Home :: News

Statt Mann Scatt

This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

Racing has a problem that must be addressed sooner than later. The idea of blocking another competitor on the track is filled with danger for all concerned.

Very early Sunday morning there was about three hours left in the Le Mans 24 Hour race when Sebastian Bourdais and Frank Makowiecki were nose to bumper battling for second place in the GTE Pro class.

LeMans24 Blocking

Their fight had everyone’s attention worldwide with multiple passes each lap. More than once Makowiecki swerved back and forth blocking, once nearly forcing Bourdais from the roadway. It was ugly.

After his driver change, Bourdais was furious. Justifiably in my mind. The Porsche team leader made some excuses about tight competition. There weren’t any penalties. Makowiecki, in fact, went on to finish second in class in his Porsche and Bourdais’ Ford finished third.

Blocking’s not rare. IndyCar officials fight it when they can. One move is allowed. The second move can be penalized. NASCAR largely ignores blocking.

Something’s got to be done. It’s getting out of control.

Peace.

This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

FIA logoI’m impressed that the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council approved a World Rallycross championship for electric cars this week.

Rallycross with its short races and rough-and-tumble race craft will be a perfect venue for electrics. The series comes on line in 2020.

The World Rallycross promoter IMG worked with the FIA and a number of car manufacturers on this project for the last eighteen months.

An effort’s underway to make room for privateers in this new championship. Expenses have locked them out of a competitive effort in the current rallycross championship.

This series for electrics won’t replace the current series. That’s a good thing too.

When it’s done right, rallycross is great racing for television and fans in the stands. The races are short, exciting and filled with name brand drivers.

Hopefully this global effort will produce some technology that will wind up in our driveways in the near future.

Racing used to be about R&D instead of selling jeans and beer. Maybe we can get back to that.

Peace.

This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

Sebastien LoebNine time World Rally Champion Sebastian Loeb won his second World Rallycross event Sunday in Belgium. The word rally might be the only thing the two disciplines have in common and Loeb is finding that out.

Rallying on closed sections of public roads called stages requires a level of self-restraint and control seldom seen in other kinds of motorsports. Rallycross can be brutal where you must punch your way to the front and fight to stay there against five or six others who have the same mindset as you do.

2017 Ken Block RallycrossFans love rallycross because of the rough and tumble atmosphere in a short five or ten lap race. Stage rallying can go on for several days on roads that disappear into places where you’ll never see human life much less fans and fan accommodations.

Rallycross is an incredible sport. And don’t be disappointed that it didn’t make it in America. The Global Rallycross Championship was poorly administered and didn’t have the sport at the top of its priorities list. The people who ran the activity were more interested in making money than they were about building a new sport in America.

Hopefully the FIA’s administration of the new Americas Rallycross Championship will take the time to build the sport instead of pounding the same stars into our heads until we SEE stars. Rallycross is well worth your interest.

Peace.

This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

The Freaks are used to talking about races involving 600, 700, a thousand or, even, ten thousand horsepower.

KY Derby logoBut Saturday I saw a one horsepower race that would Justify your attention to it. Justify won the 144th Kentucky Derby with strength that reminded me of the film Seabiscuit.

Justify isn’t a small horse like Seabiscuit but coming into the home stretch, jockey Mike Smith just showed the chestnut colt the whip and Justify responded. You could see in the replays he looked at the whip and found another gear to win going away.

Now, I don’t know much about horse racing. But I’m enough of a sports fan to watch The Derby on the first Saturday in May and I know what I saw at the end of the race. Justify found another gear to win by two lengths.

Will he win the Preakness in two weeks? Who knows. That’s a different field, different track and different day. But he won Saturday showing power and race craft on a muddy track. He won from the front pulling away at the end.

The ‘Biscuit would have been proud.

Peace.

This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

Daniel Ricciardo slammed into the back of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen near the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Sunday. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner left the pit wall fuming. The cars were running fourth and fifth but ended with no points for the team.

Horner ordered both drivers to apologize to the entire team at the Milton Keynes headquarters this coming week.

Daniel RicciardoIt would be easy to blame Ricciardo for the crash but a video analysis on You Tube threw some shade on Verstappen. He was trying to block a late move by Ricciardo, took the air from the front of his car, and left Ricciardo with no room to avoid the crash.

Max VerstappenYou can decide who’s at fault. Both drivers were wheel to wheel throughout the race. They were warned. And they crashed.

At some point someone will need to say something to Verstappen about his driving style. When you’re always around a crash, that’s a sign your race craft is lacking. If he’s going to realize the pay off on his substantial talent, he’ll need to learn how to compete wisely. Until then, he’ll need to learn how to apologize in several languages.

Peace.

This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

I talked about this a year ago and this week it appears to be a reality. The Global Rallycross Championship has canceled its 2018 season. A cloud of uncertainty has fallen over GRC for now.

Rallycross photos © QNIGAN.COM 2014

A lengthy, well reported piece in Jalopnik this week laid out a long thread of lawsuits and emails involving GRC and competing teams and sponsors. Go read it if you care about rallycross in North America.

Stepping into the vacuum will be the Americas Rallycross Championship organized by IMG, the same people who run the World Championship.

The Americas series will comprise four events in 2018. The first will be at Silverstone in May. There’ll be another at Trois Rivieres in Canada the first weekend in August. And there’ll be an event at COTA the last weekend in September.

A fourth event will be announced.

IMG’s involvement should be a good thing. Organization of competition at the track and behind the curtain should be a better operation.

As for GRC? Expect the lawyers to step in as stewards for now.

Peace.

This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

For years, drivers have said there’s a comparison between driving a Formula One car and a Le Mans Prototype from the World Endurance Championship.

I found it hard to believe. The F1 car is minimalist with aerodynamic aids to, quite literally, keep the missile-like frame on the ground. The prototype has a roof, fenders, the hint of two-seats inside the cabin and it doesn’t look like a missile.

Porsche Record

Well, Porsche went to SPA recently and proved its all-powerful Hybrid sports car, the 919, was more than the equal to an F1 car. It broke the Spa one-lap record set by four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, a time that earned Hamilton the pole at the F1 race in late August last year.

Porsche works driver Neel Jani broke the record by .783 seconds around the famed race track. To be fair the experience was designed to show off the Porsche’s technology. All the WEC regulations were removed from the 919’s setup. I was told this weekend at Long Beach that video of the lap was breathtaking; that the speed around Spa looked like something from a videogame.

That technology now goes into Porsche’s plans for its upcoming entry into Formula E next season. It sounds like Porsche will be taking a gourmet meal to a fast food fight

Peace.

This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

Liberty Media continues its dumbing down of F1. The latest is a projected budget cap of $150 million for all teams.
Nu F1 Logo
The current Concorde Agreements which govern Formula One racing are set to expire at the end of the 2020 season. Liberty is an American multi-national that owns the commercial rights to the sport. So it’s floating ideas for teams to consider until then.

Mercedes is on record as saying the new limit is unachievable. It’s spending $100 million more than that now.

Do we really need to artificially level the F1 playing field? New teams and drivers are rising in the current environment. Sunday’s race in Bahrain had six finishers in the final ten who’ve never won before. The mid-pack guys are coming forward.

Why downgrade F1. Efforts to level the playing field in NASCAR have driven away fans. Look at the TV ratings and empty seats for evidence.

Let’s hope the F1 teams and manufacturers resist this effort in F1.

Peace.

This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

This year’s ESPN Formula One telecasts aren’t just different from those on NBC. The first one Saturday night was a giant step backwards.
Nu F1 Logo
ESPN took the races from NBC this season and, instead of doing their own show using the international feed from F1, they used the Sky Sports split feed with off-shore announcers who evidently didn’t care that Americans were watching.

Admittedly, this is the season’s first race. But there’s a need for a re-think of the season’s plans. At least the NBC guys, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, could make the show interesting even mixing in American race events on the weekend.

The transitions to and from commercials were awkward. They just cut back and forth from the Sky Sports feed usually in mid-sentence. That’s unacceptable for a network broadcasting one of the world’s premier events.

This first race was on ESPN2, which isn’t on everyone’s basic cable like ESPN. There will be complaints about that too.

Hopefully someone was watching with an objective eye and these things will be addressed before race two from Bahrain April 8th.

Peace.

This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.

The world rally community got a chance to see legends go head-to-head in Mexico this weekend.

Nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb made his World Rally Championship return after a five year absence. His challenge was five time champion Sebastien Ogier who took over the throne when Loeb went to pursue other things in 2013.
2018 Ogier Flies Mexico
Loeb showed some brilliance through Saturday morning when he had to stop and change a tire while leading. He ultimately finished fifth when it was done.

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 -WRC Mexico  (MEX) -  WRC 08/03/2018 to 11/03/2018 - PHOTO : @World

Ogier was there to take over when Loeb had his problems. And Ogier won giving Ford its first victory in Mexico since 2004.

So we didn’t get the head to head battle that everyone wanted. But we did find out that Loeb can handle the new world rally formula cars. And Ogier is ready to rise to the top if Loeb has any problems.

The other usual suspects of the last five years all stumbled, fumbled and kicked it when faced with the challenge of Loeb’s return.

Mexico is important because it’s the first all gravel event of the year. And this Rally Mexico could signal a good season ahead.

Peace.