Larson prepared to take big step into Sprint Cup next year

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Whether you think he’s ready or not, Kyle Larson is coming.

The talented 21-year-old is set to complete an impressive rise from America’s short tracks to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as it was announced earlier today at Atlanta Motor Speedway that he will take the controls of the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet next season.

And while he knows of the fans’ debate over whether or not he’s truly prepared to ascend to NASCAR’s top series, he’s confident that he is indeed up to the task.

“As long as I’m out there, you know, living up to my expectations and [team principal owner] Chip’s [Ganassi] expectations, that’s all that really matters,” said Larson, who currently runs full-time in the Nationwide Series for Turner Scott Motorsports.

“I’m not one to pay attention to all the hype or the pressure that other people put on me. I just try and go out and do the best I can. I don’t see myself doing any different next year. I’m not going to push it harder than I think I can push it. I’m just going to try and do the best I can.”

Chip Ganassi is also convinced that Larson can work through the inevitable growing pains and eventually excel in Sprint Cup. In his mind, “nobody deserves a shot more than [Larson] does.”

“I think Kyle is the kind of driver, when he sees an opportunity in front of him, he takes it,” said Ganassi. “If that means it’s a win, hey, great. There’s no pressure for him to win his first year out. I don’t think there’s any pressure like that.

“I mean, the kid’s done very well in every step he’s made in his career so far. I see no reason why this should be any different.”

But it will still be a massive jump for Larson to make. Just last year, he was beginning his transition to stock car racing and now, he’s heading for its premier level of competition.

Ganassi indicated that he’ll be looking to get Larson some Cup starts toward the tail end of this season to prepare him for next year, which will also see him continue to compete in Nationwide events.

With a very crowded itinerary on tap for 2014, Larson will have to put his beloved sprint car racing on the back-burner. But the California native is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in his new role.

“As far as next year goes, I know I’ll have to focus more on the Sprint Cup stuff,” said Larson. “I understand it’s probably going to be the toughest step in my whole career.

“I’m going to have to dedicate a lot of time to it and grow as a driver, do a great job for [sponsor] Target, for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and make everybody there happy.”

BMW confirms IMSA, WEC GTE line-ups for 2018

BMW Motorsport
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BMW has confirmed its driver line-ups for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship campaigns.

In an announcement made at its end-of-year Sports Trophy event on Friday night, BMW firmed up its roster across its factory WEC team and its customer RLL Racing IMSA squad.

Two of the 2018 BMW M8 GTEs will enter the WEC next year, joining a hotly-contested GTE-Pro class that already features Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Ford.

BMW factory drivers Antonio Felix da Costa, Nick Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk will share the two cars across the 13-month ‘super season’.

The quartet will be joined by Tom Blomqvist, Alexander Sims and Philipp Eng for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

In IMSA, the RLL Racing team will once again field Sims and John Edwards, who will be joined by the incoming Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn.

BMW also confirmed on Friday night that Tom Blomqvist would see out the Formula E season with its Andretti-affiliated team, having been benched for Kamui Kobayashi in Hong Kong.