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Scott McLaughlin shifts to DJR Team Penske in 2017

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Scott McLaughlin will replace another Scott, Scott Pye, in DJR Team Penske’s 2017 lineup in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship (formerly V8 Supercars).

McLaughlin was announced late Monday for the switch from Garry Rogers Motorsport, and will join Fabian Coulthard in a two-car lineup next year. Both Coulthard and Pye were on site at this year’s Indianapolis 500 to support Team Penske’s IndyCar efforts.

McLaughlin’s only 23 but is one of the rising stars in the series, currently third in points, and with already eight race wins.

“There’s no question that Scott McLaughlin is one of the top drivers in the series and we’re excited to bring him aboard at DJR Team Penske,” said team founder Dick Johnson in a release.

“With the combination of McLaughlin and Coulthard we look forward to chasing race wins next season in what really is the most competitive touring cars series in the world.”

Roger Penske said, “We have watched Scott closely over the last few seasons and have admired his talent and his ability to get the best results out of his car week in and week out.

“As we continue raise the level of performance at DJR Team Penske we believe he will be a key addition to our Team on and off the track.”

Added McLaughlin, “This is a great opportunity for me to join one of the most accomplished Supercar teams in history and, hopefully, we can continue to grow together.

“I want to thank two absolute motorsport legends in Dick Johnson and Roger Penske for believing in me.  I’m really excited about the future with the organization.”

Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said he still wants the best for Pye, who’s now a free agent, but temporarily sidelined now that McLaughlin became available.

“Scott Pye was the driver who gave us our first pole and our first podium and I think he still has a lot of potential,” Cindric said in a media teleconference, via the series website.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.