2012 F1RWRS Indianapolis 500
The 2012 F1RWRS Indianapolis 500 was a 500 mile car race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the first F1RWRS Indianapolis 500. It was the season ending race for the 2012 Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series season and was won by Japanese driver Hagane Shizuka.
The buildup of the race was focused on the titanic championship battle between Englishwoman and eventual champion Pippa Mann, former Formula One World Champion Chris Dagnall and German Kay Lon. Lon lead the championship heading into the race with 72 points with Dagnall on 71 and Mann on 67. With the race came an expanded starting grid, which O'Lauchlan Motorsport took full advantage of by signing sacked HRT driver Frank Zimmer alongside Dean O'Lauchlan. Former F1 World Champion Daniel Melrose was replaced by Frenchman Phillippe Nicolas after the Australian had a spate of crashes at the private MRT test at the Talladega Superspeedway before the race, followed by an accident at the United States round at Laguna Seca.
In all there were 33 cars that were ready to go at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and all 33 were guaranteed a start so long as they had a car that could race, but there was still pride and a good starting position for the race on the line. Early on, it was James Davies setting the pace as part of the 4 car Manx racing effort in a duel with Dagnall and Frank Zimmer. It soon became apparent that the cars were incredibly quick around the speedway, and by the end of the session it was former champion Nathanael Spencer on pole with a time which was quick enough to be the new lap record around the famed racetrack, and almost quick enough to claim the closed course speed record. Spencer was joined on the front row by Sammy Jones, who had a disappointing season up to that point, and the first of the Manx racing stable cars in James Davies. The championship contenders were relatively close together with Pippa Mann on the outside of row 2, Lon in the middle of row 3 and Dagnall on the inside of row 4.
The start was relatively clean with pole sitter Spencer leading the field for the first 3 laps before being overtaken by James Davies on lap 4. Lap 7 saw the first caution of the day with American Collin Pratchett spinning on the exit of turn 2 but he managed to avoid the wall. Within 3 laps the race was back underway with Davies pulling out a small gap on the field. Pippa Mann meanwhile was making her intentions known as she scythed her way through the field from 8th after the restart to be 2nd after 20 laps and in the lead on lap 29. Damon Cannon, who was running on the fringes of the top 10, became the first retirement of the day on lap 31 as he understeered into the wall at turn 4, bringing out the second caution of the day. HRT opted to bring Rhys Davies in under this caution, which turned out to be the beginning of a series of events which left the former F1 World Champion many laps down by race end. The race went green again on lap 35 with Mann, determined to win the championship, streaking away from the field.
This caution period cost ArrowTech, Australian Minardi and HRT badly as all 5 cars who hadn't already stopped did between laps 39 and 43 under green, putting them a lap down and seemingly out of contention. The race stayed green when most of the field came streaming in for their first of three scheduled stops a dozen or so laps later, including race leader Mann on lap 58, handing the lead back to James Davies. Davies himself pitted on lap 62 which gave Douglas Mann the lead of the race. The very next lap Darren Older Jr collided with Jeroen Krautmeir as the Brit was leaving the pits. The resulting accident brought out the caution which was a blessing for both Dean O'Lauchlan and Hagane Shizkua as the pair, as well as Mann who was leading the race, were all on two stoppers along with Frank Zimmer and the two ECBs of Thomas De Bock and Aurelien Moll. De Bock, O'Lauchlan and Shizuka all pitted under the yellow with O'Lauchlan beating the trio out of the pits.
The accident took a while to clean up so it wasn't until lap 69 that the race went green again with Mann leading from Moll and Zimmer. Zimmer and Moll both pitted on lap 73 with Mann coming in one lap later handing the lead to O'Lauchlan. He and Chris Dagnall, who had made his way up to 2nd in the pit stop sequence, started pulling away from the field. In the midfield the action was frantic as Kay Lon, who had been anonymous up till that point, was trying to claw his way back through the field after several poor restarts. Then, on lap 91 there was huge accident on the back straight involving 7 cars in the lower-midfield. Nicolas Steele had slid high into the turn 2 wall and came back down collecting Giovanni Roda, Phoenix McAllister, Tristan Jung, David Koczo, Phillippe Nicolas and Rhys Davies in the ensuring melee. Incredibly, despite the carnage, none of the cars retired as they all pitted for repairs under the long caution that followed. Many people also used it as an opportunity to get another one of their stops out of the way.
The restart on lap 104 proved to be a bad one of O'Lauchlan as both Dagnall and De Bock blasted past on the run down to turn 1. The trio led the way from Shizuka, Spencer, Lon and Daniel Martins, who was out of sequence with the people ahead of him. Pippa Mann, who was down to 10th by this point, started making her way back through the field to be 5th when the 5th caution of the day came out on lap 120 for Luca Pacchiarini, already lapped once by this point and nearly lapped again by new race leader De Bock, planted his car into the turn 2 wall. Shizuka and Zimmer both took advantage of this caution to come in for their second stops as from that point, with the help of a few cautions, they could both make it to the end of the race on fuel with no more stops. However both needed cards to fall their way to end up with any meaningful results. The race went back to green conditions on lap 123.
The green flag running didn't last long though as on lap 127 Jung, who was several laps down after the earlier collision, spun Roda around heading onto the front stretch whilst battling for 23rd place. This brought out the yellow flags for the 6th time and the vast majority of the field took the opportunity to make their final stops. As the race was about to restart, it was O'Lauchlan back in the lead from Shizuka and Gary Cameron, who had been solidly in points contention virtually all race. The race went green on lap 130 with O'Lauchlan setting a blistering pace, including a new race lap record for the Speedway, before pitting on lap 144 when the caution was brought out yet again for Pacchiarini who was put into the turn 3 wall when Steele was trying to lap the Italian. O'Lauchlan emerged from his pit stop 8th ahead of teammate Zimmer but behind championship contenders Lon and Dagnall. The race went back to green on lap 147 but immediately went back to yellow when the lapped Richie White hit the wall at turn 2 after a suspected engine failure sprayed oil all over his rear tyres. Rhys Davies' horrible run continued when he spun on the oil seconds later and backed it into the wall on the exit of turn 2 forcing the Australian to pit for more repairs. The caution stayed out until lap 152 as the mess from the accident scene.
Even with less than 50 laps to go the action was as frantic as ever. James Davies provided most of the entertainment as a horrendously bad pit stop meant at the restart he was down to 19th, behind Ashley Watkinson in the second HRT and absolutely furious about it. Up front and it was a straight fight between Shizuka and Cameron for the win as they pulled away, with the help of lapped traffic, from the other runners on the lead lap; Mann, De Bock, Spencer, Lon and Dagnall. It soon became clear however that Spencer was holding Lon and Dagnall up as it became apparent to all that the Englishman had sustained minor steering damage after running over debris earlier in the race. The next caution period was on lap 169 when Barii Mori slid wide into the turn 2 wall bringing to a close what had been a mediocre race for the Japanese driver. Resi Respati, who was up to an incredible 8th having just unlapped himself was unable to avoid debris from the accident which meant he also fired into the turn 2 wall. Respati's hit was particularly hard and he was taken to the track medical center for observation. He was later released with a clean bill of health.
The race went back to green on lap 175 with Shizuka retaining the lead off the restart ahead of Cameron. James Davies, thanks to the accident for Respati, was up to 15th having also passed Watkinson, Shinobu Katayama and Finn Jari Kekkonen. Davies passed Sammy Jones on the restart whilst the Englishman struggled to get up to pace, while right at the back of the queue Lon and Dagnall took advantage of the restart to leapfrog Spencer, whose steering problem was progressively getting harder to manage. The heartbreak story of the day happened on lap 178 when Gary Cameron's gearbox seized and put him into the wall at turn 2, which had claimed many a victim over the course of the race and nearly took Spencer with him, who had just been lapped. Shizuka was now alone in the lead as the caution came out for 10th and final time that race. Pippa Mann, De Bock, Lon and Dagnall were still on the lead lap but all were stuck near the tail of the queue of lapped cars.
On the final restart of the day on lap 181 Shizuka skipped away yet again and went on to win the race. Behind him however the action wasn't over yet as Chris Dagnall got another excellent run on the return to green conditions, this time robbing Lon of 4th place on the run to turn 3 but neither of them could quite keep up with Mann and De Bock for the minor placings. Spencer's problem almost became unmanageable as he was eventually passed by the O'Lauchlan Motorsport cars of O'Lauchlan and Zimmer, but he just hung on to the final points position in 8th place from a charging Douglas Mann. James Davies got another position on the restart as he passed Dave Simpson but he made no further progress as he got stuck behind Daniel Martins for the rest of the race. Up front and the battle for second was heating up as on lap 191 De Bock got past Pippa Mann as they came up to lap Pratchett, who was many laps down. Mann got back past De Bock 2 laps later thanks to lapped traffic, this time being the MRT of Phillippe Nicolas. Mann then pulled out a small gap on De Bock by the end of the race but the pair were over half a minute behind the rampaging Shizuka by race end. The 2nd place finish was enough for Mann to claim her first championship win ahead as Dagnall was 4th and Lon only 5th with the O'Lauchlan cars not too far behind in 6th and 7th.
|3||18||Thomas De Bock||ECB-Gillet||200||+33.76||17||16|
|4||14||Chris Dagnall||Jones-Renault||199||+1 LAP||10||10|
|5||11||Kay Lon||Kahama-Ford||199||+1 LAP||8||8|
|6||35||Dean O'Lauchlan||O'Lauchlan-BMW||199||+1 LAP||16||9|
|7||36||Frank Zimmer||O'Lauchlan-BMW||199||+1 LAP||12||4|
|8||1||Nathanael Spencer||Prospec||199||+1 LAP||1||5|
|9||27||Douglas Mann||MAN||199||+1 LAP||4|
|10||18||Aurelien Moll||ECB-Gillet||199||+1 LAP||18|
|11||30||Daniel Martins||ArrowTech-Lamborghini||198||+2 LAPS||23|
|12||10||James Davies||AMR-DeLorean/Peel||198||+2 LAPS||3|
|13||19||Dave Simpson||Minardi-BMW||198||+2 LAPS||24|
|14||29||Jari Kekkonen||ArrowTech-Lamborghini||198||+2 LAPS||19|
|15||20||Shinobu Katayama||Minardi-BMW||198||+2 LAPS||28|
|16||7||Ashley Watkinson||Holden||198||+2 LAPS||11|
|17||13||Sammy Jones||Jones-Renault||198||+2 LAPS||2|
|18||3||Phillippe Nicolas||MRT-BMW||195||+5 LAPS||27|
|19||21||Phoenix McAllister||Phoenix-Honda||191||+9 LAPS||21|
|20||6||David Koczo||Calinetic-Ford||191||+9 LAPS||29|
|21||24||Tristan Jung||Trueba-Piaggio||190||+10 LAPS||26|
|22||15||Collin Pratchett||ARC-Porsche||190||+10 LAPS||33|
|23||8||Rhys Davies||Holden||190||+10 LAPS||13|
|24||23||Giovanni Roda||Trueba-Piaggio||189||+11 LAPS||31|
|25||28||Nicolas Steele||Pacchia-Coswojuddhartlambo||187||+13 LAPS||32|
|26||2||Gary Cameron||Prospec||178||Accident T2*||2|
|27||37||Resi Respati||Flying Fish-Ford||169||Accident T2*||30|
|28||12||Barii Mori||Kahama-Ford||167||Accident T2*||15|
|Ret||33||Richie White||Lotus-Judd||146||Accident T2||22|
|Ret||31||Darren Older Jr||CR-Ford||63||Collision||20|
|Ret||32||Damon Cannon||CR-Ford||31||Accident T4||9|
|Race average speed: 129.4126 mph|
|Lead changes: 10 between 8 drivers|
|Cautions: 10 for 49 laps|
- Pole: Nathanael Spencer: 0:37.40 (240.6417 mph)
- Fastest Lap: Dean O'Lauchlan: 0:37.41 (240.5774 mph)
Eight drivers led the race, with a total of ten lead changes.
| Previous race:
2012 United States Grand Prix
| Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series Championship
| Next race:|
2013 Tasman Grand Prix
| Previous race:
|Indianapolis 500|| Next race:|
2013 Budweiser 500