IMSA: Cadillac dominant at 2017 Rolex 24 halfway point

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new Cadillac DPi-V.R has controlled the opening 12 hours of the 55th Rolex 24 at Daytona, with the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac leading most of it. Ricky and Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and Jeff Gordon sahre the car.

“The Cadillac is very good,” Ricky Taylor said. “Our DPi-V.R is pretty good drive in the drizzle conditions. We are in the lead and we want to hold it as long as we can. That helps keep you motivated in the car. We want to keep the lead into the morning. It looks we will be racing the No. 5 Cadillac.  We are going to try and hold the gap and keep it clean for the next several hours.”

Ford has been up front for most of the race in the GT Le Mans class, but it’s Porsche that has moved ahead with its new 911 RSR at Hour 12.

The GT Daytona class has witnessed the biggest roller coaster, with seven of the nine manufacturers (all except Lamborghini and Aston Martin) having led in class at some point. Acura and Lexus have both led on debuts with their new cars, and Acura holds the top spot at Hour 12.

Lastly it’s been Performance Tech Motorsports leading the Prototype Challenge class most of the way.

There have been eight full-course cautions and six race retirements, all in the GTLM and GTD classes.

Track conditions are treacherous with rain causing a slick track surface.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”