Manor

Vitaly Petrov links up with Manor in WEC for 2017

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov will race for the CEFC Manor TRS Racing team in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year following the announcement of a deal on Friday.

Petrov raced in F1 between 2010 and 2012, scoring one podium finish for Renault and becoming Russia’s first representative in the world championship. A grandstand at the Sochi Autodrom was recently named in his honor.

Petrov moved into the WEC last year with SMP Racing in the LMP2 class, claiming a class podium at Le Mans alongside Kirill Ladygin and Viktor Shaitar.

The Russian driver will remain in LMP2 for 2017, switching to Manor following SMP Racing’s exit from the series as it prepares to step up to the LMP1 privateer class for 2018.

Petrov will race in the No. 25 ORECA 07 car alongside Simon Trummer and Roberto Gonzalez, with his public debut coming at Monza this weekend in the pre-season Prologue test.

“We are very happy to have Vitaly join our team, it is great to add another big talent to our driver line up,” Manor president Graeme Lowdon said.

“Vitaly has experience in WEC and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans so he is a very good addition to our team. We know Vitaly from our time in Formula 1, he is a very competitive driver and we are really looking forward to going racing with him in 2017.”

Petrov completes Manor’s WEC line-up for 2017, with the No. 25 car featuring fellow ex-F1 racer Jean-Eric Vergne alongside Jonathan Hirschi and the returning Tor Graves.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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