Austin Cindric’s whirlwind 2015 takes him back to PWC at Mid-Ohio, now in a Lamborghini

Leave a comment

When you’ve been as versatile – and busy – as Austin Cindric has in 2015, why not add another race weekend in another badass GT3 car to your schedule?

Cindric, 16, will make his return to the Pirelli World Challenge series in this weekend’s doubleheader round at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

He’ll drive the No. 25 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo Extenso R-EX in the GTA class. Nick Catsburg and Tomas Enge have driven the car thus far this year.

He made his series debut last year, running in a GTS class Ford Mustang Boss 302S and running for charity.

In a four-week period, Cindric will have won the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the first win for the new Ford Shelby GT350R-C, raced in ARCA at Iowa Speedway, finishing a frustrated fourth (he told me afterwards he felt a win on debut was possible), split the Ford and GRC Lites duties at Lime Rock Park and Detroit, and now uses another weekend to make his second start in a GT3 car, after also driving a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February.

All this, again, for the 16-year-old who lives in Charlotte and only just finished his sophomore year of high school.

“After my outing in the 12 Hours of Bathurst, I was eager to gather more experience in GT3,” Cindric said in a release. “Reiter Engineering and Blancpain Racing is a proven team with great cars and I’m really excited as this came up at just the right time as it is one of the few weekends that doesn’t conflict with something else on my schedule.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”