Rast in Formula E. Photo: Getty Images

International aces Rene Rast, Sam Bird added to Rolex 24 lineup

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The driver roster for the 55th Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona continues to grow.

This week, two more teams announced additions to their respective driver lineups.

VISIT FLORIDA Racing has added German driver Rene Rast to its team. Rast will join Belgian driver Marc Goossens and Dutch driver Renger van der Zande in the No. 90 Gibson-powered Riley Mk. 30 in the Prototype class.

Rast has outstanding credentials, particularly in the Rolex 24, having won the GT class for Magnus Racing in both 2012 and 2016.

Photo courtesy of IMSA
Rast. Photo courtesy of IMSA

He also finished second in the LMP2 class in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans for G-Drive Racing. He also won in LMP2 at Bahrain and earned podium finishes at Silverstone and Circuit of the Americas.

Rast is also a two-time winner of the 24 Hours at Spa and the 24 Hours of Nurburgring.

“The Rolex 24 is one of my favorite races during the year and I can’t wait for the action to begin,” Rast said in a media release. “I have won the Rolex 24 now two times but not overall. My big dream was always to one day win it overall.”

Scuderia Corsa, whose Ferrari 488 GT3 makes its Daytona, also added to its driver lineup.

Sam Bird
Bird. Photo courtesy of IMSA

Ferrarri factory driver Sam Bird completes the lineup and will join 2016 IMSA and NAEC GT-Daytona champions Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan, along with confirmed third driver Matteo Cressoni.

Bird earned two victories last season in the WEC, piloting a Ferrari 488 GTE, and was a key component of Scuderia’s WEC Manufacturer championship.

As for Cressoni, he previously drove for Scuderia Corsa in the 2014 Petit Le Mans.

Scuderia Corsa is defending champion of the IMSA and North American Endurance Cup GT-Daytona championships.

“With this driver lineup and the proven success of the 488 GT3, I am confident that Scuderia Corsa will defend our Championships this year. The GTD field has expanded this season to factory entries and we welcome the challenge” Scuderia Corsa team owner Giacomo Mattioli said. “2017 marks the 70th anniversary for Ferrari and there is no better way to celebrate than success at the race track, where it all began.”

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Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).