Kevin Magnussen, Renger van der Zande hired as Ganassi Cadillac drivers in IMSA

Ganassi Magnussen IMSA Cadillac
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen will move to the IMSA sports car series in 2021 teaming with Renger van der Zande in a Cadillac DPi-V.R at Chip Ganassi Racing, the team announced Thursday. Ganassi is returning to the sports car series after a one-year hiatus.

Magnussen currently competes for Haas F1, but the 28-year-old was not retained for next season. Magnussen won the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2016 and was developed in McLaren’s Young Driver Program. He is the son of former F1 driver Jan Magnussen.

“If you are in professional racing anywhere in the world, you know the name Chip Ganassi and what it represents in motorsports,” Magnussen said. “Chip has built one of the best racing organizations on and off the track, and you can look back in history and see the tremendous record of success, especially as it relates to sports car racing.”

Ganassi teams won the Rolex 24 at Daytona eight times and claimed seven IMSA championships and 64 victories from 2004-19. The team also has victories in both the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Van der Zande, 34, is a two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner, most recently in January when teamed with Ganassi driver Scott Dixon. The Dutch racer won the IMSA championship in 2016 driving for Starworks Motorsport. He drove for Wayne Taylor Racing the last three seasons but was not extended for 2021 when WTR moves from Cadillac to Acura.

“It’s a first-class operation and the team knows how to win the big races,” van der Zande said of Ganassi. “One of the things that stood out to me was hearing that as a former driver, Chip always wanted to create and build a team that he would want to drive for. He has certainly done that.”

Ganassi said its endurance drivers will be announced at a later date, though six-time IndyCar champion Dixon is expected to be part of the lineup.

Lineups for the 2021 IMSA season are rapidly coming together with a flurry of announcements over the last week. Meyer Shank Racing added Juan Pablo Montoya and AJ Allmendinger as its endurance drivers along with Olivier Pla and Dane Cameron.

Cameron and Montoya were teammates the last three seasons at Team Penske, but that organization closed at the end of the season.

Wayne Taylor Racing overhauled its 2021 lineup with the move to Acura. Ricky Taylor, part of Team Penske’s No. 7 championship Acura this season, returns to his father’s organization alongside Filipe Albuquerque. Alexander Rossi and Helio Castroneves (who won the 2020 DPi title with Taylor) will be the endurance drivers.

In the GT Daytona class, Vasser Sullivan Racing said Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz will run for the championship in the Lexus RC F GT3. They won three races together and finished third in the 2020 standings.

“We have not been shy about our attack on the IMSA GTD championship for 2021,” team co-owner Jimmy Vasser said. “Securing both Hawksworth and Telitz in the No. 14 is the first of a few dominoes to fall as we prepare our assault on this championship.”

Vasser Sullivan, which has split off from AIM Autosport after two seasons, did not announce its lineup for its second car, or its endurance drivers.

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.