Road America site to Rolex, ALMS, Continental tripleheader

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For the first and only time before they come together as United SportsCar Racing in 2014, the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series will run at the same track on the same weekend.

Elkhart Lake’s Road America is the locale for a pair of two hour, 45-minute races. GRAND-AM’s runs Saturday (5 p.m. ET, check local listings) and ALMS is Sunday (3 p.m. ET, check local listings). The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is also on the docket with a two-and-a-half hour race Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

In GRAND-AM, the top five driver combinations are separated by 25 points for the DP standings lead with Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow currently on top by 10 points over Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney. That same gap of 25 points covers the top five in GT; Andy Lally and John Potter currently lead Robin Liddell and John Edwards by just 4.

Of the five classes in ALMS, the GTC points lead is tied at 77 (Jeroen Bleekemolen/Cooper MacNeil and Spencer Pumpelly/Nelson Canache Jr.), the P2 lead is just three by Marino Franchitti over Level 5 team boss Scott Tucker, and the GT lead is five by Dirk Mueller (BMW) over Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin (Corvette).

There’s a handful of IndyCar drivers expected to race in the two events. Sebastien Bourdais (8Star) and Justin Wilson (Shank) will race in DPs in the Rolex race, while Simon Pagenaud will make a last-minute cameo replacing the injured Ryan Briscoe at Level 5, per a Thursday report from SPEED’s John Dagys.

Eight drivers are pulling at least double duty: Bill Auberlen, John Edwards, Spencer Pumpelly, Leh Keen, Patrick Long, Andy Lally, Maxime Martin and Tristan Nunez.  The first three, Auberlen, Edwards and Pumpelly, are running all three races and will have almost no down time. While the other seven are bouncing between GT cars, 17-year-old Nunez will alternate between a PC prototype in ALMS and a GX class Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D diesel in Rolex.

More announcements regarding the 2014 USCR championship are possible for the weekend. The latest detail to emerge there was Continental Tire’s role as exclusive supplier for three of the four 2014 classes.

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

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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.”