Phoenix Motorsport FV Team have today revealed their inaugural challenger at the highest level of virtual motorsport, the PX1. Phoenix team principal and founder Alex Easton, along with Carson Davenport, Sergio Alvarez, and reserve driver James Thompson, were all present for the car's launch at the team's base in Greater Manchester, England.
Easton opened by saying "First of all I'd like to welcome everyone here today, I hope you've enjoyed the pre-launch music and food! It's been a pretty long road for our small team, developing our first ever Formula Virtual car, since we got accepted into the series late on last year. Everyone has worked unbelievably hard and I'm incredibly proud to now be able to show our car off. So, without further ado... Carson and Sergio, if you could do the honours please!"
Easton continued "The first ever engine we've got is a Judd V10, we're ecstatic to have Judd powering us. They have a great racing pedigree and much like us, they just love racing. As you can see, we've opted to run without the shark fin and obviously, whilst not a title sponsor, Vitafoam has a fairly large influence on the actual livery. I personally cannot wait to see our car leave the garage for the first time when pre-season testing starts in about a month's time! Anyway, thank you all for coming along here today, see you in Estoril!"
AMR Autosport have launched the AMR-FV-4 online ahead of the 2018 Formula Virtual season, with a radically different livery to reflect not just a change in car, but the changes in team following a troubled 2017 campaign.
In a revealing interview with TF1’s Patrick Sabatier on FV á la une, DS Mathershaw’s Adrien Simon has surprised many by speaking out for the first time about his younger brother’s first foray into Formula Virtual with Meteor. In addition, he spoke to the veteran broadcaster about his chances for 2018 as well as his unique position within the sport of being the only driver to have competed in every season of Formula Virtual with a single team.
Patrick Sabatier: First of all, welcome to FV a la une, Thanks for coming on.
Adrien Simon: My pleasure, it’s great to be here
PS: I’d like to start by talking about your hopes for 2018 - what are your expectations?
AS: I’m looking forward to this year with renewed vigour and excitement. 2016 was of course my finest season to date, while the 2017 year was another year of learning which allowed me to focus, so 2018 is a year I’m relishing the challenge.
PS: Do you think you’re going to have the car to win the championship?
AS: If anyone can give it to me, it’s Arthur and Robert. The new regulations suit us, and development has been strong. The powertrain DS Automobiles and Downton have developed is incredible - we tested it in the 2016 chassis a couple of months ago and it is insane - while the chassis is unlike anything seen before in FV. I have of course been right in the middle of development, and I hope I’ve been able to give the team added direction so we have a fast car.
PS: You mention your heavy involvement in the development of the RJM006 - you’re unlike anyone else in this field, you have competed in every season of FV with a single team, so you and the team clearly get on well. What are your long term plans?
AS: As always, I will take the championship season by season. I love the team and everyone within it, I’m truly one of les gars, and that helps me so much when we are looking at the future direction of my career. I would like to finish my career in FV with DS, but at the same time I respect the team, Arthur and Robert enough to know when to leave, and I know they respect me enough to include me in their discussions about my future. I will never rule out moving to another team, because that kind of talk makes people look silly in the future, but I will definitely say my first choice for a drive in FV is DS Mathershaw.
PS: At the age of 32, would you consider a drive outside of FV - particularly after entering the IndyVirtual triple crown last season?
AS: It would be difficult to say until I knew the nature of the deal. I’m a racing driver, so I always want to race, but it would have to be the right team. My races in IndyVirtual with Signature were brilliant - Sylvain Tremblay is an excellent man, and I can see why him and Arthur have worked together so often in the past. Additionally, I would enjoy a role in FV after I stopped driving, either in a technical role or in team management.
PS: Your brother Jules is making his FV debut this season with Meteor after what can only be described as fast tracked through the junior series. What are your thoughts on this?
AS: Honestly, I think he’s making a mistake. As an ambassador for the FFVSA (France’s Virtual motorsport governing body), I’ve worked closely with both Jules and Sébastien (Vocquelin, Jules’s teammate for 2018) so I know both of their talents. However, I think this is far too soon for both of them - I can’t speak for either, but I’m obviously close to my brother, and I’ve told him how I feel. I think he will do an excellent job under the circumstances, but I don’t think now is the right time for him to enter FV, nor is Meteor the right team - particularly with another rookie alongside him. I’m very worried for both drivers, as they have a lot of talent, but unless they can adapt exceptionally quickly, and unless Meteor can give them an incredible car, I think this could end their careers before they have properly started, and that is a huge shame, both personally and for French Virtual motorsport. Having said that, I hope I am very wrong. I will support them as I always have, both in my role with the FFVSA and in Jules’s case, as his brother.
PS: A very interesting viewpoint, one I’m not sure many will have expected you to publicly voice. Moving on, who do you see as your biggest rivals this season, both in terms of teams and personally?
AS: Regarding teams, it’s the usual suspects - Downton as defending champions are a huge threat, while Franklin are the ever present front runners of FV. Alongside them, any number of teams look like making significant progress in 2018, and we will certainly have to be at our best to succeed. Personally, my biggest rival on track is Enrique Ruiz. He’s one of the best in the world at what he does, and to race against him is simply incredible. I have a lot of time for him off track too, and you know any battle you have with him is going to be hard fought but extremely fair. Also, I’m sure Allar will challenge me as he did in the end of last season, so my first task is the same as always, to be the best within the team.
PS: Ok Adrien, that’s all we have time for, thank you very much and bonne chance for 2018!
AS: No problem at all, it was great to see you
Meteor revealed its MM18 2018 Formula Virtual car ahead of the start of winter testing.
Westwood have become the latest team to pull the covers off of their contender for the 2018 season, holding an online launch as opposed to a press conference in a somewhat unconvential move. Harry, the team principal, had this to say.
Charlotte, North Carolina --
FIRST Motorsport have announced in a press release that Stefan Klien will serve as the team's test driver for 2018. Here are the official statements from the team principal Adam Blocker and Stefan Klien:
Adam Blocker (FIRST Team Principal):
"I am pleased to announce that we have promoted Stefan Klien from our youth academy to be the team's test driver for this season. Stefan had a promising debut season in the VWRS last season, finishing 5th in the championship but was only 16 points behind the champion [Yoshida]. His role as test driver will mainly involve getting experience in our simulator and helping the team build setups there. He will also be competing in the VWRS series again this season, where I expect him to challenge for the title again."
"FIRST promoting me to test driver for this season is really encouraging. It shows me that my hard work in the junior series is being noticed and that I have a chance at a seat in Formula Virtual one day, especially given how willing FIRST are to put young drivers into their race seats. I look forward to getting more involved with the team this season, and hopefully taking on more and more responsibilities as the season goes on. I would like to than the team for selecting me to be in their youth academy to begin with and now for giving me this opportunity."
In a surprise turn of events Pegasus Alfieri Maserati revealed two different Liveries for the 2018 season at their headquarters in Japan. Leading many to believe the team wished to run both separate for the seasons with Giodano representing the Italian Marque and Yoshida the Japanese outfit. This has however been stopped by FV CEO Nic Morley, in what many have called a Bar Honda attempt.
Many now believe that Pegasus and Maserati are at odds about which Livery to run, with rumours confirming the Japanese outfit preferring the white while the Italian Marque preferring the Blue. The rumours also suggest that which ever livery is chosen that the other will be run in testing instead.
It will be very interesting to see if in future Nic Morley will allow teams to run inverted liveries or not, but for now Maserati and Pegasus have an issue to deal with especially with the season coming fast. Perhaps they will allow their fans to pick which one they prefer but only time will tell.
Due to this issue, Pegasus and Maserati have refused to reveal anymore images of the car bar the one we currently have.
Palais des Festivals et des Congres, Cannes, France
In front of a capacity crowd in the main hall of the Palais des Festivals, the DS Automobiles Team Mathershaw team unveiled their new look for 2018 with the RJM-006. As part of the new look, Stella Artois have come on board as main sponsor, while Air France and Assurances Matmut remain as principal partners for the Anglo-French outfit.
The livery has changed to reflect the arrival of Stella Artois, with the now signature red, white and blue complemented by the gold trim of the Belgian brewers. The livery was designed by talented designer Nick Forrest, team principal of the North Star team.
As a result of the alcohol advertising laws in France and Bahrain, the team will run a special livery with the driver's names adorning the sides of the car for these two rounds.
Arthur Lapierre was understandably excited at the launch: "We're delighted to show off our brand new car for the 2018 season, as we feel it our finest design to date. The aerodynamic package is incredible, while the DS-Downton engine and drivetrain has reached a level beyond our wildest expectations - the V10 unit produces power like nothing else, and we can assure our fans that the sound is amazing. Additionally, the new partnership with Stella Artois is something we are very excited about. Our two brands share the same philosophy, and their colours compliment ours perfectly on the car. We're very excited to see the car hit the track in pre-season testing."
Technical Director Robert Mathershaw was just as pleased, but was already looking to the start of the season: "This car is a credit to our design team back at Paul Ricard along with the DS-Downton crew both there and in Amesbury. Approximately 90% of the car is completely new, and our focus has been on 2018 for a long time. Ultimately, qualifying in Australia will be the first indication of our true pace, but I'm feeling confident for the season ahead."
All three drivers signed for the 2018 season were present, with both race drivers looking pleased with their new cars: "This is the best car they've given me yet" said a smiling Adrien Simon. "I feel like I'm a part of the furniture here now, and these guys have become like family. I'm used to them giving me a competitive car, and the 2016 title was my finest moment as a sportsman. In the off-season my son, Alain, was born, and he's given me renewed impetus for my career. The team has pulled out all the stops, and with Stella Artois DS Mathershaw for 2018, I'm very hopeful I can add to my previous title."
Allar Kangur was just as happy to see the RJM-006: "I'm in love with this car already. From the data the engineers have shown me, I think the new generation of cars will be fantastic, and isn't she beautiful - I'm particularly looking forward to driving the version with my name on the side!"
Below are shots of the livery from the launch, including the driver-specific liveries for France and Bahrain.
Holmqvist have become the third team to unveil their 2018 challenger as the wraps were taken off the FH-003, the first Formula Virtual car to be powered by a Koenigsegg engine.
Downton FV Team have this evening launched their first Championship defending car, the BD06. Team principal Bradley Downton was present along with race drivers Nathaniel Powers and Klaas van Snelheid - and new reserve Sam Hudson - as the covers were taken off of the 2018 challenger.