Welcome back, Wilson: Englishman back with Andretti for rest of 2015

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Justin Wilson will return to the Verizon IndyCar Series for the balance of the 2015 season, starting with this weekend’s ABC Supply Co. Wisconsin 250 at the Milwaukee Mile.

Wilson will drive the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda, which he also drove at the two Indianapolis races earlier this season.

He’ll be in for the final five races, with short ovals in Milwaukee and Iowa this weekend and the final three races of the campaign at Mid-Ohio, Pocono and Sonoma in August.

“It’s obviously great to be back with Andretti Autosport for the remainder of the season,” Wilson said in a team release. “I’m really looking forward to making the most of these five races, and just trying to help the team and Honda as much as I can and try and be successful.

“It’s not going to be easy jumping in toward the end of the year – everyone’s worked out what they’re looking for from the car and the aero kits, but I think it puts us in good shape for learning things and trying to progress… and hopefully set something up towards next year.

“We’ll have to take it one step at a time, but the great thing with IndyCar racing is any weekend anyone can win; you just have to make sure you do a good job and do everything as perfect as you can, and that will lead to good results.”

“We are really happy to bring Justin back for the rest of the season,” team owner Michael Andretti added. “He did a really great job for us at the Indianapolis races and is a great addition to the team. The only downside of getting him back in the car is that we weren’t able to do it sooner.”

Although Wilson hasn’t had a full-time ride this season, he has sampled – or been due to drive – a variety of different machinery.

The Englishman did a one-off FIA Formula E weekend in Moscow in June, and was due to race an HPD ARX-04b in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb later that month before the car was withdrawn. He also shared the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, but the car was retired before he had a chance to race it.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III