IMSA: Jonathan Bomarito picks up Mazda opportunity

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Jonathan Bomarito will join the SpeedSource Mazda team for 2015 in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, which serves as his return to the team that he drove for from 2010 through 2012.

The American was well in line to secure the GT Le Mans class championship with SRT Motorsports this year in one of the Dodge Viper SRT GTS-Rs. But he and full-season co-driver Kuno Wittmer were split up at the final race and Wittmer won the title; then the program was pulled on the Monday after the season finale at Petit Le Mans.

Bomarito will be in the No. 70 Mazda SKYACTIV-D prototype. Exact driver pairings are to be determined but are expected to feature the team’s 2014 drivers (Tom Long, Sylvain Tremblay, Tristan Nunez, Joel Miller, Ben Devlin, Tristan Vautier).

“I feel as though I’m coming home to be back with Mazda,” Bomarito said in a release. “It excites me to see what the future holds with SpeedSource and Mazda in the prototype class. This program has been about development, and I’m honored to come on board to add to this collaboration and watch it continue to grow. It’s a great feeling to be back in the No. 70 car with Sylvain Tremblay. It all started for us when we won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in 2010. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the 2015 race season.”

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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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.”