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Will Stevens to remain in Blancpain GT Series with Audi WRT

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Recent Formula 1 driver Will Stevens has confirmed that he will remain in the Blancpain GT Series for 2017 with the Audi WRT team.

Stevens made his F1 debut at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and spent the full 2015 season racing with Manor before turning his attention to sportscars last year.

Stevens made a handful of appearances for Manor and G-Drive in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP2 class, but spent a full year with Audi WRT in the Blancpain GT Series, scoring three podium finishes.

The Briton confirmed on Thursday that he would be returning to Blancpain for 2017 with Audi WRT, racing alongside Marcel Fassler, Dries Vanthoor and Markus Winkelhock in an Audi R8 LMS.

“I’m very pleased to be continuing my relationship with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and to be racing the Audi R8 LMS again,” Stevens said.

“I’ve made the decision to prioritise GT racing and specifically the two Blancpain Series this year. Both will be incredibly competitive again in 2017 but I’m really looking forward to the challenge. The racing will be extremely close and it requires full focus to be successful.

“I had several very good opportunities to also continue my career in the WEC but there are a couple of date clashes. For my career in the long term, I believe it’s best I concentrate on the Blancpain campaigns although I’d love to return to Le Mans which would fit in with this year’s Blancpain calendar.

“The experience I gained in my first GT3/LMP season and driving alongside René [Rast], will also serve me well this season. I’m delighted to have Markus, Marcel and Dries as co-drivers in order that we can challenge for race victories and be in contention for championship title success.”

The new Blancpain GT Series season begins on April 1 at Misano in Italy.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”