Milwaukee Update: Takuma Sato leads at halfway mark

Leave a comment

Takuma Sato is back to the front of the field for the first time since Sao Paulo, coming from 15th starting position to lead the Milwaukee IndyFest at the halfway point.

Sato, along with multiple others, took advantage of an early caution involving a spinning Simona de Silvestro to pit off strategy. Since that point, he’s managed to make his way through the grid as the strategy has played out.

Helio Castroneves, last week’s winner at Texas, also pitted early along with Sato and was running second at Lap 125 of 250. Meanwhile, Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won last year at Milwaukee, has been solid again so far and is currently third after pitting on a normal strategy at Lap 68. Andretti Autosport compatriots E.J. Viso and James Hinchcliffe are fourth and fifth.

Pole sitter Marco Andretti, who came into today’s race 22 points behind Helio Castroneves in the championship, led from pole until Hunter-Reay was able to get by him on Lap 62. Then on a pit stop at Lap 68, his day got worse when his fuel line was momentarily unable to disengage from his car, adding several seconds to his pit stop and costing him track position.

Finally, at Lap 97, Andretti began to slow on the race track, pulling down on the apron between Turns 1 and 2 before coming to rest on the backstretch.

“Either the alternator – or, I don’t know, another part,” a frustrated Andretti told NBC Sports Network, confirming an electrical issue on his No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet. “I guess we’re gonna try to get it fixed.”

Shortly after the halfway mark, Andretti was found strapping back into his car and will presumably return to the race in an attempt to salvage some points for the championship.

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.”