Pirelli World Challenge begins 25th Anniversary Season

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Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of today’s first race of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season from the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. NBCSN will broadcast the race on Sunday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m. ET. If you don’t want to know who won until then, we suggest you find another post to read here on MotorSportsTalk…

Series GT newcomer Tomas Enge and defending GTS class champion Lawson Aschenbach were victorious in today’s season-opener for the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge championship on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition, Andrew Palmer earned the first win in the series’ new GT-A subcategory for gentlemen drivers.

This weekend was supposed to see the GT and GTS classes compete in two races on the 1.8-mile St. Pete street course, but a heavy storm and a lack of track time afterwards wound up cancelling Saturday’s race. Qualifying times from Saturday set the grid for Sunday’s race, and only single-event points were awarded.

Enge had a poor standing start from the GT pole position, but marched to the front of the field during Sunday’s 50-minute race. With almost five minutes left, he capped off his comeback in the No. 25 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 with a bold inside pass of Andy Pilgrim and his No. 8 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R in Turn 1 that proved to be the race winner.

Pilgrim placed second, while Palmer finished third overall in the No. 21 GMG Racing Audi R8 Ultra after dueling with Anthony Lazzaro and Nick Mancuso in their R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italias. Lazzaro ended up fourth, while Mancuso picked up fifth (second in GT-A).

In GTS, Aschenbach took the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro to Victory Lane after taking advantage of slower traffic to make the race-winning pass on Andy Lee (No. 20 Best IT/Crown 7 Chevrolet Camaro) at Lap 26.

Jack Baldwin, who swept both St. Pete races last year in GTS, earned a third-place result in his No. 73 GTSport Porsche Cayman S. Tony Buffomonte (No. 33 Capaldi Racing/Ford Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S) and Jack Roush Jr. (No. 60 ROUSH Road Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302R) completed the Top 5 in GTS.

The Pirelli World Challenge will be back in action Sunday, April 13 on the Streets of Long Beach, California as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.

CADILLAC GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG presented by StopTech – FULL RESULTS

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”