© GP2 Series

Alex Lynn relishing IMSA chance with WTR, also chasing Le Mans drive

Leave a comment

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – British youngster Alex Lynn is relishing the opportunity to race for Wayne Taylor Racing at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans, saying he wants to repay the team for taking a chance on hiring him for the races.

Lynn, 23, moved away from GP2 at the end of last year to switch his focus to sports cars, racing in the final three rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship for Manor.

The Briton was confirmed as Max Angelelli’s replacement in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R for the upcoming IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races at Sebring and Road Atlanta following the veteran racer’s retirement after the Rolex 24 at Daytona last month.

“The deal with Wayne was a really, really cool one. I really wanted to get that, I’m so excited about it,” Lynn told NBC Sports.

“A big credit to him and Max for giving me the chance. It came around when I met them at Austin last year for the WEC race. I was there scouting out the WEC paddock and obviously IMSA were there as well. We had a good chat and the deal came together.

“I’m really happy to join Ricky and Jordan. We’re going testing next weekend at Sebring, it should be good. It’s an amazing car, and it’s got great winning potential as Ricky, Jordan, Max and Jeff showed. [We’ll] try and carry on that form and if we can get a good result at Sebring I’ll be really happy.

“I know that one thing Max and Wayne really wanted for the replacement was someone who had good sports car experience and loads of Sebring experience. I’ve got none!

“I feel really proud they took a chance on me and hopefully I can repay them with some good results.”

Lynn has a variety of racing commitments coming up through 2017, with a works BMW drive in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and a reserve role in Formula E with DS Virgin Racing also on his plate.

However, the 2014 GP3 Series champion still has one more event in his sights for the forthcoming year.

“I hope there is one thing to add. That would then by the cherry on the cake for a really nice 2017,” Lynn teased.

“The plan is I would like to be on the grid at Le Mans. Hopefully something can come to fruition.”

When asked if this may see him return to Manor, Lynn said: “I’m looking elsewhere outside of the LMP2 category.”

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

Getty Images
Leave a comment

If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.