A.J. Foyt likely to keep Honda, Sato for 2014, and stay at one car

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It’s not the pivotal piece in the IZOD IndyCar Series silly season but as one of few paying rides, without the need for a driver to bring sponsorship, A.J. Foyt’s No. 14 ABC Supply Honda is still a plum seat on the grid.

Foyt said Wednesday it’s likely he’ll keep Honda and driver Takuma Sato for next year.

“Well, we’ll be with Honda, and we’ll probably be with Sato,” Foyt said in a Wednesday teleconference.  “We’ve got a pretty good combination going.  I think we’re going to work out everything.  I definitely know we’ll probably be with Honda.  They’re coming out with some new stuff.  They’ve got a little bit to catch up with the Chevrolet products and the superspeedways. Now on the road course and all that, Honda holds their own.  But on some of the big tracks, I think maybe the Chevrolet has a little bit more power than we do.  At least it’s proven that way, but they’re working hard.  Honda’s a very good company, and they’ve been good to us.  So it looks like we’ll be with Honda.”

Sato emerged as the points leader heading into Indianapolis on the strength of his first career win at Long Beach, and the first for Foyt’s team since 2002. But from Indianapolis onwards, Sato has had a miserable run of events, with just one top-10 finish in 12 races (Milwaukee) and seven consecutive finishes of 20th or worse heading into Houston.

Foyt also rubbished the suggestion of running a second car next year, saying he’d rather do it right. Foyt traditionally runs a second car at the Indianapolis 500.

“The way I look at that, I would like to run two cars again, but getting a proper sponsor and doing it 100 percent,” he said, “I’m not doing it until we can do it right.  It only takes one car to win the race, and I know it makes it easier when you’ve got a team with two or three cars, because if something happens to one, you’ve got a good back up on the next one.  But I’d like to go back to a two‑car team, but at the same time, it takes a lot of money now.  If you can’t do it right, there is no sense in trying to do it.”

Foyt returned to the track for the first time in months at Tuesday’s manufacturer test in Fontana, Calif., ahead of his home race in Houston next month.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.