Rebellion tops second day of testing for Petit Le Mans

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FIA World Endurance Championship squad Rebellion Racing led both sessions of testing today at Road Atlanta in advance of this weekend’s Petit Le Mans, the season – and series – finale for the American Le Mans Series.

In the afternoon run, Nick Heidfeld logged the fastest lap of the day – 1 minute, 9.816 seconds (130.973 mph) – in Rebellion’s No. 12 Lola B12/60-Toyota (pictured, from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans). Heidfeld is sharing the No. 12 this weekend with Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost, who both won last year’s Petit for the team alongside Andrea Belicchi.

Right behind them were the ALMS’ reigning P1 champions from Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. Their No. 6 Honda Performance Development ARX-03c, to be driven by Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas, logged a best lap of 1 minute, 10.875 seconds in the morning session.

Third-fastest overall was the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola B12/60-Mazda of Chris Dyson, Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry with a time of 1 minute, 11.723 seconds.

Also atop the charts in their respective classes today were:

P2 – No. 551 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b (Scott Tucker/Ryan Briscoe), 1 minute, 14.008 seconds (123.554 mph)

Prototype Challenge – No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 (Ozz Negri/Sean Rayhall), 1 minute, 15.558 seconds (121.020 mph)

GT – No. 91 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R (Dominik Farnbacher/Marc Goossens/Ryan Dalziel), 1 minute, 19.340 seconds (115.251 mph)

GT Challenge – No. 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Dion von Moltke/Seth Neiman/Brett Sandberg), 1 minute, 24.219 seconds (108.574 mph)

Testing will resume on Wednesday afternoon.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.