Wednesday, November 20, 2019

An Auto Racing Enthusiast's Review of Ford v Ferrari




For the first time in more than seven years, I was drawn to a movie theatre this weekend for what may be an obvious reason when I inform you that my last cinema experience was attending the documentary Senna in Toronto. In 2019, my film-going motivation was based on the big screen adaptation of the great American auto racing story behind Ford’s reign at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the latter part of the 1960s. Ford v Ferrari is a docudrama with the polish of a big Hollywood production that admittedly both excited and concerned me prior to the positive word of mouth after the Toronto International Film Festival debut since sport-related movies are a hit or miss affair. The production values of the Ron Howard movie Rush has inspired confidence that auto racing can be depicted honourably on the big screen. Much like the Ford GT40 race car that went on to climatic greatness on the race track in 1966 as well as on film screens today, the right balance of parts and components make Ford v Ferrari into a sensational performer.

Ford v Ferrari’s story is set mainly between 1963 and 1966 as the Ford Motor Company works to construct a sports car purpose-built to beat the world’s best performance name. A rivalry stoked by Ford’s failed attempt to purchase Ferrari, the movie establishes the means required to reach their desired results. Ford v Ferrari is directed by James Mangold who possesses a stellar filmography that includes the Johnny Cash biography Walk the Line and the 2017 hit X-Men based movie Logan. From the very capable directing, the movie receives fully-developed scenes with excellent acting.

In order to make their GT40 a winner, the automaker contracted with American sports icon Carroll Shelby that is played by the talented Matt Damon. The star from the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy Christian Bale assumes to role of racer Ken Miles who served as the Ford GT40's primary test driver. Both Damon and Bale play their characters in a manner that brings the two great men of motorsports back to life. Bale’s Ken Miles performance stands out as an outwardly abrasive yet passionate racer. Shelby’s point of view is prominent as the team’s orchestrator but the film also gave a compelling focus on Miles and his family (Caitriona Balfe plays Ken Miles’ wife Mollie while Noah Jupe puts on a wonderful performance as son Peter). A most refreshing aspect of Ford v Ferrari’s story was with Mile’s family as supportive of his racing career. Too often in Hollywood pictures around sports we end up with family members or significant others who do nothing more than endlessly worry about the dangers. In Ford v Ferrari, the only conflict arose when Ken Miles’ wife simply wanted her husband to be honest with his passion for racing.

Although Ford v Ferrari provides radiant portrayals of some legends of the automobile, the movie doesn’t itself into being a biography of any individual. Throughout the movie’s long though well-utilized 2-hour, 32-minute runtime, we witness not only the thriving to create a Le Mans-winning race car through Shelby and Miles but the movie also takes us into the corporate culture within Ford. Historical figures Henry Ford II, Lee Iacocca and Leo Beebe appear in Ford v Ferrari as complicated individuals who support the Ford GT40 program exercising their own authority. Specifically, Henry Ford II (grandson of the automaker’s founder) is depicted as a tough-as-nails persona who could be both stubborn as well as occasionally receptive. From other historical accounts I have been privy to this is actually an accurate depiction. There’s one scene where Henry Ford II walked into one of his company’s auto plants and hollers to his employees how they have to think about how to save the automaker. I’m sure one or two workers would have a thought swirl in their heads that the company wouldn’t be in such a slump if the corporate head didn’t push for the Edsel brand. Ford v Ferrari also includes some amusing minor casting choices. Playing late American racing great Dan Gurney the driver’s youngest son Alex appearing in a minor clip. While the story is based on the aspiration for a car to cross the line ahead of another car, some strong acting performances provide an unexpected thrill ride of emotions.

Overall, the film does a great job characterizing the egos involved in big league racing during the 1960s. With technology and the motorsport spectacle at its peak, winning a major competition meant more than perhaps even today. Ford v Ferrari shows the personalities in conflict with each other as they achieve what is presumed as harmonious team effort at the time. While battling Enzo Ferrari’s team, the Ford GT40's second major battle occurred between Shelby’s team and Ford management. Made out to be somewhat of a villain to Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles in the movie, Leo Beebe (played by Josh Lucas) was among the pushier influences from the Ford corporate level that included the infamous photo-finish. Beebe’s meddling in the race team depicted in Ford v Ferrari is mostly confirmed by Beebe himself in interviews prior to his passing in 2001.

One of the easiest things to praise about Ford v Ferrari is the film’s visual presentation. We are fully integrated with 1960s sports car racing with charming realism. It’s simply a majestic sensation to see classic race vehicles on the big screen. In the climax of the movie is the Ford GT40 battling a Ferrari 330 P3 at Le Mans looks brilliant. I also applaud that the majority of the soundtrack for Ford v Ferrari is the engines of these legendary cars. Too often with 20th century period pictures, there is a compulsion to heavily pepper in music of the era in order to constantly remind us of the setting.

Leaving the theatre after seeing Ford v Ferrari, I was left with fulfillment as a fan of auto racing. Knowing the real-life history of the Ford GT40 program at Le Mans, it was my privilege to admire such a marvelous cinematic reenactment. It was a special indulgence to watch such a well-crafted, thoroughly entertaining motion picture that shared my love for the sport.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Defending A Legend: The All-New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Photo Credit: Jaguar Land Rover



Today, the Land Rover brand exists in a landscape it could not have predicted back when they constructed a Centre Steer prototype meant as a rugged postwar utility vehicle. Land Rover originally developed products directed towards more practical customers envisioning their vehicles on a farm or in other off-roading environments. Of course, today’s automotive customer is now attracted to the marque’s four-wheel drive vehicles as versatile and tough while also supported by premium equipment. The metamorphosis towards a more luxurious focused Land Rover product line largely gave way to its strictly purposeful presence in recent decades with exception of one model.

From 1983 to 2016, the Defender nameplate stood alone in Land Rover as a less spoiled sport utility vehicle embodying the traditions of the brand’s original models first sold in the late 1940s. The Land Rover Defender maintained a charmingly bulky shape that included a proven off-roading capability but attempted to blend more contemporary elements improving on-road performance and passenger comfort. However, the Defender’s classic theme would ultimately clash with tightening government regulations and requirements for new vehicles. The Land Rover Defender’s brief availability in North American ended ahead of 1998 due to more stringent safety regulations while advancing safety features in the United Kingdom led to the demise of the old-school sport utility vehicle. As prove with the discontinuation of the old Defender, often we just need to accept changing times and try to make something great out of the new world. Land Rover decided to take that approach by reviving their famed adventurous sport utility for the 2020 model year.

The all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender transitions the nameplate from a delightful relic of the past to an ultramodern showcase of versatility. Excelling to project the image of an accomplished 21st century four-wheel drive machine, Land Rover is presenting their latest vehicle with a slew of new innovations and enhanced personalization.


Photo Credit: Jaguar Land Rover



The 2020 Defender is shaped through stunning body panels that still capture the essence of the classic design. Short overhangs at the front and rear, a side-opening tailgate with a mounted spare tire and a unique body color-matching side pillars among the styling elements included on the 2020 Land Rover Defender that possesses a distinctive look compared to sister vehicles such as the Discovery or the Range Rover lineup. Beyond the refreshing exterior style, the Defender’s new look is based on a D7x platform utilizing unibody-style frame made of aluminum. Combining lightweight construction with rigidity that is three times greater than a sport utility vehicle using body-on-frame architecture, the monocoque used for the latest Land Rover is well-equipped to look and act the part of a terrain-conquering product. Through testing, Land Rover has subjected the 2020 Defender prototypes to a variety of extreme environments including extreme Arctic cold and high attitude terrain found in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

Arriving first as the four-door Defender 110 with a two-door Defender 90 body style next year, the new Land Rover features permanent four-wheel drive and a fully-independent suspension. For the Canadian and United States market, the 2020 Land Rover Defender’s performance will be supplied by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generating 296 horsepower or a 396-horsepower inline-six Mild-Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) power unit that incorporates a 48-volt electric supercharger. An eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and a two-speed transfer box are mated with both powerplant choices. Standard equipped on the Defender X trim model is a Configurable Terrain Response that allows a driver to tailor handling through the vehicle’s powerplant, steering, differentials as well as traction control. All 2020 Defender models will also come with a system called Wade Sensing program configured to allow a driver to better manage travelling through waters. The Defender’s maximum wading depth in water is 35.4 inches. Wade Sensing can be selected within the Land Rover Terrain Response 2 menu.


Photo Credit: Jaguar Land Rover



In Canada, the 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 lineup will arrive in four conventional trim levels. The S trim model includes electronic air suspension with Adaptive Dynamics, 12-way adjustable front seats with heated control, 19-inch wheels and wireless charging. The Land Rover Defender 110 S also contains the all-new PIVI Pro infotainment system that incorporates over-the-air software updates. Premium LED headlights, Clear Exit Monitor, 20-inch wheels and a 10-speaker Meridian Sound System are included on the Defender 110 SE while the HSE model upgrades consist of Windsor leather seating as well as a sliding panoramic roof. The 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 X is the top-trimmed variant featuring orange-coloured brake calipers, a 700-watt sound system and an electronic active differential. A First Edition version will be a special model that includes specific interior elements, a refrigerator compartment and unique badging.

The interior compartment of the new Defender creates an atmosphere of luxury while also exhibiting the vehicle’s backpack-like, off-road utility ambitions. Spaciousness and simplicity inside are a call-back to the flexibility traditionalists have come to expect from Land Rover. Interior designers of the 2020 Land Rover Defender insured the traditional utilitarian style was given a place in the more modern cabin. Exposed structural components and the appearance of body panel details around the interior door trim enlightens new passengers to the charm of past off-roading greatness. The modern space inside the 2020 Defender can 110 be occupied by a five or six-passenger seating arrangement as well as an available 5+2 passenger layout. Modern premium refinements including standard central touchscreen as well as a variety of seating trims and veneers are matched with rugged, durable features such as rubberized flooring.


Photo Credit: Jaguar Land Rover

Land Rover is also allowing riders to customize their Defender starting with a selection of four accessory packs. Explorer Pack, Adventure Pack, Country Pack and Urban Pack options provide a selection of features adhering to the styling themes. Another appearance option available for the first time by Land Rover through the 2020 Defender is a Satin Protective Film that can be applied over select paint colours.   

Excepted to arrive in North American showrooms for spring of nexy year, the Canadian starting price for the 2020 Land Rover Defender is $65,300 for the 110 S model. For extra luxury and off-road capabilities, the top-trimmed Defender 110 X will have a retail price of $93,600.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Fond Addio to the Fiat 500 in North America

Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles


Introduced to the United States and Canada in 2010, the Fiat 500 represented the first physical addition to Chrysler’s merger with the Fiat Group in the North American marketplace. The classically-styled, European-derived vehicle made a handsome entrance supported by its chic appearance and a slick advertisement campaign. However, despite a strong debut for the subcompact car, sales have steady decreased over the years. After nine years visiting to left side of the Atlantic Ocean, the Fiat 500 will be departing.

When locking down their 2020 model year for the Fiat brand, parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles made a statement on the discontinuation of the Fiat 500 range. For 2019, the subcompact car lineup consisted of the base model hardtop, 500c Cabrio, performance-oriented Abarth and the all-electric 500e (sold in limited markets). Dealerships of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ will continue to maintain an inventory of 2019 subcompact car lineup that is expected to carry over into the 2020 calender year. Withdrawing the Fiat 500 product assortment, the Italian-themed brand will sell only three models in North America for the next model year. Fiat will continue to offer the 124 Spider, 500L and the 500X in their leaner market line.


Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI



Inspired by the original Fiat 500 that achieved almost 3.9-million in sales between 1957 and 1975, the current version of the compact car was introduced in 2007. Initially sold in Europe, the Fiat 500 was also available in Mexico starting in late 2008 while the United States and Canada waited two years longer for the vehicle. While the new iteration of the Fiat 500 incorporated a sleek Italian style reminiscent to the legendary subcompact that came before, the recreated model would differ greatly to better accommodate 21st century motoring. In addition to using more sophisticated mechanical and electronic technology for improved performance as well as comfort, the modern Fiat 500 featured a front-mounted engine as opposed to the rear powerplant found on the original model. The new variant of the car was also larger than its predecessor measuring 22.7 inches longer.

From 2011 until the midway point of this year, current era motorists in the United States and Canada were able to sample the spirit of smaller cars from the late 1950s through to the 1970s among three major revived marques. The Fiat 500 once-again was positioned in a rivalry between the Volkswagen Beetle and the MINI all existing in modernized forms. Volkswagen’s farewell to the Beetle for 2019 in addition to Fiat dropping the 500 ends the modern renaissance of an iconic small car battle. 


Chris Nagy 2011 Canadian International Auto Show 789 Fiat 500
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles decision to phase-out the Fiat 500 was a certainty for some time just from observing vehicle sales. In the United States, sales of the Fiat 500 peaked in 2012 with a sale volume of 43,772 vehicles but the Italian-styled subcompact car’s popularity steady slid since. Annual sales for the product dipped to 12,685 in 2017 and nosedived to 5,370 in 2018. Sales of the Fiat 500 in Canada for the 2016 calendar year were recorded at 2,965 but fell to 269 vehicles at the end of 2018.

The slumping demand of the Fiat 500 also coincides with the decreasing emphasis for passenger cars in North America as customer tastes seek taller and more rugged offerings. General as well as Ford Motor Company have both made drastic changes recently by reducing their sedans and smaller cars in favour of crossover vehicles. In the case of the Fiat brand, they’re retaining two crossover-style models as well as a niche sports car.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

New Battery Extends the Range of 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV to 417 Kilometers

Photo Credit: Chevrolet/General Motors

Back in 2015, Chevrolet made a bold announcement confirming their first all-electric full-scale production car born from principles exhibited by the Bolt EV Concept. Relative affordability as a battery-powered vehicle as well as an operating range of 200 miles was among the key features advertised on the revolutionary product. Delivering on their interpretation of a zero-emission entry-level vehicle competing against the Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model 3, the 2017 model year premiere of the Bolt EV has been followed by modest sales. After three years on the market, Chevrolet’s all-electric Bolt EV hatchback will go the extra mile (or extra kilometer in Canada) to win over new customers.

For 2020, the Chevrolet Bolt EV will feature an extended range that is almost 10 percent greater than its 2019 counterpart. The updated 2020 Bolt EV will possess an EPA-estimated range of 417 kilometers (259 miles) on a single charge. Resulting in a range increase 34 kilometers or 21 miles over the 2019 model, the added driving range for the electric vehicle comes without any sacrifice to on-road performance. A permanent magnetic drive motor generating 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque will remain. Also unchanged on the 2020 Bolt EV are high-end  features such as Chevrolet Infotainment system with 10.2-inch touchscreen and the small car’s respectable 2,673 liters (94.4 cubic feet) of passenger volume. 
 
The increase range for the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV is credited to a new lithium-ion battery pack. Engineering advances of the cell electrodes by Chevrolet’s battery team is cited as the reason for the improvement. Raising from 60 kilowatt-hour to 66 kilowatt-hour in energy capacity, the enhanced battery’s succeeds in the auto company’s objective to improve vehicle range without taking up additional space. Even more remarkable is that the 2020 Bolt EV’s new 430-kilogram battery pack is 5 kilograms lighter than the previous unit.

Battery-powered fully electric vehicles are still and will probably remain a niche product along motorists for the foreseeable future but that market is showing signs of growth. Thanks in part to the Canadian federal government’s Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program introduced this year, sales of battery-powered automobiles through the first six months of the year are 30 percent higher in 2019 compared to 2018. Electric or zero-emission vehicle sales now account for 3 percent of new automobile sales in Canada.
 
When General Motors released its quarterly sales in July, Canadian sales for the 1,716 Chevrolet Bolt EV for the first six months of 2019 reflected a 19.7 percent increase over previous year. Sales of the Bolt EV in the United States registered a 5.4 percent increase for the period between January to June in 2019 equating to 8,281 vehicles. In both Canada and the US, the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s sales data is closely comparable to the Nissan LEAF (LEAF sales in Canada outnumbered the Bolt EV by just 28 vehicles as of the beginning of July).

The 417-kilometer range of the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV will certainly help to combat the lingering issue of range anxiety that haunts the minds of potential electric car buyers. Although electric vehicles are not compatible with all driving lifestyles, some drivers may not be as affected so badly by an alternative to gasoline. According to a 2017 release by Statistics Canada titled Journey to Work: Key Results from the 2016 Census, the median distance from home to work for half of employed Canadians is 7.7 kilometers. With the 2020 Bolt EV, a one-way trip can be comfortably undertaken between Toronto and Windsor.

Pricing for the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV has yet to be announced.


Friday, August 9, 2019

IndyCar Commits To Hybrid Power Units for 2022 Race Cars

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada



Auto racing has long been a showcase forecasting the advancement of automotive technology. Countless aspects found in modern passenger cars owe their existence towards innovative engineers, designers and drivers finding a competitive edge on the race car.

Even though the technology transfer is less pronounced in an era where rules in motorsports is more policed then in earlier racing decades, a push remains by auto manufacturers and racing leagues to give audiences the impression that the vehicles on track have some connection to the production cars attached to a brand. As automakers are pushing towards greater use of electric-powered or electrified powertrain vehicles present a new opportunity for motorsports to promote a new future for road cars. In preparation for their 2022 season, the NTT IndyCar Series has announced intentions to introduce hybrid powerplants.

When competitors take the grid for the 2022 IndyCar Series, their vehicles will contain an internal combustion engine paired with a single-source hybrid unit. Consisting of a multi-phase motor, inverter and an electrical storage device gaining energy through regenerative braking, the single-source setup means a sole supplier will provide the electric propulsion system to all manufacturers. Specifications for the internal combustion engine portion of the power unit remains unannounced.  The two current IndyCar engine suppliers Chevrolet and Honda have both committed support for the upcoming adaptation for hybrid power units. IndyCar is also hopeful that the new propulsion guidelines will entice an additional manufacturer for the 2022 season.

Targeting a maximum performance potential greater than 900 horsepower, the upcoming hybrid power unit for IndyCar competition cars is eagerly welcomed for providing several benefits. Along with improving the efficiency of a liter of fuel, hybrid technology grants an enhanced burst of power currently referred to as push-to-pass in the racing series. Another major upgrade coming with the 2022 introduction of a hybrid powertrain is the inclusion of an on-board starting system that is mentioned as the first time for the IndyCar Series. An on-board starter will lessen the amount in stalled cars stopping on-track and reduce full course cautions. Though IndyCar Series (relating back to the Indy Racing League) have retained a manual starting system since its formation, this was not the case if counting the Champ Car World Series in which IndyCar merged with in 2008 concluding what was a draining war between two major North American open wheel series. In 2007, Champ Car series competitors exclusively campaigned a Panoz DP01 chassis with a Ford-badged Cosworth engine that utilizing an on-board starter.

While an energy recovery through braking works on road course and street circuits, a drawback in such a hybrid system would currently appear when the IndyCar Series is running on ovals. High-speed ovals such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or Texas Motor Speedway are far less dependant on braking therefore reducing the effect of an electrified performance. IndyCar has not stated in their announcement whether the hybrid technology will only be employed on non-ovals for the 2022 season but the limitations of a braking-based recovery system could provide a challenge for part of the IndyCar Series.

Back in 2010, another more innovative option for hybrid power unit hardware was mentioned when I was composing an article for Performance Racing News magazine looking ahead at the conceptualization for the 2012 IndyCar vehicle. With a multitude of options on the table (including the radical DeltaWing) the series senior technical director Les Mactaggart eluded to adapting a thermal energy recovery (TER) system that would convert heat into electrical power. This technology is currently being utilized by Formula 1 cars and is known as the MGU-H. For the time being, this hybrid technology is untapped on passenger cars but automotive supplier and longtime IndyCar Series supporter BorgWarner has recently shown an engine heat recovery system designed for long-haul transport trucks. For IndyCar racing, energy recovery using this method could potentially supply ample electrical power for a hybrid gasoline/electric powertrain to function effectively on oval and road courses.

The transition to hybrid powertrains in auto racing has presented a fair amount of growing pains. In sports car racing, vehicles powered by hybrid power units have achieved successes by beating non-electrified race cars taking the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In fact, since Audi’s 2012 victory with the R18 e-tron quattro, the overall winner at the big race at Le Mans has remained hybrid powered. The biggest issue with hybrid technology in sports car racing has been the cost of developing the systems that are unique to each vehicle. Resulting some highly elaborate hybrid race vehicles including an Audi R-18 e-tron quattro variant that used an electric turbocharger, the World Endurance Championship (WEC) had seen the departure of Audi and Porsche at the end of 2016 and 2017. 

The new IndyCar Series powerplant specifications in 2022 will coincide with the debut of a next generation chassis that is also under development.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Ford's On The Right Track After All-Electric F-150 Prototype Pulls 1,250,000 Pounds

Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company



If there is one thing to know about the Ford Motor Company, the automaker certainly does not tolerate a competitor’s attempt to best their F-Series pickup truck (and for good reason). Ford’s light duty F-150 as well as the tougher F-Series Super Duty products combine to become the best-selling vehicles in North America. Along with 42 consecutive years leading the American truck sales charts, the Ford F-Series brand in Canada is actively working on extending its moniker of being the country’s top-selling pickup truck to 54 years in 2019. To keep their position as a leader in the market, Ford is dedicated to providing a configuration to please almost any potential customer. In recent years, Ford’s truck line has showcased engineering and innovation meant to outshine the competition from General Motors and Ram as well as to a lesser degree Nissan and Toyota. With the anticipation that Tesla Motors is planning to enter the pickup truck market with an all-electric vehicle, Ford seeks to beat the newcomer at its own game.

The evitable shift of vehicles towards electrification for the future of motoring is embedded into Ford’s future lineup looking to increase fuel efficiency and reduce tailpipe emissions. By 2022, the blue oval auto company has committed to offer 40 electrified products across the world with their high-volume pickup truck included in their plans. First announced in late 2017, Ford is preparing a hybrid gasoline/electric-powered version of the F-150 is slated for release in 2020 containing a mobile generator system. This past week, a prototype to an upcoming all-electric Ford F-150 has shown that an environmentally-focused horizon can still consist of some serious muscle.

In a grand display that would raise the eyebrows of fans and even critics of electric vehicles, a load of 10 double-decker rail cars containing 42 2019 Ford F-150 pickup trucks was hauled a distance of 1,000 feet (304.8 meters) by an experimental battery-powered F-150. In a video presentation created by the auto manufacturer, four loyal owners of Ford trucks spanning several generations were treated to a show in a rail yard where the all-electric F-150 prototype performed two demonstrations. The first test of the all-electric Ford F-150 was with empty rail cars weighing 1,000,000 pounds translating to the equivalent of 500 US tons or approximately 453.59 metric tons (tonnes). In the second performance, the 42 Ford F-150 pick up trucks (representing each year of the vehicle’s top-selling status in the United States) weighed 1,250,000 pounds that’s also the equivalent of 625 US tons or just less than 567 tonnes. Both attempts were accomplished by Ford’s Linda Zhang (F-150 Chief Engineer) at the wheel of the prototype truck.


Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company



An astounding feat to observe from a pickup truck, it pales in comparison to the load handling of a freight locomotive. Railway company Union Pacific states the maximum capacity of their heavy axle rail cars can weigh up to 315,000 pounds. The all-electric Ford F-150 pulled equivalent of just less than four fully-loaded rail cars.

Under development, the all-electric Ford F-150 prototype is a loose representation of what kind of truck customers can expect. The demonstration of the more than 1,000,000-pound load pull was also accompanied by a disclaimer that the all-electric pickup truck was towing beyond the rated capacity of the intended production version. No major details given of the prototype or production all-electric Ford F-150 have been announced but more details should be provided before 2022. Among the 40 electrified vehicles Ford plans in three years are 16 battery-powered products.


Below is YouTube video from Ford's official channel of the more than 1,000,000 pull by the all-electric Ford F-150 prototype:



Sunday, July 21, 2019

After A Long Night, A Dominant Newgarden Finds Victory In Iowa

Photo Credit: Chris Owens



Enduring several hours of severe rain, the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series would finally run 300 laps the short oval of Iowa Speedway. Taking the checkered flag at 2:14 am Eastern time on Sunday morning, Josef Newgarden the Iowa 300 in fantastic style. Crossing the line 2.8527 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Newgarden and his #2 Hitachi sponsored car actually

For 2019, Iowa Speedway and fans successfully lobbied IndyCar to move the race back to Saturday night after three years being held on a Sunday afternoon. Looking forward to a nighttime short track ambiance as well as colder, more comfortable temperatures, weather didn't cooperate with the event as the 300-lap race was originally set for a 7:10 pm Eastern start time. Due to persistent rain and thunder in the Newton, Iowa area, the race was considerably delayed with the green flag being thrown on the 23-car field just 15 minutes before midnight in the Eastern Time Zone. While weather conditions would again disrupt the delayed race and even necessitate another red flag that lasted for 30 minutes, all 300 laps of the NTT IndyCar event were completed.

When the surface of the 0.894-mile oval was finally dry enough for competition, the Iowa 300 race started with Simon Pagenaud on pole. The #22 Team Penske-owned machine recorded a two-lap average speed of 180.073 miles per hour on Friday with Pagenaud positioning himself ahead of teammates Will Power and Josef Newgarden. With the three Chevrolet-powered Team Penske cars demonstrating supremacy in qualifying, the squad were hunting for only their second win on the track (Helio Castroneves' 2017 victory at Iowa Speedway for Roger Penske is also currently his final win in IndyCar).



Photo Credit: Chris Owens



Seemingly maintaining momentum after a conquering performance on the streets of Toronto in last weekend's Honda Indy race leading up to the start of the Iowa 300, the French driver would only lead the first two laps during the night race (the first lap was under caution). Simon Pagenaud would settle for a fourth place result as he continues to make a run for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series championship. Entering the 12th round, Pagenaud was trailing 39 points behind Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden.

The #12 Verizon car of Will Power took command at the front on lap 3 and would lead in total 49 laps. Power would be removed from contention in the Iowa 300 late when he received a stop and go penalty for an pit entry error concluding in a 15th place finish.

The fastest of the non-Chevrolet powered Team Penske cars in qualifying, Takuma Sato maintained close contact with the front of the field early. The #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team car would pit off sequence with the other lead cars. For the second IndyCar event in a row, a potential of a good finish for Sato was spoiled. On lap 187, Sage Karam in the Carlin Motorsport #31 car collided with the #30 car and would receive a penalty for avoidable contact with Sato. While both cars continued to circulate after the impact, Sato and Karam would ultimately retire from the Iowa 300 before the checkered flag. 

Other strong runs that were not reflected in the final race results came from Santino Ferrucci and Ed Carpenter. Ferrucci drove hard throughout the oval event but the rookie settled for a 12th place finish. A steady oval track ringer, driver/owner Carpenter saw a potential top-five performance go awry when he lost control of his #20 car out of turn two and collided with the wall. Carpenter was unhurt but the lap 264 caution would set up a final run for the IndyCar field in Iowa. The night would actually conclude well for Ed Carpenter as a car owner with efforts of the #21 team machine driven by Spencer Pigot.

In the final laps of the 2019 Iowa 300 after the restart, Newgarden shot forward to a steady lead but the reminder of the top-five was actively contested. Canada's James Hinchcliffe in the #5 car achieved a great restart that allowed him to move past Simon Pagenaud but Scott Dixon's #9 machine on fresher tires would surge to second. With Hinchcliffe taking third place, Simon Pagenaud and Spencer Pigot rounded out the top-five. Alexander Rossi came across the line in sixth place ahead of Zach Veach and Graham Rahal who managed to nurse his wounded #15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car to an eighth place result. Sebastien Bourdais and Tony Kanaan complete the top-ten.

The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series field will compete for their third consecutive weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on for the July 28th Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio race.



The Push Backwards: The Chevrolet Corvette's Long Path to Mid-Engine Production (Part 2)

Photo Credit: Chevrolet



Though the commitment to a Chevrolet Corvette with an engine positioned ahead of the passenger compartment remained the production standard for another generation, a host of concept cars would continue to sell notion of a different powerplant layout. Intended as a research vehicle, the Astro I featured a fiberglass body that did not use conventional doors. An electric-powered roof would open in concert with elevating seats provided a unique entry and exit experience for passengers for a vehicle measuring only 35.5 inches in height. Finished in Crimson-Flame Acrylic Pearl paint, the Astro I design study also consisted of an air-cooled engine, fully automatic air conditioning, twin grip steering wheel and active aerodynamics to facilitate emergency stops. Another concept vehicle displayed a more reality-focused proposal. The XP-880 concept car came to fruition in 1968 under the engineering expertise of Frank Winchell and Larry Nies. Using existing production components, the XP-880 (later be known as the Astro II) was exhibited as a practical possibility and made its first public appearance at the 1968 New York Auto Show. An XP-882 concept followed shortly after the Astro II featuring a transversely mounted V-8 powerplant.


Image from Chevrolet Astro I brochure.



In the 1970s, the experimentation of a mid-engined Corvette also involved the thought into a bold, new powerplant option. General Motors was one of several auto companies seriously evaluating rotary engine technology. Power density and fewer moving parts made rotary powerplants an attractive consideration for future sports cars that than-GM president Ed Cole would influence the corporate design staff and Chevrolet Engineering into the creation of two Corvette concepts.

The first was a Corvette 2-rotor that included a transversely-mounted 4.4-liter power unit connected to a three-speed automatic transmission. Incorporating fixed quad headlights into its sleek design, the Corvette 2-Rotor was also heavily outfitted with production-ready safety and convenience features such as tilting steering wheel, adjustable pedals, energy-absorbing bumpers and an 8.1 cubic foot luggage compartment.


Image taken from Corvette 2-Rotor brochure



The second rotary-powered, mid-engined Corvette debuting in 1973 would draw the most eyes. The Corvette 4-Rotor concept projected an even greater level of extremes for the sports car with the 6.4-liter displacement rotary engine generating an estimated between 350 and 400 horsepower. Bi-folding doors, fully-independent suspension as well as an on-board computer with a digital display was also found on the Aerovette. Rotary engine power would eventually be dismissed by General Motors as fuel economy and reliability issues caused it to lose favour as a viable production possibility. The second concept would found new life when Chevrolet replaced the rotary engine with a V-8 powerplant. A deeply raked 72-degree V windshield and a super aerodynamic fiberglass shape conforming to a 0.325 drag coefficient design resulted in the popular Aerovette in 1977.


Images taken from Corvette 4-Rotor brochure



Zora Arkus-Duntov retired from General Motors in 1975 leaving his plans for a rear mid-engined production Corvette unfulfilled under his guidance. Duntov’s immediate successor Dave McLellan was less enthusiastic about a mid-engine design as work would start on the C4 design. Designer and loyalist to Duntov’s vision Jerry Palmer reportedly commissioned the Chevrolet designers to explore a mid-engined Corvette using a turbocharged V-6 engine but were ultimately dismissed by McLellan who favored the more conventional, familiar front-engine layout.

While the Chevrolet Corvette lost its main champion for a mid-engined layout, the vision remained in General Motors through the 1980s. As the fourth-generation Corvette would go on sale, the essence of the American sports car also appeared on the race track in the form of a mid-engined prototype race car. The Corvette GTP was manufactured on a Lola chassis but featured bodywork resembling the latest C4 design. Debuting at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1985, the Corvette GTP was powered by either a turbocharged 4.3-liter V-6 or a 5.7-liter V-8 engine. Lee Racing first campaigned the car but was joined later in the 1985 season by Hendrick Motorsports who fielded a GM Goodwrench-sponsored machine. Over the course of five seasons, success on the race track for the Corvette GTP was limited to only two wins scored by the Hendrick Motorsports team in 1986.


Corvette GTP on cover of information brochure 



Despite a sadly lackluster outing in prototype sports car competition, the Corvette GTP would serve as inspiration for a motorsport-themed concept car. Premiering to the public in 1986, the Corvette Indy was an all-out technological and design research study into what the future of the high-performance car would look like. The Corvette Indy wore rounded, bubble-like exterior styling was reminiscent to the prototype race car while packaging a host of high-tech features.


Photo Credit: Chevrolet


The two-passenger interior incorporated a wraparound dash panel that extends controls onto the driver’s door while three CRT displays were positioned inside (one mounted far forward as a rearview monitor). Powered by a turbocharged, 2.65-liter overhead cam V-8 engine based closely on the powerplant used by IndyCar teams at the time (hence the name of the concept car), the Corvette Indy also employed computer traction control, drive-by-wire controls and four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive was previously envisioned on mid-engined Corvette-related design studies such as the CERV II. Four-wheel steering and a Lotus-developed active suspension system were also installed on the Corvette Indy (the latter technology was briefly tried on one of the Corvette GTP race cars in 1987.


Image of interior pod for Corvette Indy located within product brochure



In 1990, the CERV III concept car debuted featured a similar design to the Corvette Indy but utilized extensive carbon fiber construction and added production design cues including pop-up headlights as well as a C4-style roof pillar. The CERV III also included the propulsion of a twin-turbocharged 5.7-liter V-8 LT5 engine that produces 650 horsepower allowing the vehicle to reach a top speed of 225 miles per hour.


Photo Credit: Chevrolet



Although the Chevrolet Corvette retained a front-engine configuration through the C5, C6 and even the C7 models, rumours of a rear mid-engined version of the sports car coming persisted. In 2012, the idea was utilized again for a race track-prepped Corvette debuting as a Daytona Prototype sports car racing class machine. Like the Corvette GTP, the Chevrolet Corvette DP was constructed on a purpose-built race chassis fashioned with bodywork resembling the production car. Over a five-year run in the Rolex Sport Car Series (later becoming the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship), the Corvette DP accumulated 30 wins and four constructors’ titles.

With a mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette finally emerging as an imminent production reality, it could be seen as both exciting and scary to think of how much the classic American sports car may change in the future. Perhaps its only evolution to envision a hybrid powertrain or even all-wheel drive for the car. Maybe even a companion crossover version of the Corvette is on the cards. Now entering eight generations, the Chevrolet Corvette continues to concede to the imagination of performance fans.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Push Backwards: The Chevrolet Corvette's Long Path to Mid-Engine Production (Part 1)

Photo Credit: Chevrolet


On April 11th of 2019, the sports car world was mesmerized by a sight roaming the roads of New York City. A camouflaged version of the upcoming 2020 Corvette teased what would be one of the boldest iterations of the sports car seen the vehicle’s nearly 67-year history.

For 2020, the Chevrolet Corvette will operate with an engine mounted behind the driver and passenger for the first time. The Corvette’s retention of a front engine had been viewed as a personality trait for the American performance machine Opening new possibilities in aerodynamics and handling, the notion of a Corvette using this powertrain layout has actually been debated for decades. As the new car debuts on July 18th of 2019, the moment marks the conclusion of a historic battle within General Motors and Chevrolet dating back to the early days of the Corvette taking place with many forms.

The first seeds of a mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette were planted in 1960 through the creation of a racing/research car. The CERV I or Chevrolet Experimental Research Vehicle I was a single-seat race car that was fashioned by a team led by a man renowned as the father of the Corvette Zora Arkus-Duntov. Duntov spearheaded the Chevrolet sports car’s evolution from its initial presence as a charming eclectic yet underpowered roadster to a true performance vehicle by drawing on his hot rodding passion and than-modern engineering. At the time of the CERV I, Zora Arkus-Duntov saw the potential of a rear mid-engined vehicle and would spend a great amount of his energy convincing General Motors top executives in the prospect for the Corvette.



Photo Credit: Chevrolet


Envisioned as a hill climbing competitor, the CERV I was shaped as a lightweight open wheel machine utilized chassis components previously used in the construction of the 1957 Corvette SS race car and was propelled through a fuel-injected, all-aluminum V-8 engine. Resembling an Indy Car or Formula 1 racer, the CERV I recorded a lap speed of 167 miles per hour around the Daytona International Speedway and was also modified to achieve an average speed of 206 miles per hour. Duntov himself was behind the wheel of the CERV I in the latter run obtained in 1964 at General Motors’ high speed test track in Milford, Michigan. Intended as a one-off race car concept, the CERV I’s rear suspension design would prove helpful with the engineering of the second-generation Corvette.

Although the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray would retain a front ahead of its passenger compartment, sketches existed of a rear-engined prior to the introduction of the second-generation version of the American sports car. The CERV I as well as the potential seen early on with the unconventional rear-engined Corvair allowed the minds of engineers and designers to conceive radical alternatives. At the same time the Corvette Sting Ray was on showroom floors, the CERV II competition race car concept was developed as continuation of the CERV I. Propelled through a 377 cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine, the Chevrolet research vehicle reached a top speed of 200 miles per hour and could accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in an estimated 2.8 seconds. The CERV II was created as an open-cockpit vehicle but a closed-cockpit version of the concept car was also sketched. While the car was not involved in competitive events, the CERV II’s lightweight aluminum chassis would be adapted by Jim Hall’s Chaparral Cars for sports car racing.


Photo Credit: Chevrolet



In 1964, a rear-engined XP-819 concept car was created as a one-off test mule. Wearing a stunning design created by legendary Larry Shinoda (the visionary behind the Mako Shark show car, Ford Mustang Boss 302 and also an influencer in the Jeep Grand Cherokee), the XP-819 handled poorly due to its considerable rear weight bias. Intended to be destroyed (a practice auto companies commonly use after concept cars outlive their usefulness), the XP-819 was saved when NASCAR and auto racing mechanical wizard Smokey Yunick requested the vehicle as part of an effort to creating his own rear-engined Indy Car. The chassis of the car has survived to this day.

Through the 1960s, the rear mid-engined sports car was becoming a more tempting layout. This was particularly the case when corporate rival Ford developed the Ferrari-fighting GT40 that would succeed conquer Le Mans through the latter part of the decade. At Chevrolet, there were strong possibilities that the third-generation Corvette was going to be a rear mid-engined vehicle with full-scale mock-ups actually assembled by Zora Arkus-Duntov and the engineering team. Duntov was highly motivated in the push towards the idea but ultimately Chevrolet executives chose a vehicle based on Bill Mitchell’s Mako Shark concept.


Freehand sketch based on mock-up images of a proposed mid-engined Corvette. Drawn by Chris Nagy 



In 1968, Chevrolet instead introduced a C3 Corvette using Mako Shark II styling that again planted the engine ahead of the driver. A major stumbling block with new drivetrain layout at the time was the expense of retooling. The third-generation version of the Corvette would ultimately establish a cornerstone as seeing the American sports car as a more affordable alternative to other exotic, high-performance machines that also translated to greater profitability with unit sales. The C3 body style would be the most produced version of the Corvette. It’s also a possibility that the poor publicity generated by the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair might have contributed to resistance of a production-based rear mid-engined Corvette.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Simon Pagenaud Captures Honda Indy Toronto Pole

Photo Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher



The Honda Indy Toronto is the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series' only stop outside of the United States. With 22 well-tuned open wheel race cars and drivers arriving to do battle on temporary street circuit surrounding the grounds of Exhibition Place, a 85-lap main event awaits on Sunday. Prior to the head-to-head action that serves as the centerpiece for a weekend's worth of motoring festivities, Saturday qualifying would settle the running order for the 2019 Honda Indy. Competing on a tight, challenging track, preferential starting spot is coveted to ensure the best chance of Sunday success.

Recording the fastest lap time during Friday practice sessions, this year's Indianapolis 500 champion Simon Pagenaud parlayed this pace in Saturday's qualifying for the Honda Indy Toronto. The #22 DXC Technology-sponsored race car from the Team Penske stable demonstrated superiority on the 11-turn, 2874-kilometer (1.786-mile) Canadian street course by posting a 58.4293-second lap time in the fast six qualifying session. Pagenaud's second pole position in the event in three years, the Team Penske extends a streak of three-straight years of taking the top spot. "It was a great day, really. Great weekend so far. I've had the most fun ever in Toronto. The car has just been amazing." said Simon Pagenaud after his time trial performance. 

The Frenchman is still chasing his first victory on the streets of Toronto having achieved a career-best finish of 2nd in last year's event. In the entire history of the Honda Indy, only one reigning Indianapolis 500 winning driver claimed victory on the street course in the same year (Bobby Rahal in the inaugural event in 1986).

Pagenaud's best lap was enough to deny five-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of the pole. Just 0.1655 of a second slower than the #22 car, the #9 car in the hands of the New Zealand native has won three times at the event (two wins came in one weekend when IndyCar held a double race weekend at the track in 2013). Dixon's rookie teammate Felix Rosenqvist driving a #10 Chip Ganassi Racing machine posted a third-quickest time in qualifying following up on speed shown in Friday practice. Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi as well as Team Penske driver and 2015 Honda Indy winner Josef Newgarden round out the top-five.

Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe struggled to find a performance in qualifying that allowed his #5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car to cross over to the top half of field. Hinchcliffe will start the 2019 Honda Indy Toronto in 14th place. The Oakville-born driver remains optimistic on his chances on Sunday in a post-qualifying interview saying, "We've had really good Sundays, really good car on race days so far this year, so I'm confident we can pick off some of these guys. Our Arrow guys have been great in the pits, fastest in the pits at Road America. We just need to do what we've been doing on Sundays, execute well, make smart decisions on the racetrack, call strategy well and I think we'll be fighting for a top five."

Coverage for the 2019 Honda Indy Toronto is scheduled to start at 3:00 PM on Sportsnet One in Canada and will air on NBCSN in the United States.




IndyCar Series: 2019 Honda Indy Toronto


Pos # Driver Car # Team Engine Time Qual Round


1 Simon Pagenaud 22 Team Penske Chevrolet 58.4293 3
2 Scott Dixon 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 58.5948 3
3 Felix Rosenqvist 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 58.6793 3
4 Alexander Rossi 27 Andretti Autosport Honda 58.9215 3
5 Josef Newgarden 2 Team Penske Chevrolet 59.3103 3
6 Ed Jones 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 59.5353 3
7 Marco Andretti 98 Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb Autosport Honda 58.7663 2
8 Sebastien Bourdais 18 Dale Coyne with Vasser-Sullivan Honda 58.7781 2
9 Spencer Pigot 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 58.8221 2
10 Takuma Sato 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 58.9110 2
11 Ryan Hunter-Reay 28 Andretti Autosport Honda 59.0444 2
12 Graham Rahal 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 59.0985 2
13 Max Chilton 59 Carlin Chevrolet 59.4811 1
14 James Hinchcliffe 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 59.9293 1
15 Will Power 12 Team Penske Chevrolet 59.5508 1
16 Colton Herta 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda 59.0549 1
17 Santino Ferrucci 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda 59.9761 1
18 Zach Veach 26 Andretti Autosport Honda 59.2890 1
19 Matheus Leist 4 AJ Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 1:00.1853 1
20 Marcus Ericsson 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 59.6299 1
21 Sage Karam 31 Carlin Chevrolet 1:01.1134 1
22 Tony Kannan 14 AJ Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 59.7317 1

Sunday, March 10, 2019

IndyCar/Sportsnet Hastily Throws Together Terrible 2019 Broadcast Package

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


After a brief hibernation from auto racing, March brings forth a full motorsport awaking. While NASCAR season is a few weeks old and the Rolex 24 at Daytona kicked-off the start of sports car racing, we welcome an all-new Formula 1 and NTT IndyCar Series schedule for 2019. With the latter organization, we were left waiting news on the network and channels we can anticipate watching the 17 races of this year. With only 5 days remaining before the green flag dropped, news of the Canadian broadcast package was announced leaving me to quote Vito Corneone from The Godfather in inquiring to Sportsnet, Rogers Communications as well as the open wheel racing sanctioning body. “What have I ever done to you to treat me so disrespectfully?” I ask as a longtime motorsport fan eager to watch a new year of IndyCar competition without major obstacles. Sadly, the so-called broadcast deal made between Sportsnet and the NTT IndyCar Series equates to a slap in the face to a large fan base.

In the press release Sportsnet issued relating to news of their 2019 agreement, the headline didn’t even mention IndyCar but was instead promoted their annual pass for SN NOW+. An online streaming sports platform being sold at a yearly cost of $249.99 (generously offered for a $50 savings at $199.99 until April 1st), SN NOW+ will be the only place to watch all 17 races of the racing series. The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series coverage announcement was given just enough attention in effort to sell the service. To be fair and pains me to say, the cost per month of SN NOW+ isn’t the worst deal but it is no less a kick in the teeth to Canadian IndyCar viewers expecting races on more conventional television channels that already carry steep prices.

Besides the SN NOW+ online streaming service option, IndyCar fans are also being provided with 16 of 17 races on television through another premium cost platform. Sportsnet World (a $32.98 per month set of channels bundled with the WWE Network) is broadcast all events with exception to this weekend’s season opener on the street course in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sportsnet reported a scheduling conflict prevents the live airing of the race (an EPL Soccer game with Manchester United vs. Arsenal on that is also on the main Sportsnet channel). In a recent development announced less than 24 hours prior to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Sportsnet is now providing free live streaming of the event on their website sportsnet.ca. The same news was shared on the IndyCar website that also includes mention of free live streaming in Latin America. Only two races are slated to air by traditional means on television (Indianapolis 500 and the Honda Indy Toronto).

I’m pleased by the realization that my meager voice is not the only one being transmitted on this issue. The legendary Norris McDonald (a 2013 Inductee into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame) and the familiar, long-serving auto racing television personality Todd Lewis has also been vocal opponents to the Sportsnet/IndyCar package for 2019. According to an article written by McDonald, he reported inside knowledge that Rogers and Sportsnet were less than enthusiastic with the prospect of airing IndyCar racing for 2019. While dealing with disinterested management at Sportsnet, IndyCar was also pursuing this season’s agreement through a different avenue. An in-house IndyCar Media branch was setup to handle international rights for the auto racing series replacing the job previously held by ESPN International. Whether inexperience with the negotiating process played a part in the ultimate outcome is uncertain McDonald’s article also cited that IndyCar Media made no attempt to pursue other broadcast partnership options in Canada (namely with Sportsnet rival TSN).

Besides the attention of two well-known Canadian motorsport media personalities, the nature of the 2019 IndyCar broadcast agreement has become the source of content beyond our country’s border. Marshall Pruett for Racer Media & Marketing as well as a YouTuber named David Land are a few sharing the apparent nonsense of the Sportsnet/IndyCar deal with an international audience. Those commentators also brought up a relatively worse arrangement for Australia that currently contains no live race telecasts. Beside the American’s deal with NBC, the only other IndyCar media package gaining any praise is with Sky Sports F1 for the United Kingdom. The Sky Sports F1 itself is a pay-TV arrangement and it is also worth noting Sky and NBC is now both under the Comcast-NBCUniversal corporate structure.

Personally, I wonder how much a 12-year, 5.2 billion-dollar Canadian media rights deal with the NHL has encumbered Rogers Communications and Sportsnet. As much as I and many Canadians enjoy hockey, the deal seemed ridiculous even at the time of the announcement as NBC Sports negotiated a 10-year, 2.0 billion dollar agreement (in US money) for American television rights. After the 2015-2016 Stanley Cup playoffs where no Canadian clubs were featured in any games, Sportsnet slashed a large contingent of their on-air personalities as well as several employees representing behind the scenes talent for hockey broadcasts heading into the next season. A similar issue may be plaguing ESPN in the United States recalling an analysis produced by the YouTube channel called the Company Man. The video called “The Decline of ESPN” pointed at the increase costs in securing major professional sports rights as one of the contributing factor to rising cable fees and massive layoffs. The obvious concern is the financial demands from elite organizations like the NHL, NBA or NFL is leaving a lot less funds for other sports.

While Sportsnet has apparently failed the motorsport base in Canada wanting to watch events on television, some solace may be best found with signals from the United States. According to American television schedule for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series, eight races are slated to be televised on the main NBC channel with the remainder on NBCSN. I’ve prepared the following list below detailing the race events being shown on NBC that should be available on basic pay TV and perhaps over-to-air in some locations.

NBC Main Channel Broadcasts of 2019 NTT IndyCar Series

Date Event Time

May 11 Indianapolis Road Race 3 PM
May 26 Indianapolis 500 11 AM
June 1 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 1 3 PM
June 2 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 2 3 PM
June 23 REV Group Grand Prix at Road America 12 PM
July 28 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio 3 PM
Sept 1 Grand Prix of Portland 3 PM
Sept 22 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey 2:30 PM


Outside of the United States, the complexion of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series broadcast program can only be summed up with the phase “What a mess”. Instead of various interesting storylines attached to a whole new season of open wheel competition, cheering for our national motorsport athlete James Hinchcliffe or any other driver for that matter, the focus has been on how dedicated IndyCar viewer in Canada will even be able to watch this weekend’s race. Was it ignorance, incompetence, greed or the combination of all of these factors that resulted in what can be easily described as a bumbled 2019 broadcast viewing experience.