TUSC: AIM Autosport confirms return to series


AIM Autosport will make its return to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, as it takes over operations of the Townsend Bell/Bill Sweedler Ferrari GT Daytona program that was fielded by Level 5 Motorsports at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Bell and Sweedler were part of the car’s winning lineup, as the No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 entry was reinstated to the class victory following a review by IMSA’s supervisory officials after a penalty had been assessed for avoidable contact.

Since that point, Level 5 pulled out of the series, saying it was in the team’s best interests to withdraw and focus on other opportunities.

“Daytona was probably the biggest roller coaster I’ve been through in my career, and it’s nice to have that behind us and to have Sebring ahead of us,” Bell said in a team release. “AIM Autosport is a new team for us, but we have continuity with Ian Willis and with the Ferrari 458 Italia.”

Willis has a distinct history with AIM from both the managerial and engineering standpoints, and worked with the No. 555 lineup at Daytona.

AIM won the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT championship, with co-drivers Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato in the team’s then-No. 69 Ferrari.

A third driver will join Bell and Sweedler at next week’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, although that driver is still the ubiquitous “TBD” on the entry list.

Bell will have a busy year, as he’ll also return to NBCSN’s coverage of the IndyCar Series, as an analyst.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”