Force India junior Alfonso Celis Jr. will race full-time in the World Series Formula V8 3.5 championship this year with Fortec Motorsport.
Celis, 21, made his debut in the 3.5 litre series when it still ran under the Renault banner back in 2014, and scored his first podium with AVF at Spa last year en route to 11th place in the championship.
Besides his full-time racing commitments, the Mexican worked as Force India’s test driver throughout 2016, taking part in six Formula 1 practice sessions through the year.
On Friday, Celis confirmed that he would be returning for a third full campaign in Formula V8 3.5, which will race as a ‘world series’ next year and support a number of FIA World Endurance Championship rounds.
“I am so happy to be re-joining Fortec Motorsports,” Celis said.
“They were my number one team choice for 2017 and I look forward to sharing great success with them next season.”
“It is great to have the Fonz back with us!” Fortec team manager Jamie Dye added.
“We had a great year of 2.0 together in 2013 – he is a great kid.
“We had a good test in the 3.5 car recently, so we are ready to take on the championship in 2017.”
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.