Nico Jamin confirmed with Andretti to step up to Indy Lights

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Andretti Autosport has its second confirmed driver for the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season, with Nico Jamin stepping up from the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires campaign.

The young Frenchman stormed to the 2015 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda title with Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, and won a couple races in Pro Mazda with the Capes, ending third in points.

After a successful test with Andretti at the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test in October at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jamin will now join the list of those who’ve run in all three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires ladder.

“I am delighted to announce that I will be driving in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires for Andretti Autosport in 2017,” Jamin said. “I remember my first USF2000 race back in 2014, walking by Mario Andretti in the paddock and I asked him to take a picture with me. That day, I was far to think that I was going to drive for a team owned by his son, Michael, a few years later. This is a dream come true and I thank everyone who made it possible – my family, partners, the whole Andretti team and fellow Frenchman, J-F Thormann. We have had extremely positive test days already and I am very much looking forward to seeing the first green flag of the season wave at St. Petersburg.”

Michael Andretti added, “We are really pleased to welcome Nico to our Indy Lights team,” said team owner Michael Andretti. “His progress in the MRTI system has been promising so far and he was impressive in recent testing. We’re looking forward to a competitive season for Nico and the No. 27 team.”

Jamin will take over the No. 27 car vacated by Dean Stoneman, as the team’s second confirmed driver alongside Dalton Kellett. Andretti is keen to continue running at least three cars, and with Shelby Blackstock departing for Belardi Auto Racing, it’s possible that this year’s Atlantic champion Ryan Norman, who’s tested with Andretti, could fill that role.

Jamin follows Nicolas Dapero (Juncos Racing) as Pro Mazda graduates who step up – Aaron Telitz will as well after winning the title, with his team to be revealed at a later date. Kellett and Blackstock have also been confirmed for 2017.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III