If you saw pictures of American Le Mans Series testing at Atlanta on Sunday and saw what looked like Dario Franchitti’s helmet in action, you weren’t seeing things.
You were, in fact, seeing Franchitti’s helmet being worn by younger brother Marino, who competes full-time with Level 5 Motorsports in the team’s HPD ARX-03b P2 class car.
Marino’s wearing his brother’s helmet this weekend after Dario’s accident on the last lap of the IndyCar race in Houston last week, in what goes down as one of the classiest gestures in racing this year.
The brothers Franchitti actually drove together at Petit Le Mans last year for Level 5, and finished second in class and third overall co-driving with Level 5 team principal Scott Tucker. Both drivers raced at the joint IndyCar/ALMS weekends in Long Beach and Baltimore this year, and Dario Franchitti also attended Marino’s weekend at Road America in August (picture, right).
Marino Franchitti is set to co-drive with Tucker and Guy Cosmo this week.
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.