Photo: Porsche

Sports cars: Porsche’s new livery, lineup; OAK, Ax Ex, DeltaWing news (UPDATED)

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Porsche has, officially, taken the wraps off its new 919 Hybrid challenger for this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.

The new LMP1 car tested in a camouflage livery from the fall through the winter, and as part of a combined livery with the factory GTE Pro car, there will be a unified branding image highlighting Porsche Intelligent Performance.

Along with the livery reveal, the GTE Pro class lineup for the WEC was confirmed. Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Pilet rejoin after 2013, with Marco Holzer (raced in U.S. last year) and new factory driver Fred Makowiecki (raced with Aston Martin) completing the lineup. Specific pairings haven’t been revealed.

Richard Lietz and Nick Tandy, who co-drove with Pilet to the GT Le Mans class victory in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship opener, the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, will round out the Porsche Team Manthey lineup at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In other sports car news…

  • OnRoak Automotive has taken the wraps off its new Ligier JS P2 coupe. It will be raced through 2017, and can take an HPD, Judd or Nissan engine in the back. It will make its debut later this year, likely at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with OAK Racing, and not before.
  • The DeltaWing Racing Cars team has confirmed Gabby Chaves will return for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring as third driver alongside Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge. Chaves made his debut as a last-minute add as fourth driver at the Rolex 24.
  • Action Express Racing has confirmed Jon Fogarty as third driver of its No. 9 Corvette DP for Sebring, alongside brothers Burt and Brian Frisselle. Fogarty has a ride after the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team announced it would withdraw for the rest of the season. “It’s an unfortunate situation we found ourselves in after Daytona, but the opportunity to go and participate at Sebring with Action Express Racing in such a big and historic event is great,” he said in a release.
  • Continental Tire’s “Through the Driver’s Eyes,” hosted by Dario Franchitti, will air Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, in a bit of ancillary TUDOR Championship program. Here’s a teaser of the show as released by Continental earlier Tuesday.

Lorenzo looking to Honda, Ducati for help in MotoGP title race

ALCANIZ, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 27:  Jorge Lorenzo of Spain and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP celebrates the victory on the podium at the end of the MotoGP race during the MotoGP of Spain - Race at Motorland Aragon Circuit on September 27, 2015 in Alcaniz, Spain.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
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Jorge Lorenzo hopes that he can get some help from the Honda and Ducati riders in his championship battle with Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi in the final four races of the 2015 MotoGP season.

Lorenzo currently trails Rossi by 14 points at the top of the riders’ championship, and with just four races to go, barring an unlikely run of results, the title will go to a Yamaha rider for the first time since 2012.

The formbook offers little in the way of clues for the Lorenzo/Rossi battle, for although Lorenzo has won more races, Rossi has been more consistent, finishing off the podium just once this season.

Lorenzo had hoped to reel Rossi in last time out at Motorland Aragon, but the Italian rider managed to finish third, minimizing the damage of his teammate’s victory.

Nevertheless, Lorenzo was pleased to bounce back after two disappointing races at Silverstone and Misano, having lost ground on Rossi in the title race.

“I am very happy with this victory because it came after two races that were a bit disappointing and I expected to take more points, but due to a few factors and especially the weather, I failed to achieve the desired result,” Lorenzo said. “The victory in Motorland [Aragon] was crucial.”

Rossi was beaten to second place by Honda’s Dani Pedrosa after a titanic battle in the closing stages of the last race, and Lorenzo hopes that the Spaniard, among others, could aid his cause inadvertently again in the remaining four races.

“[Pedrosa] was very strong and it was useful to recover the points lost earlier and it has given me more chances to recover with four races left until the end,” Lorenzo said.

“But [Marc] Marquez or maybe the two Ducati riders could also stand in front of Valentino and take away some points. It is a real possibility, but very dangerous for us both.”

The next round of the MotoGP season takes place at Motegi, Japan next weekend.

Steiner: Haas F1 Team could not afford rookie mistakes

KANNAPOLIS, NC - SEPTEMBER 29:  (L-R) Gunther Steiner, team principal of Haas F1 Team, Romain Grosjean of France, and Gene Haas, owner of Haas F1 Team, pose for a photo opportunity after Haas F1 Team announced Grosjean as their driver for the upcoming 2016 Formula 1 season on September 29, 2015 in Kannapolis, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Stewart-Haas Racing via Getty Images)
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Günther Steiner has said that Haas Formula 1 Team could not afford to have its drivers making rookie mistakes during its debut season in the sport, reasoning the decision to only sign experienced racers for 2016.

On Tuesday, Haas unveiled Lotus driver Romain Grosjean as its first signing for next season, luring the Frenchman away from Enstone after ten years of association.

The second seat is set to go to either Esteban Gutierrez or Jean-Eric Vergne, who both work as development drivers for Ferrari and both have at least two seasons of racing under their belt.

As team principal, Steiner (pictured left) will work under team owner Gene Haas, and said that both had agreed that a rookie driver for season one would be unwise.

“We looked around a lot to find the right guy because we wanted somebody with experience but still hungry to do something, to go with us this long way,” Steiner explained.

“I started talks with the management of Romain in Barcelona to see if he’s interested and, you know, we spoke to quite a few drivers, and in the end I spoke also with technical people, what they think about Romain, how he develops a car.

“We have got a steep mountain to climb here, new team, all new team members, so we needed somebody who knows what he’s doing. I think in the end we found the right guy because he has so much ‘want to drive’ now, and he’s still aggressive or still wants it.

“He’s not [so] young anymore that he’s inexperienced. We lose time by having accidents or doing rookie mistakes. I think we just picked the best one out there for what we are doing, and we focused on him and got him, and we are very happy and we are looking forward to working with him.”