Mark Webber joins Tony Stewart/Ray Evernham SRX series for 2021

Superstar Racing Experience Mark Webber
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Mark Webber became the first Formula One veteran among the seven drivers confirmed to join the Superstar Racing Experience, the short-track series being started by Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart.

Webber, 44, scored nine victories in 215 F1 starts from 2002-13, finishing third in the points standings in ’10 and ’12. He also has eight victories and a 2015 title with Porsche in the World Endurance Championship.

“I’ve had other offers to race since retiring from professional racing although nothing really excited me,” Webber said in a Wednesday release from SRX. “But, over the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the U.S. racing scene much better so this is a great opportunity for me to experience it first-hand.

“It is pretty special bringing together drivers from various classes, and I look forward to competing against old friends and visiting some of America’s most renowned racing destinations.”

The series, which is expecting to have a dozen drivers, also has Tony Stewart, Helio Castroneves, Bobby Labonte, Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan and Willy T. Ribbs in its lineup.

SRX was co-founded by NASCAR Hall of Famers Stewart and Evernham and was unveiled July 13.

Several drivers have expressed interest in the new circuit, which is modeled on the International Race of Champions (IROC) series that matched drivers from various auto racing disciplines in equally prepared cars for an annual four-race series for 30 years.

With the addition of Mark Webber, Superstar Racing Experience has yet to reveal a schedule or tracks, but it’s expected that Stewart’s Eldora Speedway will be on the slate.

Here’s the release from Superstar Racing Experience:

Superstar Racing Experience is excited to announce the addition of nine-time Formula One Grand Prix winner and World Endurance Car Champion Mark Webber to the inaugural SRX driver lineup.

Webber who regularly goes by his social media handle “Aussie Grit,” most recently raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship for Porsche, where he accumulated eight wins in 25 starts including the world title in 2015.

Between 2002 and 2013, Webber competed in 215 Formula One races, where he claimed nine victories with Red Bull Racing and finished on the podium 42 times. He finished third in the FIA F1 World Drivers’ Championship in 2010 and 2012 and helped RBR to win four FIA F1 World Constructors’ Championships.

“I’ve had other offers to race since retiring from professional racing although nothing really excited me. But, over the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the US racing scene much better so this is a great opportunity for me to experience it first-hand. It is pretty special bringing together drivers from various classes, and I look forward to competing against old friends, and visiting some of America’s most renowned racing destinations,” said Webber.

Since retiring from racing, Webber has become a brand ambassador for Porsche, Red Bull, Rolex, Hugo Boss and Mobil 1, and combines these roles with F1 broadcasting duties for Channel 4 in the UK and Channel 10 in Australia. He also manages Jaguar Racing Formula E driver Mitch Evans, and FIA Formula 3 hot shoe and fellow Australian Oscar Piastri.

Webber joins Tony Stewart, Tony Kanaan, Paul Tracy, Bobby Labonte, Helio Castroneves and Willy T. Ribbs as the seventh confirmed driver for the series that will air Saturday nights in primetime on CBS next summer.

Meyer Shank Racing wins second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona to begin GTP era

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Grand Touring Prototype era began just as the previous one ended as Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura captured its second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona with star Tom Blomqvist emphatically starting and finishing the race.

The No. 60 ARX-06 won the 24-hour endurance classic at Daytona International Speedway by 4.190 seconds over Filipe Albuquerque of Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport, giving Acura a sweep of the top two spots.

The Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-LMDh cars took the next two spots with Renger van der Zande (the No. 01) and Earl Bamber (No. 02) as four of the nine new GTP cars finished on the lead lap within 12 seconds of each other and four more finished the race – quashing the prerace hand-wringing of mass failures for the highly technical cars in the debut of the hybrid prototype premier category.

“Amazed is the right word,” Honda Performance Development president David Salters said when asked about reliability. “These are sophisticated cars. It’s not easy. It’s a testament to each group that they did a really good job. It was a fight all the way through the race. I didn’t expect that at all.”

There were major problems for the manufacturer newcomers Porsche Penske Motorsport and BMW M Team RLL, whose two pairs of cars all finished at least a dozen laps down or more because of major mechanical problems in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.

But there were no such failures for Acura despite the manufacturer skipping any endurance testing with the new LMDh car. Salters said his

It’s the third Rolex 24 at Daytona victory for co-owner Mike Shank, who won his first in 2012.

Just as he capped the 2022 season by winning the Petit Le Mans season finale in the No. 60 Acura to clinch the final championship of the DPi division for MSR, Blomqvist was behind the wheel again for his third overall victory in IMSA.

“That was crazy,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “I knew we had a fantastic car. I’ve been working hard. Unbelievable. Massive, well done, everyone being part of this project and worked together on this project. What a car we’ve built.

“I was just a bit nervous. The 10 was definitely second fastest car, but we held them off.”

It was the second consecutive Rolex 24 victory for MSR’s trio of Blomqvist, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves, who were joined this year by Colin Braun (winning his first Rolex 24 overall).

Castroneves joined select company in winning the Rolex 24 in three consecutive years (his first win was with Wayne Taylor Racing in 2021 — also in an Acura, which now has three consecutive Rolex 24s). Peter Gregg won the Rolex 24 in 1973, ’75 and ’76 (the 1974 race wasn’t held because of the oil crisis).

Castroneves and Pagenaud are entering their second consecutive year as teammates for Meyer Shank Racing’s Dallara-Hondas in the NTT IndyCar Series.

“Can you believe that?” Castroneves told Lee. “Big props to everyone. Everyone did an amazing job. Everybody worked so hard together. We got it! Another one. I can’t believe it. This is absolutely a dream come true.”

The four-time Indy 500 winner led the team in his signature fence-climbing celebration afterward — just as he had when he finished MSR’s victory in last year’s Rolex 24 and when he won the 2021 Indy 500 for the team.

“It’s always fun to climb the fence with Helio,” said Pagenaud, who drove the second-to-last stint before Blomqvist closed it out: “The competition as amazing. It was tough out there. So much fun. Hope you had as much fun as we had. I’m going to savor this one.”

Winners in other classes were the No. 55 ORECA 07 of Proton Competition (which triumphed on a last-lap pass by James Allen on Ben Hanley), WeatherTech Racing’s No. 79 Mercedes in GTD Pro, Heart of Racing’s No. 27 Aston Martin in GTD and AWA’s No. 17 in LMP3.