Photo: Tequila Patron ESM

Patron ESM brings in Lapierre, Pla for 2018 endurance races

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Prototype veterans Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Pla join the Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi lineup for the four-race Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup in next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. They replace Brendon Hartley and Bruno Senna.

The pair of rapid Frenchmen will be split between the team’s No. 2 and 22 Nissans, with the DPi built on the Ligier JS P217 base model. Pla has extensive experience with that car through both testing and development and some races, while Lapierre has been a fixture in Oreca base chassis over the years after his full-time Toyota LMP1 factory stint ended (before a brief return this year). Driver assignments are to be determined.

“I’m delighted to join the Tequila Patrón ESM team for the endurance races in the NAEC,” said Pla, whose recent prototype experience in North America has come with similar Onroak Automotive chassis teams PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, Michael Shank Racing, Krohn Racing and OAK Racing.

“Racing against ESM in the past I know what they are capable of and I think we will have everything to perform at the very best.”

Lapierre added, “I’m delighted to join Tequila Patrón ESM. have already taken part in a few IMSA races and I’ve always loved it. In a few occasions I raced against Tequila Patrón ESM and I know how competitive the team is. We will have a strong package next year.”

The team’s full-season quartet is Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp (No. 2) and Johannes van Overbeek and Pipo Derani (No. 22).

Both drivers race full-time in the FIA World Endurance Championship, Pla with Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK in its Ford GT in GTE-Pro, and Lapierre with Signatech Alpine in the Alpine A470 Gibson in LMP2.

Get your motor running: American Flat Track’s new season premieres Sunday on NBCSN

Photos courtesy American Flat Track
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If you like racing two-wheel style, make sure you catch the debut of a new multi-year TV broadcast deal featuring the American Flat Track motorcycle racing series on NBCSN.

The 18-round series debuts this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the season-opening race that was held at Daytona International Speedway on March 15.

Going forward, all 18 rounds of the series will be televised on NBCSN in highly-coveted weekend afternoon programming slots without two weeks of each event.

Last season, AFT drew nearly two million viewers on NBCSN with regular primetime coverage on Thursday nights.

This season, the one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts will be part of NBCSN’s regular weekend programing, following or preceding coverage of NASCAR, INDYCAR and Pro Motocross.

AFT is now in its 65th season, with two distinct classes: powerful, twin-cylinder rides in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines division, and the competition in the 450cc AFT Singles division.

“We are very excited to kick-off our second season of AFT on NBCSN,” NBC Sports Group Senior Director of Programming Jeff Macaluso. “The 2017 season provided us with some incredible racing and showed us how passionate the riders and fans are of this historic sport.

“The move to weekends this year, around other marquis motorsports properties, is sure to raise the level even higher.”

Here’s the 2018 AFT schedule on NBCSN:

Round Track, Location Track Type Premiere Time (ET) Time (PT)
1 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL TT Sun, 3/25 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
2 Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA Short Track Sat, 4/14 5:30 PM 2:30 PM
3 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX Half-Mile Sun, 5/06 4:00 PM 1:00 PM
4 Calistoga Speedway, Calistoga, CA Half-Mile Sun, 5/20 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
5 Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ Mile Sat, 5/26 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
6 Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA Mile Sun, 6/03 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
7 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 6/09 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
8 Red Mile, Lexington, KY Mile Sat, 6/16 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
9 Remington Park, Oklahoma City, OK Mile Sat, 6/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
10 Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH Half-Mile Sat, 7/07 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
11 Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY Short Track Sun, 7/15 6:00 PM 3:00 PM
12 Buffalo Chip Campgrounds, Sturgis, SD TT Sat, 8/11 12:30 PM 9:30 AM
13 Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD Half-Mile Sat, 8/18 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
14 Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL TT Sat, 9/01 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
15 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 9/22 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
16 Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA Half-Mile Sun, 9/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
17 Canterbury Park, Shakopee, MN Mile Sun, 10/14 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
18 Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ Mile Sun, 10/21 2:00 PM 11:00 AM


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