Alexander Rossi has been confirmed, not surprisingly, to run in first practice at Circuit of the Americas in Austin next Friday. The Caterham reserve driver will thus become the first American to run in a Grand Prix weekend at this circuit.
A report a few weeks ago from the Austin-American Statesman suggested the run was all but a formality. Just this past week in Abu Dhabi, Rossi claimed his first GP2 victory.
“I’ve already driven COTA several times, including in a classic Grand Prix car, so I know the layout well, but driving a current-season F1 car is a bit different altogether and on Grand Prix weekend it’s a very important responsibility,” Rossi said in the team’s advance release.
“With the amount of F1 testing I’ve already done over the last few years, I’m fully prepared to do the best job for the team in FP1,” he added. “As it’s an official practice session it’s important that I help the team as much as possible to set the car up right for the rest of the weekend, while, for me, this is another chance to use the session to continue to learn, develop and progress towards the next step up to being the next full-time F1 race driver.”
Rossi will take Giedo van der Garde’s chassis for the session, leaving the Dutchman to learn the circuit in FP2. Charles Pic raced at Austin last year with Marussia.
BMW has confirmed its driver line-ups for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship campaigns.
In an announcement made at its end-of-year Sports Trophy event on Friday night, BMW firmed up its roster across its factory WEC team and its customer RLL Racing IMSA squad.
Two of the 2018 BMW M8 GTEs will enter the WEC next year, joining a hotly-contested GTE-Pro class that already features Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Ford.
BMW factory drivers Antonio Felix da Costa, Nick Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk will share the two cars across the 13-month ‘super season’.
The quartet will be joined by Tom Blomqvist, Alexander Sims and Philipp Eng for the 24 Hours of Le Mans
In IMSA, the RLL Racing team will once again field Sims and John Edwards, who will be joined by the incoming Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn.
BMW also confirmed on Friday night that Tom Blomqvist would see out the Formula E season with its Andretti-affiliated team, having been benched for Kamui Kobayashi in Hong Kong.