Suddenly stuck in a pressure-packed race for NTT IndyCar Series championship, Scott Dixon will switch up his schedule this weekend to find escape in the Petit Le Mans — smack in the middle of another pressure-packed title battle.
Dixon, whose IndyCar points lead shrunk significantly during an Oct. 2-3 doubleheader at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will be racing this weekend with the No. 10 Cadillac of Wayne Taylor Racing as a tuneup for IndyCar’s Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.
“It’s pretty nice, actually,” the five-time IndyCar champion said. “The IndyCar championship was looking fairly easy there for a while, and through mistakes by myself and the team, we’ve made it a little bit tougher. It’s kind of nice to focus on something else and take your mind away from it, especially when you’ve got a lot of down time going into the IndyCar final race.”
There will be a single focus for his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teammates Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande, who have a three-point lead in the premier DPi division with two races remaining.
They have been consistent but are without a victory since opening the season by winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona with co-drivers Dixon and Kamui Kobayashi.
“I’m excited to be back in the car,” Dixon said. “This has been a crazy year, and Daytona was the last race that felt somewhat normal, especially with all the victory celebrations and things like that. It’s great to see that the No. 10 team is still leading the championship, just the way it started off. Hopefully I can add to the championship fight, keeping it clean and helping these guys go on to another victory.”
There are only nine points separating the top five in DPi with the No. 31 Cadillac ranked second and Team Penske’s No. 7 Acura of Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves surging with three consecutive victories.
That team will welcome back Alexander Rossi (who also drove the Rolex 24) as a third driver, and Simon Pagenaud (No. 6 Acura Team Penske) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 55 Mazda) also are among the Indianapolis 500 winners moonlighting in sports cars at the Braselton, Georgia road course.
The Motul Petit Le Mans typically closes the IMSA season, but because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it will be followed this year by the Hyundai Monterey SportsCar Championship on Nov. 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Nov. 14.
Here are the details for IMSA Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (all times are ET):
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
WHEN: Saturday, 4:05 p.m.
TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold Coverage: Flag to flag beginning at 12:40 p.m.
STARTING GRID: Click here for how they will line up Saturday
RADIO: IMSA Radio will have live radio coverage on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, as well as SiriusXM
RACE DISTANCE: A 10-hour race on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile course in Braselton, Georgia.
FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 61 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.
IMSA at Motul Petit Le Mans schedule
Thursday, Oct. 15
11:15 a.m.-12 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Practice #1
3:45-4:45 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Practice #2
7:30-9 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Practice #3
Friday, Oct. 16
12:30-1:35 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Qualifying
Saturday, Oct. 17
9:10-9:30 a.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Warmup
12:40 p.m. — Green flag for the Motul Petit Le Mans (10 hours)