IndyCar entry list for Nashville Music City GP


There are 27 cars on the entry list of the inaugural Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee — the most for an NTT IndyCar Series race outside of the Indianapolis 500 since the 2013 Long Beach Grand Prix.

The field for Sunday’s race (5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) is indicative of a growing car count for IndyCar, which gained another full-time team for the 2022 season Tuesday that will run the last three races in 2021.

Excluding the Indy 500, Nashville will mark the sixth of 11 races this season with at least 25 cars. Last year, there were only three races outside of Indy with at least 25 cars. The 2019 season didn’t have a race with more than 24 cars besides Indy.

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 27 cars racing the streets of Nashville

MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIX: Schedules and info for watching IndyCar’s Nashville debut

BRIDGE TO GREATNESS: Everything to know about racing across the Cumberland River at 200 mph

Nashville will mark the return of Helio Castroneves, who will make his second start of the 2021 season after winning the 105th Indy 500 for Meyer Shank Racing. The team recently announced that Castroneves, who became the fourth four-time winner of the Indy 500 (joining Rick Mears, Al Unser and A.J. Foyt), will be returning full time to IndyCar next season in the No. 06 Dallara-Honda after running a partial schedule of six races in 2021.

Other notable additions at Nashville:

–Cody Ware, who primarily races in the NASCAR Cup Series, will return for his second career IndyCar start in the No. 52 Dallara-Honda.

–Santino Ferrucci will be in a third car for his fifth race this season with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

The race also will feature Jimmie Johnson and Romain Grosjean as the two IndyCar rookies continue to race road courses and street circuits this season. Grosjean is slated to make his oval debut in two weeks at World Wide Technolgy Raceway at Gateway, and Johnson will be testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway at the end of the month with an eye on the 2022 Indy 500.

After 10 of 16 races, Alex Palou leads the championship standings by 39 points (384-345) over Pato O’Ward. Six-time series champion Scott Dixon (328) is 56 points behind in third, followed by two-time champion Josef Newgarden (315, a 69-point deficit).

Click here for the entry list of the inaugural Music City Grand Prix through the streets of downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

Ford unveils a new Mustang for 2024 Le Mans in motorsports ‘lifestyle brand’ retooling

Ford Mustang Le Mans
Ford Performance

LE MANS, France — Ford has planned a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its iconic Mustang muscle car next year under a massive rebranding of Ford Performance aimed at bringing the automotive manufacturer “into the racing business.”

The Friday unveil of the new Mustang Dark Horse-based race car follows Ford’s announcement in February (and a ballyhooed test at Sebring in March) that it will return to Formula One in 2026 in partnership with reigning world champion Red Bull.

The Mustang will enter the GT3 category next year with at least two cars in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, and is hopeful to earn an invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA entries will be a factory Ford Performance program run by Multimatic, and a customer program in WEC with Proton Competition.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, also an amateur sports car racer, told The Associated Press the Mustang will be available to compete in various GT3 series across the globe to customer teams. But more important, Farley said, is the overall rebranding of Ford Performance – done by renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee – that is aimed at making Ford a lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset.

“It’s kind of like the company finding its own, and rediscovering its icons, and doubling down on them,” Farley told the AP. “And then this motorsports activity is getting serious about connecting enthusiast customers with those rediscovered icons. It’s a big switch for the company – this is really about building strong, iconic vehicles with enthusiasts at the center of our marketing.”

Ford last competed in sports car racing in 2019 as part of a three-year program with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team scored the class win at Le Mans in 2016 in a targeted performance aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford snapping Ferrari’s six-year winning streak.

Ford on Friday displayed a Mustang with a Lee-designed livery that showcased the cleaner, simplified look that will soon be featured on all its racing vehicles. The traditional blue oval with Ford Performance in white lettering underneath will now be branded simply FP.

The new mark will be used across car liveries, merchandise and apparel, display assets, parts and accessories and in advertising.

Farley cited Porsche as an automaker that has successfully figured out how to sell cars to consumers and race cars in various series around the world while creating a culture of brand enthusiasts. He believes Ford’s new direction will help the company sell street cars, race cars, boost interest in driving schools, and create a merchandise line that convinces consumers that a stalwart of American automakers is a hip, cool brand.

“We’re going to build a global motorsports business off road and on road,” Farley told the AP, adding that the design of the Mustang is “unapologetically American.”

He lauded the work of Lee, who is considered the top helmet designer among race car drivers.

“We’re in the first inning of a nine inning game, and going to Le Mans is really important,” Farley said. “But for customer cars, getting the graphics right, designing race cars that win at all different levels, and then designing a racing brand for Ford Performance that gets rebranded and elevated is super important.”

He said he’s kept a close eye on how Porsche and Aston Martin have built their motorsports businesses and said Ford will be better.

“We’re going in the exact same direction. We just want to be better than them, that’s all,” Farley said. “Second is the first loser.”

Farley, an avid amateur racer himself, did not travel to Le Mans for the announcement. The race that begins Saturday features an entry from NASCAR, and Ford is the reigning Cup Series champion with Joey Logano and Team Penske.

The NASCAR “Garage 56” entry is a collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and is being widely celebrated throughout the industry. Farley did feel left out of the party in France – a sentiment NASCAR tried to avoid by inviting many of its partners to attend the race so that it wouldn’t seem like a Chevrolet-only celebration.

“They’re going right and I’m going left – that NASCAR thing is a one-year deal, right? It’s Garage 56 and they can have their NASCAR party, but that’s a one-year party,” Farley said. “We won Le Mans outright four times, we won in the GT class, and we’re coming back with Mustang and it’s not a one-year deal.

“So they can get all excited about Garage 56. I almost see that as a marketing exercise for NASCAR, but for me, that’s a science project,” Farley continued. “I don’t live in a world of science projects. I live in the world of building a vital company that everyone is excited about. To do that, we’re not going to do a Garage 56 – I’ve got to beat Porsche and Aston Martin and Ferrari year after year after year.”

Ford’s announcement comes on the heels of General Motors changing its GT3 strategy next season and ending its factory Corvette program. GM, which unlike Ford competes in the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype division (with its Cadillac brand), will shift fully to a customer model for Corvettes in 2024 (with some factory support in the IMSA GTD Pro category).