Porsche

Porsche dominates WEC Mexico, No. 2 crew extends points lead

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Porsche tightened its grip on both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ crowns in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a dominant one-two finish in Sunday’s 6 Hours of Mexico at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Headed up by the championship-leading No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid crew of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber, Porsche finished over a lap clear of Toyota, who failed to put up any firm challenge in Mexico.

The result saw Porsche extend its lead in both championships as it looks to sign off from its time in the WEC’s LMP1 class in style, having announced its closure five weeks ago.

While the battle for overall honors in Mexico offered little in the way of a race, LMP2 came up trumps as the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson held on for victory, seeing off a late charge from the CEFC Manor TRS Racing squad.

Impressive stints from Jean-Eric Vergne and Ben Hanley in the No. 24 Oreca gave Manor a shot at its first WEC win, only for a late spin for Hanley to stunt the team’s charge and drop it to third in class behind the No. 36 Signatech Alpine entry.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse and Aston Martin Racing battle hard for victory throughout the six hours, with the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE taking the checkered flag first by just 0.9 seconds.

However, Davide Rigon and Sam Bird were denied a second win of the season after receiving a penalty for speeding under a full course yellow, resigning them to P2 behind the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE shared by Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen.

Dempsey-Proton Racing picked up its second win of the season in GTE-Am courtesy of Christian Ried, Marvin Dienst and Matteo Cairoli in the No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR, finishing a lap clear of the No. 98 Aston Martin.

The WEC returns in two weeks’ time with its sole visit to the United States at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.

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.”