IMSA: Plowman, Cosmo, Hedlund among those added to WGI entry

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A few late adds have come into the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen entry list for this weekend’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Martin Plowman and David Cheng join Doug Bielefeld in the No. 88 BAR1 Motorsports entry in PC. Plowman makes his second start for the team (Sebring), Cheng his first. “Martin Plowman leads our team as our pro driver for this event,” said team owner Brian Alder. “Martin did a great job at Sebring, as lead driver in our primary car, and was running some of the fastest lap times of all the PC cars toward the end of the race. We are anxious to show what we can do here at the Glen.”
  • Guy Cosmo is back on board with Marsh Racing’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP, alongside Boris Said and Eric Curran. “I’ve raced anything with wheels there and I can’t wait to get back. It’s always a great weekend and I’m lucky to have a lot of family and friends who always come out for the six-hour,” said New York native Cosmo, who is also working on the new First Gear Project crowd funded motorsports projects initiative.
  • Mike Hedlund joins Performance Tech Motorsports’ No. 38 PC entry with David Ostella. “He did a great job at COTA (in testing),” said team manager Brent O’Neill. “He’s a solid guy who drives a clean race. He’s driven in Ferrari, GRAND-AM and has done some Porsche GTD. He’s got a lot of experience and is just a good guy. We circled back around with him this season and were able to put something together. It’ll be great to have him, and I think he’ll get along well with David (Ostella).”
  • Marco Bonanomi, one of the factory drivers who raced an Audi R18 e-tron quattros in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will be with Fall-Line Motorsports’ No. 46 Audi R8 Ultra in GTD with Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman.
  • Brett Sandberg saddles up with Flying Lizard Motorsports in the team’s No. 45 Audi R8 Ultra in GTD, alongside Spencer Pumpelly and Nelson Canache. “I am so excited and thankful for this opportunity to drive alongside Spencer and Nelson in this historic 6-hour race. Watkins Glen has always been one of my favorite tracks, almost a home track for me,” said Sandberg.
  • Brandon Davis joins Scuderia Corsa’s lineup in the No. 63 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 in GTD, alongside Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal.

Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

McLaren Indy Kyle Busch
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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”