IndyCar: Foyt expands to 2 cars, adds Hawksworth alongside Sato

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A.J. Foyt Enterprises confirmed Wednesday its long-rumored expansion to two full-time cars in the Verizon IndyCar Series, which marks the first time for the team to do so since 2000.

Jack Hawksworth will shift over from one Honda-powered team to the other, and take the reins of the No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda, while Takuma Sato will return to the team for his third season, and sixth overall in IndyCar, in 2015. As he has the last two seasons, he’ll continue in the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. Honda.

Additionally, ABC Supply Co. has extended its current contract with the Foyt camp through the 2016 season.

“Running two cars is nothing new for me but it’s been a while,” said the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion in a statement. “I always said we wouldn’t do it again unless we had the proper people and support to do it right.

“We’ve got two drivers who love winning – almost as much as I do – and our sponsor ABC Supply, whose support is only outdone by their loyalty. I’m looking forward to next year being the best one yet.”

Hawksworth was a bit of a revelation in his rookie season at Bryan Herta Autosport in 2014, with several Firestone Fast Six appearances and his first career podium at Houston race two (third).

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Hawksworth said. “Ultimately, I want to win races and I feel that this is the place I can do that. We’ve got everything in place, a great sponsor in ABC, and good people who build quick cars, so we have the potential to build something really special.

“That’s what excites me. It’s a growing project and I want to grow with it, be a part of it and be a part of its success.”

Sato scored two pole positions and a best finish of fourth (Sonoma) in the 2014 season, and finished 18th in points, just one spot behind Hawksworth. It was a season where bad luck frequently got the better of him and prevented him from producing more standout results.

The former F1 pilot acknowledged that “we need more improvement” but feels the expansion to two cars will help in that regard.

“That is just the nature of racing,” he said. “So as a two-car team, it should boost these things massively. The track time is very limited nowadays but there are always tons of things to try. That will be especially true with the new bodywork that’s coming.

“To have quality testing and maximized running time to evaluate the car is essential. I am very much looking forward to starting winter testing right away.”

As for team director Larry Foyt, he touched on the team’s expansion and addition of Hawksworth. The team recently added a new shop in Indianapolis to go along with its long standing one in Houston.

“It’s hard to express in words how thrilling it is to be expanding our operation,” said Foyt. “It has been a goal of mine for years, and to finally see it become reality … All I can say is that it has already been a special and busy offseason. I can’t give enough gratitude to ABC Supply for their continued support of the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing program.

“How quickly 10 years goes by. There have been many ups and downs, but they have stuck with us and helped us grow into a team that will be a force to be reckoned with next year.”

With the partnership between Sato and engineer Don Halliday providing continuity, plus Hawksworth’s commitment to the team (which includes his own move to the Foyt team’s home base in Texas), Larry is naturally optimistic about the team’s chances next IndyCar season.

Soon, it will be time to try and put it all together. The boss won’t stand for anything less.

“Now we have to put the finishing pieces in place and produce because you know with A.J., only one thing matters – winning,” Larry said in closing.

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.