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Derani enjoys successful IndyCar test, would consider future race seat

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Sports car star Pipo Derani has said that he would consider a full-time move into the Verizon IndyCar Series in the future should an opportunity arise after enjoying a successful test with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports on Wednesday.

Derani moved away from single-seaters in 2014 after stints in Formula 3 and the Pro Mazda Championship to embark on a career in sports cars.

The Brazilian has emerged as one of motorsport’s brightest prospects, winning both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring last year with Tequila Patron ESM and testing an LMP1 car with Toyota.

Derani has since secured a seat with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing for the opening three rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship, including Le Mans.

It was confirmed last month that Derani would be joining the IndyCar test at Sebring on Tuesday, piloting the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

“It went really well. It was very interesting to get back in a single-seater for the first time in almost three years and especially an Indycar,” Derani said of the test.

“We started early and I had an initial 10 lap run and got up to speed quickly. We then started working on the car immediately which was nice, as the team obviously trusted what I was doing at this initial stage so we could start on set-up work.

“The car is obviously quick, but having driven an LMP1 car recently it didn’t take so much getting used to, and it actually prepared me well, especially in the braking capability and overall grip levels. The lack of power-steering is immediately apparent which is nice as it gives an extra physical element to driving.”

Despite it only being a preliminary test, Derani said it has offered a possible way back into single-seaters and he would seriously consider an IndyCar drive in the future.

“It is still early days and it was just a test, but it has opened a new door and given me an understanding of what is needed to drive these cars,” Derani said.

“I am young enough at 23 to look at racing both sports cars and single-seaters so I will look and think very carefully about what I could potentially do if the right opportunity came along in Indycars.

“I have my commitments with Ford Chip Ganassi and Tequila Patron Racing this season so I have to give those programs my 100 percent concentration. But if I got the right opportunity to race Indycars then for sure I would seriously consider it.

“From where I stand now I would absolutely love to race these cars but it would need to be at the right time and with the right preparation.

“I am a professional driver and fortunate in the sense that I have these kinds of opportunities to consider.I think it would have to be a long-term program with good continuity and stability and not just a one off race here or there.”

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.