix Rosenqvist returns to the Championship, taking the place of new Mahindra rookie driver Pascal Wehrlein for the first round of the season. See below for the full entry list.

2 Envision Virgin Racing Audi e-tron FE05 Sam Bird (GBR)
3 Panasonic Jaguar Racing Jaguar I-Type III Nelson Piquet (BRA)
4 Envision Virgin Racing Audi e-tron FE05 Robin Frijns (NLD)
5 HWA RACELAB Venturi VFE05 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL)
6 GEOX DRAGON Penske EV-3 Max Gunther (DEU)
7 GEOX DRAGON Penske EV-3 Jose Maria Lopez (ARG)
8 NIO Formula E Team NIO Sport 004 Tom Dillmann (FRA)
11 Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team Audi e-tron FE05 Lucas Di Grassi (BRA)
16 NIO Formula E Team NIO Sport 004 Oliver Turvey (GBR)
17 HWA RACELAB Venturi VFE05 Gary Paffett (GBR)
19 Venturi Formula E Team Venturi VFE05 Felipe Massa (BRA)
20 Panasonic Jaguar Racing Jaguar I-Type III Mitch Evans (NZL)
22 Nissan e.dams Nissan IM01 Alex Albon (THA)
23 Nissan e.dams Nissan IM01 Sebastien Buemi (CHE)
25 DS TECHEETAH DS E-TENSE FE19 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA)
28 BMW i ANDRETTI MOTORSPORT BMW iFE.18 Antonio Felix Da Costa (PRT)
36 DS TECHEETAH DS E-TENSE FE19 Andre Lotterer (DEU)
48 Venturi Formula E Team Venturi VFE05 Edoardo Mortara (CHE)
64 MAHINDRA RACING Mahindra M5Electro Jerome d’Ambrosio (BEL)
66 Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team Audi e-tron FE05 Daniel Abt (DEU)
94 MAHINDRA RACING Mahindra M5Electro Felix Rosenqvist (SWE)

With a new car, new racing format and plenty of fresh faces, the fifth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is set to be the most exciting and unpredictable to date. Buckle up, we’re just getting started.

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