Photo: Mazda

Hinchcliffe, Pigot confirmed in Mazdas at Rolex 24

Leave a comment

James Hinchcliffe makes his return to the Mazda family – he never really left, but just had a one-year hiatus – while Spencer Pigot continues as expected as the extra drivers in the pair of Mazda RT24-P prototypes for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Hinchcliffe will make his fifth start as a Mazda factory team member at the Rolex 24 (2012-2015), while Pigot makes his third at the Rolex 24, and second straight in Prototype.

Veteran Ben Devlin will also be on hand at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 this weekend to assist in shaking down both cars.

Hinchcliffe will share the No. 70 ModSpace/Castrol Edge Mazda in gunmetal grey livery with Joel Miller and Tom Long, while Pigot is in the No. 55 Mazda in soul red crystal livery with Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez.

“It’s great to be back behind the wheel at Daytona! It sucked sitting out last year’s race, but my focus at the time was getting myself back in shape for the IndyCar season,” Hinchcliffe said in a release.

“Coming back to Mazda and SpeedSource, where I’ve done all of my races at Daytona, is like coming home and I can’t thank Sylvain [Tremblay, SpeedSource owner] and John [Doonan, Mazda Motorsports director] enough for the chance. I can’t wait to be working with everyone there again, to get my hands on the new car, and try and deliver a win for Mazda.”

Doonan added, “When the Mazda brand embarked on providing the motorsports industry with a driver development scholarship program in 2007, it was our intention to develop drivers from the grassroots to the top levels in both open wheel and sports cars. With the Mazda Road to 24 and the Mazda Road to Indy now fully developed, we strive to promote from within.

“Each of our full-time drivers— Joel, Jonathan, Tom and Tristan— have come through at least one of the two programs, and they’ve given us the speed, continuity and great chemistry that a team must have to win.

“We are also thrilled to have Spencer and James back with us for the Rolex 24, as they have been a part of the Mazda family for many years. Their talent and chemistry with the team are extremely valuable. To have Ben and his experience with us this weekend is an added bonus.”

Hinchcliffe is confirmed for another season with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the Verizon IndyCar Series, while Pigot appears set to return to the road and street course races with Ed Carpenter Racing.

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”