Will Power penalized after hitting Hunter-Reay, Rahal on Lap 1


After finishing second Saturday at Road America, Will Power got off to a disastrous start Sunday in the second race of the REV Group Grand Prix, being penalized by IndyCar for avoidable contact.

Power punted Ryan Hunter-Reay off course entering the first turn and then made contact with Graham Rahal by passing on the entry to Turn 3. Rahal then went off course after a collision with Felix Rosenqvist and slammed hard into a concrete barrier in the infield.

Power’s No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet was dropped from fifth to 22nd by IndyCar officials. On the Lap 4 restart, Power spun off in Turn 13 and collided with a trackside sign and stalled his car.

Rahal, who said he was “OK from the hit; everything did its job”, watched the replay of Power’s spin after being released from the care center.

“He’s getting what he deserves today,” Rahal said of Power. “He took Ryan out and me. It’s frustrating. It’s a deseperation move. I’ve made them before, so I know them well. I’m disappointed because I thought we had a good chance today. It’s all good. We’ll be back.”

Hunter-Reay, who started fourth, also said Power “seems to be driving a little bit desperate today. He’s been a wrecking ball so far.”

Asked by NBCSN’s Dave Burns how he would work things out with Power, Hunter-Reay said, “It’s not very like him. He finally had a better day yesterday, so he’s getting back up in points. It’s a long season ahead.

“Obviously we’ve got to do something to catch (Scott) Dixon. you definitely can’t win the whole thing in the first corner. I’ll ask him about it, but he hit me, then took Graham out and now just took himself out. I’m not really sure what’s going on there, but I’[ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s feeling a little off today.”

Power, who started fifth, managed to return to the race on the lead lap after another pit stop to replace his front wing. He finished 11th and said he disagreed with the punishment.

“Man, just a rough race for us,” he said. “I guess in the end, things could have been worse, and an 11th-place finish is a small victory. I don’t really agree with the penalty from early in the race. I felt that was just a racing deal. So, we had to come in and change the front wing, then I made a mistake and ran off the track, and we had to make another stop for another wing change.

“Just not the day we needed. Got a podium yesterday but just didn’t have it today.”

His runner-up finish Saturday was a season best but he still entered Sunday’s race seventh in the points standings and 83 points behind Dixon, who started the season with three consecutive victories.

“Yeah, that’s what was a little frustrating for me because I’m pretty far back in points,” Power said postrace Saturday night. “Scott is the guy I need to get close to. He finished ahead of us again.

“We’ll obviously keep chipping away, chipping away. Can’t get desperate, just keep chipping away at it, see if we can have a very good second half of the year.”

Santino Ferrucci, who collided with Jack Harvey, and Conor Daly, who hit Oliver Askew, also were penalized for contact on Lap 1 and sent to the rear of the field.

Ford unveils a new Mustang for 2024 Le Mans in motorsports ‘lifestyle brand’ retooling

Ford Mustang Le Mans
Ford Performance
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LE MANS, France — Ford has planned a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its iconic Mustang muscle car next year under a massive rebranding of Ford Performance aimed at bringing the automotive manufacturer “into the racing business.”

The Friday unveil of the new Mustang Dark Horse-based race car follows Ford’s announcement in February (and a ballyhooed test at Sebring in March) that it will return to Formula One in 2026 in partnership with reigning world champion Red Bull.

The Mustang will enter the GT3 category next year with at least two cars in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, and is hopeful to earn an invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA entries will be a factory Ford Performance program run by Multimatic, and a customer program in WEC with Proton Competition.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, also an amateur sports car racer, told The Associated Press the Mustang will be available to compete in various GT3 series across the globe to customer teams. But more important, Farley said, is the overall rebranding of Ford Performance – done by renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee – that is aimed at making Ford a lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset.

“It’s kind of like the company finding its own, and rediscovering its icons, and doubling down on them,” Farley told the AP. “And then this motorsports activity is getting serious about connecting enthusiast customers with those rediscovered icons. It’s a big switch for the company – this is really about building strong, iconic vehicles with enthusiasts at the center of our marketing.”

Ford last competed in sports car racing in 2019 as part of a three-year program with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team scored the class win at Le Mans in 2016 in a targeted performance aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford snapping Ferrari’s six-year winning streak.

Ford on Friday displayed a Mustang with a Lee-designed livery that showcased the cleaner, simplified look that will soon be featured on all its racing vehicles. The traditional blue oval with Ford Performance in white lettering underneath will now be branded simply FP.

The new mark will be used across car liveries, merchandise and apparel, display assets, parts and accessories and in advertising.

Farley cited Porsche as an automaker that has successfully figured out how to sell cars to consumers and race cars in various series around the world while creating a culture of brand enthusiasts. He believes Ford’s new direction will help the company sell street cars, race cars, boost interest in driving schools, and create a merchandise line that convinces consumers that a stalwart of American automakers is a hip, cool brand.

“We’re going to build a global motorsports business off road and on road,” Farley told the AP, adding that the design of the Mustang is “unapologetically American.”

He lauded the work of Lee, who is considered the top helmet designer among race car drivers.

“We’re in the first inning of a nine inning game, and going to Le Mans is really important,” Farley said. “But for customer cars, getting the graphics right, designing race cars that win at all different levels, and then designing a racing brand for Ford Performance that gets rebranded and elevated is super important.”

He said he’s kept a close eye on how Porsche and Aston Martin have built their motorsports businesses and said Ford will be better.

“We’re going in the exact same direction. We just want to be better than them, that’s all,” Farley said. “Second is the first loser.”

Farley, an avid amateur racer himself, did not travel to Le Mans for the announcement. The race that begins Saturday features an entry from NASCAR, and Ford is the reigning Cup Series champion with Joey Logano and Team Penske.

The NASCAR “Garage 56” entry is a collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and is being widely celebrated throughout the industry. Farley did feel left out of the party in France – a sentiment NASCAR tried to avoid by inviting many of its partners to attend the race so that it wouldn’t seem like a Chevrolet-only celebration.

“They’re going right and I’m going left – that NASCAR thing is a one-year deal, right? It’s Garage 56 and they can have their NASCAR party, but that’s a one-year party,” Farley said. “We won Le Mans outright four times, we won in the GT class, and we’re coming back with Mustang and it’s not a one-year deal.

“So they can get all excited about Garage 56. I almost see that as a marketing exercise for NASCAR, but for me, that’s a science project,” Farley continued. “I don’t live in a world of science projects. I live in the world of building a vital company that everyone is excited about. To do that, we’re not going to do a Garage 56 – I’ve got to beat Porsche and Aston Martin and Ferrari year after year after year.”

Ford’s announcement comes on the heels of General Motors changing its GT3 strategy next season and ending its factory Corvette program. GM, which unlike Ford competes in the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype division (with its Cadillac brand), will shift fully to a customer model for Corvettes in 2024 (with some factory support in the IMSA GTD Pro category).