Aleshin leads Indy 500 Sunday morning practice with 232.9, fastest lap of month

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Still tows, still extra boost, but still speeds creeping up on Sunday morning at the Indianapolis 500 morning practice before official Pole Day this afternoon.

Mikhail Aleshin, at 232.917, posted the fastest lap of the month in the No. 7 SMP Racing Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Josef Newgarden was second for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, also over 232 mph.

Both Kurt Busch and Ryan Hunter-Reay were in the 231 range, and Carlos Huertas clocked in fifth at 230 mph.

Hard to tell too much if anything from these times, especially since we already know the nine drivers who have a shot at pole. But, bragging rights anyway for the Russian rookie, who has a nice bounce back a week after being involved in the start line accident in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Here’s your morning speeds and times.

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SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.