Senna, Kobayashi go 1-2 in class in WEC debuts

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It’s been several years that the words “Senna wins” could be typed for a race report. Bruno Senna brought those legendary words back to print on Sunday afternoon in the FIA World Endurance Championship opener at Silverstone.

The ex-Williams Formula One driver, Senna drove a flawless race with co-drivers Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke to deliver a GTE Pro class victory for Aston Martin Racing in the team’s No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage.

“I’m really happy to start my GT career with a win,” Senna told the official WEC website. “It’s been great joining Aston Martin Racing and to get a pole position and win and go home from our first WEC race of the year with so many points for the championship is unbelievable. It was a tough race; we had to push hard while avoiding accidents, but my team did a great job. We must now keep pushing hard; the competition here is very, very strong.”

Incidentally, Senna’s last win came at Silverstone, but on the old course layout in the 2008 GP2 sprint race there. He finished second in that year’s championship to Giorgio Pantano, and moved to LMP1 sports cars in 2009 before making his F1 debut in 2010 with HRT.

The other ex-F1 pilot from 2012 now racing in WEC, Kamui Kobayashi, also starred. The ex-Sauber man co-drove the No. 71 AF Corse-entered Ferrari F458 Italia with Toni Vilander and finished second in class behind the Aston Martin.

A bevy of ex-F1 drivers compete in the series and Allan McNish (Audi R18 e-tron quattro, LMP1) and Antonio Pizzonia (G-Drive by Delta-ADR Oreca 03 Nissan, LMP2) also won their classes. McNish’s lone season in F1 was in 2002 with Toyota, while Pizzonia raced parts of 2003 through 2005 with Jaguar (now Red Bull) and Williams.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.