Red Bull GRC: Title battle brewing in Seattle (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC)

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
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Red Bull Global Rallycross heads to Evergreen Speedway in Seattle this weekend for what is already the penultimate round of the championship, and the final doubleheader weekend of the year.

Rounds 10 and 11 of the 2017 season will air both of Saturday and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC (stream link here for Saturday and Sunday). Leigh Diffey and Townsend Bell will call the races with Will Christien reporting trackside and in the pits.

Scott Speed and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross are three races away from a three-peat, and enter Seattle with the biggest momentum in the series.

Speed swept last time out in Atlantic City while teammate Tanner Foust had a nightmare weekend with penalties, incidents, and finishes of 10th and ninth in the finals.

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool

That sees Speed with a comfortable – if not assured – 38-point lead (616-578) over Loenbro Motorsports’ Steve Arpin, who’s finished third each of the last three finals in his Ford Fiesta ST. Foust sits third in points, three behind Arpin.

Speed has four final round wins to Foust and Arpin’s two apiece this year in the opening nine races, with Sebastian Eriksson (Louisville) also on the board in his Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Honda Civic Coupe.

An important doubleheader now lies ahead in Seattle, where Foust won last year over the two Hondas and where Speed finished fourth. Subaru also showed increased competitiveness at this race last year even if their final results didn’t show it, and so it leaves Patrik Sandell and Chris Atkinson poised to play spoiler this weekend.

Speed heads to the hometown of sponsor Oberto, so will look to bring home the bacon this weekend.

“We are coming down the stretch! Seattle is a home race for our Oberto team, so we really want to have a good result. For me personally, it’s a place I absolutely love but historically has been my worst track. Having a 38-point lead means we have to drive smart, conservative and defensive this weekend,” Speed said.

Foust, needing to charge, has nothing to lose.

“We’re headed back to some of the best fans GRC sees all year in Seattle, Washington. Evergreen Speedway is a place I’ve competed in drifting at for eight years, and now going on two more with GRC is a great honor. It’ll be great to see so many familiar faces at the event,” Foust said.

“For the 34 team, circumstances in Atlantic City made the weekend a disaster on many levels, but most importantly with points. You almost couldn’t have scripted a worse weekend, so I’ll be looking to pick up the pieces and fight back for every championship point possible.”

Meanwhile Arpin’s car takes on a special livery this weekend along with its usual ENEOS USA colors, owing to his new role as an official ambassador for KOA Care Camps. Arpin will race in Seattle on Sunday in his car featuring Care Camps colors (see below).

“Care Camps is a great organization full of people with big hearts,” Arpin said. “I’m delighted to work more closely with them to help children with cancer benefit from the healing power of the outdoors.”

There’s one change in the field with Austin Cindric making his Supercars debut. Cindric, fresh off his maiden win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series last week at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, will return to his rallycross roots after racing in GRC Lites competition in the past. Bumping and banging is appreciated in this championship and Cindric, who will substitute for Cabot Bigham in Bryan Herta Rallysport’s No. 19 Fitzgerald Glider Kits/PROLINE Ford, is keen on delivering a big result this weekend. Bigham, last year’s GRC Lites champion, ended a season-best sixth last time out in Atlantic City.

“For two years, and through many different avenues, the step-up to Supercar is something I’ve been working very hard to reach.” said Cindric. “I’ve always been very passionate about rallycross racing and eager to get back in the series. Bryan Herta Rallysport has proven to be one of the top teams in the last couple of seasons, so it is a huge opportunity to prove myself in my first Supercar event, and it wouldn’t be possible without Bryan, Fitzgerald Gliderkits, and Proline Tailgating. But most important of all, I get to jump a car again!”

The track is a 0.735-mile layout with 64.3 percent pavement and 35.7 percent dirt, primarily going around the Evergreen oval. The Joker lap is after Turn 5 and extends the lap to 0.788 of a mile.

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.