Nissan LMP1 drivers cut their teeth in Nurburgring 24 Hours and Imola ELMS

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Five of the nine drivers that are set to make their Nissan LMP1 debuts at next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans cut their teeth at Imola and the Nurburgring over what was a busy weekend in the endurance racing world.

A bumper field of 151 cars took to the Nurburgring’s Nordschleife layout on Saturday afternoon for one of the most fearsome 24 hour races in motorsport, with Audi’s no. 28 car emerging victorious by 40 seconds ahead of the Marc VDS Racing no. 25 BMW.

Nissan enjoyed a particularly fruitful race as three of its LMP1 drivers drove in the no. 35 car for the twice-around-the-clock event. Lucas Ordonez, Michael Krumm and Alex Buncombe ran alongside Super GT racer Kazuki Hoshino en route to ninth place overall, marking the Japanese marque’s best result in recent years.

“We had a very straightforward race,” team boss Bob Neville said. “After the initial single stints the drivers all did doubles and didn’t put a foot wrong. We were pretty cautious during the night when it was raining and this worked out well for us.

“The car ran like clockwork and it is always good to be able to say that the car didn’t need any repairs during the race. I’m very pleased with my team and very happy to take such a good finish here.”

Imola played host to the second round of the 2015 European Le Mans Series season on Sunday, with Nissan’s Harry Ticknell claiming a podium finish in the no. 38 Jota Sport car in the LMP2 class. The race was won by Thiriet by TDS Racing’s no. 46 car, piloted by Pierre Thiriet, Ludovic Badey and Tristan Gommendy.

Another Nissan LMP1 driver, Mark Shulzhitskiy, made his debut for Lanan Racing in LMP3 where he finished third in class.

The quintet will now be turning their attention to Nissan’s LMP1 racing bow at Le Mans, which is less than one month away and promises to be yet another thrilling event.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.