Lamborghini incurs major penalties from IMSA after Rolex 24

Photo: Jamey Price/Lamborghini

Lamborghini had an interesting debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona to say the least.

Four of its five Lamborghini Huracán GT3 cars fell out of contention despite major speed, and the fifth car, Konrad Motorsport’s No. 28 entry, made up a 35-plus second deficit in the final hour to catch, then pass Magnus Racing’s No. 44 Audi R8 LMS for the GT Daytona class lead.

It was so fast it ran out of fuel in the process, and ultimately finished fifth, while Rene Rast had some superhuman skills to save fuel and bring the Magnus Audi home to the class win.

Anyway, the point of the preamble is that the Lamborghinis debut – and pace – was officially, too good.

When lap times started falling early during the race, and with a best lap of 1:45.873 for Richard Antinucci serving as the race’s fastest lap and the best GT Le Mans lap only a 1:44.012 (Antonio Garcia, No. 3 Corvette C7.R), it stood to reason that the Lamborghinis had shown way too much.

After all five of its engines were taken by IMSA for review, the result is a big penalty from the sanctioning body.

Here’s the release from IMSA:

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

Following observed performance during Round 1 of the 2016 Championship, IMSA has levied penalties under Sporting Regulation Attachment 2, Paragraph 2.9 against the following GT Daytona (GTD) teams 11, 16, 21, 28 and 48, as well as to the manufacturer, Lamborghini.

Each team was assessed a post-race penalty of a stop plus five (5) minutes which was added to each car’s finishing time.

The manufacturer penalty was assessed as a loss of Championship and North American Endurance Cup points and a $25,000 fine.

So what is Sporting Regulation Attachment 2, Paragraph 2.9, you ask? It’s this:

2.9. Competitors and Manufacturers are expected to provide valid data upon request to assist IMSA in the BoP process. Any Competitor or Manufacturer who deliberately gives false information, attempts to influence the BoP process, or displays a level of performance beyond the expected result may be issued a penalty prior to, during, or after a Race of a minimum Stop plus five (5) minutes. A penalty assessed prior to or during the Race must be served within the final thirty (30) minutes of the Race, regardless of the time when the infraction was discovered and/or the penalty communicated. Penalties assessed after the Race are added to the Car’s finishing time for the Race and may include a lap count penalty.

So what does this mean?

It essentially calls out Lamborghini’s BoP (Balance of Performance) process to IMSA, and indicates they’ve sandbagged and didn’t play their full hand.

IMSA was yet to release the official results from the Rolex 24, and this is probably the reason why.

Here’s where the five Lamborghinis finished prior to this news:

  • 5. 28-Konrad Motorsport
  • 14. 11-O’Gara Motorsport
  • 16. 48-Paul Miller Racing
  • 19. 16-Change Racing
  • 22. 21-Konrad Motorsport

As you see, Lamborghini didn’t finish that strongly anyway – Change and Paul Miller had a coming together overnight when battling for the lead with Justin Marks and Bryce Miller driving.

But still, based on performance, you can see they’ll be dinged.

IMSA has issued the revised provisional results. Here’s where the Lamborghinis have fallen to after the time penalties:

  • 10. 28-Konrad Motorsport
  • 15. 11-O’Gara Motorsport
  • 16. 48-Paul Miller Racing
  • 18. 16-Change Racing
  • 21. 21-Konrad Motorsport

The No. 16 and 21 Lamborghinis actually move up a position due to a different penalty assessed to the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, which was dropped to 22nd and last in GTD due to Article 12.5.3 for a drive-time violation.

Article 12.5.3 states:

12.5.3. (SSR) If a Driver exceeds the maximum drive-time, the finishing position for each Car the Driver is nominated in, regardless of declaration for championship points, is placed behind all other Cars in that class for the purpose of finishing positions and awarding any finishing points or Point Fund / Prize Money and all other Cars are elevated in the finishing positions, finishing points and/or Points Fund / Prize Money.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”