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PWC: Nissan back with Sanchez, Montecalvo for AE/AIM in SprintX

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The Always Evolving, AIM Autosport and Nissan partnership in Pirelli World Challenge will continue into 2017, with an adjusted lineup and a different race schedule.

Rather than a full season with two cars and James Davison and Bryan Heitkotter as drivers, both of whom have won over the last couple years, the program has been adjusted to see two other young guns splitting one car.

Ricardo Sanchez, the Mexican driver who is a past Nissan GT Academy winner, and sports car veteran Frankie Montecalvo will share the single Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 for SprintX rounds.

Sanchez has raced abroad in the Blancpain GT Series for a couple years while Montecalvo adds this program to a busy 2017 season that has also seen him in an Alex Job Racing Audi R8 LMS in IMSA’s Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup and an ANSA Motorsports KTM X-BOW GT4 in the lone PWC GTS race weekend of the season in St. Petersburg.

“After racing for the past two years in Europe, it’s really exciting to get the chance to race the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the US,” Sanchez said.

“It’s a completely new chapter for me. I’ve got a whole new set of tracks to learn but the GT-R has been really strong in the U.S. and I’m looking forward to continuing my career in a new country.”

“I’m very excited to team up with Always Evolving and AIM Autosport in the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 for the Sprint X Series,” Montecalvo added.

“I’ve always been a fan of the GT-R, both as a racecar and the streetcar version, and I’m very, very excited to be working together this year.”

This confirmation joins Bentley’s recent announcement Vincent Abril will share the No. 88 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3 with Adderly Fong for all SprintX rounds, with Alexandre Imperatori in for the first two SprintX weekends alongside Yufeng Luo in the No. 78 Bentley.

Few SprintX pairings have yet to be revealed, with one of the notable ones still outstanding the co-driver for Ryan Dalzel in his No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.

The SprintX portion of PWC’s season opens in a couple weeks at VIR, April 28-30.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.