PWC: Bentley, Dyson gear up for Road America debut

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While NASCAR’s Nationwide Series races at Road America this Saturday, one of the series on the undercards is the Pirelli World Challenge Championships with a doubleheader weekend of its own for all six of its categories.

One of the cars to watch – perhaps the car to watch within PWC GT this weekend – is the debuting Bentley Continental GT3, in the hands of Dyson Racing with Team Bentley. It had its first test at the track this month.

Dyson veteran Butch Leitzinger will be behind the wheel of the No. 08 Bentley/Breitling/Mobil 1 Bentley Continental GT3 at a track where he has excelled in the past. He has two sports car class victories at the Elkhart Lake road course, most recently in the American Le Mans Series’ Prototype Challenge category in 2011.

Leitzinger’s Bentley is one of 12 cars within the GT class, that also features manufacturer entries from Cadillac, Audi, McLaren, Ferrari, Porsche and Reiter Engineering Lamborghini. Mercedes-Benz and SRT Viper add to the manufacturer diversity in the GT-A subcategory.

“Chris and Rob (Dyson, the team’s founder and president) had been speaking with me about an undefined project they had in mind and I was of course interested in renewing my relationship with them and the team,” Leitzinger said in a team release. “I also knew that Bentley was getting back into racing, this time with a racing version of the Continental. To my surprise these two projects turned out to be the same – and happily I’ll be driving.”

Dyson, who raced the 24 Hours of Le Mans this past weekend with Caterham Racing, expanded briefly on the Bentley program.

“The Bentley program is extremely exciting. We had our first test, so we’re up and running,” Dyson told MotorSportsTalk. “I feel like a switchboard operator sometimes. My family gives me the stability and a lot of great people help make my life possible. Nobody does this alone. If you’re around good people, good things will happen.”

Races for PWC occur on Friday and Saturday, and will be aired on NBCSN Friday, July 4, at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.