Norris, di Resta begin Rolex 24 preparations at Paul Ricard

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Lando Norris and Paul di Resta took the first step on their preparations for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January by testing with United Autosports at Paul Ricard in France this week.

McLaren Formula 1 youngster Norris and ex-Force India racer di Resta will form part of United Autosports’ two-car line-up for the 24-hour classic at Daytona, with the race acting as a sports car debut for both drivers.

As part of their preparations, Norris and di Resta took part in a private test with United Autosports in the team’s Ligier JS P217 at Paul Ricard this week, completing laps alongside existing team members Filipe Albuquerque and Philip Hanson.

The Rolex 24 will act as the first event in a busy year for Norris, with his expanded role as McLaren’s reserve and test driver confirmed and a full-season campaign in Formula 2 planned.

Di Resta is still to determine his racing plans, but is in the running for a return to F1 full-time with Williams after an impressive stand-in appearance in Hungary when Felipe Massa became unwell.

Norris and di Resta will be joined at Daytona by two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso, who will make his sports car debut in the Rolex 24 ahead of a possibe shot at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”