As racing seasons come to a close, one world-class racer is pushing endurance to another level. The remnants of COVID postponements has the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship celebrating its season-sender, iconic Petit Le Mans, in mid-November,instead of the first weekend of October. For most sportscar racing drivers, it’s more of an inconvenience than anything else. But for one driver, it has become another kind of endurance test – or race, if you will.
Alexander Rossi, most known for winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2016 and racing full-time in the NTT IndyCar Series, is continuing his sportscar Michelin Endurance Cup campaign with Wayne Taylor Racing in an Acura DPi, sharing driving duties with Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque. Not an unusual feat, as he’s been the team’s go-to endurance driver in 2021 (after Penske’s departure from IMSA and Acura finding a new home with WTR), including a Daytona win, fourth at Sebring and third at Watkins Glen.
The news is that on the heels of 10 hours at Petit Le Mans, Rossi is headed to another iconic race on the other side of the continent, and what could easily be considered the other side of the racing universe – the 54th SCORE International Baja 1000.
This isn’t Rossi’s first go at the Baja 1000, but it’s his first point-to-point, Ensenada to La Paz race course. He’s raced twice before with the Honda Off-Road Racing Team in the Baja Ridgeline race truck. In 2018, they were second in class. In 2019… Baja happened. This year’s course is just over 1226 miles.
To make matters even more fun, Alex’s pre-run in Baja was cut short due to some unforeseen circumstances. He’s going to rely on his data-driven side to review course notes and depend on the experience of his navigator Evan Weller.
Rossi says, “Super-excited to be heading into my 3rd Baja 1000 with Honda Off Road and my teammates Jeff Proctor and Evan Weller. We know that we have the equipment and people to win this event and there is no better time to do it than on a peninsula run. It’s going to take the best from everyone but we are up to the task, and cannot wait to get started.”
Endure the ultimate endurance with us. Follow along as Rossi exercises his driving skills on the asphalt of Road Atlanta on November 13 in an Acura DPi at Petit Le Mans, and then in the dirt of Baja, Mexico, in a Honda Baja Ridgeline race truck in the Baja 1000. You can find it all here on RACER.com.
Melissa Eickhoff will be tackling her own endurance race as well – working at Petit Le Mans then off to the West Coast to embed with the Honda Off-Road Racing Team for the Baja 1000. The team is fielding IndyCar star Alexander Rossi, team owner/driver Jeff Proctor, Richard Glaszczak, and Baja legend, Steve Hengeveld, in a Honda Ridgeline.