Indy Lights

2020 Indy Lights preview: Team capsules, schedule, streaming info

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The 2020 Indy Lights season kicks off with a doubleheader on the streets of St. Petersburg this weekend, and plenty of new faces and a few familiar ones are ready to take on the top rung of the Road to Indy Ladder.

There is plenty of incentive for each Indy Lights competitor to make a run for the title. Whichever driver wins the championship will receive a $1 million scholarship to race in a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events next season, including the Indianapolis 500.

Past Indy Lights champions to move up to IndyCar include Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Pato O’Ward, Oliver Askew and 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Champion Josef Newgarden.

All Indy Lights races will be broadcast live exclusively as part of NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR PASS streaming service.

The pass will provide more than 200 hours of programming in 2020, including more than 50 hours surrounding the Indianapolis 500. Available for $54.99 annually, the pass also offers live coverage of all IndyCar practice and qualifying sessions and full replays of all NTT IndyCar Series races. Click here for more information on NBC Sports Gold’s INDYCAR PASS.

Below is a look at the current lineups for all teams competing in Indy Lights this season:

Andretti Autosport

The team seeks its third consecutive championship, having previously won the championship in 2019 (Askew) and ’18 (O’Ward).

Robert Megennis joins the team for the second season in a row. The 20-year-old won his first Indy Lights race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last year.

Joining Megennis are Danial Frost and Kyle Kirkwood, who move up to Lights after competing in Indy Pro 2000 last year. Kirkwood won nine races with RP Motorsport Racing last season en route to the Indy Pro 2000 championship.

Tristan Carpenter also will race for Andretti for the first six races of the season. Carpenter will run both races of this weekend’s doubleheader at St. Petersburg, as well as at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Belardi Auto Racing

Toby Sowery joins Belardi for his sophomore season, having previously finished third in the standings and picking up his first Lights victory at Portland last year.

Rasmus Lindh moves up to Indy Lights for 2020 after winning three races with Juncos Racing in Indy Pro 2000.

Exclusive Autosport

The 2020 Indy Lights season marks the first for Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Exclusive Autosport, which brings driver Nikita Lastochkin up to Lights with them.  At 29, the Russian driver is the oldest of the 10 entered in the season opener. Lastochkin finished sixth overall in the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 standings.

HMD Motorsports

HMD’s 2020 lineup is the most experienced of the four full-time teams in Lights this season. David Malukas returns to the team for his sophomore season after finishing sixth overall in the 2019 standings.

Santiago Urrutia also returns to Indy Lights competition after racing in Europe in 2019. The 23-year-old Uruguayan driver aims for his first Lights championship after finishing second overall in 2016 and 2017, and third overall in 2018.

Rookie Antonio Serravalle, 17, also is scheduled to run at least the first nine races of 2020. The Canadian driver, who made his Road to Indy debut in Pro Mazda in 2018, hopes to complete the full season pending current sponsorship negotiations.

2020 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Schedule

March 14/15 Streets of St. Petersburg 1.8-mile street course*
April 4/5 Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile road course*
May 8/9 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.439-mile road course*
May 22 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval
June 20/21 Road America 4.014-mile road course*
July 11/12 Streets of Toronto 1.786-mile street course*
August 15/16 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258-mile road course*
August 22 World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway 1.25-mile oval
September 5/6 Portland International Raceway 1.967-mile road course*
September 19/20 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 2.238-mile road course*

*Doubleheader weekend

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.