Luiz Razia focused on America after first Indy Lights test

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We can officially confirm Luiz Razia as part of the IndyCar, and now Indy Lights, free agent pool.

The Brazilian former GP2 runner-up, and original 2013 Marussia Formula One driver before a sponsorship shortfall, hinted at interest in IndyCar a couple weeks ago. But he’s completed his first Indy Lights test with four-time defending series champions Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and his interest in racing in North America seems serious.

“I visited some IndyCar (Series) teams and Indy Lights teams and my manager came up with this test with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, which is the perfect team for me because they have so many championships and much knowledge,” Razia told IndyCar.com.

“To be honest, I know I have the speed and talent to be in (the IndyCar Series), but also it’s good to know the business around the series, the people, how the competition is, the rules and the tracks.”

After his F1 deal fell through, Razia raced 2013 in the International GT Open sports car series.

Razia’s a bit of an interesting prospect. He’s not a world-beater, and probably wouldn’t enter IndyCar with the hype of an Helio Castroneves or Tony Kanaan, who established themselves in Indy Lights in the mid-1990s and a Marlboro Latin America-supported sponsorship program. He doesn’t quite have the credentials of Raphael Matos, who entered IndyCar in 2009 after successive Indy Lights and Formula Atlantic titles in back-to-back years.

But considering the relative lack of Brazilians that have entered the sport over the last few years – really only Matos, Ana Beatriz, Mario Moraes and Mario Romancini have entered since 2009 – Razia’s probably on that level if not stronger in terms of overall ability. As with anyone trying to find a ride in either IndyCar or Indy Lights, where Razia lands would probably come down to how much funding he can bring.

Brazil provided a hotbed of open-wheel talent at the turn of the century, with Castroneves, Kanaan, Gil de Ferran, Cristiano da Matta, Bruno Junqueira, Christian Fittipaldi, Roberto Moreno, Mauricio Gugelmin, Gualter Salles, Tarso Marques, Luiz Garcia Jr. and perhaps one or two others making sporadic appearances in the CART, Champ Car and IndyCar ranks.

But over the last five years, the level of Brazilian talent in America has dwindled down to the two veterans, and the series’ race in Sao Paulo has been axed for 2014. IndyCar – or Indy Lights – could do worse than finding a fresh Brazilian to add to the grid.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.