After several seasons in the Camping World Truck Series and a 2012 series championship, James Buescher is moving up full-time to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2014 with RAB Racing.
The team announced this afternoon that Buescher has signed a multi-year agreement to drive its No. 99 Toyota Camry. Alex Bowman ran that car for much of the 2013 season, but was released before the season finale last month at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“My first couple of years in NASCAR have been a dream come true, and I can’t thank Turner Scott Motorsports enough for the opportunity they have given me to develop my skills,” Buescher said in a team release. “I am very excited to be able to take the next step in my career, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about the opportunity that RAB Racing is giving me to run full time in the Nationwide Series.
“I am really excited to get back behind the wheel of a Toyota and I am looking forward to driving their cars next year. RAB Racing is a solid organization with great people; I can’t wait to get to work with them.”
Buescher, who won twice in the Trucks this past season, will have the services of Chris Rice as his crew chief. Rice guided the No. 99 to two Top-5 and six Top-10 finishes in 2013. Sponsorship details will be announced at a later date.
Landon Cassill is also taking a full-time NNS ride for 2014 with JD Motorsports, with Dave Fuge on hand to serve as his crew chief on the No. 4 Chevrolet. A team release stated that Cassill plans on continuing his full-time work in Sprint Cup next year as well.
Cassill made 23 starts this past season with JDM in Nationwide. His best finish in the No. 4 was 17th, achieved twice at Talladega in the spring and on the road course at Watkins Glen.
He will replace veteran Mike Wallace as JDM’s lead driver, and the team is planning to have a second part-time car in Nationwide for driver Daryl Harr.
2015 GP3 Series champion Esteban Ocon will race in the DTM championship this year with Mercedes in tandem with a reserve role in Formula 1 at Renault.
Ocon joined Mercedes’ junior program in the spring of 2015 before becoming a fully-fledged member at the end of the year just days before his GP3 title success.
The Frenchman was known to be considering a move into either DTM or GP2 for 2016, but will now replace F1-bound Pascal Wehrlein at Mercedes’ factory team for the new DTM campaign.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be part of such a professional and strong racing series,” Ocon said.
“I’m very pleased to be driving for Mercedes-Benz. It’s the best team in the DTM and I’m very grateful for this fantastic opportunity.
“Mercedes is the most successful manufacturer in DTM history. You can only achieve that with real passion and hard work, and those are characteristics that we share. After driving in free practice during the final race weekend of the 2015 season at Hockenheim, I can’t wait to start a DTM race.
“I obviously have a lot to learn, but my goal – and that of everyone in the team – is to fight for wins as soon as possible.”
Trident has completed its line-up for the 2016 GP2 Series season by signing Indonesian driver Philo Paz Armand.
Armand has previously raced in a number of European Formula Renault 2.0 championships, and most recently took part in half of last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 rounds, scoring one point.
Armand will now step up to GP2 for the 2016 season, racing alongside 2015 GP3 runner-up Luca Ghiotto at Trident.
“We are very excited to start this collaboration with Philo and we are confident he will express all his talent thanks to the team’s help,” Trident team manager Giacomo Ricci said.
The grid for GP2’s support series, GP3, is also beginning to come together for the new season following the announcements of Tatiana Calderon and Honda junior Nirei Fukuzumi.
Calderon moves into GP3 from FIA F3 and will race for Carlin, while Fukuzumi joins ART Grand Prix, continuing the French squad’s association with Honda.
Fiat-Chrysler CEO and Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne believes that Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo must consider entering Formula 1 with a team in the near future.
Alfa Romeo last raced as a constructor in F1 between 1979 and 1985, but has enjoyed no involvement within the series since 1988 when it supplied engines to the Osella team.
Marchionne believes that a return to F1 would be an effective way for Alfa Romeo to grow as a brand and gain more public awareness.
“In order to restore their name, they must consider returning to Formula 1,” Marchionne told Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Alfa Romeo are capable of making their own chassis, just like they are capable of making their own engine,” he added, before conceding that it could enjoy an engine supply from Ferrari should it wish to enter F1.
Marchionne believes that adding more manufacturers to the F1 grid is key to safeguarding the long-term future of the series.
“In the end this sport must be saved,” Marchionne said.
“The important thing is to make other car manufacturers enter grand prix racing.”
Romain Grosjean has revealed his new-look helmet design ahead of his first Formula 1 season with Haas in 2016.
NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas won the race to get an F1 team on the grid back in 2014, and has spent the past 18 months meticulously planning its arrival in the sport.
Haas F1 Team’s full debut is now just five weeks away, with the first on-track test of its new car coming on February 22 in Barcelona.
Grosjean walked away from Lotus at the end of last year to join Haas for the new season, where he will race alongside former Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez.
In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, Grosjean unveiled his new helmet design for the 2016 season, featuring plenty of Haas signage.
Grosjean also revealed earlier this week that he would be racing with a tribute to Jules Bianchi on his helmet, who died at the age of 25 last July.