We teased this last week in looking at the testing calendar for the IndyCar Series, but there was a big surprise down at Dale Coyne Racing. Indeed Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, is back in an IndyCar for the first time since 2006 as he tests today at Sebring.
Luyendyk’s driving career includes a record number of starts, 66, from 2002-2010 in Indy Lights although that included just one career win, the Chicagoland Speedway season finale in 2008. He has also served as a TV commentator for Versus and NBCSN’s Indy Lights races, driven IndyCar’s two-seater for guests and most recently, returned to racing earlier this year in Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks series.
Still, this is one of the longest stints outside the current IndyCar in years. Whether this is a sign of a serious move into Coyne’s team for 2014 or merely a one-off to garner some press remains to be seen.
Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.
Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.
“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.
“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”