Mitch Evans to balance GP2 season with WEC outings

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GP2 driver Mitch Evans will combine his single-seater commitments in 2015 with two races in the FIA World Endurance Championship for LMP2 outfit Jota Sport.

The 20-year-old New Zealander won the 2012 GP3 championship and claimed two race wins en route to fourth place in last year’s GP2 standings.

However, Evans will now spread his wings beyond single-seaters by taking part in two rounds of the WEC for Jota Sport: the 6 Hours of Spa and the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I’ve never raced a sportscar and only drove one for the very first time last month but I don’t see this an issue,” Evans said. “I’ll use my single-seater experience to get to grips with the LMP2 sports-prototype as fast as possible. I’ve followed sportscar racing for many years and Le Mans has always been on my ‘bucket list’.

“My aim at Spa will be to learn this new style of racing and gaining experience with driver changes. For Le Mans, the goal will be to help Jota win LMP2 again.”

The British team won last year’s LMP2 class at Le Mans with Simon Dolan, Harry Ticknell and Oliver Turvey in the car, but will welcome on board Evans and former GP3 driver Nick Yelloly for 2015 to race alongside Dolan.

“I’m very excited to welcome Mitch to Jota Sport,” Dolan said. “Hopefully he will help us in successfully defending our Le Mans LMP2 title.

“He is without doubt one of the best young single-seater drivers out there. With a proven track record of speed and bringing a car home in one piece. I’m sure he’ll adjust quickly to sportscar racing and I am certain he’ll fit in with Jota Sport immediately.”

This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place on June 13 and 14 at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Former 5-time ALMS and Le Mans-winning team owner Dave Maraj killed in accident

Photo courtesy Dave Maraj Facebook page
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Well-known sports car team owner and automobile dealership owner Dave Maraj was killed Saturday night in a boating accident in Florida, according to SportsCar365.com.

Maraj’s Champion Racing teams won five consecutive American Le Mans Series championships from 2004 through 2008, and also captured the overall win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2005, the last American team to do so in the iconic sports car race.

IMSA President Scott Atherton released the following statement mourning Maraj’s passing:

Dave Maraj. Photo courtesy IMSA.

“All of us at IMSA are shocked and saddened by the news of Dave Maraj’s passing. As a team owner in the American Le Mans Series, Dave and his Champion Racing organization were the epitome of professionalism and excellence, as their five series championships and 24 Hours of Le Mans victory will attest.

“Dave was a tremendous competitor and a great friend to all in the paddock throughout his time in our sport. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dave’s family and friends and to all of his associates at Champion Motors.”

Maraj was a very successful automobile dealership owner, most notably Champion Motors and Champion Porsche in Pompano Beach, Florida, the latter considered the No. 1 Porsche dealer in the U.S.

Details of how Maraj died have not been released.

Maraj sold his racing operation after the 2008 season and devoted himself to his Porsche and Audi auto dealerships, as well as competitive sailing.