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St Petersburg Indycar: Herta tops practice, rookie McLaughlin impresses

Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Colton Herta headed an Andretti Autosport 1-2 in opening practice for the IndyCar season finale on the streets of St Petersburg as Scott McLaughlin impressed on his series debut. Seven months after the season was due to get underway at the track, before the escalating COVID-19 pandemic caused the event to be postponed and rescheduled as the season finale, Chip Ganassi Racing's Felix Rosenqvist was the first driver to duck into the 61sec bracket with a 1min01.8248s lap. That was soon beaten by Team Penske's Will Power, while a fired-up Sebastien Bourdais soon went second in his AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet after outbraking himself at Turn 3. But it was three-time Supercars champion McLaughlin, making first IndyCar start for Penske ahead of a full-season in 2021, who impressed most after strapping on fresh primaries and all-but matching Power's effort. Andretti driver James Hinchcliffe had a short-lived s..

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Indy 500 winner Sato to stay with RLL in 2021 IndyCar Series

Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato will continue with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team in next year's IndyCar Series. The 43-year-old Japanese driver first raced for RLL in 2012 before four largely fruitless years with AJ Foyt Racing and a single season with Andretti Autosport, yielding the 2017 Indy 500, before returning to Bobby Rahal's outfit in 2018. In that time, he has scored all four of the team's wins - following up his Portland victory with a brace last season at Barber Motorsports Park and Gateway. The long-time Honda-affiliated driver secured a second Indy 500 this year, the team's first since Buddy Rice in 2004, and lies seventh in the championship with one round to go, one place behind teammate Graham Rahal. Sato was a close second to Scott Dixon in the first Gateway race and finished ninth after qualifying on pole for race two, but has finished no higher than 13th in the..

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McLaren would have considered Magnussen for IndyCar seat

Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email McLaren would have considered signing Kevin Magnussen to its IndyCar team had it not already finalised its line-up for 2021, according to Zak Brown. Magnussen announced on Thursday that he would be leaving Haas at the end of the year after four seasons with the team, with his chances of remaining in F1 appearing slim. The one-time F1 podium finisher - scored on debut for McLaren at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix - has expressed an interest in sampling different categories, previously making particular mention of IndyCar. Magnussen said on Thursday following the announcement that he remained interested in a move to IndyCar for 2021, but that it looked "slightly difficult". McLaren has involvement in IndyCar via its partnership with the former Schmidt Peterson Motorsports operation, with the two parties forming Arrow McLaren SP for the 2020 season. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said that Magnussen would have been a p..

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McLaughlin: IndyCar debut “toughest challenge of my career”

Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Three-time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin says he'll be "doing cartwheels, going crazy" if he finishes in the top 10 on his IndyCar debut with Team Penske. McLaughlin, who earlier this month wrapped up his third consecutive Supercars title with DJR Team Penske, was due to make his IndyCar race debut on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May. However, the reshuffle of the IndyCar and Supercars schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic meant the first suitable date and venue became this weekend's race at St. Petersburg - an event rearranged from mid-March as season-opener to the finale. Although McLaughlin startled everyone with third fastest lap in IndyCar pre-season testing at the Circuit of The Americas back in February, he admits that the 1.8-mile street circuit in St. Petersburg will present a very different challenge. "I'm very excited," he said. "I think it's a great opp..

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Dixon and Newgarden expecting “unknowns” in IndyCar championship showdown

Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Both IndyCar title contenders Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon head into the finale uncertain of how strong their cars are on a street course given the lack of 2020 running. With the COVID-19 pandemic-caused cancellations of Long Beach, Detroit and Toronto, while St. Petersburg has been shifted from season-opener to season-closer, this weekend the IndyCar teams are encountering a street course for the first time this season. With some uncertainty over how Firestone's two tyre compounds will behave and with this being the first street race using IndyCar's weighty aeroscreen, teams will have just 90 minutes of practice on Saturday to hone their set-ups before qualifying. The closest that teams have to a real-world street course simulation is Sebring, where they last tested in February and March, and even then it's far from being a perfect representation despite its bumps. "The Sebring test was really..

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Andretti aims for five IndyCars, four Indy Lights cars in 2021

Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Michael Andretti says he's confident of Andretti Autosport maintaining a five-car programme in IndyCar next year and returning to the restarted Indy Lights series with four cars. Andretti's multiple championship-winning and Indy 500-winning team has been the subject of much speculation during silly season, with rumours of the team cutting back from five cars to four - especially in light of technical partner Meyer Shank Racing's plans to run a second car for up to six races next year alongside Jack Harvey. Both 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and DHL's sponsorship of his #28 Andretti Autosport-Honda were up for renewal, although Autosport believes that both driver and sponsor are on the cusp of inking a one-year extension. It is also understood the Gainbridge sponsorship is likely to switch from what was Zach Veach's car for three seasons (until he stood down just before the Harvest GP), ..

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Askew declared fit to race in St Petersburg IndyCar finale with Arrow McLaren SP

Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Oliver Askew has been given clearance by the IndyCar medical team to return to action for this weekend's season finale in St. Petersburg with Arrow McLaren SP. The reigning Indy Lights champion was forced to miss the Harvest Grand Prix two weeks ago after complaining of balance issues at the end of the second Mid-Ohio round last month. Helio Castroneves subbed for him in the Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, although Askew was on hand to advise the veteran who hadn't raced an IndyCar on a road course for 15 months. Now Florida-born Askew is able to return for what is effectively his home race, but he has already been informed by the Arrow McLaren SP team that he has lost his ride for 2021. He is set be replaced by current Chip Ganassi Racing ace Felix Rosenqvist, while Pato O'Ward has been confirmed as continuing in the other car. Askew said of his St. Petersburg return: "I ..

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FE champion da Costa gets IndyCar test with Rahal Racing

Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Newly crowned Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa has been called up by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to test an IndyCar for the first time in his career. The DS Techeetah FE driver is set to drive the Honda-powered Dallara at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, which lost its 5 April slot on the 2020 IndyCar schedule owing to the global coronavirus crisis, on 2 November. Former BMW DTM driver Da Costa is known to team co-owner Bobby Rahal through long-standing connections with the German manufacturer. The five-time E-Prix winner previously raced for the marque's Andretti-run FE squad and World Endurance Championship programme, with da Costa developing the M8 GTE racer ahead of its competitive debut in the 2018 Daytona 24 Hours. Rahal, meanwhile, owns the RLL-badged BMW squad that competes in the GTLM ranks of the IMSA SportsCar championship. Da Costa said: "I have never hidden the fact that it's ..

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Rosenqvist set to leave Ganassi and join Arrow McLaren SP for 2021 IndyCar season

Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Felix Rosenqvist is set to leave Chip Ganassi Racing at the end of the IndyCar season to partner Pato O'Ward in the Arrow McLaren SP team in 2021. Multiple sources have confirmed to Autosport that the Swedish driver will next week end his time at Ganassi, where he made his race debut with the team in March 2019 at St. Petersburg. Rosenqvist is set to replace Oliver Askew, after it was announced earlier this week that he would not be remaining with the team in 2021, and will partner O'Ward at Arrow McLaren SP. Over his two seasons with Chip Ganassi's legendary team, Rosenqvist has shone on several occasions, starting with his debut race where he qualified third - ahead of team leader Scott Dixon - and led 31 laps before ultimately coming home fourth. He then took pole for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the IMS road course, took a close second to Dixon at Mid-Ohio and scored another runner-up finis..

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O’Ward to stay with Arrow McLaren SP for 2021

Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Pato O'Ward will remain with the Arrow McLaren SP team for the 2021 IndyCar season, having shown "incredible form this year" according to team co-owner Sam Schmidt. The 2018 Indy Lights champion has been one of the stars of IndyCar this year despite it being his first full season in the top tier of American single-seater racing. Due to several races with Carlin in 2019 he cannot be classified as a rookie this season but has still only started 21 races in his IndyCar career. Despite his relative lack of experience - as well as the absence of testing and restricted track time on race weekends due to the coronavirus pandemic - O'Ward has scored a pole position and three podium finishes after 13 races and sits fifth in the standings. "I am beyond excited to be racing with Arrow McLaren SP next season to build on what we have accomplished so far this year," said O'Ward. "Such a great group of people who ..

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