IndyCar: Coyne makes first offseason announcement with new shock engineer

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Dale Coyne Racing has not confirmed either of its Verizon IndyCar Series drivers for 2015 yet, which isn’t too much of a surprise.

However the team did have one piece of news out late Tuesday night. See release below on DCR’s new shock engineer:

Dale Coyne Racing has been hard at work filling the long offseason with projects and personnel additions as they keep an eye toward a competitive 2015 season.

Several new team members have joined the Dale Coyne Racing team this fall in preparation for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series.  The most recent addition is Stuart Kenworthy who will head up the shock and damper department.

“Stuart brings a wealth of experience from his years at Andretti, Quantum and Chip Ganassi Racing,” commented team owner Dale Coyne.  “We look forward to his contribution and ongoing development in this highly competitive sector of our sport.”

Kenworthy comes to Coyne after a 21-year stint at Andretti Autosport.  Stuart headed the shock department there for several years after learning the trade at Quantum Suspension Technology in England. Prior to his shock and damper work, Stuart was an assistant engineer for Chip Ganassi Racing and worked for Ligier in Formula 1.

“I am happy to make this move and feel I can make a real difference with this cohesive group of racers,” said Kenworthy.  “This team has shown it can be a winner and I hope I can add to the goals that Dale has set for the future.”

Stuart started work with the team in December and has already made visits to manufacturers and 7 post rigs to plan for the competitive 2015 season.

In addition to Kenworthy’s recruitment, Dale has hired additional team members and engineering staff in preparation for 2015.  “Dale deserves a lot of respect for these additions,” commented Team Manager Darren Crouser.  “While most teams are laying people off this time of year, Dale has given the green light to hire the right people to expand this team for next year.”

The team will continue to make improvements to its facilities and adequately address human resource needs during the six month off season.  Testing will resume in late January and early February for the 2015 season.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.