COTA Friday: WEC, IMSA qualifying and CTSC race in books

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Easier to wrap up all (or most of) the action from Circuit of The Americas today in one post than to break them out over seven.

The three highlighted events were the FIA World Endurance Championship qualifying, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race. Notes are below:


Pole positions are set for the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas, the sixth round of the season. The Austin race follows the Mexico City round a couple weeks ago, which served as the halfway point of the season.

Audi has secured the pole for Saturday’s race in LMP1 and overall, with Andre Lotterer and the returning Benoit Treluyer qualifying the Audi R18 with a combined time of 1:45.842 average. Marcel Fassler completes the No. 7 Audi lineup. The second Audi is second with the first of the Porsches (No. 1) and first of the Toyotas (No. 6) on row two.

Signatech Alpine has the LMP2 pole with Gustavo Menezes and Nicolas Lapierre qualifying the No. 36 Alpine A460 Nissan, in the car they share with Stephane Richelmi. The trio has three wins this year, while RGR Sport has the other two, including the last round in Mexico City.

Aston Martin Racing scored a double pole in the GTE classes. The Dunlop-shod No. 95 Vantage V8 of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen took the GTE-Pro pole, while the Michelin-shod No. 98 car of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda will start up front in GTE-Am.

The race starts at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday, so 6 ET and 3 PT.

Qualifying times are linked here.

Practice session links from the weekend are below.


Ricky Taylor (Prototype), Robert Alon (Prototype Challenge), Ryan Briscoe (GT Le Mans) and Alex Riberas (GT Daytona) have scored pole positions for Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans, the next-to-last round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

The two-hour, 40-minute race kicks off nearly nine hours of sports car racing on Saturday, with the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas to follow later Saturday evening.

Taylor co-drives the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP with brother Jordan Taylor, Alon the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 with Tom Kimber-Smith, Briscoe the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT with Richard Westbrook and Riberas the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R with Mario Farnbacher. The Nos. 52 and 67 cars are in the heat of championship battles in their respective classes, while the Nos. 10 and 23 cars have to have a bit of help in order to make it.

Taylor only edged Tristan Nunez’s No. 55 Mazda.

Qualifying times are linked here.

Meanwhile, session leaders in the three practice sessions were:

  • Thurs., Practice 1: P-Joao Barbosa, 1:58.813, PC-Tom Kimber-Smith, 2:01.131, GTLM-Dirk Mueller, 2:04.638, GTD-Jens Klingmann, 2:08.075
  • Thurs., Practice 2: P-Dane Cameron, 1:58.139, PC-Richard Bradley, 2:01.367, GTLM-Richard Westbrook, 2:04.107, GTD-Markus Palttala, 2:08.174
  • Fri., Practice 3: P-Joel Miller, 1:58.033, PC-Tom Kimber-Smith, 2:00.238, GTLM-Toni Vilander, 2:03.380, GTD-Alex Riberas, 2:07.116


The No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C of Billy Johnson and Scott Maxwell have taken their fifth victory of the season in nine races this season in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and are close to securing the GS class championship.

Johnson and Maxwell won the season opener at Daytona back in January, then won three races in a row from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock Park and Road America before the CJ Wilson Racing pair of Marc Miller and Danny Burkett won last time out at VIRginia International Raceway.

The No. 12 Bodymotion Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport (Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels) and No. 76 Compass360 Racing Ford (Pierre Kleinubing and Paul Holton) completed the podium.

In ST, Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing took the win in the No. 56 Porsche Cayman for Murillo Racing. HART’s No. 93 Honda Civic Si (Cameron Lawrence and Chad Gilsinger) and the No. 19 Rennsport One Porsche Cayman (Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum) were second and third.


There’s also Porsche GT3 Challenge USA by Yokohama and Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America action from Circuit of The Americas this weekend, and those notes will be up after the weekend.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.