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.

Newgarden fastest as Castroneves returns in weather-shortened Barber test

Photo: IndyCar
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The Verizon IndyCar Series took to Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday for an open test, with 24 entries tackling the 2.38-mile road course.

Weather intervened in the afternoon, preventing nearly the entire field from going out, but the weather held off during the morning enough for one session to be run in its entirety.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden led the way, with a quick lap of 1:07.979, ahead of Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves. For Castroneves, this marked his first IndyCar outing of 2018.

Helio Castroneves was back in an IndyCar on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: IndyCar

Sporting the Pennzoil “yellow submarine” paint scheme, Castroneves turned 41 laps around Barber in the morning session, with a quick lap of 1:08.315. He was also the only driver to venture out on track in the afternoon, completing eight laps.

The Dale Coyne Racing duo of Sebastien Bourdais and Zachary Claman De Melo completed the top five.

Results are below.