Petit Le Mans entry list features some star extra drivers

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The Motul Petit Le Mans entry list is out and the fourth and final round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup season-within-a-season of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign features, as usual, a number of star extra drivers.

ENTRY LIST

Before getting into those, there is one notable absence for the moment, as Team Penske isn’t listed.

Reports percolated over the fall that Penske was poised to run an Oreca 07 Gibson at Petit Le Mans, in advance of its Acura ARX-05 DPi bow in 2018, but Team Penske president Tim Cindric told NBC Sports at Watkins Glen the team would need to complete a late entry form to run. As of press time, the team said it was still evaluating an entry.

Among the 38 cars that are present, split between 9 Prototype, 3 Prototype Challenge, 9 GT Le Mans and 17 GT Daytona cars, there’s these notable driver additions:

  • IndyCar drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R), Sebastien Bourdais (No. 66) and Scott Dixon (No. 67) in Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs
  • Brendon Hartley (No. 2) and Bruno Senna (No. 22) in Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis
  • Filipe Albuquerque (No. 5) and Mike Conway (No. 31) in Mustang Sampling and Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.Rs
  • Rebellion Racing’s return with Mathias Beche, Nick Heidfeld and Gustavo Menezes in No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson
  • Julien Canal (No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson) and Chris Miller (No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson) as other pro/am extras in LMP2 cars
  • Mazda factory driver Jonathan Bomarito on loan to the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Ligier JS P217 Gibson, filling in for Rene Rast on DTM duty
  • Porsche factory driver Patrick Long in his third IMSA GTD Porsche of the year, the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, after also being in No. 28 Alegra and No. 54 CORE Porsches
  • Mike Rockenfeller (No. 3) and Marcel Fassler (No. 4) in Corvette C7.Rs
  • Kuno Wittmer (No. 24) and Nicky Catsburg (No. 25) in BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLMs
  • Nick Tandy (No. 911) and Earl Bamber (No. 912) in Porsche 911 RSRs
  • Alessandro Pier Guidi in No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE
  • The No. 23 Alex Job Racing (Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler, Frankie Montecalvo) and No. 29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport (Connor De Phillippi, Chris Mies, Kelvin van der Linde) Audi R8 LMS in GTD
  • Ian James (No. 14) and Austin Cindric (No. 15) in 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3s
  • Trent Hindman in No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in his second different GTD car this year
  • Other GTD third drivers that include Brett Sandberg, Michael de Quesada, Mario Farnbacher, Nic Jonsson, Matt Bell, Matteo Cressoni, Matt McMurry, Dion von Moltke, Tom Dyer, Mark Wilkins, and Justin Marks
  • MRTI veterans Danny Burkett and Garett Grist back in BAR1 Motorsports PC cars for that class swan song, along with Performance Tech Motorsports regular third driver Kyle Masson

The race runs Saturday, October 7, to cap off IMSA’s season.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.