Photo courtesy Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Former SPM GM Piers Phillips joins Rahal, Letterman, Lanigan as first president

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Former Schmidt Peterson Motorsports general manager Piers Phillips was named Thursday as the first-ever president of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

After three years, Phillips stepped down from his post with SPM on October 24. The British native has enjoyed a long and successful career of more than 25 years in several forms of motorsports, particularly open-wheel and sports car racing.

“To be involved at this level with not only the Indy car program, but also the sports car program and eTROPHY was a very easy decision for me and one that I know I will thoroughly enjoy,” Phillips said in a RLL media release.

In his new role, Phillips will oversee RLL’s IndyCar Series operation, as well as its programs in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series and the new Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Series.

“(Co-owners Michael Lanigan, David Letterman) and I are pleased that Piers is joining the team as its first-ever president,” team co-owner Bobby Rahal said in a statement. “His past successes speak volumes of his ability in all facets of racing and I look forward to working closely with Piers to take the team to the next level.”

Phillips’ hiring is the latest in a series of upward moves by RLL:

* For the first time since 2013, it expanded to two full-time cars in the IndyCar Series in 2018.

* Its partnership with BMW led to two wins, five podium finishes and three poles in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship series.

* On December 15, RLL will debut its two-car program in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Series at the Ad Diriyah E Prix.

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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.