Today is Canadian racer Paul Tracy's 49th birthday. He's best known for competing in the CART and IndyCar Series in the US from 1991 until 2011. But Tracy also has a notable if rather small link to Formula 1.
Back in 1994, Tracy tested with the Benetton Formula 1 team at Estoril. He set a faster time than both of the team's regular drivers JJ Lehto and Jos Verstappen had managed at that year's Portuguese Grand Prix. In fact, he was only 0.7s off of the pole time for that race which had been set by Ferrari's Gerhard Berger.
For whatever reason, Tracy's Formula 1 aspirations went no further. In 2013, Autosport magazine even named Tracy one of the 50 greatest drivers never to have raced in F1.
Instead, Tracey went on to win the Champ Car World Series title in 2003. During his time in the sport he was team mates with a number of former F1 stars including Michael Andretti, Takuma Sato, Scott Speed and Justin Wilson. Once he retired from racing he moved into the commentary booth as a pundit, losing none of his famed outspokenness.
And since we've headed to the States, we really should mention another IndyCar star who is celebrating their birthday on December 17.
Texas-born Ryan Hunter-Reay, pictured below, is 37 today. He's a former IndyCar Series champion (in 2012) and also won the famed Indianapolis 500 mile race (in 2014). He was the first American to do so since Sam Hornish, Jr. in 2006. He currently races for Andretti Autosport, which also fielded Fernando Alonso in this year's Indy 500.
As well as IndyCar, Hunter-Reay also briefly raced for Team USA in the short-lived A1 World Cup of Motorsport tournament. He's taken part in the Race of Champions, and has competed in the last three Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona races.