Indy 500 champs headline Petit Le Mans lineup
Four Indianapolis 500 winners, including the past two who also happen to be IndyCar Series champions, will be among seven IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights drivers competing in the 11th Petit Le Mans on Oct. 4 at Road Atlanta.
Dario Franchitti, who will return to the IndyCar Series for 2009 in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, is the latest to be announced for the 1,000-mile/10-hour race. He’ll co-drive the No. 9 Patr¢n Highcroft Acura prototype sports car with 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion Scott Sharp and David Brabham.
Earlier, Penske Racing entered a third RS Spyder -- to be driven by 2008 IndyCar Series championship runner-up Helio Castroneves, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, and Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe. Reigning Indy 500 and IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will co-drive the No. 66 de Ferran Motorsports car with 2003 Indianapolis 500 champion Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud.
Last week, Andretti Green Racing announced that Tony Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion, and Marco Andretti would co-drive its No. 26 Acura with Franck Montagny. Reigning Firestone Indy Lights champion Raphael Matos will co-drive the No. 8 BK Motorsports prototype with Gerardo Bonilla and Ben Devlin.
Franchitti made his ALMS debut in the 2007 12 Hours of Sebring, winning the LMP2 division with Kanaan and Bryan Herta for Acura’s Andretti Green Racing team.
“I’m really excited to be joining Patr¢n Highcroft Racing for Petit Le Mans,” Franchitti said. “To be back in the Acura and to race in such a competitive field, which includes my brother Marino and my new teammate Scott Dixon will be great.”
Castroneves, the 2001 and ’02 Indy 500 champion, also competed in the ’07 Sebring race in a Penske Racing entry.