MRTI: Indy Lights, Pro Mazda title battles head to penultimate weekend

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While the Verizon IndyCar Series title battle will get most of the attention this weekend, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires championships are also at a crucial point this weekend at the Milwaukee Mile.

Both series have had a number of doubleheader race weekends this year, but there’s only one race for both series in Milwaukee. Pro Mazda’s 100-lapper runs Saturday night with Indy Lights’ 100-lapper Sunday morning. Here’s the quick title battle synopsis:

INDY LIGHTS (Entry List)

On paper, this represents Zach Veach’s best shot to claw back the 24-point gap to points leader Gabby Chaves (431-407). Veach nearly won this race a year ago, but burned off his tires too quick and fell into Sage Karam’s clutches. Veach won twice earlier this year and as he’s solid on ovals, this is where he can capitalize.

Chaves, so long as he keeps Veach within three to four spots ahead, will be able to sustain the points lead. The only way he won’t is if he finishes seventh or eighth in the admittedly small eight-car field.

The wild card is Jack Harvey, who’s new to the circuit and has suddenly played himself into title contention following a Mid-Ohio doubleheader weekend sweep. Harvey sits second in points, 18 behind Chaves (431-418). He may not take the points lead away this weekend but if he limits the damage to his two title rivals, he’ll still be in with a shot at Sonoma next weekend.

Those playing spoilers? Basically the rest of the field, with Matthew Brabham, the Pro Mazda winner here last year, most likely to hassle the title contenders. Although listed, Zack Meyer’s Team Moore Racing entry is not here this weekend.

PRO MAZDA (Entry List

The two-horse race that is the battle between Spencer Pigot and Scott Hargrove continues at Milwaukee. Pigot should have the edge heading into the weekend and it remains to be seen if Hargrove can continue his second-half surge. Pigot leads Hargrove by 14 (259-245) entering the weekend.

Their respective teammates, Kyle Kaiser (Pigot’s) and Neil Alberico (Hargrove’s) as well as the Andretti Autosport pair of Garett Grist and Shelby Blackstock have the opportunity to play spoiler.

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

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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.”