IMSA: Hinchcliffe to drive Starworks Riley-Honda DP at Road America

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James Hinchcliffe will make a cameo appearance in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this weekend at Road America, co-driving with Scott Mayer in the No. 78 Honda-powered Riley Daytona Prototype from Starworks Motorsport.

Hinchcliffe has raced at Road America in Formula Atlantic and has made one TUDOR Championship start this year, as part of SpeedSource Mazda’s P2 lineup at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’m really excited to be at Road America this weekend with Starworks and HPD. I don’t have a ton of time in the DP cars, but I know Road America well and I’m sure, with a team like Starworks, they will get me up to speed quick,” he said in a team release. “Already having a relationship with HPD makes this an even cooler proposition and should help make the transition easier. More than anything I’m just happy to be in a car on an off weekend!”

Mayer and Brendon Hartley won the GRAND-AM race overall last year. The 3.5L twin-turbocharged Honda itself has gone through a reworking and the Riley chassis has had some aero upgrades.

This is an interesting development to note because the appointment of Hinchcliffe to the Honda-powered DP – when other IndyCar drivers could be available – could be a sign the Canadian is set to continue with the manufacturer in 2015.

While IndyCar is off this weekend, Hinchcliffe and Jack Hawksworth will be in the TUDOR Championship field. Hawksworth makes his second consecutive start aboard RSR Racing’s No. 08 Oreca FLM09, which he co-drove to the Prototype Challenge win with Chris Cumming last race at Indianapolis.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.