Tom Blatter/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

Dreyer & Reinbold keeps busy with other projects during pandemic

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Five weeks ago, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing was in St. Petersburg, Florida, for Round 1 of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series.

Today, their St. Petersburg car sits in the team’s Carmel, Indiana, shop, having not turned a single lap.

With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic postponing all motorsports events for the time being, one would assume that DRR’s shop has been quiet lately.

However, while the team has been running with only three people in the shop at a time, there still has been plenty of work to do. When racing does resume, the team will be well prepared.

“We’re ready to go,” team owner Dennis Reinbold said. “We’re well funded and excited for when it does kick off, but I couldn’t tell you which events we’re going to choose to go to. But we look forward to doing those when they become available.”

While DRR originally was scheduled to run only three to four IndyCar races this season, the team still keeps busy with a variety of other projects.

“We’re doing a lot of machine work in our shop for outside vendors, things like that,” Reinbold said. “Our shop is quite big, so it’s not like we have people huddled together or anything like that. We’re taking precautions. They want to work. They want to keep building things, and we’re ready to go once it gets going.”

In addition to doing non-racing work, the team also has been preparing their rally cars and fitting their third IndyCar with the new aeroscreen. The team also has been working on a construction of a very unique vehicle.

Reinbold is building a replica of a GM Futurliner. The Futurliners were a group of custom vehicles created by General Motors between the 1930s and 1950s.

Reinbold’s GM Futurliner currently is undergoing restoration at DRR’s Carmel, IN shop. Photo: Tom Blatter/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
A photo of a restored GM Futurliner is used for reference at DRR’s shop. Photo: Tom Blatter/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

Originally built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, Futurliners were later utilized in GM’s “Parade of Progress”, a North American promotional tour promoting the future of cars and technology. Each Futurliner featured an opening stage area on its side to display new technology.

Reinbold’s replica will be based off a 1953 GM truck chassis. His plans for the vehicle are to use it for hospitality use at the Indy 500 and Indianapolis Colts games.

“It’s like a big limo tailgate vehicle,” Reinbold said. 

While the extra time away from the track has provided DRR plenty of time to work on other projects, Reinbold said the team still does look forward to the eventual resumption of racing. In the meantime, the team plans to take things day by day.

“It’s really about just taking care of people and humanity,” Reinbold said. “We’ll get through it. It’s just the timeline we can’t predict.”

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994

 

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

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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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.