TUSC: Full Rolex 24 entry list revealed

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IMSA has released the full, 67-car entry list for the Rolex 24 at Daytona next week. A handful of changes have occurred from our projections and confirmations we forecast earlier this week for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Of note:

  • Indy Lights runner-up Gabby Chaves has been added to the DeltaWing lineup (No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13) as a fourth driver with former Indy Lights driver Oliver Webb confirmed at OAK Racing (No. 42 Morgan Nissan) as its fourth driver.
  • SpeedSource has a pair of 2013 IndyCar drivers, James Hinchcliffe (No. 70) and Tristan Vautier (No. 07) officially listed as third drivers in its pair of Mazda SKYACTIV-D Coupes.
  • Starworks Motorsport has its P car, originally the second alternate, promoted to a race spot with drivers Alex Popow, Scott Mayer and Brendon Hartley (No. 78 Riley-Dinan). Its PC class lineups now are: Popow/Martin Fuentes/Isaac Tutumlu and Kyle Marcelli (No. 7 ORECA FLM09) with Renger van der Zande/Eric Lux/Sam Bird/Pierre Kaffer listed in the No. 8. Rob Huff, Mirco Schultis and ex-IndyCar driver Ana Beatriz have tested for the team, but are not listed.
  • 8Star, Performance Tech, PR1/Mathiasen and CORE have all confirmed their PC class lineups.
  • Announced earlier today, Aston Martin Racing will have the lone five-driver lineup in GTLM. Stefan Mucke, Darren Turner, Pedro Lamy, Richie Stanaway and Paul Dalla Lana will race the No. 97 Vantage; Dalla Lana will also race in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GTD in the GTD class.
  • Porsche GTD teams Muehlner Motorsports America (Nos. 18/19) and Alex Job Racing (No. 22) have added drivers to their lineups.
  • The TRG-AMR lineups have James Davison/David Block/Al Carter/Brandon Davis in the No. 007 GT3-spec Vantage and Calum Lockie/Pete McIntosh/Robert Nimkroff/Max Riddle in the sister No. 009.
  • Ferrari’s lineups at Spirit of Race (Nos. 49/51) and SMP/ESM Racing (No. 72) have been set; the latter car includes IndyCar’s Mikhail Aleshin and ex-Formula One driver Mika Salo.
  • The BAR1 (No. 87, PC) and two Level 5 (Nos. 555/556, GTD) cars have TBA’s listed for lineups. The second BAR1 PC and Level 5’s two PCs, which were granted full-season entries on IMSA’s initial list, are not listed here.

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.