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June, and was due to race an HPD ARX-04b in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb later that month before the car was withdrawn.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.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.