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Cadillac reveals DPi car ahead of IMSA comeback in 2017

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Cadillac has revealed its new Daytona Prototype international (DPi) car ahead of its return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2017.

Cadillac will return to the premier class of an IMSA-sanctioned series in 2017 after 14 years away, supplying cars to Action Express Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing.

The American manufacturer revealed renders of its new DPi car on Wednesday as the countdown continues until its race debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

Here is the release in full from IMSA.

“Cadillac is proud to return to the pinnacle of prototype racing in North America after a 14-year absence.”

Those were the words used by Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen to confirm that three Cadillac Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race cars will compete in the full 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype (P) class, beginning with the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29, 2017. The new car will be known as the Cadillac DPi-V.R and is the first prototype race car from the New York-headquartered manufacturer since 2002.

“It is not possible to overstate how thrilled all of us at IMSA are to officially welcome Cadillac, one of the world’s most respected premium automotive brands, back to Prototype racing in the WeatherTech Championship,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “This is exactly the type of program we had in mind when we announced the Daytona Prototype international concept last year.

“As we open a new era of Prototype competition in 2017, we now have three benchmark examples of manufacturers using this platform to showcase their impressive and unique technology at the highest level. We cannot wait to get the new era underway in just a few short weeks at Daytona.”

The manufacturer confirmed that Action Express Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing each will field Cadillac DPi-V.R machines next season. Action Express, which has won the last three WeatherTech Championship Prototype titles, will have a pair of Cadillacs, while the Wayne Taylor Racing team continues its longstanding relationship with General Motors through a one-car effort.

“Cadillac’s V-Performance production models — the ATS-V and CTS-V — are transforming our brand’s product substance, earning a place among the world’s elite high performance marques,” de Nysschen said. “The Cadillac DPi-V.R further strengthens our V-Performance portfolio, placing Cadillac into the highest series of sports car racing in North America.”

The Cadillac DPi-V.R will be powered by a normally aspirated, 6.2-liter Cadillac V-8 engine, which shares inherent architecture with engines that power the third-generation Cadillac CTS-V and fifth-generation Cadillac Escalade production vehicles. The chassis for the Cadillac DPi-V.R was designed in cooperation with Dallara with styling cues inspired by Cadillac’s current line of V-Performance high-performance production models, specifically the Cadillac CTS-V.

“The DPi-V.R race car was an exciting new canvas for the Cadillac design and sculpting team,” said Andrew Smith, Global Cadillac Design executive director. “The studio embraced the opportunity to interpret the Cadillac form language, line work and graphic signature for this premier prototype racing application. Every detail of the final design was selected to support the car’s on-track performance and unmistakable Cadillac presence.”

The new Cadillac DPi-V.R will make its public on-track debut during a two-day IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona International Speedway on Dec. 13-14.

Cadillac joins Mazda and Nissan as confirmed DPi manufacturers for IMSA’s top Prototype class, which also will include international LM P2 prototype chassis from Riley/Multimatic, Ligier, ORECA and Dallara, powered by single-specification Gibson V8 engines.

Indy Lights: Chad Boat to make Indy Lights debut with Belardi

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Belardi Auto Racing, which currently fields entries for Aaron Telitz, Santi Urrutia, and Shelby Blackstock in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, announced on Tuesday that USAC standout Chad Boat, son of former Verizon IndyCar Series race winner Billy Boat, will make his Indy Lights debut with the Brian Belardi led-outfit. Boat will contest the July 9 race at Iowa Speedway, a track he has previously raced on in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and will return for the August 26 event at Gateway Motorsports Park.

“We’re extremely pleased to announce the addition of Chad Boat to our stable of drivers for the Iowa and Gateway Indy Lights oval races this summer,” team owner Brian Belardi detailed. “It’s exciting to have a second-generation driver running with us, and we’re certainly looking forward to getting Chad on track in Iowa.”

The younger Boat has become a star in his own right in USAC, winning Rookie of the Year honors in both the USAC National Midget and Sprint car divisions. The 25-year-old will pilot the No. 84 entry, with sponsorship from Pristine Auction.

“I grew up watching my dad race Indy cars, so having the opportunity to run Indy Lights this year is absolutely surreal,” said Boat. “I have to thank Belardi Auto Racing for giving me a shot behind the wheel of the No. 84 Dallara, as well as Pristine Auction for their continued support in my racing career. I can’t wait to get to Iowa Speedway.”

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Mercedes, Ferrari go conservative on Austrian GP tire picks

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Pirelli has confirmed all 20 Formula 1 drivers’ tire picks for next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, with most opting to stack up on ultra-softs.

As it does for every grand prix, Pirelli will bring three compounds to Austria next week, electing for the softest possible combination of ultra-soft, super-soft and soft tires.

In the regular pre-race release of each driver’s tire picks, Pirelli revealed that Force India, McLaren and Red Bull have gone down the most aggressive routes, stacking up on the ultra-soft tire.

Title contenders Mercedes and Ferrari have gone down a more conservative route, favoring additional sets of the super-soft compound.

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will take seven sets of ultra-softs to Spielberg, while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will have eight sets at their disposal through the weekend.

Graham Rahal survives Road America to finish eighth

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Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing faced a roller coaster of a race during the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America on Sunday.

He was a rocket off the initial start, jumping from sixth on the grid up to fourth exiting turn 1, but was almost immediately ordered to surrender a position for blocking. He quickly slipped back to sixth, and then began plummeting down the order as he battled an oversteer condition that saw his car chew through its rear tires more quickly than others.

Forced to abandon the planned three-stop strategy, he and the No. 15 Gehl Honda team switched to a four-stop plan that saw him drop well outside the top ten at times.

However, they kept plugging away and rebounded nicely in the second half of the race to eventually finish in eighth. While he would have liked to finish higher up the order, Rahal knows that he and the team got everything they could out of it.

“The car was a handful today. I knew about five laps in that I didn’t have the pace for a three-stop strategy,” Rahal revealed post-race. “We tried as best we could to work with what we had during the race and overcome it. I would have obviously liked to have finished better, but eighth is about as good as we could do today. We struggled with a very loose race car all weekend and just couldn’t put a dent in the problem. We worked awfully hard but just missed it this weekend.”

The eighth-place finish keeps Rahal in the championship hunt. Rahal now sits seventh in the standings, 11 points behind fifth-place Josef Newgarden and 72 behind championship leader Scott Dixon.

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Ed Jones continues steady run with seventh at Road America

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Dale Coyne Racing’s Ed Jones has made waves in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a string of solid performances that belie his rookie status.

And Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix at Road America was no different.

The 22-year-old battled an oversteering car most of the weekend at Road America, and had to navigate a little carnage late in the race as Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay both fell through the field with front wing problems.

However, Jones weathered all storms to finish an impressive seventh, his fifth finish inside the top 10 this year, and his best finish since his third place at the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade MotorOil.

“It was a really tough race,” Jones said of the effort. “We had a loose car yesterday. It was loose, but fast, for qualifying, and today again the car was really loose. I was hanging on the whole race, but the team had some good pit stops and we were able to move up.

“Obviously, the strategy was pretty similar to everyone else. Everyone was aggressive out there. It was hard racing but we came out with a seventh place and we moved up a little bit in the points.”

The seventh-place run sees Jones maintain his position in the top ten in the championship. He currently sits tenth in the standings, three points ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Max Chilton.

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