Photo: NISMO

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

Leave a comment

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.

GoDaddy to sponsor Patrick in ‘Danica Double’ at Daytona, Indy — now all she needs are rides

Getty Images
Leave a comment

By The Associated Press

Danica Patrick is going back to green.

GoDaddy Green, to be exact – a fitting color for her farewell tour.

The company will sponsor Patrick in the upcoming “Danica Double” that will close out her racing career, The Associated Press has learned. Patrick has no ride yet for next month’s Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500 in May, but she now has the financial backing to pull it off.

This time around, the original GoDaddy Girl will symbolize the new core mission of the company that helped make her one of the world’s most recognizable athletes.

“There’s this great story: I left IndyCar with GoDaddy on my car, I started NASCAR with GoDaddy on my car, I’m most recognized as the GoDaddy green car and driver, and so to finish up my career that way feels appropriate,” Patrick told the AP from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Her final race will be the Indy 500, an appropriate choice because it was “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” that rocketed Patrick and GoDaddy into pop culture notoriety.

GoDaddy and Patrick grew up together. The company switched series with her and marketed her as a strong, sexy woman in 13 Super Bowl commercials – a record appearance for celebrities. Now, the company is most interested in Patrick the budding businesswoman who is firmly closing the door on her racing career and rebranding herself as an entrepreneur . She has a book out, an apparel line, a wine label and confirmed to AP this week that she’s dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Our goals are so well-aligned,” Barb Rechterman, the chief marketing officer of GoDaddy, told AP. “She’s passionate, tenacious and creative just like so many of our customers who are also looking to leverage the power of the internet and turn their `side hustle’ into a full-time business. Danica absolutely epitomizes the heart of our GoDaddy customers.”

Prepare to hear a lot about the “side hustle” as GoDaddy climbs aboard the so-far fledgling “Danica Double.”

Patrick announced in November she would end her driving career with the Daytona 500 and Indy 500, but didn’t have a deal completed for either race. Still doesn’t. Yet somehow, Patrick always figures a way to get what she wants. Talks ended with Chip Ganassi Racing about a possible ride, and late last month, Patrick said, she called former GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and asked about a reunion.

GoDaddy has rebranded since it last teamed with Patrick. The company now touts itself as “the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures,” and there’s no better spokeswoman than Patrick, who is in the next chapter of her life and her brand.

GoDaddy pulled out of racing after the 2015 season, and Patrick hasn’t had the same level of funding and marketing support since. Patrick has slowly reshaped her image, first into a Instagram model and is now a full-blown lifestyle guru. She realized – at the age of 35 – she was on her own.

She and GoDaddy aligned for a splashy move into NASCAR, where she was glamorous off the track but only mediocre on it. Through all of this, she was married, divorced, spent five years dating fellow driver and competitor Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and then seemed to find herself through a tailored diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

She is cutting the cord on racing after Indy, and her focus is on a sense of well-being far away from the track.

“Their business is so perfectly paired to what is going on with mine, so when we sat down and met, it was like, `Let’s talk about our business. Let’s talk about the messaging. How does this work?”‘ Patrick said. “And this is undeniably perfect for both of us. Not only is it a huge two races and the biggest two races of the year, but on top of that, you have so much `side hustle’ going on, and all the messaging and our brands, and where we are going is so perfectly paired.”w

GoDaddy can help Patrick move on to whatever it is for racing’s former “It Girl.” The company will help her streamline her online presence. Patrick, for the company, is back as a neon green-and-yellow symbol to all the wannabe entrepreneurs chasing dreams.

She’ll get those rides, too. Patrick said she knows she will because she believes she will.

“That’s just the way the universe works,” she said. “You have to ask for what you want. Things have taken a long time with this, but you just have to go with the flow on these things. The universe is not on your time schedule.”

More AP auto racing: https://racing.ap.org/