RHR, Andretti get their Baby Borgs

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The run of accolades continues for 2014 Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, as he and team owner Michael Andretti received their Baby Borg-Warner trophies at a ceremony at the Detroit Auto Show.

For Hunter-Reay, this follows on from when his face was revealed on the actual Borg-Warner Trophy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum in December.

They’re two different, distinct ceremonies – each with a different cache – and were equally special to Hunter-Reay.

“They’re two completely separate events really,” Hunter-Reay told MotorSportsTalk in a phone interview. “Seeing my face on the Borg, for years I’ve gone to IMS museum, and seen the faces in awe. It was a pretty emotional moment.

“But now being able to bring home a piece of the 500 win for sure, two very distinctly separate moments. This one, I’m certainly enjoying.”

Added team owner Andretti, “It’s great. This one was really special in a lot of different ways, because one, Ryan has become so close to the family. Two, I was calling his race. Three, it was the first one for Andretti Autosport. To win it the way we did, those last six laps some of the most exciting laps ever run.”

This is Andretti’s third Baby Borg – but the previous two came under the Andretti Green Racing umbrella with Dan Wheldon (2005) and Dario Franchitti (2007). This marks the first since the Andretti Autosport name came into being.

“Both were special with Dan having had our first one, and Dario was a part of the team for a long time. Looking at it here, we both have them on the table, mine (trophy) is bigger than Ryan’s,” Andretti joked.

A size question – whether Hunter-Reay thought the trophy would be bigger or smaller than he anticipated – drew some laughs and a polite “It’s the perfect size, because I get to take it home.”

“I really appreciate Borg-Warner doing this,” Hunter-Reay said. “They’ve supported the sport for so long and led on the legacy. To have my face on the trophy, they give you the same face on the Baby Borg. It’s going front and center in my office at home.”

Photos from the event (Photos by LAT/Borg-Warner) are below.

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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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