Jason Anderson rolls into 2020 with an agenda

Feld Entertainment Inc

When Jason Anderson won the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross championship it may have come as a bit of a surprise to some. Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villapoto had won the previous eight titles and no one knew who would replace them.

Anderson’s best of three seasons in the 450 class was third in 2016. In 2017 he finished a distant fourth – 86 points behind Dungey and 81 behind Eli Tomac. Anderson may have been the only person entering the 2018 season who believed he could win and that is precisely what he did in Week 2 in Houston. Anderson followed that up with three more wins at Oakland, San Diego and Atlanta. All of these were early in the season.

After finishing seventh at Daytona in Week 10, Anderson would not win another overall race, but four podiums and a fifth in the final events was the consistency he needed to win.

Given the streaks put together by champions in the previous eight years, all eyes were on Anderson in 2019. Barely three weeks into the season, Anderson was injured in a practice crash and missed the remainder of the schedule.

“If you get hurt and miss one weekend, your season is pretty much over,” Anderson said at this year’s Supercross Media Sessions. “You can’t get hurt and you have to make it through all healthy. Ready to battle every weekend.”

With Anderson out of the way, another dark horse took his place in 2019 as Cooper Webb won his first 450 race early in the season and held the advantage until the end.

Now, no one knows who will win in 2020.

“You don’t really know who is going to win this year, so it’s going to be interesting,” Anderson said. “There are a lot of good guys that can win and that’s the biggest thing going into this year. It just shows how close everyone is. It’s going to be that way for a little bit because everyone is really hungry to win.”

After missing 14 Supercross races last year and failing to win in the outdoor Motocross season, Anderson will be as hungry as anyone entering Anaheim 1. This is Anderson’s chance to prove that his 2018 championship was not a fluke and that he can take his place alongside Dungey and Villopoto – a chance that was denied him last year.

“I’m just going out there and trying to do my best every weekend and that’s all you can really ask of yourself,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to make it as simple as possible while trying to perform at the top level. … Just go racing, enjoy myself and have a good time”

To give himself the best opportunity to win, Anderson has to stay loose.

“You can try to strategize (about the season) but it never goes to plan,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to take the curve balls as they come and try to make sure you’re ready every time the gate drops, every Saturday night. … I’m a decade into my career so I’m honestly just doing things similar to what I’ve done in the past. Trying to fine tune some things, but nothing too crazy. I just kind of go with the flow and see how it rolls.”

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Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing

Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.