TUSC: AIM Autosport confirms return to series

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AIM Autosport will make its return to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, as it takes over operations of the Townsend Bell/Bill Sweedler Ferrari GT Daytona program that was fielded by Level 5 Motorsports at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Bell and Sweedler were part of the car’s winning lineup, as the No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 entry was reinstated to the class victory following a review by IMSA’s supervisory officials after a penalty had been assessed for avoidable contact.

Since that point, Level 5 pulled out of the series, saying it was in the team’s best interests to withdraw and focus on other opportunities.

“Daytona was probably the biggest roller coaster I’ve been through in my career, and it’s nice to have that behind us and to have Sebring ahead of us,” Bell said in a team release. “AIM Autosport is a new team for us, but we have continuity with Ian Willis and with the Ferrari 458 Italia.”

Willis has a distinct history with AIM from both the managerial and engineering standpoints, and worked with the No. 555 lineup at Daytona.

AIM won the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT championship, with co-drivers Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato in the team’s then-No. 69 Ferrari.

A third driver will join Bell and Sweedler at next week’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, although that driver is still the ubiquitous “TBD” on the entry list.

Bell will have a busy year, as he’ll also return to NBCSN’s coverage of the IndyCar Series, as an analyst.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool