MRTI: Tony Cotman in as race director for Indy Lights

1 Comment

After a year away from the post, Tony Cotman has re-assumed the role of race director for the Indy Lights series.

Cotman, the former vice president of competition for INDYCAR and Andersen Promotions’ current project manager for the Lights’ new 2015 equipment package, served as race director for the series from 2010 to 2012.

The Andersen group also announced several other new hires as it prepares to operate all three Mazda Road to Indy series this season – Lights, Pro Mazda and U.S. Formula 2000.

“I am extremely pleased with the staff we have assembled to lead an invigorated Mazda Road to Indy,” group owner/CEO Dan Andersen said in a statement. “What excites me is that not only have we been joined by individuals that bring top-flight credentials to the table but also people that are passionate and committed to the sport and find it personally rewarding to see drivers move up the ladder.

“We are on point with our aggressive schedule and ramp-up to make sure we oversee all three series to the best of our ability this season.”

Randy Hembrey, who has served in multiple race directing roles at IMSA, is now on board as the main race director for both Pro Mazda and USF2000. In addition to working as the main director for the Porsche GT3 Cup USA and Canada series and Lamborghini Super Trofeo, he also is an assistant director for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

On the technical side, Butch Winkle has been hired as assistant technical director for Lights and David Caswell will fill the same role for both Pro Mazda and USF2000. Winkle and Caswell will report to main technical director Craig Brooks.

Former American Le Mans Series driver Gerardo Bonilla has returned as primary driver coach for the Andersen group, while TUSC competitor Joel Miller will also serve as a coach when his racing schedule permits. Five-time Indianapolis 500 starter Johnny Unser is back for his fifth year as technical and driver consultant.

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

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.”