Two hours to go at Petit Le Mans as IMSA season winds down

Photo courtesy of IMSA

BRASELTON, Ga. – The second four-hour run at tonight’s Petit Le Mans is complete, with eight hours down and two hours to go.

A couple key items of note have occurred in the last few hours:


Despite fighting brake and suspension issues, ultimately retiring from the race for the latter issue, Peter Baron’s Starworks Motorsport has clinched the Prototype Challenge title with Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow. David Heinemeier Hansson shared the No. 8 Oreca FLM09 this weekend.

The title was clinched when, ironically, the team’s sister car – the No. 7 car – retired to end seventh in class. It ensured there could not be enough points for the No. 8 car to lose even if the rival No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car of Robert Alon and Tom Kimber-Smith (and third driver Jose Gutierrez) won the race.


Scuderia Corsa was on fire metaphorically when it won the championship in GT Daytona earlier in the race, past the three-hour mark. It was on fire literally when its No. 68 Ferrari 488 GTE caught fire during a pit stop owing to a fuel leak.

The part-time GT Le Mans class entry’s crew, however, worked incredibly well to extinguish the flames.


The on-track highlight in the last few hours was the clean, fun battle between two cars in their final races – the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP driven by Ricky Taylor and the No. 70 Mazda Prototype driven by Spencer Pigot. Pigot hounded the significantly more experienced Taylor, although the two longtime friends from Orlando matched bout-for-bout.

Contact between Taylor and sports car racing’s rising star at the moment, Pipo Derani of Tequila Patron ESM, produced a slight bit of right front contact to Taylor’s car.


Filipe Albuquerque saved the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP from near disaster after contact produced a left rear puncture, and the Portuguese driver limped back to the pits.

But a later warning assessed for blocking helped set it back a bit.


Ozz Negri led overall in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda as he and Olivier Pla have driven the lion’s share of the race. John Pew hasn’t driven much in his final start.

Beyond Negri, here’s the class leaders at the 8-hour mark, when the second points in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup are awarded, are:

  • P: 1-60-Ozz Negri, Ligier JS P2 Honda, 2-10-Ricky Taylor, Corvette DP, 3-70-Spencer Pigot, Mazda
  • PC: 1-52-Jose Gutierrez, 2-38-Kenton Koch, 3-85-Stephen Simpson
  • GTLM: 1-62-James Calado, Ferrari 488 GTE, 2-66-Dirk Mueller, Ford GT, 3-4-Tommy Milner, Corvette C7.R
  • GTD: 1-33-Jeroen Bleekemolen, Dodge Viper GT3-R, 2-44-Andy Lally, Audi R8 LMS, 3-48-Bryan Sellers, Lamborghini Huracán GT3

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

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.