IndyCar: Indy 500 champ Ryan Hunter-Reay endures rough Detroit weekend

Leave a comment

In every form of sport, the pendulum is always swinging between victory and defeat. Sometimes, it swings rather quickly.

Last weekend, Ryan Hunter-Reay had the biggest moment of his career when he won the Indianapolis 500. That victory also enabled him to make up a ton of Verizon IndyCar Series championship points as well.

But the driver of Andretti Autosport’s No. 28 DHL Honda came down to earth in a big way this weekend at the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans.

Nearly everything that could go wrong for him did in both 70-lap races.

Today, Hunter-Reay was forced to start in the last row after brushing the wall in qualifying for the second time in as many days. Like everyone else, he tried to play the strategy game and salvage his Motor City weekend, but he was sidelined with 10 laps to go due to an electrical failure.

“I’ll try to erase this one from my memory and try to move on to Texas,” Hunter-Reay told ESPN. “What put us out was we lost pressure in the shift actuator, so we couldn’t get out of first gear.

“But from the beginning, we started with a puncture and had to come in. Then we were off-strategy, we tried saving fuel, then we had to abandon that because [the race] went green in the middle. Nothing we did worked this weekend.”

In Saturday’s Dual 1, Hunter-Reay found the tire barriers in the final lap while trying to pass teammate Marco Andretti and finished 16th.

Today, he had to swallow a 19th-place result, which causes him to fall to third place in the championship at 27 points behind Saturday’s winner, Will Power (today’s winner, Helio Castroneves, is second at 19 points behind).

All in all, it was a pretty crummy weekend on Belle Isle for our new ‘500’ champion. Afterwards, he echoed his TV comments of erasing the weekend on his Twitter page.

On the bright side, he will soon get to enjoy another perk of winning the Greatest Spectacle in Racing – and one that should provide him with a needed laugh or two.

“You just move on from these and we’re gonna go to New York tomorrow and be on [The Late Show with David Letterman],” he said. “So that will be fun.”

Still, as he himself noted, he could’ve used some fun on the track today.

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.”