Sato among the stars at Barber two-day test

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With a pair of top-five performances in two days, Takuma Sato and A.J. Foyt Racing were one of the top Honda runners over the two days of Verizon IndyCar Series testing at Barber Motorsports Park. He ended Tuesday and combined in fourth place.

One of the few full-season single-car teams in the series worked through a series of promising runs. Both in 2012 and 2013, albeit in warmer conditions in April for the race weekend, the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda has been a top-six qualifier at Barber (in 2013, a penalty knocked Sato from the Firestone Fast Six).

“It’s been a very productive two days,” he said post-Tuesday. “We’ve been unlucky in terms of the weather-it was wet in the morning so we didn’t run and the afternoon was cold so that won’t replicate for the race weekend. Nevertheless we did a lot of the test program that we wanted to do and saw how the car reacted. It was a very positive performance wise and the feedback. It’s been a good preparation and we are ready to go to St. Petersburg.”

Sato was one of the top starters to the 2013, with a front-row start at St. Petersburg, the aforementioned Barber qualifying effort and back-to-back podiums at Long Beach (his first win) and Brazil.

The only thing he’ll need to upgrade heading into St. Petersburg next week is his driver uniform, as the old IZOD IndyCar Series logo appears and will need to be swapped out for the new Verizon one.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”