Helio on IndyCar title race: “We’re not trying to overdo it”

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With a victory at Texas earlier this summer and Top-10 results in all but one race, being steady has put Helio Castroneves atop the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. And so, he and Team Penske will look to keep on that course in the final six races of the year.

“The results we’ve achieved have come from our consistency,” Castroneves said on Wednesday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series will compete this weekend in the Honda Indy 200 (Sun., 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

“We’re pushing the limit of the car and myself. We’re not trying to overdo it. If the cars good,  we’ll go for it. If the car’s not good, then we have to find ways to make it happen. That’s what we’ve done in the past. We’ve always been very close [to winning the championship] and right now, things are going our way. Hopefully, we keep it this way.”

Castroneves holds a 29-point lead going into this weekend’s race but Scott Dixon – a four-time winner at Mid-Ohio – has gotten closer to the Brazilian on the strength of three consecutive wins last month at Pocono and the Toronto doubleheader. Considering Dixon’s current run of success and his past body of work at M-O, it’s easy for one to assume that, barring trouble, he’ll find a way to at least shrink Castroneves’ lead further.

But with plenty of racing left in the season, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner is keeping his eyes on what he and his No. 3 Penske squad can control and not on the hard-charging Dixon.

“It was good we’ve had these two weeks off, because our boys have been working to find things to help us that we haven’t seen before,” said Castroneves. “In that aspect, we’re not focusing on what [Dixon] is doing. We’re focusing on what we can do. But we know how good he’s going to be [at Mid-Ohio].”

Watch this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 from Mid-Ohio online and on your mobile device.

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.