Photo courtesy of IMSA

Sebring weekend, Friday notes

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SEBRING, Fla. – Here’s a mix of news and nuggets from the ground at Sebring International Raceway, ahead of this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Sebring 150 is now underway.

Other sessions that have already taken place this morning include the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship fourth practice and second races of the weekend from the Mazda Prototype Lites presented by Cooper Tires and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

For Thursday’s notes, click here.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

  • Action Express’ No. 31 car, CORE autosport’s No. 54 car, the No. 25 BMW and the No. 16 Change Racing Lamborghini led fourth and final practice. Times are linked here. The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda returned to the track after its accident yesterday with repaired bodywork.
  • Both Action Express and CORE led all four practice sessions in P and PC. BMW led three of four sessions in GTLM, while Dodge led twice with Aston Martin and Lamborghini leading once apiece in GTD.
  • John Edwards of the No. 100 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM car made an intriguing note: the BMWs appear to be better at night than they do in the day and indicated the Porsche 911 RSRs were quicker in the day than they are at night. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
  • Fresh reminder that the “Rock the Grid” concert happens tonight at the track. Here’s a link with more.
  • Ferrari debuts its new 488 GT3 worldwide this weekend, both here at Sebring in the GTD class and also in Melbourne at the Australian GT Championship.
  • Mobil 1 held its annual dinner to honor Corvette Racing on Thursday night. This year, there was a perfect occasion to celebrate – Corvette’s 1-2 finish in GTLM in a photo finish at Daytona.

Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge

  • Three cars moved to the rear of the grid prior to today’s race. The ST class polesitter, Tyler Cooke, moved to the rear in the No. 84 Bimmerworld BMW 328i in the car he shares with James Clay, per an engine. Meanwhile two other ST class Porsche Caymans, the No. 8 Rebel Rock Racing entry and the No. 18 Rennsport One car, had technical violations and were penalized all loss of times.
  • Early issues have struck the No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman and No. 26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5, two of the contenders for the ST class title. Eric Foss tweeted the No. 56 car he shares with Jeff Mosing was stuck in fifth gear, while Andrew Carbonell told IMSA Radio that apparent brake line issues have sidelined his co-driver Liam Dwyer.

IMSA Development and Single-Make Series

  • Lucas Catania took the win for NGT Motorsport in the second Porsche GT3 USA race of the weekend. Results are linked here.
  • JDC Motorsports took its second Mazda Prototype Lites win of the weekend with Austin Versteeg taking his first series win. Teammate Clark Toppe won on Thursday. Friday results are linked here.

More to follow later today.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.