Photo courtesy Velocity News

Taylor Harte hopes to follow fellow New Zealander Scott Dixon in IndyCar someday

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The next Scott Dixon – or at least the next IndyCar driver from New Zealand – may be on the horizon.

Of course, everyone is familiar with Dixon, who captured his fifth IndyCar championship Sept. 16 at Sonoma Raceway.

Now, if things go well for young New Zealander Taylor Harte, he potentially may follow in Dixon’s IndyCar footsteps in a few years.

Harte, who was born in the U.S. before growing up in New Zealand, is back on this side of the pond, pursuing a USF2000 ride for 2019, the first step on the Road to Indy route.

According to New Zealand’s Velocity News, Harte began racing go-karts at the age of six and has gone on to record considerable success in the ground huggers, including the KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championship for KF3 in 2013 and the North Island Championship in DD2 in 2017.

And, Velocity News noted, Harte has made podium appearances in the last 52 races he’s taken part in.

Harte is spending much of his time currently serving as a mechanic for Swam Motorsport, which competes in both the USF2000 and Pro Mazda series. He recently had a chance to test a USF2000 ride and showed strong promise.

“I went into the USF2000 car straight out of go karting, which is a big step up, but I ended the day just half a second off the top guys and they were on new tires,” Harte told Velocity News. “I have done a lot of work in a simulator with Darren Manning, an ex-IndyCar driver to improve myself as much as I can.

“I adapted really well, but I still have a lot to learn.”

Harte hopes to have a ride in USF2000 in 2019, but finances are still a question mark. Still, he’s not giving up on his dream of conquering USF2000, then progress up the development ladder in Pro Mazda, Indy Lights and the pinnacle, IndyCar.

“That’s the plan for us,” Harte said.

Harte is the son of Dane Harte, who was a crew chief in both CART and the Indy Racing League for Dick Simon Racing and Cheever Racing in the 1980s and 1990s, including being part of the 1998 Indianapolis 500-winning team with Eddie Cheever behind the wheel. Dane Harte also served as a crewman for Lyn St. James at Indy.

“I’ve got a lot of teams calling me and wanting to do stuff,” Taylor Harte told Velocity News. “It’s just a matter of getting my name out there and getting the funding.”

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IMSA’s Bill Auberlen joins NASCAR America to discuss this weekend’s race at Lime Rock

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Turner Motorsport GTD driver Bill Auberlen joined NBC Sports’ Marty Snyder on NASCAR America Presents the Motorsports Hour Thursday to discuss a variety of topics, including Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race at Lime Rock Park.

Auberlen, alongside co-driver Robby Foley, enters Lime Rock with a great amount of momentum after finishing on the GTD podium at Watkins Glen and taking the GTD class honors in the most recent IMSA race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

There’s also an extra incentive for the duo to win this weekend as well, as Auberlen is one win away from tying Scott Pruett for the most IMSA victories all-time.

Both drivers will have to be on their A-game this weekend, however, as Auberlen stated that Lime Rock is one of the tougher circuits on the IMSA calendar and compared the 1.5-mile Connecticut road course to a short track.

“It’s what we call the bullring of our season,” Auberlen said. “It is a 54-second lap and we’re going to go around it a million times before the end of the day. It’s going to be a hot one, and I think whoever survives this is going to be on the podium.”

Luckily for the GTD and GTLM teams, with no Protoype and LMP2 entries competing at Lime Rock this weekend, the worry of having to yield to entries from the faster classes is gone.

“These Protoypes are so fast now, that interacting with them, you can’t imagine,” Auberlen said. “We have radars in our car that can alert us when they are coming.

“They get on you so fast that if you’re not always looking or something is not telling you they’re coming, you could have a problem and catch into them. That’s gone. Now it’s going to be focus-forward. You’re going to be focused on everything ahead of you. You got GLTM in there at the same time, but they’re virtually the same speed as us – just a little bit faster.

“It’s going to be nice. When you stand on that podium you might be able to go for an overall victory.”

Live race coverage of IMSA’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCsports.com and the NBC Sports app with an encore presentation of the race airing later in the evening at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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