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  • Fast Friday: Norris’ eSports beef and a new Lamborghini

    Need your motorsport news fix? Welcome to Fast Friday!

    This is where Racing Edge discusses all the main talking points from the past week in motorsport.

    Keep up to date with the main motorsport news below.

    News: F1 set to reduce budget cap to $145 million

    News F1
    TEST T2 BARCELLONA - VENERDÌ 28/02/20 - CHARLES LECLERC © Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

    Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn says next season’s team budget cap will drop to $145 million.

    Cost-cutting measures are in full flow to combat the effects brought by the global Coronavirus pandemic.

    Brawn hopes team budgets will tighten across future seasons, to help secure the sustainability of the sport. He held talks with F1 CEO Chase Carey and the FIA earlier this week. Teams have been given time to reflect on the proposals.

    Brawn told Sky Sports F1:The message is clear. We’ve got to cut costs."

    He continued: “We started at $175m, that was a long battle to get it there. With the current crisis we’re now going to start at $145m and the discussion really is how much further we can drive [it down] over the next few years.”

    Ferrari, the oldest constructor in F1, had initially opposed cutting team budgets below $175 million. Other teams, such as McLaren, welcomed further reductions to help level the playing field. However, Brawn indicated that a redistribution of prize money could help bridge the gap between top teams and the midfield.

    Brawn said: “There’s going to be a much more equitable prize fund in the new agreement. The midfield teams are going to be much better off in terms of their proportion of prize money.”

    The COVID-19 outbreak has had an extreme effect on motor racing, in particular Formula 1. The first 10 races of the 2020 season were postponed or cancelled.

    Teams will also use their 2020 cars next season. F1 is delaying 2021's revamp of technical regulations until 2022.

    Carey is hoping racing will restart in the near future but says F1 is preparing for all possibilities. This includes a remote possibility of not racing in 2020.

    News: F1 suffers massive revenue hit due to pandemic

    Liberty Media announced the F1 championship had suffered an 84% drop in revenue between January and March compared to last year’s figures.

    With the 2020 season yet to start due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Liberty said F1’s earnings had plummeted from $246 million this time last year to just $39 million.

    Race fees, sponsorship and broadcasting rights make up F1's main source of income.

    The championship earned $198m through those avenues in the opening quarter of 2019. However, it raised just $13 million across the same period this year.

    News: UK government rejects McLaren Group loan plea

    UK Government ministers have reportedly rejected a $185 million loan plea from the McLaren Group.  

    Sky News reports the owners of the McLaren F1 team have seen their bid for government funding denied. The McLaren Group had applied for the funding to help support the business through the current pandemic.  

    Mumtalakat, the sovereign wealth fund of the government of Bahrain, majority owns the Mclaren Group. McLaren employs around 4,000 staff in the UK – many of which have been furloughed amid the crisis.

    Lando Norris involved in major eSports beef

    McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris was involved in a bizarre incident during IndyCar’s eSports event last weekend.

    Reigning Indy 500 champion Simon Pagenaud seemingly conspired to knock Norris out of the simulated iRacing event – a shortened version of the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    Norris was leading before Pagenaud was seemingly heard saying “We take Lando out, let’s do it” on his stream. Pagenaud then intentionally slowed down before Norris collided with him two laps out from the finish.

    Pagenaud, who later called Norris to apologise, wanted McLaren’s other driver, Oliver Askew, to win the race. Askew races IndyCar in real life.

    The incident blew up on social media with Pagenaud drawing criticism from fans and McLaren CEO Zak Brown. It sparked discussion on how virtual racing should be taken more seriously by competitors.   

    W Series launches new eSports championship

    The W Series has launched an all-female online eSports league to “inaugurate, publicise, promote and empower a shared commitment to raising female sim racing visibility.”

    W Series hope the new eSports league will help diversify “what has previously been seen as a predominantly male-dominated activity.”

    Inaugural championship winner Jamie Chadwick and runner-up Beitske Visser will compete in the league. The W Series 2020 season is yet to start.

    The league will feature on the iRacing platform and includes 10 races. Drivers will use a digital replica of the Tatuus Formula Renault 2 car. The car is similar in performance to the Formula Renault 3 race car used in W Series.  

    Races will largely mimic real regulations, with some reverse-grid starts also included. Drivers will earn points during the league. The driver who secures the most points after 10 races declared the title winner.  

    Lamborghini launches new Huracan Evo RWD Spyder

    Lamborghini

    This is social distancing done right! (Although, not for Android users). Lamborghini virtually unveiled its latest model, the beautiful Huracan Evo RWD Spyder, using ‘Augmented Reality’ this week.

    The Italian marque used Apple’s AR Quick Look to give customers an innovative first look at its new V10 sports car. All you need to experience the new Huracan Evo RWD Spyder is an iPhone or iPad with iOS 11 and an A9 processor or later.

    News Lamborghini

    Lamborghini claims “the virtual experience enables the viewer to rotate and expand the size of the vehicle, including on a 1:1 scale, looking closely at both its exterior and interior details and taking pictures of the new car with a high level of photorealism.”

    The feature will soon be available across the full Lamborghini range.

    The Lamborghini Huracan Evo RWD Spyder features 610 bhp and produces 560 Nm of torque. It can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 324 km/h.

    Lamborghini announced recently that production had restarted at its headquarters in Bologna, Italy.

    Classic Heritage Editions of the Lotus Elise launched

    Lotus has launched four very cool, new limited-edition versions of the Elise. Each features a distinct livery which pays tribute to the marque’s rich racing history.

    The new models showcase iconic and instantly recognisable colour schemes from the British manufacturer’s famous racing past. The first model is black and gold. It references the Lotus Type 72D driven to five race victories by Emerson Fittipaldi in the 1972 Formula 1 season.

    A red, white and gold model echoes the Type 49B driven by Graham Hill in 1968. A blue, red and silver version showcases the colours of the 1980 Lotus Type 81. Nigel Mansell, Elio de Angelis and Mario Andretti all drove the Type 81.

    The final colour scheme pays homage to the blue and white Lotus Type 18 design from 1960. It was the first Lotus car to achieve an F1 pole position and win at the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix. The Type 18 was driven by the late Sir Stirling Moss.

    A production run of 100 examples will be built. Lotus will base final numbers of each model on customer demand. Each example will include an exclusive numbered build plaque on the dashboard.

    The cars offer enhanced exterior and interior specs of the Elise Sport 220. They include some features that are normally options – such as DAB radio. Further optional extras such as a fiberglass hardtop roof and titanium exhausts are available. 

    NASCAR confirms updated schedule

    NASCAR confirmed three tracks will have races reassigned in May as the championship prepares to restart.

    Last week, NASCAR confirmed it would aim to restart its 2020 season on May 17 following the delay caused by the pandemic. Three races originally slated in May have now been revised, with more schedule updates planned to follow.

    Events are moving from Chicagoland Speedway, Richmond Raceway (spring) and Sonoma Raceway to Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

    And finally…

    How far would you go to buy a Lamborghini? A 5-year-old boy from Utah achieved internet fame this week for his extreme dedication.

    According to Utah Highway Patrol, the boy was stopped by state troopers having reportedly stolen his family’s Dodge Journey. Apparently, spurred by anger over his mother’s refusal to buy him a new Lambo, the boy took her car and set off for California to buy his own – with $3 in his pocket!

    He made it three miles before troopers pulled him over. Luckily, no one was harmed!

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