October 2021 News
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Note:  Some news has been moved to their own pages:

Some news items will now be summarized and interspersed among articles that require more explanation.
Oct 6 - IndyCar "rookies" Jimmie Johnson and Romain Grosjean took their Indy 500 rookie tests at IMS.  
The session was cut short by rain and both will finish their remaining laps the next time they are at the track.  
While Grosjean is committed to competing in the 2022 Indy 500, Johnson has yet to confirm.
Indianapolis 8 Hour Sports Car Race

Oct 17 - A cold and rainy Friday gave way to a cold, but
dry and sunny weekend in Indianapolis, where GT3 and
GT4 racing was held at the motor speedway.

On Saturday, Alessandro Pierguidi drove his Ferrari 488
GT3 to the pole for Sunday’s Indianapolis 8 Hour race.

Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock of Germany
and Patric Niederhauser of Switzerland teamed to drive the
Team Sainteloc Audi R8 GT3 to a dramatic victory Sunday
in an unpredictable, chaotic Indianapolis 8 Hour.

The French-based Sainteloc team beat the Team AKKA  
Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Raffaele Marciello of Italy,
Daniel Juncadella of Spain and Timur Boguslavskiy of
Russia by 11.958 seconds after eight hours of competition
on the 2.589-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road
course layout.

The KPAX Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo shared
by Jordan Pepper of South Africa and Andrea Caldarelli
and Mirko Bortolotti of Italy finished third, 22.853 seconds
behind the winners.

Team Sainteloc’s victory came after an improbable rally
from a one-lap deficit with less than an hour to go. The
Sainteloc team also overcame a large gap three hours into
the race after the team was assessed a drive-through
penalty for undercutting its minimum pit stop time.

Only Haase and Niederhauser were able to celebrate at the
famous IMS Yard of Bricks and Victory Podium after the
Intercontinental GT Challenge endurance sports car race,
as teammate Winkelhock left the track before the end of
the race to fly home to Germany because his partner was
due to give birth. Haase and Niederhauser talked with their
absent teammate on the phone from pit lane.

“I don’t really have words,” Niederhauser said. “In the
end, we simply never gave up after the Safety Car came
right out after the pit stop. I thought it was game over,
everything is done. We just kept fighting and finally,
finally got that win.”

IndyCar rookie Callum Ilott of Great Britain, one of the
brightest stars of the day, drove the AF Corse Ferrari 488
GT3 to the lead with one hour, 33 minutes remaining by
passing the leading Marciello in the Mercedes and the
second-place Audi of Niederhauser with a dive under both
cars at the end of the back straightaway.

Ilott and Niederhauser then engaged in a spirited battle for
the lead as they wove through lapped GT3 traffic and the
slower GT4 class cars, with Ilott’s lead only three-tenths
of a second with about an hour to go.

The eight-hour race turned on its head with 52 minutes to
go. Team Sainteloc decided to pit Niederhauser for the
final stop. It was expected the AF Corse team would do
the same on the next lap for Ilott so the Audi wouldn’t gain
time on fresh tires and undercut the pitting Ferrari for the

But Ilott never made it to the pits. His dreams of Indy
victory ended in Turn 1 on that lap when his leading
Ferrari and a slower Aston Martin GT4 car made contact
while Ilott tried to pass on the outside entering the corner,
inflicting damage to the right front of Ilott’s car.

The Audi Sport Team WRT car driven by Dries Vanthoor
of Belgium made a stop for fuel only during the Safety Car
period triggered by Ilott’s crash and ended up in the lead,
followed by the Team Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes
AMG GT3 driven by Jules Gounon of France.
Niederhauser was third but a lap down.

With 36 seconds left, the Mercedes driven by Gounon was
eliminated from victory and podium contention after
colliding with the Crucial Motorsports McLaren 720 S
GT3 driven by Ben Barnicoat of Great Britain. Vanthoor
was on the lead lap alone, with fellow Audi driver
Niederhauser elevated to second.

But there was even bigger drama to come. Vanthoor was
assessed a drive-through penalty with 26 minutes remaining
for failure to follow instructions from Race Control. That
pushed Niederhauser to the lead, which he kept to the
checkered flag.

“Right now, to be fully honest with you, I have never been
so unhappy for a second position because I felt like that
was not racing out there,” a bitterly disappointed Juncadella
said. “I couldn’t understand how many Safety Cars were
out there. So many reasons, but it played not in our favor.
I love this place, so much history, but this kind of racing is
not what I signed up for.”

A total of 41 laps were run behind the Safety Car, totaling
two hours, one minute of the race’s eight-hour time.

Class winners included the Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 in
Silver Cup (fourth overall), the SunEnergy 1 Mercedes-
AMG GT3 in Pro-Am (10th overall), the AF Corse Ferrari
488 GT3 in Am (16th overall) and the Bimmerworld
Racing BMW M4 in GT4.
The AF Corse-Francorchamps Motors Ferrari 488 GT3
shared by Alessandro Pierguidi of Italy, Nicklas Nielsen of
Denmark and Come Ledogar of France captured the pole for
the Indy 8 Hour on Saturday.  They finished fifth in the race.
The SunEnergy 1 Mercedes-AMG GT3, driven by
Kenny Habul of Australia, Martin Konrad of Austria and
Mikael Grenier of Canada finished first in Pro-Am (10th
The Indianapolis 8 Hour Winning Audi R8 LMS GT3.
American Brendan Iribe won both GT America races on
Saturday in the #70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3.
Compass Racing's Ashton Harrison and Matt McMurry from
US and Mario Farnbacher from Germany, won the Silver
Cup class in a Acura-Honda NSX GT3 Evo
Bimmerworld Racing's all-American team of Bill Auberlen,
Chandler Hull and James Clay won the GT4 class in the No 36
BMW M4 (shown leading in photo.)
The 1st Indy Autonomous Challenge

Oct 24 - In the planning stages for two years, the Indy
Autonomous Challenge finally came to fruition.  The
initial idea of driverless cars racing each other on IMS's
oval devolved to driverless cars going out on the track
alone and seeing how fast they could run in a few laps.

The teams developing the cars were composed of college
students, not car companies.  A million dollar prize was up
for grabs. Indy Light Dallara chassis were used by all teams.

Due to the pandemic interfering with development, many
universities that were initially interested, dropped out.  In
the end, nine cars showed up.

Seeing the teams in the pits, gathered around computers,
it's tempting to guess they are driving them by remote
control.  However they have no control over the cars.  
The cars must think for themselves - gauging grip levels,
turn-in points and be aware of where they are, using GPS.

Hence, it was not too surprising in this first effort to have
cars going off course or turning into the walls.  On top of
that, Friday practice was rained out and Saturday was a
cool 55-degrees which reduced traction.

During the first round of competition, teams would leave
pitlane and complete a warmup lap, two timed laps and a
cooldown lap – the latter involved having to navigate
around several inflatable barriers on the front-stretch to
test cars’ ability to do more than just drive solo around a
racetrack. Cars that completed those tasks then cycled
back around, ran through pitlane and stopped would have
their times considered for a ‘final three’ showdown.


TEAM                                                                     2-Lap Avg

EuroRacing                                                           131.148 mph
(University of Modena and Reggio Emilia,
University of Pisa, ETH Zürich,
Polish Academy of Sciences)

PoliMOVE                                                            124.450   
(University of Alabama and
Politecnico di Milano)
Clocked at 151 mph

TUM Autonomous Motorsport                             129.237 mph
(Technische Universitat Munchen)

KAIST                                                                    84.355 mph
(Korea Advanced Institute of Science and

Cavalier Autonomous Racing                                   0
(University of Virginia)
Their car was clocked at 119.883 mph, but the car
ran an unexplained extra lap, forcing judges to toss
the time.

AI Racing Tech                                                         0
(Hawaii University)
They inadvertently took off into the infield before the
entrance of oval Turn 1 and spun through the grass.

MIT-Pitt-RW                                                            0
(MIT, University of Pittsburgh, Rochester Institute of
Technology and the University of Waterloo)
Their car made a hard-left while driving down the
front-straight and hit the inside wall.

Black and Gold Autonomous Racing                        0
(Purdue, IUPUI, West Point, Indian Institute of
Technology Kharagpur (India), Universidad de
San Buenaventura (Colombia) )
They failed to make it past pit-exit before their car
crashed with a system malfunction deemed too serious
to complete their allowed second try.

Autonomous Tiger Racing                                        DNS
(Auburn University)
After hitting the wall a few times during practice,
the team decided not to compete.

FINAL ROUND for $1 Million.
4 warm-up laps, followed by 2 timed laps

TEAM                                                                    2-Lap Avg   

TUM Autonomous Motorsport                          135.944 mph        -

EuroRacing  Though they had a first lap of 139.009 mph, the car slowed
during the 2nd lap run to below 90 mph, thinking it was the cool-down lap,
due to a programming mistake.

PoliMOVE                                                                 0
(Was clocked at more than 157 mph during its warmup laps before what
the team believed to be a GPS malfunction caused it to brush the wall at
the end of the front-straight before it ran straight-on into the Turn 1 wall.
The winning car and some inflatable obstacles.
Driver replaced by computers in cockpit.
Oct 21 - Andersen Promotions announced a new agreement with USAC to become the sanctioning body for
the three racing series owned and operated by the organization.  So, apparently, after taking Indy Lights away
from them, Penske has now stopped their IndyCar sanctioning.
The German team collected a check for $1 million.
A drone delivered the checkered flag
to a robot dog!