Buck named new NASCAR Sprint Cup managing director

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Thursday’s first day of the NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway features a wide variety of media availabilities. First up were NASCAR president Mike Helton and vp of competition Robin Pemberton, who among other things introduced Richard Buck as the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series managing director.

Buck, a 30-plus year veteran of motorsports who has won several Indianapolis 500s as a crew chief and worked in NASCAR, IndyCar and sports cars, replaces John Darby. Darby will move into a role at NASCAR’s Research & Development Center. Buck transitions into the role after the Rolex 24 at Daytona, his last race with the IMSA group after he was an integral part of the merger process between the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series from a competition and technical standpoint.

“I’m eager and ready to pursue this unique opportunity to serve as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series managing director,” Buck said in a series release. “I appreciate the faith that NASCAR’s management team has entrusted in me for this role. As we prepare to launch the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, I’m thrilled to expand my role in the sport of NASCAR, and I look forward to helping the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition team continue to produce the best racing in the world.”

Added Helton, “We’re working on recreating NASCAR’s approach to competition to serve the industry better. As we get the season up and running past Daytona, there will be more evidence of that.”

Pemberton confirmed the technical changes that have already been announced for 2014, with an half-inch increased rear spoiler for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars, and adding a new cooling system to the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series vehicles. Both Nationwide and Trucks will also have a new recommended spec radiator.

When asked whether the spoiler adjustment for Cup could potentially see a return of the “two-car tandem” that dominated restrictor plate races a couple years ago, Pemberton denied that would happen.

“There’s not been a big enough suck up into the draft and this should help,” he explained. “Guys couldn’t make a run at times. We’d been talking to the teams since mid-last year and the spoiler change was one that came to us through the teams.”

More will come throughout the day from the other media availabilities, and also when cars hit the track. The first session of the day was postponed by rain.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”