Eric Lux, Ryan Dalziel added to Rolex 24 LMP2 lineup

Lux Dalziel LMP2 Rolex 24
Photo by David Rosenblum via Getty Images
0 Comments

Eric Lux and Ryan Dalziel have been added to the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) lineup for the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

Lux will compete with DragonSpeed alongside Henrik Hedman, Ben Hanley and Juan Pablo Montoya. Dalziel will race for Era Motorsport with team owner Kyle Tilley, Dwight Merriman and Paul-Loup Chatin.

“2021 marks my 18th season competing in sports cars and my 11th Rolex 24,” Lux said in a press release. “I’ve nearly won there on several occasions, and for it to become a reality you need the right team, the right car and the right teammates.”

Lux became the youngest finisher in Rolex 24 history at age 16 in 2005. Since then he has added six career IMSA wins including a pair of victories in 2019 in LMP2 driving for Mathiasen Motorsports.

“Eric’s reclassification as a Bronze gives us one of the best in the category,” said team principal Elton Julian. “We’re really looking forward to supporting Eric’s bid for his first win at Daytona and looking to bring a group of drivers to the package that can help deliver on that. We’ll have the same crew that was behind our success the last two years at Daytona, so we’re excited to see if we can make it three in a row.”

MORE: Juan Pablo Montoya will race WEC, Le Mans and Daytona with DragonSpeed next season

Era Motorsport hopes to improve on last year’s third-place finish in LMP2.

Dalziel has nine career IMSA wins, including the overall victory at the Rolex 24 in 2010. In 2020, he drove in two LMP2 races for Tower Motorsport.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic about joining Era Motorsport,” Dalziel said. “I was really impressed watching their first IMSA season in 2020. I can tell, between Kyle and Dwight, they are putting everything into making this program as strong as possible, and I’m humbled to have been invited to be part of this journey.

“My last few seasons in IMSA haven’t gone to plan, so I’m extremely grateful to these guys for having the confidence in me to help guide this ship with them.”

Chatin will round out the lineup. He has a pair of championships in the European Le Mans Series.

“I am really happy to join Era for the iconic Rolex 24 At Daytona,” said Chatin. “I was lucky to meet and work with Kyle and Dwight at the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans, and I am sure that all together we will be able to fight for the top in LMP2 class. I am really excited to participate in my first IMSA race, and I will do my best to honor the faith they put in me.”

The 2021 WeatherTech Championship season begins Jan. 22-24 with The Roar Before the Rolex 24 test in preparation for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
0 Comments

Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.