TUSC: Falken confirms Porsche effort for 2014

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Falken Tire has confirmed it will race in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014, as a privateer entry running new Porsche’s 911 GT3 RSR. The new 911, internally coded the 991, premiered in Europe this year with a two-car factory program in the FIA World Endurance Championship, and a factory two-car effort will also appear in the TUDOR Championship in 2014, with U.S. support and assistance from CORE autosport.

As for Falken, it’s welcome if not entirely unexpected news because the tire manufacturer joins Michelin in the GTLM category. GTLM is the only category where open tire competition will occur in 2014, with Continental the exclusive supplier to P, PC and GTD.

Longtime co-drivers Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers will return for their fifth full season together. The pair and one of Henzler’s fellow Porsche factory drivers, Nick Tandy, teamed up for a stunning upset and popular GT class win with its 2010-spec Porsche 911 in the American Le Mans Series finale at Petit Le Mans last month.

Derrick Walker, too, will return to manage the team from his Indianapolis-based shop. Walker will continue the dual role he served in the second half of 2013 as both team manager for Team Falken Tire and IndyCar’s president of competition and operations.

The team, unfortunately, is set to miss the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the season-opening TUDOR Championship race as it’s a new car and will need to be built up.

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.