Kimball a top sleeper at Mid-Ohio after missing 2012

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I’m calling it now: Charlie Kimball is a top sleeper pick for this IZOD IndyCar Series race weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing driver will be primed for a big weekend at the track after missing the race last year, due to a fractured right hand from a testing accident.

In his rookie year in 2011, Mid-Ohio was one of a handful of tracks where the personable Californian made an impact. He started 10th, ran in the top five all day and ended an unrepresentative 11th.

Earlier this year, Kimball led the three-car Ganassi contingent on pace and performance all weekend on the only other permanent road course raced thus far in 2013: Barber Motorsports Park. Kimball made his first Firestone Fast Six, ran in the top three all day after starting fifth and finished fourth after a gutsy pass on Will Power.

His teammate Scott Dixon, in the No. 9 Target Honda, is the odds-on favorite after winning four of the last six races at Mid-Ohio.

But given Kimball’s road course prowess, the improved Honda spec engines that have come to life the last few races and the gains made by the entire CGR team after its test at Sebring this summer, this could be a weekend where Kimball repeats his Barber efforts, and perhaps scores his second podium of the season.

A solid result could propel him into the top 10 in points, as he currently sits 11th, just one point behind Power.

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.