Porsche fielding two-car factory team in United SportsCar Championship

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In another bit of major news regarding the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Porsche is set to run a two-car factory squad in the GT Le Mans class for the series’ inaugural campaign next year.

The operation, which is known as PORSCHE NORTH AMERICA, will feature the new Porsche 911 RSR, which earned top honors in the GTE-Pro class at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of Porsche AG Team Manthey. The 911 RSR also serves as Porsche’s challenger in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Headquarters will be at Porsche Motorsports North America in Santa Ana, California, with CORE Autosport to serve as the team’s competition partner. CORE currently competes in the American Le Mans Series as part of the GT and Prototype Challenge classes.

“North America is Porsche’s single largest road car and motorsports market. Therefore, we have decided to focus a full factory program in the newly formed series, similar to our competing in the World Endurance Championship together with Manthey Racing,” Germany-based Porsche Motorsport head Hartmut Kristen said in a statement.

“Having finally a unified platform to compete on has made the decision so much easier to enter a GT based Porsche factory team for the first time in American sports car racing.”

Porsche did not reveal the drivers for its new United SportsCar effort, but said in a press release that the manufacturer plans to have the roster made up of competitors from its factory driver stable.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski