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Porsche takes home WEC trophies at end-of-season FIA gala

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Porsche enjoyed a fruitful night at the FIA end-of-season gala in Paris as its victorious LMP1 and GTE teams picked up their FIA World Endurance Championship trophies.

The ceremony on the Champs-Elysées in Paris saw the winners of the FIA championships finally take home the silverware won across the course of the 2015 season, as well as honoring many of the outstanding performances during the racing year.

Porsche dominated proceedings in the FIA WEC in 2015, winning the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships in both LMP and GT classes as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

The no. 17 crew of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard won the overall WEC drivers’ title in Bahrain, and all three were on hand to receive their trophy in Paris on Friday.

“To win a world championship title with Porsche as a driver is a massive moment,” Webber said. “I’m very proud of my grand prix victories but to put together this campaign with the team is right up there.

“It’s not an easy thing to achieve and to have won it with Porsche, which is such a famous sportscar brand, is certainly another very special feather in my cap.

“Porsche last won the drivers title 29 years ago and it’s nice to be part of that piece of history with Timo and Brendon.”

Porsche LMP1 vice-president Fritz Enzinger was on hand to collect the manufacturers’ trophy, and revelled in the success the German marque has enjoyed less than two years since returning to top line sportscar racing.

“Congratulations firstly to Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber for their well deserved world championship title,” Enzinger said.

“In what is only our second year in the WEC, we as the Porsche team first won Le Mans and then took both world championship titles – it is still difficult to believe this has happened.

“Thanks to the whole team and to all our technical partners and sponsors, who have supported us right from the beginning of this programme and who deserve a big share of this success.”

GT drivers’ champion Richard Lietz and the Porsche Team Manthey squad also claimed their respective world title awards in Paris.

Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew ready for IndyCar ride

Road to Indy
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Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew has done nothing but dominate the 2019 season, winning seven of the 16 races run so far and finishing on the podium in all but two of those events.

Now all the 22-year-old Floridian needs to do to formally clinch the 2019 title is simply start the final two races of the season, both of which will be held this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

For Askew, his maiden Indy Lights season will likely be one he’ll never forget. 

“It’s been a dream come true,” Askew told NBC Sports. “Being with the championship-winning team from last year, we had a really good shot at winning it again for Andretti Autosport. It’s very rare that we show up to a track and struggle to find speed. 

“That’s a fantastic feeling, especially as a driver. That gave me a lot of confidence and hopes of holding the million dollar check at the end of the year. That was the goal going into it.”

This weekend, Askew will accomplish said goal. The championship will not only bring him a sense of pride, but also the opportunity of a lifetime. 

As an award for being crowned the Indy Lights champion, Askew will be awarded a scholarship that guarantees him entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events next year – including the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Time will only tell which team Askew will race for in IndyCar next season, and whether or not Askew’s rookie campaign will be a full-time or part-time affair, but Askew’s performance during the last few seasons in the Road to Indy system has certainly drawn attention of IndyCar’s top team owners.

In August, Askew had the chance to drive an Indy car for the first time in his career during a test session at Portland International Raceway, driving the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda usually piloted by Scott Dixon.

“It was an opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing that I was very fortunate to have,” Askew said. “I think with my experience in the past couple of years with Cape Motorsports and this year with Andretti Autosport, going into that test was very helpful.

“Going into the test, it was more of trying to treat it as just another day at the racetrack, when it really wasn’t. It was a fantastic opportunity for me – a great experience – and I hope I can take that into my rookie season next year in IndyCar.” 

The final two races of the 2019 Indy Lights season will take place this weekend on Saturday, September 21 at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 22 at 12:05 p.m. ET. Both races will air live on NBC Sports Gold.

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