NGT withdraws No. 30 entry from Petit Le Mans in tribute to Sean Edwards

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We’d written our Petit Le Mans GT and GTC class previews in advance earlier this week, so that failed to take into account the tragic events in Australia that claimed the life of British rising star Sean Edwards.

Edwards’ GTC team in the American Le Mans Series, NGT Motorsport, announced Wednesday it will pay tribute to its fallen driver with the news it has withdrawn its No. 30 MOMO Porsche GT3 Cup car from Petit. Henrique Cisneros, Jakub “Kuba” Giermaziak and Mario Farnbacher were scheduled to drive, and were the defending race winners in the GTC class.

“Obviously we had very sad and shocking news,” team owner/manager Ramez Wahab said in a statement. “We still can’t believe it. Our buddy Sean passed away.

“We thought it was the most appropriate thing to do, to withdraw the car in Sean’s honor. We just don’t feel it would be right to enter the car, with the many memories of Sean, and because we miss him already.”

The team’s second car, No. 31, will race as scheduled with drivers Angel Andres Benitez Jr., Nicolas Armindo and Christina Nielsen.

Coupled with earlier withdrawals of Starworks Motorsport’s PC car and TRG’s second GTC car, the Petit field is now at 34 cars, with eight of them in the GTC class.  All cars will run with a helmet decal paying tribute to Edwards, as designed by renowned motorsports livery artist Andy Blackmore.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”