Indy car drivers play pivotal, winning roles at dramatic 24 Hours of Le Mans

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A dramatic finish to the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance sports car race this morning had a decidedly Indy car flair.

The No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid claimed the overall and LMP1 class win in the iconic French race with former Indy car driver Neel Jani at the wheel to take the checkered flag. That happened, though, only after the No. 5 Toyota Hyrbrid lost power just more than five minutes before the finish, with what at the time was a lead of more than a minute. 

Jani competed in the Champ Car World Series in 2007, collecting three podium finishes for the forerunner of what is now KVSH Racing. Since the No. 5 Toyota did not complete its final lap in time, it was not classified at the finish, moving its sister No. 6 car co-driven by former Indy car driver Mike Conway to second overall and in class.

Just as dramatic as the LMP1 finish was the domination of the Ford GTs from Chip Ganassi Racing in the LMGTE Pro class. The No. 68 Ford GT, whose trio of drivers included current Verizon IndyCar Series driver for KVSH Racing and four-time Indy car champion Sebastien Bourdais, won the class (18th overall). The No. 69 Ford GT, whose drivers included reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon and former series driver Ryan Briscoe, finished third in class. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of its 1-2 finish at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Ganassi quartet of Ford GTs finished 1-2-4-5 in class today.

In addition, Townsend Bell, Indianapolis 500 competitor and NBCSN analyst on Verizon IndyCar Series telecasts, was part of the winning LMGTE Am class car (26th overall) in the No. 62 Ferrari 458.

Mikhail Aleshin, who drives for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the Verizon IndyCar Series, co-drove the BR01 Nissan that finished seventh in the LMP2 class (11th overall).

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