Toyota scores 1-2 finish in WEC season opener at Silverstone

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A heavy rain shower at Silverstone ended the 2014 World Endurance Championship season opener almost half an hour early with the two Toyota TS040 Hybrids claiming a 1-2 finish.

The No. 8 Toyota of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, and Nicolas Lapierre won the Six Hours of Silverstone by a one-lap margin over the No. 7 of Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin, and Kazuki Nakajima.

Porsche also earned a podium finish in its comeback to top-tier sports car racing, earning a third-place result with its No. 20 919 Hybrid driven by Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. The No. 20 finished two laps off the pace.

The turning point of the race came in the opening hour. As light rain began to fall, Wurz brought the No. 7 in for service and went on the wet tires, while Buemi in the No. 8 got the intermediate tires.

The inters ultimately allowed Buemi to take control of the lead from Wurz, who spun out and pitted again shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile, both of Audi’s R18 e-tron quattros were forced to leave the race early. Lucas di Grassi crashed the No. 1 Audi in the opening hour, and the team was unable to get it back on the track due to terminal chassis damage.

Then, later in the running, Benoit Treluyer lost control at the Copse corner and wrecked the No. 2 Audi. The Frenchman tried to get the damaged car back to the pits, but was forced to abandon it in the end.

Porsche’s second car, the No. 14, also failed to make the finish. Neel Jani entered the pits after losing the left front wheel on his 919 Hybrid, but after repairs, he was forced to go back with a hydraulic problem that would end the day for that team.

In P2, the No. 26 G-Drive Morgan/Nissan was victorious after a mid-race fight with the No. 47 KCMG Oreca that ended when the latter suffered a 10-second stop and go penalty for speeding on pit road. Olivier Pla ultimately took the No. 26 to a two-lap win over the No. 47.

GTE-Pro honors went to the No. 92 Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR (Frederic Makowiecki, Marco Holzer and Richard Lietz), which defeated its sister car, the No. 91, for the win.

Aston Martin’s No. 97 finished third in that category, but claimed a 1-2 finish in GTE-Am. The No. 95 Vantage V8 of Kurt Thiim, Kristian Poulsen and David Heinemeier Hansson earned first, while the runner-up went to the No. 98 of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Christoffer Nygaard.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”