Photo: Grace Autosport

Report: Grace Autosport close to engine deal for Indy 500

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Beth Paretta’s Grace Autosport team targeted early March as a date to secure its engine lease for the Indianapolis 500.

If it’s done in mid-to-late February, it would put the team ahead of schedule.

Paretta, speaking on Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick, would hope to announce an engine deal shortly for the race.  The full interview is here, hosted by Bill Benner.

Dick noted it would be a Chevrolet, although a tweet he’d posted about that has since been deleted.

Once an engine deal would be confirmed, it would answer one of the outstanding questions for the team, and the number of engine leases likely available, ahead of the 100th running of the race.

If it’s Chevrolet, in looking at the number of Chevrolet teams, Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing are already at four cars, KVSH Racing has two cars accounted for (KVSH Racing for Sebastien Bourdais and PIRTEK Team Murray for Matthew Brabham), Ed Carpenter Racing also has two set (Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter) and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has a single car for Sage Karam.

Meanwhile on the Honda side, extra cars could be available from A.J. Foyt Enterprises, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports or Andretti Autosport, each of whom have fielded extra cars for the race in the past. Dale Coyne Racing is expected to field a four-car lineup.

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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