Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TELECON: Luczo Dragon – De Ferran Motorsports

(Photo courtesy of Luczo Dragon De Ferran Motorsports)

So once again it seems somewhat Karmic, as Grizzled ‘Journo Joe Saward spoke about the need to feel positive towards the upcoming Formula 1 season and how he was growing a wee bit tired of all the negativity surrounding the “Off-season” in one of his posts this morning.

Thus opening up the No Fenders mailbag I was bowled over by the emails awaiting me… Announcing that Luczo Dragon Racing and De Ferran Motorsports had merged operations, while even better yet, Firestone Indy Lights Media Relations (PR) Guru Arni Sribhen had once again given me the opportunity to listen-in on the big teleconference this afternoon… As I must say that this news hit me like a bolt ‘O lightning! (As in GREAT NEWS!)

As after all I’m a big fan of Gil’s, having long thought he’s a “Class Act” and I’m thrilled he didn’t wind-up mergifying Operations with some Dude named Tony G, along with being very impressed by Jay Penske and Steven Luczo’s Indy Car Racing Team. As I’d pestered Indiana Bureau Chief Danny B for an LCR Cap way back in 2007 when they ran the then upstart Ryan Briscoe in the No. 12 (“Third”) Satellite Penske Racing Car, where he finished ahead of Ahem! Someone named DannaCar…

Not to mention Steve Luczo’s ties to the Pacific Northwest and the looming Triangle ‘O Death for the fast approaching 2011 Major Soccer League season…

Yet my one ‘N only Black mark upon the LCR Team is that I CANNOT consciously root for or support any Racing Team/Driver combination that actively participates under the auspices of Military Sponsorship… And thus I cannot bring myself to cheer on ‘RAFA, (nor Dan Wheldon) even if he’s a byproduct of the Champ Car Atlantics program…

But I anxiously await the Telecon to see if any “Hard” answers will be revealed, like; will there be a second car? And will its driver be none other than Takuma Sato? Since it would seem odd that Ernesto Viso is testing with KV Racing Technology if Taku-san was going there, eh? Along with Keith Wiggins having told us that EJ “What, Me Worry?” Viso has already signed a contract with somebody. And I seem to recall that ‘Bia (Ana Beatriz) has some ties to Robert Clarke who used to work with De Ferran… And isn’t there some Sao Paolo Indy Car race just around the corner?

So I guess my lunchtime plans just changed as I await tuning into the news conference and will scribble the resta my thoughts below shortly…

Otay! So I found it to be a very entertaining Telecon, as I found all three of the new Racing Team Owner’s cast to be hilarious and much laid back… As Gil seems to be the consonant Gentleman when it comes to providing answers/sound bites to his questioner… As I just sat there laughing loudly over his reply: Do you want the short or long answer to my driving again at Indy? The short answer is NO… And the long answer is NO!

So what did we learn today? Whale Curt Cavin thinks he’ll have difficulties saying Luczo Dragon Racing De Ferran Motorsports (LCR-DFM) in a sentence, and that the Team will continue to work out of its Gasoline Alley premises over Gil’s Brownsburg Base.

The Team will focus its immediate energy on solely running a one car entity for Rafael Matos the entire season, with hopes of building to a two car stable sometime in the future – hopefully.

Also Gil can tell Rafa to Stay Calm in Portuguese way better then either Jay (Penske) or Steve (Luczo) can!

And although two key members of DFM have previously departed, I.e.; ‘ANDO, a.k.a. John Anderson and Will Phillips, Gil mentioned that 3 DFM members have been meshed into the LDR Operation and perhaps more in the future?

As to the rumours ‘bout Taku-san (Sato) joining the Team, De Ferran noted that those rumours seemed to be fueled by their past association at Honda’s Formula 1 Team and Gil and Takuma simply chatted about IndyCar Racing in general and that we should really inquire with Takuma regarding his racing future…

Jay mentioned that of course Graham Rahal would be an asset to anyone’s Racing Team, but it’s currently not in the cards so to speak… Which of course you wouldn’t expect them to tip their hands to us, would yuhs? As I don’t know the status of Graham ‘Mmm-Mmm-Good! Rahal, Mickey D’s and Newman Haas Lanigan, etc, but Luczo Dragon certainly seems to put together a good product racecar-wise, eh?

And I was glad that Gil pointed out how his managerial, nee Team Owner experience was what he liked to consider a culmination of his lifetime of experience; from his Go Karting days with his father, who just so happens to be an Engineer, to working with The Wee Scot JYS (Jackie Stewart) at Paul Stewart Racing, to Jim Hall and then The Captain, and he guesses now that there’s another Penske in the mix, i.e.; Jay…

And funniest question of the day goes to Gil being asked if Taku speaks in Portuguese to Gil, or Gil speaks Japanese to Taku-san? To which a laughing De Ferran said we speak in English, he says a few words, then I say a few words but I was laughing too hard to really hear the final answer!

So although I guess we really didn’t learn a whole lot from this Teleconference, nevertheless it’s great to have Gil De Ferran back in the Paddock fulltime with a Blue-chip Racing Organization…

And who knows what the future will bring, eh? Could we see a “One-off” second car entry for this year’s I500? With perhaps ‘Bia behind the keyboard? And I still think Takuma could show-up? As after all he was trying to get a ride with Red Bull’s little sister Scuderia Toro Rosso last year, as I’m guessing the exclusive Franks Energy Drinks deal has lapsed with the Speedway? So who knows what 2010 will bring us?

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