IndyCar driver presence returns for this year’s Petit Le Mans

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Last year, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers had a dilemma in terms of their ancillary sports car commitments. Many who opt to run the endurance races in Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans or Petit Le Mans couldn’t run the latter as Petit conflicted with the season-ending IndyCar race in Fontana, October 19.

No such conflicts occur this time around, and as such, there are several full-season IndyCar stars in action for this year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship finale on October 4.

Sebastien Bourdais returns to bolster Action Express Racing’s lineup in the No. 5 Corvette DP alongside Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, who seek not only the full-season TUDOR Championship title but the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup title as well.

Scott Dixon joins Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford, rather than Sage Karam, who has raced a handful of events this season. The second CGR car that ran at Daytona and Sebring is not entered for Petit.

The pair of Ryans are back in GT Le Mans. Ryan Briscoe is listed to drive both Corvette Racing C7.Rs, while Ryan Hunter-Reay resumes in the No. 91 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R alongside Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens.

Simon Pagenaud was due to run Petit Le Mans but with Extreme Speed Motorsports withdrawing from the event and instead opting to run the FIA World Endurance Championship race in Shanghai, that leaves the Frenchman without an opportunity.

Here’s the full Petit Le Mans entry list.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.