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Mama Mia! Ferrari powerhouse Scuderia Corsa partners with Rahal for Indy 500

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Legendary IMSA, 24 Hours of Le Mans and endurance racing team Scuderia Corsa will add a new chapter to its legacy on the biggest motorsports platform in the world.

The Southern California-based organization announced Friday that it will field a team for this year’s Indianapolis 500, with veteran IndyCar driver Oriol Servia behind the wheel.

In addition, the team will partner with Rahal Letterman and Lanigan Racing to put forth the effort, it was announced in St. Petersburg, Florida, site of this weekend’s 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“It is an honor to compete at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” Scuderia Corsa team owner Giacomo Mattioli said. “To be a part of this great racing heritage and tradition is something I always envisioned for Scuderia Corsa and running across the yard of the bricks this year is a thrill.

“I am excited to be partnering with Bobby Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, such an outstanding and established team, as well as having veteran IndyCar series driver, Oriol Servia, onboard.”

While Scuderia Corsa is known for racing Ferrari’s, it will race a Honda in the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500. RLL principal Bobby Rahal is looking forward to the partnership.

“Scuderia Corsa has a very successful track record in sports car racing and Giacomo’s success in the retail automotive marketplace is well known,” Rahal said. “And it goes without saying that we are very pleased to have Oriol back with us for our fifth Indy 500 together.

“He brings a lot of talent to the program and I have no doubt that together with Graham (Rahal) and Takuma (defending Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato) … we have three very, very strong entries in the 500, three strong chances to win. That certainly is exciting.”

This will be Servia’s 17th year of racing an open-wheel car in either the former CART/Champ Car Series or the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Servia has made 201 career starts across those series, with one win (2005). His best season finishes were fifth in 2005 in Champ Car, and fourth in 2011 in IndyCar.

“As you can imagine, I’m very excited first to be at the 500 … especially doing it with Bobby’s team,” Servia said during Friday’s press conference in St. Pete.

“Obviously both teams are very successful, winning teams. When you put two teams together, you never know how it’s going to come out. They both saw the advantage of taking, you know, this shot together. With our friends at Honda supporting, too. I couldn’t be happier.”

Former Formula One driver Stefan Johansson is Scuderia Corsa’s sporting director.

“IndyCar has got great momentum at the moment,” Johansson said. “I think the timing is great. Obviously what better place to start than the Indy 500? I mean, it’s the biggest race in the world. It’s a great place to put the team on the map, on a much larger scale than what we do right now.”

Rahal believes adding both Servia and Scuderia Corsa will bring in additional fans globally.

“Definitely this is going to generate a lot of international interest, given the relationship that Giacomo has with Ferrari,” Rahal said. “You’ve got to believe there’s going to be a lot of Italian people following the 500 this year.”

Rahal then added with a laugh about Oriol, a native of Spain: “Maybe we’ll have to the change Oriol’s nationality to Italian. Whatever it takes, right?”

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Since Mattioli and partner Art Zafiropoulo formed it in 2013, Scuderia Corsa has amassed an outstanding racing resume, including:

* 2017 IMSA GTD Champion
* 2017 Le Mans podium
* 2017 6H of Watkins Glen podium
* 2017 12H of Sebring podium
* 2016 IMSA GTD Champion
* 2016 24Hours of Le Mans GTE-Am winner
* 2016 6H of Watkins Glen Winner
* 2016 12H of Sebring Winner
* 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GTA Champion
* 2015 24Hours of Le Mans Podium
* 2015 IMSA GTD
* 2013 Grand-AM GT championship

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Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.