Champion Racing returns to competition with Romain Dumas at Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Champion Racing Romain Dumas
ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

Champion Racing, a juggernaut sports car team that left racing in 2008 after winning three consecutive American Le Mans Series championships, is returning to racing in a new locale.

The team announced in a release Friday morning that it will compete in the 99th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June with Champion Racing driver Romain Dumas, who currently holds the current fast time on the 12.42-mile, 14,115-foot course.

Dumas, a 26-time winner in the ALMS who also raced for Team Penske, was a factory driver for Porsche and has multiple victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours Nurburgring and a victory in the Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Dumas will be driving a new Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport in the Time Attack 1 Division that will be prepared by a joint effort between the Champion Porsche/Champion Motorsport organizations.

Champion Racing’s crowning achievement was an overall victory with an Audi R8 in the 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was the first overall victory for an American team since Carroll Shelby in 1967.

The team, which also fielded Porsches, scored victories in the Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans and a class podium in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

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AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”