Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Neil Alberico back for second Indy Lights season with Carlin

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Californian Neil Alberico will be back for his second season of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competition, completing the four-car lineup for Carlin this season.

Alberico provides the team a veteran hand as he’ll have three new teammates. Bogged down by repeated electrical and mechanical issues last year, the race winner and season runner-up in both Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in the first two rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires wasn’t able to showcase his full potential.

With Rising Star Racing support, Alberico’s Carlin’s lone holdover from 2016. Zachary Claman De Melo moves over from Juncos Racing, Garth Rickards steps up from USF2000 and Matheus Leist arrives from British F3.

“I’m excited to be back with Carlin for my second year in Indy Lights. The entire team has invested a lot of time and energy into my career, and I couldn’t be happier to continue our relationship together in 2017. Of course a big thanks goes to Art Wilmes and Rising Star Racing for sticking with me for all these years. Without RSR’s continued support I would never have the opportunity to compete at the level I am today. Now we aim to go and fight for some wins.”

Alberico is the 13th confirmed driver for 2017 and the field for St. Petersburg will be at least 14 cars, if not more.

Pro Mazda champion Aaron Telitz is likely to be confirmed at Belardi Auto Racing in the coming days, in a Soul Red liveried Mazda thanks to his scholarship for winning the championship.

If Juncos and/or Pelfrey adds another car, that would move the car count to either 15 or 16 for the season-opening weekend in St. Petersburg.

The Indy Lights grid so far:

  • Carlin: Garth Rickards, Matheus Leist, Zachary Claman De Melo, Neil Alberico
  • Andretti Autosport: Dalton Kellett, Nico Jamin, Ryan Norman
  • Andretti Steinbrenner Racing: Colton Herta
  • Belardi Auto Racing: Santiago Urrutia, Shelby Blackstock
  • Juncos Racing: Kyle Kaiser, Nicolas Dapero
  • Team Pelfrey: Juan Piedrahita

Toyota victorious in Bahrain on Porsche’s LMP1 swansong

Toyota Motorsport GmbH
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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Toyota denied Porsche a swansong victory in its final LMP1 appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a commanding win in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.

Porsche started from pole in the last competitive outing for the three-time Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid car, only to lose out to Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi within the first half an hour of the race.

Porsche lost one of its cars from contention for victory after an errant bollard got stuck underneath Timo Bernhard’s No. 2 entry, leaving Nick Tandy to lead its charge in the No. 1 car.

Tandy moved into the lead just past half distance after a bold strategy call from Porsche to triple-stint the Briton after a fuel-only stop, vaulting him ahead of Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota.

Tandy’s win hopes were soon dashed when he tangled with a GTE-Am backmarker at Turn 1, sustaining damage that forced Porsche into an unplanned pit stop that put the car a lap down.

With the No. 7 Toyota losing two laps following a clash with a GTE-Pro car earlier on, Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went unchallenged en route to the car’s fifth victory of the season.

Porsche rounded out the podium with its cars, with the No. 2 leading home the No. 1, leaving Toyota’s No. 7 car to settle for P4 at the checkered flag.

Vaillante Rebellion clinched the title in LMP2 after a stunning fightback led by Bruno Senna, with the Brazilian securing his maiden motorsport championship win in the process.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse complete a hat-trick of titles in 2017, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi wining the class’ first world championship recognized by the FIA, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda sewed up the GTE-Am title.