Report: FIA WEC could add Montreal race for 2015

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Having searched for several years now to find a second major motorsport event, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve may be on the verge of landing a 2015 round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

According to the French-language Le Journal de Montreal, talks have begun about a possible WEC event at CGV, which annually serves as the home of Formula One’s Canadian Grand Prix.

However, CGV has been lacking a second event to compliment the F1 race since 2012, when the NASCAR Nationwide Series left Montreal after a six-year run.

An event in Canada could make for a North American “swing” with the series’ U.S. round at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Or it may very well become the lone WEC race on the continent depending on whether or not COTA can draw more of a crowd.

Last year, when the WEC ran together with the now-defunct American Le Mans Series, reportedly less than 8,000 people among the overall weekend attendance of 35,000 took in the WEC’s six-hour event.

COTA is scheduled to host the WEC and the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship again this September as part of the “Lone Star Le Mans” weekend.

Back in March, WEC head Gerard Neveu indicated that he’d like his series to start expanding its presence in North America but that any potential opportunities would have to make sense.

“We don’t want to make one more date just to do one more date,” he said during the WEC’s preseason test sessions according to SportsCar365. “We have to do one more date if there is a very good opportunity.

“It means a good race track, good market, good fan base, good financial interest, good media interest and good interest for the manufacturers.

“I will not add a date on a very small island in the middle of the Pacific because they pay a lot. It doesn’t make sense. The idea is to find a fair destination for everybody.”

Penske: No room for Patrick in Indy 500 lineup. Ganassi? OK

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) Roger Penske has no room in his Indianapolis 500 lineup for Danica Patrick.

“The Captain” has a hunch where Patrick’s Indy comeback will take her in May – with Chip Ganassi.

“I sent him a note and said, `Congratulations. Danica better be driving your car at Indy because unfortunately she’s not driving for us,”‘ Penske said, laughing.

The 35-year-old Patrick said this week she will race only in the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 next year and then she will walk away from racing. Patrick is the only woman to have led laps in both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Patrick ran the Indy 500 from 2005 through 2011. Her highest finish was third in 2009, and she was the first woman to lead laps in the race when she paced the field for 19 trips around the Brickyard as a rookie.

Penske has a full field for Indy with Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and 2017 series champion Josef Newgarden racing as fulltime entries and three-time winner Helio Castroneves returns on a one-shot deal to try and win a fourth.

Chip Ganassi Racing is the likely ride at Indy. Ganassi has room to field additional cars – he’s scaling down from four full-time cars to two next year – and would give Patrick a car capable of winning. Ganassi said Friday he has met with Patrick and called her “Danica Double” a great idea.

Penske said Patrick and Ganassi, who has Ed Jones and IndyCar great Scott Dixon in his lineup, would be a perfect pair.

“I think that’s a great seat for her,” Penske said Saturday. “That’s a great team. They’re the ones that’s always been competitive there. I take my hat off that she wants to continue to go back to open wheel. That’s going to be terrific for the sport and there’s going to be a lot of interest around the country.”

Patrick was highly marketable early in her career even though wins were rare. She won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2013, but finished 24th in the standings the last two seasons. She won her only IndyCar race in 2008, in Japan. Patrick never scored a top-five finish in NASCAR and had only seven top 10s (though she led laps at the Daytona 500) in 189 career starts.

Penske, a 16-time winner as a car owner of the Indy 500, said Patrick would return to IndyCar a better driver.

“I think she’s going to come back to IndyCar a lot tougher having run in NASCAR,” he said. “I think she’s going to be someone that, in a good car, is going to pick it up. She’s got plenty of time to practice.”

Team Penske won the owner championship Saturday in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series. Sam Hornish Jr., who won three IndyCar titles and the 2006 Indy 500, said the sport would welcome back Patrick.

“She’s probably going to have a better shot at Indy because of what she’s done the last five years,” Hornish said.

Patrick has not revealed the team she’ll race for but surely a package deal with the same team and same sponsor for the biggest races in motorsports would make her again racing’s most marketable driver.

“I think it’s a great way for her to say, hey, I’m here, I’ve done it, I’m going to go back to the two biggest races and see if I can’t get out on top,” Penske said.

Penske can win a NASCAR championship with Brad Keselowski in Sunday’s Cup race.

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