Brazilians in Brazil: Helio’s six-pack of struggles

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Helio Castroneves has made six prior IndyCar starts in Brazil: three in the CART era from 1998 through 2000 on the old Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway oval in Rio, and three in Sao Paulo since IndyCar’s return in 2010.

He’s never really hit the jackpot from a results standpoint.

The younger, then hyphenated Castro-Neves, failed to finish all three of his starts in CART. An engine failure sidelined him in his rookie year of 1998, with turbo and gearbox failures happening in the next two years.

A nondescript start and finish of ninth kicked off his Sao Paulo run, before being caught up in an accident with countryman Tony Kanaan in 2011 and ending 21st. Castroneves improved from 18th to fourth a year ago for his best race through the streets of Sao Paulo to this point.

The IndyCar series points leader could bank a nice result for additional momentum heading into the month of May in Indianapolis. After two races in AAA and “Turbo” livery, Castroneves returns to the Hitachi colors as raced at St. Petersburg this weekend.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”