Andretti camp looking for big results in Brazil

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Two weeks after an affair to forget in Long Beach, the Andretti Autosport squad is aiming high once again after Ryan Hunter-Reay and E.J. Viso claimed the front row for tomorrow’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 (11 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network/NBC Sports Live Extra).

Hunter-Reay set a new track record of 1 minute, 20.43 seconds around the 2.5-mile Anhembi Park street circuit en route to his second pole of 2013. Considering Sao Paulo’s reputation for trouble, the driver of the No. 1 DHL/Sun Drop Chevrolet is happy that he’ll be clear of potential chaos at the green flag. But after struggling mightily last time out, he knows that nothing is a given.

“We thought we had a good car at Long Beach, and once we got into the race, I knew we were challenged and would be for the rest of the day,” said Hunter-Reay. “We need to make sure we’ve fixed those things this time and go out and have a great race.”

As for Viso, he said that he was not surprised by how well he was able to perform in qualifying considering the track record of the team he joined this past off-season.

“The beginning was very tough, but we knew we could do it,” the Venezuelan said. “In every single race, we’ve shown we had the pace.  We did the fastest lap last week.  [At] St. Pete, we passed 16 cars in the race. I knew and I know that very good results are ahead.

“I just feel that now everything is starting to click in my career. I’m very happy to be just with a team that is as dedicated as this one.”

Needing a good result this weekend in Brazil, James Hinchcliffe also came through for the Andretti squad with a P5 effort in the Firestone Fast Six. Meanwhile, Marco Andretti didn’t make the final round of qualifying but isn’t too far from the front either; he’ll start 10th tomorrow as he looks to continue his steady beginning to the season.

Watch tomorrow’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 online and on your mobile device.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

SMP Racing
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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.