Getty Images

Christian Fittipaldi to retire after 2019 Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona

Leave a comment

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Christian Fittipaldi plans to retire from driving after the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the January race he was won three times.

The 47-year-old Brazilian racer announced the decision Saturday at Road America.

“My relationship with my family, my daughter, my age, so it’s the package. It’s not one thing,” Fittipaldi said. “It’s not that I went out there, I had a huge accident and said, `Whoa, now I’m afraid of doing this. I can’t do this anymore.’ It wasn’t that. It was the package and I think the timing is correct. I’m going to respect the timing a lot.”

Fittipaldi, the nephew of two-time Formula One champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, is a two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype champion, a four-time champion of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup and a winner of 12 IMSA races. He also won two Champ Car races and competed in Formula One and NASCAR.

He’ll get the chance to add two more victories before hanging up his helmet, at Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 13, and the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 26-27.

“I owe a lot to Daytona,” Fittipaldi said. “I owe a lot to the France family and Daytona has brought me a lot of happiness. I have had a lot of success there. We won three times. I think I have six or seven podiums in total.”

IndyCar’s Vasser-Sullivan expand into IMSA for 2019

James Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser. Photo IndyCar
Leave a comment

Not even one year after returning to the IndyCar ranks, Vasser-Sullivan Racing is taking AIM at the IMSA world, you might say.

While team co-owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan will continue to partner with Dale Coyne Racing on the IndyCar side, they expanded their holdings Tuesday, announcing a partnership with AIM Autosport to campaign a new two-car Lexus-backed RC F GT3 effort in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.

The new team – named AIM Vasser-Sullivan – will replace 3GT Racing, which was part of Lexus’ sports car program launch in 2016. It will announce its two drivers in the coming weeks, the team said.

“Sulli and I are excited and looking forward to entering a new chapter in our racing careers,” Vasser said in a media release. “I have driven sports cars before, but my career was pretty much limited to the 24 Hours of Daytona, including a ‘class’ win in 1992 and second overall in 2008.

“The AIM Vasser Sullivan team, with the support of Lexus and our sponsors, has the tools to get the job done and we are looking forward to this new challenge.”

Lexus has made significant progress in its first two seasons in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, having earned a combined two race wins, five poles and finished third in the 2018 GTD Manufacturer point standings.

Vasser and Sullivan were part of the ownership group of KVSH Racing in IndyCar from 2011 through 2016 before the organization folded.

They also owned Tony Kanaan’s 2013 Indianapolis 500-winning car.

After sitting out the 2017 season, Vasser, a former CART champion, and Sullivan rejoined forces this past February, just before the start of the 2018 IndyCar season, partnering with Coyne to form a satellite team led by driver Sebastien Bourdais, who previously drove for KVSH.

Bourdais kicked off the new team’s effort with a win in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He finished seventh in the overall season standings.

AIM Vasser Sullivan will have two home bases for its IMSA program: AIM’s current facility in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, as well as a new U.S. shop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Follow @JerryBonkowski