Rast in Formula E. Photo: Getty Images

International aces Rene Rast, Sam Bird added to Rolex 24 lineup

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The driver roster for the 55th Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona continues to grow.

This week, two more teams announced additions to their respective driver lineups.

VISIT FLORIDA Racing has added German driver Rene Rast to its team. Rast will join Belgian driver Marc Goossens and Dutch driver Renger van der Zande in the No. 90 Gibson-powered Riley Mk. 30 in the Prototype class.

Rast has outstanding credentials, particularly in the Rolex 24, having won the GT class for Magnus Racing in both 2012 and 2016.

Photo courtesy of IMSA
Rast. Photo courtesy of IMSA

He also finished second in the LMP2 class in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans for G-Drive Racing. He also won in LMP2 at Bahrain and earned podium finishes at Silverstone and Circuit of the Americas.

Rast is also a two-time winner of the 24 Hours at Spa and the 24 Hours of Nurburgring.

“The Rolex 24 is one of my favorite races during the year and I can’t wait for the action to begin,” Rast said in a media release. “I have won the Rolex 24 now two times but not overall. My big dream was always to one day win it overall.”

Scuderia Corsa, whose Ferrari 488 GT3 makes its Daytona, also added to its driver lineup.

Sam Bird
Bird. Photo courtesy of IMSA

Ferrarri factory driver Sam Bird completes the lineup and will join 2016 IMSA and NAEC GT-Daytona champions Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan, along with confirmed third driver Matteo Cressoni.

Bird earned two victories last season in the WEC, piloting a Ferrari 488 GTE, and was a key component of Scuderia’s WEC Manufacturer championship.

As for Cressoni, he previously drove for Scuderia Corsa in the 2014 Petit Le Mans.

Scuderia Corsa is defending champion of the IMSA and North American Endurance Cup GT-Daytona championships.

“With this driver lineup and the proven success of the 488 GT3, I am confident that Scuderia Corsa will defend our Championships this year. The GTD field has expanded this season to factory entries and we welcome the challenge” Scuderia Corsa team owner Giacomo Mattioli said. “2017 marks the 70th anniversary for Ferrari and there is no better way to celebrate than success at the race track, where it all began.”

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Pippa Mann returns to Dale Coyne Racing for seventh Indianapolis 500 bid

Photo courtesy Dale Coyne Racing
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Pippa Mann announced Tuesday that she plans to drive in her seventh Indianapolis 500 on May 27.

The native of Ipswich, England will once again return to race for Dale Coyne Racing, with new sponsorship by Donate Life Indiana.

She had previously been sponsored the last four years in the 500 by the Susan G. Komen organization. She’ll continue to carry logos of that organization on the front wing of her car in the 500, Mann said.

Mann, 34, has raced six times in the 500, with a best finish being 17th in last year’s race.

Mann will fill out the four-car Dale Coyne Racing field for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. She’ll be teammates with Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda in a partnership with Vasser-Sullivan), Pietro Fittipaldi (No. 19 The Paysafe Car Honda) and Conor Daly (No. 17 U.S. Air Force Honda in a partnership with Thom Burns Racing).

Mann will make her first practice laps for this year’s 500 on Tuesday, May 15. Qualifying is May 19-20.

Mann’s No. 63 Honda will have a significantly different look than in the last few years. Instead of pink, her car will feature a silvery blue and light green paint scheme wrapped around a Donate Life Indiana logo.

“I am honored to have been asked to drive the Donate Life car this May and to partner with Donate Life Indiana as an ambassador to raise awareness on our mission to help reach even more Hoosiers through our education efforts,” Mann said in a media release. “This is obviously a campaign with a pretty deep personal meaning for me, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to join the racers carrying this cause forward.

“I also want to thank Dale and Gail Coyne for once again giving me this opportunity to pilot one of their entries this May. This will be my sixth year with Dale Coyne Racing and I’m truly grateful that they allow me to do this every year.”

Mann will also serve as a spokesperson for the organization and to raise awareness for youth education initiatives in Indiana, most notably organ, tissue and eye donor registration.

In addition to her driving duties in the 102nd running of the 500, Mann will also visit schools across the Hoosier State to speak about the importance of organ donation and transplantation.

“Our education team is committed to partnering with Pippa and students and teachers across the state to bring the message of organ donation and transplantation to as many students as possible,” said Steve Johnson, board chairman for Donate Life Indiana.

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