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United Autosports confirms de Sadeleer, MRTI grad Owen for Le Mans/ELMS

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BIRMINGHAM, UK – United Autosports has confirmed two of its drivers ahead of its first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June in the LMP2 class.

United Autosports won the LMP3 championship in the European Le Mans Series last year, securing itself a berth for Le Mans in the process.

The Anglo-American team announced two of its three drivers for Le Mans at Autosport International on Thursday, with Mazda Road to Indy racer Will Owen and Formula Renault’s Huge de Sadeleer set to feature for its debut at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Owen finished fourth in the Pro Mazda series in 2016 with Juncos Racing, but will now turn his attention to sports car racing as part of United Autosports’ Le Mans and full-season ELMS line-up.

“Part of it was going to Le Mans in 2016. That was life-changing, honestly, it was so cool,” Owen told NBC Sports when asked about his decision to cross codes.

“The other thing was I feel like there are so many opportunities to become part of a manufacturer effort in sports cars. I decided to go that way because there are so many great places to go and series to run and cool cars to drive.

“I think I went there because of the options, that’s the biggest thing. We looked at a lot of things but eventually we looked at prototypes and after I drove it, I was like ‘man, this is what I want to do’. I’m so excited that we landed with United Autosports.”

Owen said racing on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder for the past three years – including one season in USF2000 championship and the last two in Pro Mazda – has prepared him well for life in endurance racing.

“If you look at me before and after Mazda Road to Indy, I’m a completely different driver and a completely different person,” Owen said.

“The series has helped me develop because of the intense competition. When you come here and you’ve done the deal where it’s been down to hundredths in qualifying, you’re well prepared.”

Owen and de Sadeleer are poised to be joined by Alex Brundle for Le Mans and the ELMS season, the Briton having won the LMP3 title with United Autosports last year.

“We know who we want, we’re just working on getting some economics together so we can go there and compete at the front,” United Autosports team owner Zak Brown told NBC Sports.

United Autosports will field a Ligier LMP2 car for the ELMS season and Le Mans, with the livery being unveiled on Thursday as part of the announcement.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.