Mario Andretti: Franck Montagny should be banned for life

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Racing legend Mario Andretti feels that disgraced driver Franck Montagny should be permanently banned from the sport after he tested positive for a cocaine derivative recently.

In an interview with Germany’s Die Welt, Mario tells reporter Simon Pausch that if he had his way, Montagny’s career would be over.

“It is a big disappointment for us all, as he also endangered every other driver on the track,” he says in the Welt piece. “What he did is unforgivable in our sport.”

Montagny most recently competed in the first two races of the 2014-15 FIA Formula E season for Andretti Autosport, which is run by Mario’s son and former open-wheel standout Michael Andretti.

He has also made several one-off appearances for Michael’s team in the Verizon IndyCar Series over the course of his career.

Andretti Formula E had to call in Indy Lights driver Matthew Brabham to replace Montagny for Round 3 in Uruguay (at the time, the Frenchman cited a health issue as the reason for his absence there). For last weekend’s Round 4 in Buenos Aires, Michael’s son, IndyCar veteran Marco, took over the team’s second car and finished 13th.

Despite Montagny’s failed test, Mario feels that doping is far from widespread in the sport and that current anti-doping regulations in place are doing what they’re designed to do.

“There are always some black sheep,” Mario conceded, “but there is no doping or drug problem in racing. The fact that Montagny was busted just shows that the control system works.”

It must be noted, however, that Montagny has yet to face official sanctions from the FIA.

IndyCar’s Vasser-Sullivan expand into IMSA for 2019

James Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser. Photo IndyCar
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Not even one year after returning to the IndyCar ranks, Vasser-Sullivan Racing is taking AIM at the IMSA world, you might say.

While team co-owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan will continue to partner with Dale Coyne Racing on the IndyCar side, they expanded their holdings Tuesday, announcing a partnership with AIM Autosport to campaign a new two-car Lexus-backed RC F GT3 effort in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.

The new team – named AIM Vasser-Sullivan – will replace 3GT Racing, which was part of Lexus’ sports car program launch in 2016. It will announce its two drivers in the coming weeks, the team said.

“Sulli and I are excited and looking forward to entering a new chapter in our racing careers,” Vasser said in a media release. “I have driven sports cars before, but my career was pretty much limited to the 24 Hours of Daytona, including a ‘class’ win in 1992 and second overall in 2008.

“The AIM Vasser Sullivan team, with the support of Lexus and our sponsors, has the tools to get the job done and we are looking forward to this new challenge.”

Lexus has made significant progress in its first two seasons in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, having earned a combined two race wins, five poles and finished third in the 2018 GTD Manufacturer point standings.

Vasser and Sullivan were part of the ownership group of KVSH Racing in IndyCar from 2011 through 2016 before the organization folded.

They also owned Tony Kanaan’s 2013 Indianapolis 500-winning car.

After sitting out the 2017 season, Vasser, a former CART champion, and Sullivan rejoined forces this past February, just before the start of the 2018 IndyCar season, partnering with Coyne to form a satellite team led by driver Sebastien Bourdais, who previously drove for KVSH.

Bourdais kicked off the new team’s effort with a win in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He finished seventh in the overall season standings.

AIM Vasser Sullivan will have two home bases for its IMSA program: AIM’s current facility in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, as well as a new U.S. shop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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