Ryan Briscoe returning to Panther for Milwaukee IndyFest

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Ryan Briscoe will return to the cockpit of the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet for Panther Racing at this weekend’s Milwaukee IndyFest (Sat., 4 pm ET, NBC Sports Network) after racing for the team a week and a half ago in the Detroit doubleheader event.

“I felt like the team gelled really well when we worked together in Detroit and I’m sure we’ll be able to pick right up where we left off this weekend in Milwaukee,” Briscoe said in a team statement. “It’s obviously a very challenging racetrack and you need to get things right but Panther’s always had a great oval package and I’m excited to jump back into the National Guard Chevy and get back at it this weekend.”

Briscoe has made five career IZOD IndyCar Series starts at the Milwaukee Mile and won his first race in the series there in 2008 as a member of Team Penske.

In the same statement, Panther managing partner John Barnes indicated that the team was working toward landing Briscoe’s services for more IndyCar events this season that can work around his full-time commitments in the American Le Mans Series.

“We’re working on getting him signed for several other races this season, so hopefully we’ll have that finalized in the short term future,” Barnes said.

In his first run with Panther at Detroit, Briscoe posted a result of 21st in the first Dual race (a late spin scratched a potential Top-10 result) and then finished 13th in Dual 2 after being collected in a Lap 28 multi-car pileup that was triggered by contact between Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power.

Oriol Servia, who drove the Panther car last weekend at Texas, will step back into the No. 4 for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway on June 23.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.