Sean Edwards leads a pack at Austin (Tony DiZinno)

TUSC: Damien Faulkner confirms ride with GB Autosport

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Irish star Damien Faulkner has landed a seat in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The TRG refugee has a multiyear deal in place with the new GB Autosport team, which will run a Porsche 911 GT America in the series’ GT Daytona class.

“I’m delighted to have joined GB Autosport for the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship,” Faulkner said in a release. “It’s great to sign a two-year deal that ties me to this series. This is where I want to be. I believe GB Autosport is serious about their aspirations and being the fastest Porsche will be right up there on the ‘to-do-list’. It will be interesting competing with a number of manufacturers during the course of the season and we’re hoping, with the team we have, to compete up there with the best.”

Faulkner will drive alongside Dutchman Patrick Huisman and Bob Faieta, both of whom are Porsche veterans; Huisman is a four-time Porsche Supercup champion. Faulkner won twice in 2013 in the American Le Mans Series’ GTC class, the one-make for now-obsolete Porsche GT3 Cup cars, co-driving with Ben Keating at TRG.

The GB Autosport team, run by Faieta and team manager Cole Scrogham, is new in name but has decades’ worth of experience. The team also switches its number from 20, which was its number on the initial TUDOR Championship entry reveal, to 81, which Scrogham has run with other Porsche teams in the past. Faieta has been confirmed for “selected races” beyond Daytona, but the identity of Faulkner’s full-season co-driver is yet to be determined.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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