Barrichello called up for last-minute Rolex 24 drive at WTR

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Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing is going to the bench and bringing in a ringer this weekend at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, as Rubens Barrichello will join the lineup alongside Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli.

The team’s full release is below:

Formula 1 veteran Rubens Barrichello has been added as fourth driver to join the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) lineup of Max “The Ax” Angelelli and brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor for this weekend’s 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

The 43-year-old Brazilian holds the Formula 1 record with 322 career starts, during which he drove to 11 career victories and 68 podium finishes, as well as 14 pole qualifying positions. Barrichello’s 658 career points earned is the 11th-best total in Formula 1 history, the bulk of which came during the 2000 through 2005 seasons spent with the Ferrari team as teammate to Michael Schumacher.

“I’m excited for this opportunity as the Rolex 24 has always been a race that I’ve had a great interest in and, when I recently expressed an interest to drive this year for Wayne and his team, he made it possible for me,” Barrichello said. “This is one of the most successful teams in the history of sports car racing and it’s a great pleasure to be able to race in the Rolex 24 with such a competitive team. I have known Max since we raced together in Formula 3 in the early ’90s, and I have been a fan of Ricky and Jordan for some time, now. If they’re not out there winning races, they always seem to be fighting to win at the end. I am looking forward to this opportunity.”

Most recently, Barrichello drove for KV Racing Technology during the 2012 IndyCar Series campaign, as well as the past four seasons in the Stock Car Brasil series, where he won the championship in 2014. He also co-drove in last year’s Rolex 24 with the Starworks Motorsport team, and the 2013 Rolex 24 with the GT-class Dener Motorsport team, as well as the 2013 Indianapolis round of the Rolex Sports Car Series for Doran Racing.

“I’ve known and watched Rubens for many, many years, including his incredible driving last year at Daytona,” said team owner Wayne Taylor, the three-time sports car racing champion who scored his first of two Rolex 24 victories 20 years ago and the other in 2005. “For us to add a fourth driver, it definitely has to be somebody who is at the top of his game and, quite simply, it’s a pleasure to add a guy like Rubens, who I have been in awe of for so many years. Jordan has been a little under the weather, lately, and with a race of this magnitude and intensity, you want to be sure you have plenty of driver support. This is something of a precautionary move, but to include a driver of Rubens’ caliber in our already stout driver lineup, we should be in absolutely great shape.”

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 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


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