No. 29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi R8 LMS, No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3. Photo courtesy of IMSA

Handful of changes identified on Rolex 24 entry list

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The entry lists for both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and BMW Performance 200, the respective curtain-raisers for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (Jan. 28-29), have been released on Wednesday and there’s not too many changes compared to the ones released for the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test earlier this month.

Within Prototype, Brendon Hartley has now been listed as fourth driver for both of the Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis. The New Zealander has driven in a couple Rolex 24s before, last year with Chip Ganassi Racing, and will saddle up with ESM this year despite missing the Roar test.

GT Daytona includes a number of additions, with Turner Motorsport confirming its full race lineup of BMW factory shoes Jens Klingmann, Maxime Martin, Jesse Krohn and sports car/NASCAR veteran Justin Marks in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 as the biggest change.

Maro Engel (No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3), Tim Pappas (No. 991 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 R), Sven Mueller (No. 59 Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R), and Dion von Moltke (No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3) are among the key drivers added, though some teams have not yet confirmed those signings outright. Pappas’ confirmation brings together the principal of Black Swan Racing with Kevin Buckler’s TRG program in an interesting partnership.

Most of the Prototype Challenge field has been confirmed. Nick Boulle switches to Performance Tech Motorsports after being initially listed at BAR1 Motorsports. Starworks Motorsport’s lineup is set to include Sebastian Saavedra, Remo Ruscitti, Robert Wickens and the at-the-moment unlisted Sean Rayhall as its pro drivers.

Spencer Pumpelly, Guy Cosmo, Marc Miller, Damien Faulkner, Kenton Koch and Cameron Lawrence are among the notables still without a ride at the moment, and judging by the entry list, there’s still a number of TBDs and vacancies still within the GTD class.

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge entry list, meanwhile, features an even balance of 20 GS and 20 ST cars for the four-hour season opener.

Entry lists are linked below:

WeatherTech Championship
Continental Tire Challenge

‘Dinner with Racers’ rides again for third season

Photo courtesy Dinner with Racers
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Spencer Pumpelly killing a guy… allegedly. Johnny O’Connell attempting to run over Dario Franchitti… again, allegedly. Copious mentions of Bill Riley. Chicken sandwiches.

All these inside jokes, along with awesome stories and food selections, are staples of the “Dinner with Racers” podcast series, which is presented by Continental Tire, and will roll on once again this fall for a third season.

The key addition to this year from co-creators Sean Heckman, PR veteran and partner in TMB Creative, Inc. (The Media Barons) and Ryan Eversley, Acura factory driver for RealTime Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge, is the launch of an official guest submission contest (fans can submit their guest recommendations here), as well as other fan contests to be revealed as they get closer to hitting the road.

Quotes from both Eversley and Heckman in the official release go true to form if you know both individuals, their styles and sense of humor, and if you’ve listened to any of the podcasts from seasons one and two.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this again,” stated co-host Eversley. “It’s honestly a lot of fun to do this, and in many ways very refreshing. The enthusiasm we find in every guest we meet, no matter how accomplished, is incredible, and something that reminds us both how great it is to work in this sport. The only thing more satisfying is the tremendous fan response we’ve had over the years. We honestly had no clue how many people would not only listen, but respond so positively, and for that we couldn’t be more grateful. This year we’re trying to do a little more to include our fan-base, we hope they enjoy it.”

“I agree, it’s a lot of fun,” continued Heckman. “For the first week.”

The cross-country trip will occur this fall and episodes are generally released around the holidays, either on the front side or back side of Thanksgiving but before Christmas.

Ferrucci steps up to Formula 2 with Trident for rest of season

GP3 Series
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American racer Santino Ferrucci will make the step up to FIA Formula 2 for the remainder of the 2017 season, linking up with Trident.

Ferrucci, 19, made his GP3 debut in 2016 and has raced in the series ever since, balancing development duties with the Haas Formula 1 team.

The native of Woodbury, Connecticut will make his F2 debut this weekend in Hungary, securing a seat with Trident for the rest of the season.

“We are really proud to announce the agreement reached between Team Trident and the American racer Santino Ferrucci for the final five rounds of the FIA Formula 2 season,” Trident team manager Giacomo Ricci.

“The 19-year-old already had the chance to test one of our GP3 Series cars in last November’s collective postseason test at Abu Dhabi.

“Back then, he impressed the team’s staff, bringing home great results and keeping his name among the top-5 at all times.

“He is now set to make his Formula 2 debut at Budapest, on the same track where he led the way in GP3 Series testing.

“I am sure that Santino has all the skills needed to adapt to a Formula 2 car very quickly. Also, thanks to his Formula 1 experience, he will not have problems in managing more power and carbon fiber brakes.”

Pirelli confirms Brazil, Abu Dhabi tire selections to finish 2017

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Pirelli has confirmed the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix tire selections for the final two races of the season, which brings to a conclusion all the selected sets for the rest of the way.

Pirelli will have the supersoft, soft and medium compounds on offer at Sao Paulo in Brazil with the ultrasoft back for Abu Dhabi with the supersoft and soft compounds.

The Abu Dhabi selections will match those at Austin and Mexico City for that back-to-back in October.

Here are the remaining tire selections for after the summer break. At Hungary this weekend, teams can run the supersoft, soft and medium.

  • August 27: Belgium, Ultrasoft, Supersoft, Soft
  • Sept. 3: Italy, Supersoft, Soft, Medium
  • Sept. 17: Singapore, Ultrasoft, Supersoft, Soft 
  • Oct. 1: Malaysia, Supersoft, Soft, Medium
  • Oct. 8: Japan, Supersoft, Soft, Medium
  • Oct. 22: USA, Ultrasoft, Supersoft, Soft 
  • Oct. 29: Mexico, Ultrasoft, Supersoft, Soft
  • Nov. 12: Brazil, Supersoft, Soft, Medium
  • Nov. 26: Abu Dhabi, Ultrasoft, Supersoft, Soft

American Flat Track shows now part of NBCSN’s ‘Overdrive’ block

Photo: American Flat Track/Ricky Fuentes
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American Flat Track shows on NBCSN will be part of the “Overdrive” block on Thursday nights, the series announced. Races from Turf Paradise and beyond take place every Thursday from here through October 12.

The release from the series is below:

This Thursday night, American Flat Track (AFT) shifts into primetime to serve as a cornerstone of NBCSN’s Overdrive, a new high-octane motorsports programming block slated to run weekly throughout the summer and fall.

Tune in Thursday, July 27, at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) for an hour of gripping flat track motorcycle racing as NBCSN provides coverage of the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle. Every American Flat Track show within the Overdrive block has been expertly produced with intense onboard camera footage, slow motion replays and behind-the-scenes feature content to showcase the 140mph+ tactical warfare and sub-tenth-of-a-second victory margins that define the sport.

Overdrive fans on Thursday night will be treated to an absolute barn burner from flag-to-flag in the AFT Singles Main Event, providing an early indication of the brilliance to come from AFT Singles standout Shayna Texter. The final half of the program goes in-depth with the Factory Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle squads, followed by an epic shootout between teammates Jared Mees, Brad Baker and defending champ, Bryan Smith, in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event.

Overdrive starts each Thursday at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on NBCSN and takes a deep dive into wide world of motorsports. The television premiere schedule for American Flat Track on NBCSN’s Overdrive is as follows:

Date Location Track Time (ET) Time (PT) Network
Thursday, July 27 Turf Paradise Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, August 3 Cal Expo Fairgrounds Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, August 10 Illinois State Fairgrounds Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, August 17 The Red Mile Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, August 24 Remington Park Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, August 31 Allen County Fairgrounds Half-Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 7 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Half-Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 7 Calistoga Speedway Half-Mile 11 PM 8 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 14 Buffalo Chip TT 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 14 Black Hills Speedway Half-Mile 11 PM 8 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 21 Peoria Motorcycle Club TT 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 21 Illinois State Fairgrounds Mile 11 PM 8 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 28 Williams Grove Speedway Half-Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN
Thursday, September 28 Texas Motor Speedway Half-Mile 11 PM 8 PM NBCSN
Thursday, October 12 Perris Auto Speedway Half-Mile 10 PM 7 PM NBCSN