DragonSpeed

Sports cars’ DragonSpeed to expand into IndyCar part-time in 2019, full-time in 2020

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The IndyCar Series will add another team to its ranks for the upcoming 2019 season.

The new team, known as DragonSpeed, will compete on a part-time basis next season, with hopes of expanding to a full-time entry in 2020.

For now, the new team plans on competing in five races in 2019, including the 103rd Indianapolis 500. The other races on include the IndyCar season opener at St. Petersburg (March 10), Barber Motorsports Park (April 7), Road America (June 23) and Mid-Ohio (July 28).

“IndyCar is enjoying a major upswing thanks to the quality of the racing produced by the current regulations,” team founder Elton Julian said in a media release. “The fans see it, the teams see it, the manufacturers and sponsors see it, and I think NBC saw it when they decided to take on the (exclusive) television coverage.

“With so much interest from new entrants, we’re also grateful for IndyCar’s support of our bid to join the series and to Chevy for making room for us in their engine program.”

British driver Ben Hanley, 33, has been tabbed to drive the Chevrolet-powered car for DragonSpeed. Hanley will be an IndyCar rookie, but will be entering his fourth season with DragonSpeed in the sports car ranks.

Hanley also has past experience in Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2, as well as being a test driver in F2.

“For the team, it’s a matter of our growing experience catching up to our ambitions,” Julian said. “The last few seasons of endurance racing have given us an intensive platform for developing our preparation, race engineering, pit stop and strategy skills. There are some impressive open-wheel credentials up and down the team, and Ben’s pace and exceptional detail feel for setup and tires should be a great asset.

“None of this is to underplay the difficulty of the challenge ahead, because INDYCAR is the toughest series we’ve ever contested, with the world’s biggest race as its centerpiece,” Julian added. “On the other hand, we didn’t go from club racing a decade ago to a Pirelli World Challenge title in 2015 to prototypes at Le Mans without climbing a few mountains, and I take a lot of confidence from the talent and spirit of the people we’ve put together for the next summit.”

DragonSpeed has had considerable success in the sports car ranks since it was founded in 2007 by Julian.

Among the team’s accomplishments in the sports car ranks to date include winning the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge GTA championship and the 2017 European Le Mans Series LMP2 crown.

DragonSpeed will continue competing in the 2019 World Endurance Championship, including the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 1000 miles at Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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Dakar Stage 8 Highlights: Ricky Brabec blows engine, retires

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The motorcycle class of the Dakar Rally has been a seesaw affair through seven stages, but Ricky Brabec seemed poised to win the class for the USA. Until he blew an engine in Stage 8 that is – and gave up a more-than seven second lead. He was the second rider to retire after starting the stage as the leader. Joan Barreda retired in Stage 3.

Brabec was looking to become the first American rider to win in 27 years, but his fate was eerily similar to last year. Three days from the end of the stage, he retired about 50 kilometers into the stage, which is precisely when and where he retired in 2018.

With Brabec’s trouble, Toby Price leapfrogged from third to second in class despite riding with a metal pin in his wrist. In the world’s most grueling endurance event, it has never been more obvious that it isn’t over till it’s over.

Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to run a consistent rally. With a 46 minute advantage over Nani Roma and Sebastien Loeb, all he needs to do is stay error free for the final two stages to win his third Dakar.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb scored his fifth stage win of the Rally by seven minutes over Nasser Al-Attiyah, but problems in Stage 3 have kept him from being competitive for the overall lead. … Jakub Przygonski earned his third podium of the Rally. All of these have been third-place finishes.

Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 46:29 over Roma and 46:45 over Loeb.

In motorcycles, Ricky Brabec’s blown engine opened up the class once more. … Matthias Walkner narrowly edged Pablo Quintanilla by 45 seconds. … But it was Toby Price’s third-place finish that helped elevate him to the class lead. … Sam Sunderland was supposed to blaze the path for the riders, but a malfunctioning navigation system kept him from rolling off first. Blazing the trail is a disadvantage and officials adjudged him to have tampered with his system to avoid that fate. Sunderland was penalized an hour to finish 35th on the stage. He dropped to ninth in class.

Class Leaders: Price inherited the lead over Quintanilla by 1:03 and 6:35 over Walkner

In side by sides, Francisco Lopez Contardo scored the victory over Cristian Baumgart by 4:47. … Gerard Farres Guell rounded out the top three.

Class Leaders: Contardo holds an advantage 0f 54:10 over Rodrigo Piazolli and one hour, 08:09 over Guell

In quads, there was no surprise in Nicolas Cavigliasso winning his seventh stage of the season. … He padded his overall advantage over Gustavo Gallego by more than nine minutes. … Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli finished third.

Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds and advantage of one hour, 24:52 over Ferioli and one hour, 44:04 over Gallego

In trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov won the stage to take over the class lead. He beat Ton Van Genugten by 22:01. … Siarhei Viazovich rounded out the top three. … Eduard Nikolaev lost the class lead by finishing eighth – nearly one hour behind Sotnikov.

Class Leaders: Sotnikov holds an advantage of 26:49 over and one hour, 7:43 over Gerard de Rooy

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Sam Sunderland [2] (Stage 5 and 7), Matthias Walkner [2] (Stage 2 and 8), Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4) and Pablo Quintanilla [1] (Stage 6)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [7] (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli [1] (Stage 3)

Cars
Sebastien Loeb [4] (Stage 2, 5, 6 and 8), Nasser Al-Attiyah [2] (Stage 1 and 4) and Stephane Peterhansel [2] (Stage 3 and 7)

Side-by-sides
Francisco Lopez Contardo [4] (Stage 2, 6, 7 and 8), Reinaldo Varela [1] (Stage 1), Gerard Farres Guell [1] (Stage 3), Sergei Kariakin [1] (Stage 4) and Rodrigo Piazzoli [1] (Stage 5)

Trucks
Eduard Nikolaev [3] (Stage 1, 2 and 5), Andrey Karginov [2] (Stage 3 and 4), Dmitry Sotnikov [2] (Stage 6 and 8) and Gerard de Rooy [1] (Stage 7)

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