No timetable for RLL driver, commercial announcements


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has at least one announcement coming shortly, but it’s not going to be the team’s second IndyCar driver or commercial partners.

“We have another guy who’ll be announced soon that will be a huge addition to our team,” Graham Rahal said during this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Graham was part of the lineup in the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE in the GT Le Mans class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

In a brief follow-up, Rahal confirmed that was related to “personnel,” and not the driver lineup. When asked if he knew when the lineup would be coming, Rahal said, “We’re all having to wait and see.”

RLL has not yet announced its 2014 commercial partners, and a team official also confirmed there was no timetable on when an update on those will come.

Deltran Battery Tender, which was an associate sponsor for RLL’s IndyCar program in 2013, has re-upped for IndyCar and added the pair of BMWs to its sponsorship portfolio.

The Midas and blu eCigs brands also adorned Rahal’s No. 15 Honda-powered DW12 in 2013.

Some drivers who could very likely be in play for the open second seat, per sources, are Oriol Servia, Conor Daly, JR Hildebrand and Alex Tagliani. A driver outside of that quartet could be considered for the second seat, depending on budgetary concerns.

Servia has past experience with RLL, when he drove for the team at the 2009 Indianapolis 500. He was one of two drivers who took over the National Guard-backed seat at Panther Racing in the second half of 2013, when Panther released Hildebrand from his contract.

Daly and Tagliani, meanwhile, co-drove in RSR Racing’s PC class No. 08 ORECA FLM09 in the Rolex 24 this weekend.

The PC class schedule has three conflicts with IndyCar weekends this year.

On June 7, the TUDOR Championship PC class races at Kansas Speedway, while IndyCar takes to the high banks of Texas Motor Speedway.

The last weekend of June, the 28-29, IndyCar races a weekend doubleheader in Houston while TUDOR races the six hours of Watkins Glen on Sunday.

Lastly on August 24, TUDOR is at Virginia International Raceway while IndyCar races on the west coast in Sonoma.

At the moment, RLL is not listed to test at all in the month of February, per IndyCar’s latest testing schedule update.

IMSA: Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Update – 3 hours in

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The opening hours of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring have been action-packed, with the early hours highlighted by racing that we would not expect from an endurance race.

For example, Acura Team Penske’s No. 7 ARX-05, currently fourth with Graham Rahal at the wheel, has had a couple run-ins with traffic, both from the Prototype and GT classes, as shown below.

Reports on happenings in the first three hours from all three classes are below.


Turn 1, Lap 1 proved to be a disaster for one of the contenders in Prototype. Olivier Pla, starting on the outside of the front row in the No.2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi, tried to pass polesitter Tristan Vautier, in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R, on the outside.

Vautier held his ground when Pla tried to pinch him against the inside wall, with the two making contact and sending Pla into a slide across the outside of the corner. Although he limped around back into the pits, the team ultimately uncovered a terminal gearbox issue, cause by the contact, and retired car, ending their race before it ever had a chance to get going.

The lone caution of the opening hours also came in the Prototype class. Sebastian Saavedra, in the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 Gibson for AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, spun exiting Turn 17. In trying to avoid, Frank Montecalvo, in the GT Daytona class No. 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Scuderia Corsa, drifted out wide, but made contact with the right-front of Saavedra, which launched Montecalvo airborne and into the tire barriers exiting the corner.

Montecalvo emerged unhurt from the spectacular incident, while Saavedra returned to the pits for a new front nose on the No. 52 Ligier, and continued on.

Vautier, meanwhile, continued on unscathed and led the opening stint.

Just over three hours in, Eric Curran leads in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac for Action Express. The No. 22 ESM Nissan sits second in the hands of Nicolas Lapierre, with Jordan Taylor third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac.

GT Le Mans (GTLM)

BMW Team RLL has dominated the opening hours of the 12 Hours of Sebring, with their No. 24 BMW M8 GTLM leading the way early on. Nicky Catsburg is currently behind the wheel.

Risi Competizion currently holds down second, with Alessandro Pier Guidi currently at the helm of their No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing holds third with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford GT, though they had a clumsy run-in with the sister No. 66 in the pits early on, with both cars bumping each other exiting the pits.

However, no damage was done and both carried on.

GT Daytona

The polesitting No. 51 Ferrari from Spirit of Race also had a messy start to their 12 Hours of Sebring, with Daniel Serra getting together with the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3, in the hands Jack Hawksworth at the time. The contact cut the right-rear tire of Serra, forcing an early pit stop. They now sit 16th in class.

Montaplast by Land Motorsport leads in the way in the No. 29 Audi R8 LMS GT3, with 17-year-old youngster Sheldon van der Linde at the helm. Running second is Corey Lewis in the Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with 3GT Racing sitting third with Kyle Marcelli in the No. 14 Lexus.