No timetable for RLL driver, commercial announcements

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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has at least one announcement coming shortly, but it’s not going to be the team’s second IndyCar driver or commercial partners.

“We have another guy who’ll be announced soon that will be a huge addition to our team,” Graham Rahal said during this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Graham was part of the lineup in the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE in the GT Le Mans class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

In a brief follow-up, Rahal confirmed that was related to “personnel,” and not the driver lineup. When asked if he knew when the lineup would be coming, Rahal said, “We’re all having to wait and see.”

RLL has not yet announced its 2014 commercial partners, and a team official also confirmed there was no timetable on when an update on those will come.

Deltran Battery Tender, which was an associate sponsor for RLL’s IndyCar program in 2013, has re-upped for IndyCar and added the pair of BMWs to its sponsorship portfolio.

The Midas and blu eCigs brands also adorned Rahal’s No. 15 Honda-powered DW12 in 2013.

Some drivers who could very likely be in play for the open second seat, per sources, are Oriol Servia, Conor Daly, JR Hildebrand and Alex Tagliani. A driver outside of that quartet could be considered for the second seat, depending on budgetary concerns.

Servia has past experience with RLL, when he drove for the team at the 2009 Indianapolis 500. He was one of two drivers who took over the National Guard-backed seat at Panther Racing in the second half of 2013, when Panther released Hildebrand from his contract.

Daly and Tagliani, meanwhile, co-drove in RSR Racing’s PC class No. 08 ORECA FLM09 in the Rolex 24 this weekend.

The PC class schedule has three conflicts with IndyCar weekends this year.

On June 7, the TUDOR Championship PC class races at Kansas Speedway, while IndyCar takes to the high banks of Texas Motor Speedway.

The last weekend of June, the 28-29, IndyCar races a weekend doubleheader in Houston while TUDOR races the six hours of Watkins Glen on Sunday.

Lastly on August 24, TUDOR is at Virginia International Raceway while IndyCar races on the west coast in Sonoma.

At the moment, RLL is not listed to test at all in the month of February, per IndyCar’s latest testing schedule update.

Ferrari signs Callum Ilott to young driver academy

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Ferrari has confirmed the signing of rising British racer Callum Ilott to its prestigious driver academy ahead of the 2018 season.

Ilott, 18, is a former member of Red Bull’s junior program, and has spent the last three years racing in the FIA European Formula 3 series, taking eight race wins.

After finishing the 2017 season fourth in the championship with Prema Powerteam, Ilott has now linked up with the Ferrari Driver Academy in the next step of his racing career, becoming its first British member.

“Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that British driver Callum Ilott is the latest promising young driver to be selected for its development program,” an announcement from Ferrari reads.

“18 years old, Ilott joins the FDA in his third season in car racing, having just finished the FIA F3 European Championship. He comes with a strong pedigree in international Formula 3 racing, having made the jump directly from karting as reigning European Champion.

“Ilott joins Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Guan Yu Zhou, Giuliano Alesi, Marcus Armstrong and Enzo Fittipaldi in the programme, which supports talented young drivers on their career path in motorsport.”

Besides its existing roster, the Ferrari Driver Academy also played a part in the careers of Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and the late Jules Bianchi.