Audi, Ferrari sweep to WEC wins at Spa

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Audi and Ferrari swept to wins in the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, in a race that serves as a tune-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Audi’s three R18 e-tron quattro hybrids took a 1-2-3 finish overall, led by the twice-defending Le Mans winning trio of Andre Lotterer (pictured at 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours), Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler. Toyota premiered its new 2013-spec TS030 Hybrid, but the hybrid system failed on the No. 7 car. Meanwhile the debut of the 2013-spec car was explained further in an article by SPEED’s John Dagys.

In GTE Pro, where several ex-Formula One pilots have landed, Bruno Senna and Kamui Kobayashi again finished in the same order as they did in Silverstone. But while that was a win for Senna in his WEC debut, this time it was second and third behind Kobayashi’s teammate in the sister AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia, driven by Italian ex-F1 drivers Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Senna switched to the No. 98 Aston Martin after winning in Silverstone in the No. 97 – the team added a fifth Vantage split between the GTE Pro and Am classes – and co-drove with Frederic Makowiecki and Rob Bell. Kobayashi resumed with co-driver Toni Vilander in AF Corse’s No. 71 Ferrari.

Pecom Racing (LMP2) and 8Star Motorsports (GTE Am) also took class victories. Mike Conway, who raced a Rahal Letterman Lanigan IndyCar in Long Beach, finished fifth in the LMP2 class.

The 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans occurs June 22-23.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.