Conway preparing for pre-Christmas test with ECR

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After a successful 2013 in both IndyCars and sports cars, British driver Mike Conway is looking forward to getting 2014 underway in earnest with a test session next week at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway for Ed Carpenter Racing.

Conway, who won Detroit Race 1 for Dale Coyne Racing and also claimed four race wins with his co-drivers over in the FIA World Endurance Championship, recently had a seat fitting in the No. 20 ECR Chevrolet (pictured) in advance of the Dec. 18-19 test in Florida.

The soft-spoken street course dynamo will drive the No. 20 in all road and street events in the 2014 IndyCar Series, while team namesake and owner Carpenter will drive it on the ovals.

“It feels good to run the IndyCar before the holidays,” Conway said. “I’ve never been able to test an IndyCar before the first of the year, so this opportunity next week at Sebring really has me excited.

“It will be my first chance to drive the Chevrolet engine also. I’m looking forward to that aspect of the test too.”

Conway will continue his work in sports cars next season as well, recently landing a gig with Toyota’s WEC program as its test and reserve driver.

All in all, it’ll be a busy 2014 for the Kent, England native as he looks to not only help Toyota overtake Audi in the WEC but also help Ed Carpenter Racing move toward the front of the IndyCar pecking order.

“I can’t wait to get started with the ECR guys,” Conway said of his IndyCar duties. “I’m very excited to run with a team like Ed’s. I have worked with many of the crew guys here before and they have a very strong organization.

“This team should be a solid effort in 2014.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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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.”