Formula E “Drivers’ Club” launched with eight notables (VIDEO)

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The first wave of drivers officially signed to Formula E’s new “Drivers’ Club” – a group of international talent that have officially shown their willingness to race in the all-electric series – features some familiar names to IndyCar and Formula One observers.

Third-generation American driver Marco Andretti (pictured) and A.J. Foyt Racing/F-E development driver Takuma Sato may be the most well-known names to Stateside race fans. Also on the list are original F-E development driver Lucas di Grassi, current Red Bull tester Sebastien Buemi, Karun Chandhok, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Ma Qing Hua, and Adrien Tambay.

Sato, di Grassi, Buemi, Chandhok and Liuzzi all have Formula One race experience, while Hua has tested for HRT and Caterham. Tambay has spent time in a variety of European leagues such as GP3, Formula Renault 3.5 and, most recently, the DTM touring car series.

F-E says that an additional ten competitors will be added to the “Drivers’ Club” in the coming weeks.

“From the very beginning, we have set out to deliver great racing to fans across the globe and to do that you need high calibre drivers,” F-E Holdings CEO Alejandro Agag said in a statement. “Now that we’ve announced all 10 teams, everyone is keen to find out who the drivers will be.

“Of course, we cannot confirm any drivers just yet as it will be down to the individual teams to select who fills their seats. However, we hope by offering them a “pool” of top international drivers to choose from – all of whom support the new series – we can deliver on this promise of providing close, entertaining racing in city centers around the world.

“We also hope it will showcase to fans, TV broadcasters and potential sponsors the high profile names Formula E is attracting and the level of drivers they can expect to see race come September.”

Naturally, both Andretti and Sato were upbeat about their respective additions to the Drivers’ Club, with Andretti dubbing the series “revolutionary” and Sato noting that the series “provides a huge potential for the future of motor racing and electric cars.”

“I’m not entirely sure what to expect but, for me, that is the most interesting part of this experience – the unknown factor,” Andretti said. “I’m looking forward to the growth and development of Formula E and am happy to be named as part of the Drivers’ Club. I’m really looking forward to getting into the cockpit of one of these cars.”

The series recently staged a public live demo of its new Spark-Renault SRT_01E in Las Vegas, but we found another video from the event that shows the new Spark making some electric-style donuts.

It certainly looks and sounds different than your average burnout, doesn’t it?

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.