We mentioned earlier this week that Justin Wilson, of Dale Coyne Racing, would spend his off weekend from his day job in the IZOD IndyCar Series racing a sports car at Watkins Glen.
He’s not alone in trying out another set of wheels.
Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais (pictured) will race against Wilson in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series’ Daytona Prototype class. Bourdais, like Wilson, will race in a Ford Riley DP. Bourdais will drive for the Starworks Motorsport team with co-drivers Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow.
Bourdais’ French countryman Simon Pagenaud, of HP Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, is also racing this weekend. He’s taking on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in his 500-plus horsepower Honda Odyssey minivan.
Lastly, NBC Sports Network IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell is back behind the wheel this weekend. Bell is driving a 600-plus horsepower Ford Fiesta in Global Rallycross at the X Games in Munich. He’ll drive for the OMSE2 team with Royal Purple sponsorship; that’s the same team that will partner with Dreyer & Reinbold and SH Racing for an entry at the Los Angeles X Games in August.
The rest of the IndyCar community – who have been on the road non-stop since the weekend before Brazil, in April – are taking some well-deserved R&R this weekend.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.