Conway preparing for pre-Christmas test with ECR

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After a successful 2013 in both IndyCars and sports cars, British driver Mike Conway is looking forward to getting 2014 underway in earnest with a test session next week at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway for Ed Carpenter Racing.

Conway, who won Detroit Race 1 for Dale Coyne Racing and also claimed four race wins with his co-drivers over in the FIA World Endurance Championship, recently had a seat fitting in the No. 20 ECR Chevrolet (pictured) in advance of the Dec. 18-19 test in Florida.

The soft-spoken street course dynamo will drive the No. 20 in all road and street events in the 2014 IndyCar Series, while team namesake and owner Carpenter will drive it on the ovals.

“It feels good to run the IndyCar before the holidays,” Conway said. “I’ve never been able to test an IndyCar before the first of the year, so this opportunity next week at Sebring really has me excited.

“It will be my first chance to drive the Chevrolet engine also. I’m looking forward to that aspect of the test too.”

Conway will continue his work in sports cars next season as well, recently landing a gig with Toyota’s WEC program as its test and reserve driver.

All in all, it’ll be a busy 2014 for the Kent, England native as he looks to not only help Toyota overtake Audi in the WEC but also help Ed Carpenter Racing move toward the front of the IndyCar pecking order.

“I can’t wait to get started with the ECR guys,” Conway said of his IndyCar duties. “I’m very excited to run with a team like Ed’s. I have worked with many of the crew guys here before and they have a very strong organization.

“This team should be a solid effort in 2014.”

‘No desire’ for Lewis Hamilton to race in Indianapolis 500

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Lewis Hamilton has ruled out a future appearance in the Indianapolis 500, saying he has “no real plans” to do any serious racing once his time in Formula 1 is over.

Former teammate and current McLaren driver Fernando Alonso took part in the 101st running of the Indy 500 in May, qualifying fifth and running high up the order before retiring late on with an engine issue.

The F1-to-IndyCar crossover proved to be one of the biggest motorsport stories of the year, and has stirred the imagination of other drivers to make a similar step into other events in the future, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans which is known to be on Alonso’s radar as well as that of Haas racer Romain Grosjean.

Three-time F1 world champion Hamilton admired 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato’s victory ring when on the podium at the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month, trying it on and joking it may spur him to enter the race to try and win the jewelry.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Hamilton stressed he made the comment in jest, saying he holds not interest in entering the ‘500.

“Honestly it hasn’t inspired me to do the Indy 500,” Hamilton said.

“I’ve always respected it and appreciated it. I got to watch part of it when Fernando did it which I thought was super exciting. I love the idea of drivers being able to do more than one series.

“Just the other day I got to drive an F1 car on an oval circuit which was interesting. I have a huge amount of respect for those drivers as it is quite scary approaching those banks at the speeds that they do.

“I personally don’t have a desire to drive it. Maybe one day I will go out and have some fun.

“I have a lot of opportunities to do those kinds of things, but no real plans to do anything serious.”

Hamilton has previously said he would like to try a NASCAR race for fun one day, but has made clear his plan after his F1 career is over is to distance himself from racing in order to pursue other interests.