Tanner Foust, Scott Speed to race VWs for Andretti in GRC

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These are the “further details in February” Andretti Autosport planned to announce when the team first announced last month it was expanding into Red Bull Global Rallycross.

The team will race a pair of Volkswagen modified Polo rally cars, and switch to the third-generation Beetle later in the year. The latter will feature more than 600 horsepower from its turbocharged and direct-injection EA888 TSI® engine.

Drivers? They’ve got rallying ace and TV personality Tanner Foust in one car (pictured right) and former Formula One driver-turned-NASCAR and rallycross racer Scott Speed in the other.

Foust will drive a car sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink, with Speed in the 7UP entry. 7UP falls under the Dr Pepper Snapple umbrella of brands; that’s a company Andretti Autosport continues its relationship with on the IndyCar side, and now sees active in GRC.

Foust is a two-time GRC champion (2011, 2012), while Speed won a pair of GRC races in 2013.

The season begins in May in Barbados; that weekend is the same as qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, so it would seem to rule out either driver for Andretti’s likely fifth car the team would plan to run at this year’s race.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”