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Sarrazin hopeful of Toyota’s Le Mans chances after Spa showing

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BERLIN, Germany – Stephane Sarrazin is hopeful that Toyota can fight for its first overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June after a strong showing at Spa earlier this month.

Toyota has made significant progress with its new car, the TS050 Hybrid, and cut the gap to LMP1 rivals Audi and Porsche.

In the last FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa, Toyota looked to be in a position to claim its first race victory since the end of 2014 before both of its cars were forced to retire with an engine issue.

Sarrazin, who shares the no. 6 TS050 Hybrid with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi, hopes that Toyota can get in the mix for overall victory at Le Mans, but believes reliability will be critical.

“The TS050 is a very fast car, a very good car,” Sarrazin told NBC Sports.

“We showed at Spa we can fight for the win. Unfortunately we had an issue.

“Le Mans will be tough this year for everybody. We have to really focus on each detail.

“Reliability is really the key.”

Sarrazin balances his Toyota commitments with a drive in Formula E, racing for Venturi. The Frenchman confirmed that he will remain in the championship for its third season, starting this fall, but is yet to commit to Venturi.

“I will stay in Formula E. I like Formula E,” Sarrazin said.

“I am [doing] very well in my team, with Venturi. We started from zero last year, we created the team, and now it’s a proper racing team.

“I’m very happy and proud about that, on the smallest budget in the championship. We are doing a good job.

“I feel well. But let’s see.”

IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IndyCar entry lists Indianapolis
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There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold