Brendon Hartley picks No. 28 as permanent F1 number

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Brendon Hartley will race with No. 28 in Formula 1 from this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix onwards as his bid for a full-season drive with Toro Rosso in 2018 gathers steam.

Porsche LMP1 driver Hartley joined Toro Rosso to make his F1 debut last weekend in Austin, Texas after the team was forced to find a replacement for Pierre Gasly, who was tied up with Super Formula duties in Japan.

Hartley put in a solid display en route to 13th in his first single-seater race since 2012, earning himself a recall for Mexico, with Gasly returning in place of Daniil Kvyat, who will not return to the team.

Hartley raced with Toro Rosso’s assigned reserve number, No. 39, on debut in Austin, but will now switch to No. 28 for Mexico as his new permanent car number. No. 28 was last used in F1 by British racer Will Stevens, who raced full-time with Manor through 2015.

“I’m so excited to head to Mexico for my second Formula 1 Grand Prix. It was a steep learning curve in Austin last week, so I’m looking forward to putting some of the lessons learned into practice this weekend here in Mexico,” Hartley said in Toro Rosso’s race preview.

“It’s a tricky venue for the engineers, as the high altitude plays havoc on downforce and cooling, but from a driving point of view it’s a great track and one I really enjoy.”

Hartley has tasted success at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City before, having won the six-hour FIA World Endurance Championship race in both 2016 and 2017 with Porsche.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko confirmed in an interview earlier this week that Hartley would be locked in for the remainder of the season, with the New Zealander appearing to be closing in on a full-season seat in 2018.

Hartley had been set to move into the Verizon IndyCar Series with Chip Ganassi Racing next year, only for the team to announce on Wednesday it had signed 2016 Rookie of the Year Ed Jones from Dale Coyne Racing to partner Scott Dixon.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III