Photo courtesy of IMSA

Petit Le Mans entry list features some star extra drivers

Leave a comment

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.

Female racer makes history with record finishes in dirt national midget events

Photo courtesy Toyota Racing
1 Comment

Holly Shelton is riding high after setting a milestone for a female driver in a national midget series feature event on dirt this past weekend.

The Sacramento, California-area resident recorded the highest finish ever for a female dirt national midget series driver with a runner-up finish last Friday at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header weekend at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Shelton broke her own national record for top finish by a woman in a national dirt event – she finished third in a USAC race at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last year.

One night after setting her new national record, Shelton and her Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota roared back Saturday to finish third (started on the outside pole) in the second half of the weekend double-header, making her the first female dirt driver ever on the national midget circuit to earn back-to-back podium finishes.

“It’s cool making history as a female, but my number one thing is I just want to win,” said Shelton, who will be graduating from Cal-State Sacramento with a B.A. in Criminal Justice this fall. “Truthfully, on the track I don’t even remember that I’m a girl. I’m just racing all the guys with the same goal they have – to win.”

Only one other woman has finished second in either a USAC or POWRi midget feature – Sarah McCune at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999 – but that was on pavement, not dirt.

The record-setting weekend was great consolation for Shelton, who missed three races earlier this season due to surgery and then sat out three other races last month after suffering a race-related concussion.

“It felt good,” she said of her back-to-back podium finishes. “It builds up my confidence. The car is fast and we keep getting better and we want to build on it.”

Shelton was one of four women that competed in midget competition this weekend. The others were 19-year-old Maria Cofer and 16-year-olds Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson.

“It’s awesome seeing all the little girls come up to me excited to see me at the track,” Shelton said. “Hopefully, it encourages them to pursue their dreams as well and, as the years go on, more girls will get into it.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski