In other news....

Posted by Declan | 4/13/2010 | 8 comments »
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Quinn's worth a look:

If PBIR's latest recruit, Niall Quinn, makes the Indy Lights podium at Long Beach do not be surprised. He was born and raised in Dunboyne, County Meath, a town whose streets were the backdrop for the historic Leinster Trophy Races for a decade from 1958 to 1967. Racing through the village predates Ireland's first permanent race track by one year and the town and event is held very close to the hearts of a whole generation of racing fans in Ireland.

Starting on Martell Brandy was probably not best idea when it comes to street racing.
[Pic courtesy of Dunboyne Car Club]

Quinn became a member of Red Bull's Junior team after winning their 'High King of Karting' title in Ireland in 2005. He was thrown into the cauldron of UK Formula BMW in 2006 and the German Series in 2007 where he showed flashes of his potential without consistent results. Since the end of the 2007, Niall has not had a full-time seat but he was the reserve and test driver for A1GP Ireland and ran in some Asian F3 races in 2008. As a fellow Irishman, I'm thrilled to see him land a ride for the rest of the season and Indy Lights is improved by his presence in the series.

JK Rolling on:
Being a Red Bull Junior program drop out is not always a sign of a lack of talent. Just ask JK Vernay who has just taken the opening two rounds of the Firestone Indy Lights Series. With three years in Euro F3 Vernay is arguably taking a step down in class and performance to compete in Indy Lights. Anyone who can boast a win in the F3 Grand Prix on the streets of Macau (the qualifying race in 2009) and has finished on the podium there is an elite talent. Just look at the following list of winners and podium finishers in the former Portuguese colony.

Ayrton Senna [Winner, 1983]
Mauricio Guglemin [Winner, 1985]
Michael Schumacher [Winner, 1990]
David Coulthard [Winner, 1991]
Jacques Villeneuve [3rd, 1992]
Jarno Trulli [2nd, 1995]
Darren Manning [Winner, 1999]
Jenson Button [2nd, 1999]
Takuma Sato [Winner, 2001]
Lucas Di Grassi [Winner, 2005]
Mike Conway [Winner, 2006]

The streets of Macau was the birthplace of the one of the greatest rivalries in Grand Prix racing. It was there that Michael Schumacher first got the better of Mika Hakkinen through questionable driving tactics. It would most certainly not be the last.
Vernay, now holds the outright lap record on the 'Guia Circuit' at Macau and has the chance to add victory at Long Beach to his impressive list of performances on the World's greatest street circuits.

Half a World away:
The VLN Championship is an endurance series for GT cars run exclusively on the Nordschliefe, the old, dangerous and spectacular Nurburging track. Porsche is using this series to test its latest creation, the 911 GTR Hybrid. The success of this car may have some significance to the future direction of IndyCar racing. On Sunday the car, driven by factory drivers, Joerg Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler finished in third place. The immediate impact of this event on the IndyCar Series is minimal, but the longer term prospects are significant and extremely exciting. While the Delta Wing concept has all of the divisive qualities of a Tea Party gathering, it has become clear that it has re-ignited the potential interest in a number of European (and particularly German OEM's). The broad concept is a perfect fit for more than one of the brands currently under the Porsche SE umbrella (particularly Porsche, Audi, VW & Lamborghini). Ben Bowlby spent a not inconsiderable amount of time with Audi's Dr Wolfgang Ulrich at Sebring in the days following the 12 Hour race there in March and DW CEO, Dan Partel, has built his reputation on providing an international motorsport platform for European based manufacturers.

The 'very ordinary looking' 911 GT Hybrid, yesterday

In separate conversations recently, both parties have described to me how energized the major players in Europe are about the potential future direction of US Open wheel racing. Both Porsche and Audi see that there is an opportunity to develop an inexpensive production based engine program for IndyCar that translates directly to their offerings in the show room and this includes the diesel and hybrid technologies that both marques currently race. While the look of the Delta Wing may not please everyone, the fundamentals behind the design have, without question, an important part to play in the long term growth and well being of IndyCar racing.


  1. Christopher Leone // April 13, 2010 6:53 AM  

    Might want to fix that photo. It's got an image block from the site that owns it.

  2. Declan // April 13, 2010 6:56 AM  

    oops which one

  3. Declan // April 13, 2010 7:00 AM  

    Fixed! thx :)

  4. Iannucci // April 13, 2010 8:03 AM  

    Declan loves the Delta Wing. See folks - this site may not be fair, but it's certainly balanced.

    Great post though, Dex. It's always good to hear about the Lights drivers especially. Reminds me that it's time to get cracking on a 2010 series of "Friday Night Lights" profiles.

  5. Declan // April 13, 2010 8:35 AM  


    I have never ever said I 'love' the Delta Wing. In private, in public or on air.

  6. Iannucci // April 13, 2010 8:41 AM  

    My mistake. "Love" is probably too strong of a word. Next time I'll instead refer to your feelings for the DW concept/design as "friend with benefits."


    Anyhow, my point was I respect your points, even though I disagree. Sorry if I overstated that.

  7. Ryan // April 15, 2010 8:24 AM  

    I realize that I'm slightly biased here, but I'm ready for the next edition of "Friday Night Lights". :)

  8. Iannucci // April 15, 2010 9:05 AM  

    Never fear, Ryan - "Friday Night Lights" will soon resume.

    I'm looking forward to introducing myself to numerous Light drivers this weekend as the "My Name Is Irl" guy, and I estimate the over/under on "I love your TV show" responses is 10.