Ferrari tight-lipped on rumored Le Mans return

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Is Ferrari planning a surprise return to the Le Mans 24 Hours with a fully-fledged LMP1 protoype?

Rumors claim the prancing horse is considering a bit to win the race outright in 2015, which would be 50 years since its most recent triumph at the endurance classic.

A Ferrari spokesperson told Top Gear: “In parallel to our Formula One programme we have always paid close attention to other racing series, currently those run for GT cars, as these provide further opportunities for our technology transfer programme to road cars.

“In the past we also ran special projects, such as the one based on the FXX car and we have many other ideas we are currently working on.”

Ferrari currently competes in the GT category at Le Mans with its 458 Italia. Its AF Corse team won last year’s race with Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander.

From next year Formula One will use 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines which could also be used at Le Mans. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo welcomed the forthcoming change and said F1 needs to remain relevant for car manufacturers like Ferrari:

“We design and build cars of the very highest order. We will stay in F1 as long as it can be considered a test bed for advanced research, the highest technology and worthwhile for a great company like Ferrari, which is known and appreciated around the world.”

Verizon confirms IndyCar title sponsor role exit after 2018

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As perhaps expected, Verizon has confirmed Friday it will end its role as Verizon IndyCar Series title sponsor following the end of its fifth year in 2018.

Reports surfaced shortly after this year’s IndyCar season finale at Sonoma Raceway that Verizon was re-evaluating its role within the series.

Indeed, as it was before becoming title sponsor in 2014, Verizon will remain a partner with Team Penske despite not also carrying the series title sponsor role.

In a statement, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles thanked Verizon for its support in this overall series role.

“Verizon has been a super sponsor and will continue to be so through all of next season. We appreciate that they reached their decision in a timely way so that we can thoughtfully and deliberately go back into the market for 2019,” Miles said in a statement, via Sports Business Journal.

Roger Penske also issued a statement, also via SBJ, saying, “We want to thank Verizon for the support they have provided the IndyCar Series and the role they have played as they helped us grow the sport as the title sponsor for the past five years. Verizon has helped the series reach new fans through their world-class activation and technology, including the Verizon IndyCar Mobile App. While they will no longer be the Series Title Sponsor after 2018, it is exciting they will still be in the sport through their relationship with our organization.”

The Verizon IndyCar Series has built a wave of momentum over the last few years with its competition level, parity and enthusiasm for some revived events, with Gateway Motorsports Park and Road America standing out as highlights being brought back after an extended hiatus.

The good news for INDYCAR (sanctioning body) is that there’s a new Dallara universal aero kit that’s been busy with testing the last few months and is now in the hands of manufacturers for manufacturer testing, and the series announced long-term extensions with Dallara, Chevrolet, Honda and Firestone earlier this year. New series champion Josef Newgarden has also been busy in a number of media events and appearances since the Sonoma season finale.

With this confirmation, INDYCAR has a new entitlement sponsor to find and a new TV contract to sort, with both existing contracts up after 2018.