Photo courtesy of IMSA

RHR joins Taylor Cadillac crew for Petit Le Mans

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Ryan Hunter-Reay’s schedule after the Verizon IndyCar Series season concludes next month at Sonoma Raceway will grow a little busier with a return to Wayne Taylor Racing’s team, for his first drive aboard the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.

Hunter-Reay will deputize for Alex Lynn, on a potential Formula E schedule conflict, in joining Jordan and Ricky Taylor for Motul Petit Le Mans Oct. 5-7, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale.

Hunter-Reay has been drafted in to a number of Petit Le Mans before, having been with VISIT FLORIDA Racing last year and SRT Motorsports in 2014 and 2012 and Level 5 Motorsports in 2011.

The clear task here for the veteran of 33 career sports car starts is to aid the Taylor brothers in helping deliver them the Prototype class championship, as they hold a 26-point lead with just two races remaining.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Wayne Taylor and his sons once again,” said Hunter-Reay. “Through our runner-up finish at the Daytona 24-hour and since then, I’ve formed a pretty close relationship with the team as a whole – Wayne, Jordan and Ricky.

“The team has done an incredible job this season with five wins and leading the championship from the first round at Daytona. My goal is to fit in seamlessly, contribute in any way possible but, most importantly, do whatever I can to help this group win the IMSA WeatherTech championship. It goes without saying I’m really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Cadillac DPi-V.R.”

Hunter-Reay will join a number of IndyCar drivers at this year’s Petit Le Mans. Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais are expected to reprise their roles as third drivers in Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs, and Team Penske’s debut of an Oreca 07 chassis ahead of its full plunge back into DPi in 2018 is expected to feature some combination of Juan Pablo Montoya plus one or two of its full-season IndyCar drivers. Dane Cameron, who was announced to the Penske Acura program a couple weeks ago, will be finishing his stint with Action Express Racing in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R that race.

Spencer Pigot’s usual bow at Mazda won’t occur since the Mazda RT24-P chassis will be undergoing testing in Europe shortly, while NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell will be back in action with longtime co-driver Bill Sweedler in Alex Job Racing’s No. 23 Audi R8 LMS.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”