INDYCAR News and Notes – Dec. 15, 2015

1. Schmidt Ready to Race Again, in iRacing Competition
2. Kanaan Looks Forward to Brazilian Karting Event
3. Tickets for Legendary IMS Racing Season on Sale
4. Of Note

1. Schmidt Ready to Race Again, in iRacing Competition: When some of the top racers in the world square off for the fifth iRacing Pro Race of Champions online simulation competition Dec. 16, they’ll be joined by former INDYCAR driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights team owner Sam Schmidt.

It will be the first competitive “driving” for Schmidt since the 1999 Verizon IndyCar Series season, a year in which he won the penultimate race and finished fifth in the championship. Schmidt sustained a spinal cord injury in a January 2000 testing accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Schmidt, though, has returned to the wheel of a street car thanks to his participation in the Arrow Electronics SAM (Semi-Autonomous Motorcar) Project. For the last two years, Schmidt, 51, has worked with Arrow, the sponsor of the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports No. 5 Verizon IndyCar Series entry, in developing a system that allows disabled people the ability to drive using their own head movements.

Schmidt drove four laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in a 2014 Corvette Stingray equipped with advanced electronics in May 2014 and drove the SAM Corvette around the Long Beach street circuit and Sonoma Raceway permanent road course earlier this year.

For the iRacing event, Schmidt will use a modified Motion Pro II simulator designed by CXC Simulations equipped with the same advanced technology, controlling his virtual race car using head movements to turn and sensors to accelerate and brake.

The field of pro drivers – which includes Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Stefan Wilson and Martin Plowman and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires driver Kyle Kaiser – will compete in digital versions of the GT3 class BMW Z4 for 20 laps on iRacing’s laser-scanned replica of the Watkins Glen “Cup” circuit for a $2,500 donation to the Wilson Children’s Fund made in the winner’s name.

It is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET and will be streamed on The Wilson Children’s Fund benefits the family of late Verizon IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson, an advocate of iRacing and multi-time participant in the Pro Race of Champions.

2. Kanaan Looks Forward to Brazilian Karting Event: It began in 1997 as an informal activity between friends to celebrate the end of the motorsports season, and in the interceding years the 500 Milhas Granja Viana kart race has grown into a major competition and event in Brazil.

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan, a founder of the charity event, is looking forward to again driving in the 700-lap or 12-hour race (whichever comes first) Dec. 19.

“It’s a race we started many years ago and one that I’ll do until I’m not capable of doing,” said Kanaan, who recently underwent surgery for a sports hernia. “It’s for a good cause and we can race against some of the young guns and some of the up-and-coming drivers are trying to make it into racing and they’re excited that we’re coming back to race them. For me, it’s always a great time.”

Multiple Verizon IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy drivers have participated in the event through the years. Kanaan has teamed with longtime friend and former Formula One and Verizon IndyCar Series pilot Rubens Barrichello and other co-drivers to win the race nine times. This year, Kanaan has fellow Verizon IndyCar Series star James Hinchcliffe on his team at the karting facility in Limeira in the state of Sao Paulo.

Event organizer Felipe Giaffone, a former Verizon IndyCar Series driver, said he expects 70 entries featuring 150 drivers.

3. Tickets for Legendary IMS Racing Season on Sale: Tickets are on sale for the legendary and historic 2016 racing season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fans who have not already pre-ordered tickets can call or visit the IMS ticket office or go to to purchase seats for events that include the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

“The 2016 season will be full of landmark moments that people will talk about for years to come,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “Excitement has been building every day with Project 100 improvements, which enhance the sense of history and tradition that our fans know and love. Ultimately, as the eyes of the sporting world focus solely on the Speedway for the 100th Running of the Indy 500, fans won’t want to miss their chance to see history in the making.”

The season kicks off May 14 with the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, held on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile IMS road course. Will Power will be on hand to defend his crown while competing against all of the biggest names in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Next up is the 100th Running of the Indy 500 on May 29, a once-in-a-generation celebration of speed, progress and the pursuit of glory. Helio Castroneves will once again try for his fourth Indy 500 title, a hallowed record shared by A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. Defending champion Juan Pablo Montoya chases a third win.

Other events on the IMS schedule include the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational from June 16-19 and the NASCAR weekend July 22-24. Tickets are available 24 hours a day at or at the IMS ticket office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET weekdays by calling (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700, or in person at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street in Indianapolis.

4. Of Note: Round 9 of the 16th Street Racing League virtual racing competition, a collaboration among INDYCAR, iRacing and RACER magazine that pits standout amateur online racers with professional drivers on iconic tracks, takes place at 8 p.m. ET today. This week’s race will be held at Texas Motor Speedway and streamed live on . … Juncos Racing has named Zachary Claman DeMelo as its second driver for the 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season. DeMelo, from Montreal, has a long history in karting and competed in F3 Cup and Formula Renault 2.0 in Europe in 2014. DeMelo will team with Californian Kyle Kaiser in Indy Lights. … The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is seeking volunteers for its race weekend June 3-5, 2016, that includes the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans doubleheader on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Areas where volunteers are needed include circuit marshals, customer relations, food services, chalet services, information booths, track services, ticket scanners, transportation/delivery services, ushers and more. For more information, visit and select the “Volunteer” link.