© GP2 Series

2017 GP2 grid continues to fill with DAMS, Russian Time announcements

Leave a comment

The grid for the 2017 GP2 Series season is continuing to fill following driver announcements from three teams in recent days.

GP2 acts as the second rung on the single-seater ladder in Europe, one below Formula 1, and has helped progress the careers of drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg, Alexander Rossi and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Earlier this week, MP Motorsport confirmed that British racer Jordan King would be joining its effort for 2017, partnering Brazilian racer Sergio Sette Camara.

French team DAMS has confirmed that King’s compatriot, Oliver Rowland, will return for a second full GP2 season this year, linking up with Nicholas Latifi. Given DAMS’ links to Renault, having two Renault-affiliated youngsters in its line-up makes sense.

Russian Time followed these announcements by confirming its own driver line-up for 2017, signing 2015 GP3 runner-up and GP2 race winner Luca Ghiotto to race alongside the returning Artem Markelov.

Here’s how the GP2 grid is currently looking for 2017.

Prema Racing
1. Charles Leclerc
2. Antonio Fuoco

Racing Engineering
3. Louis Deletraz
4. Gustav Malja

Russian Time
5. Luca Ghiotto
6. Artem Markelov

ART Grand Prix
7. Nobuharu Matsushita
8. TBA

DAMS
9. Oliver Rowland
10. Nicholas Latifi

Campos Racing
11. TBA
12. TBA

MP Motorsport
14. Jordan King
15. Sergio Sette Camara

Trident
16. TBA
17. TBA

Rapax
18. TBA
19. TBA

Arden
20. Norman Nato
21. Sean Gelael

Penske: No room for Patrick in Indy 500 lineup. Ganassi? OK

Getty Images
Leave a comment

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) Roger Penske has no room in his Indianapolis 500 lineup for Danica Patrick.

“The Captain” has a hunch where Patrick’s Indy comeback will take her in May – with Chip Ganassi.

“I sent him a note and said, `Congratulations. Danica better be driving your car at Indy because unfortunately she’s not driving for us,”‘ Penske said, laughing.

The 35-year-old Patrick said this week she will race only in the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 next year and then she will walk away from racing. Patrick is the only woman to have led laps in both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Patrick ran the Indy 500 from 2005 through 2011. Her highest finish was third in 2009, and she was the first woman to lead laps in the race when she paced the field for 19 trips around the Brickyard as a rookie.

Penske has a full field for Indy with Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and 2017 series champion Josef Newgarden racing as fulltime entries and three-time winner Helio Castroneves returns on a one-shot deal to try and win a fourth.

Chip Ganassi Racing is the likely ride at Indy. Ganassi has room to field additional cars – he’s scaling down from four full-time cars to two next year – and would give Patrick a car capable of winning. Ganassi said Friday he has met with Patrick and called her “Danica Double” a great idea.

Penske said Patrick and Ganassi, who has Ed Jones and IndyCar great Scott Dixon in his lineup, would be a perfect pair.

“I think that’s a great seat for her,” Penske said Saturday. “That’s a great team. They’re the ones that’s always been competitive there. I take my hat off that she wants to continue to go back to open wheel. That’s going to be terrific for the sport and there’s going to be a lot of interest around the country.”

Patrick was highly marketable early in her career even though wins were rare. She won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2013, but finished 24th in the standings the last two seasons. She won her only IndyCar race in 2008, in Japan. Patrick never scored a top-five finish in NASCAR and had only seven top 10s (though she led laps at the Daytona 500) in 189 career starts.

Penske, a 16-time winner as a car owner of the Indy 500, said Patrick would return to IndyCar a better driver.

“I think she’s going to come back to IndyCar a lot tougher having run in NASCAR,” he said. “I think she’s going to be someone that, in a good car, is going to pick it up. She’s got plenty of time to practice.”

Team Penske won the owner championship Saturday in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series. Sam Hornish Jr., who won three IndyCar titles and the 2006 Indy 500, said the sport would welcome back Patrick.

“She’s probably going to have a better shot at Indy because of what she’s done the last five years,” Hornish said.

Patrick has not revealed the team she’ll race for but surely a package deal with the same team and same sponsor for the biggest races in motorsports would make her again racing’s most marketable driver.

“I think it’s a great way for her to say, hey, I’m here, I’ve done it, I’m going to go back to the two biggest races and see if I can’t get out on top,” Penske said.

Penske can win a NASCAR championship with Brad Keselowski in Sunday’s Cup race.

—-

More AP Auto Racing: http://racing.ap.org