MS Amlin Andretti

FIA Formula E

Robin Frijns sidelined after suffering ligament injury in training

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Robin Frijns has been sidelined from the upcoming Blancpain GT race at Monza after suffering a ligament injury while training.

Frijns balances his racing commitments between the Blancpain series and Formula E, racing for Andretti in the latter.

The Dutchman revealed that he had torn the ligament in his right knee after uploading a picture of himself in a wheelchair to Instagram, confirming also that he will not be racing at Monza this weekend as planned.

“Unfortunately I will have to sit out this weekends Blancpain GT Series in Monza,” Frijns wrote.

“While training my right knee collapsed. Cut my ligament in half. Recovery starts today! Will be back in the car in two weeks’ time in Brands Hatch.”

Frijns’ next Formula E outing with Andretti is scheduled for May 13 in Monaco, one week after the next GT event at Brands Hatch.

BMW announces FIA WEC entry from 2018, Formula E partnership with Andretti

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BMW has announced that it will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans through the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2018 after seven years away.

BMW last raced at the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2011, but will now make its comeback as part of a realignment of its motorsport program.

This also includes a technical partnership with the MS Amlin Andretti team in Formula E from season three with a view to a works entry in the series from its fifth season.

“The strong pillars of the programme for the coming years will be the DTM, the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC), the cooperation with Andretti Formula E in the FIA Formula E Championship, the customer racing programme in the GT3 and GT4 categories, the promotion of talented young drivers, and the extremely challenging Dakar Rally,” a statement from BMW reads.

“The plan is for BMW to enter the FIA World Endurance Championship in the 2018 season. The highlight of this championship is the 24-hour race in Le Mans.

“BMW claimed overall victory there in 1999 with the open prototype BMW V12 LMR. The last time a BMW took its place on the grid at the endurance classic near the river Sarthe was in 2011: back then, the BMW M3 GT finished third in the LM GTE class.

“Since it was launched in 2012, the championship has enjoyed a positive development, forged new paths in many regards, and won a lot of fans.

“Further details, such as the model of car to be used and the team responsible for the car, will be confirmed and announced over the coming months.”

BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt added: “Starting with the 2018 season, we want to further expand our activities in GT racing and compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

“This obviously also includes our return to Le Mans, which we are particularly looking forward to. The way the WEC has developed so well makes us confident that there is a big future for GT racing.”

Of its involvement in Formula E with Andretti, BMW confirmed a long-rumored technical partnership that has already begun ahead of the all-electric series’ third season.

“The cooperation with Andretti Formula E is initially set to run for two seasons. It incorporates, for example, cooperation at engineer level and the mutual use of resources.

“Depending on the general development of the racing series, a works involvement is envisaged as of the series’ season five, 2018/2019, provided the conditions and circumstances are right.

“As part of this commitment, BMW Motorsport will provide its works driver AntĂłnio FĂ©lix da Costa as a driver for Andretti Formula E. The Portuguese, who has featured on the top step of the DTM podium with BMW and has already tasted victory in Formula E, will contest the entire 2016/17 FIA Formula E Championship.

“As well as the new partnership, BMW i will remain the “Official Vehicle Partner” of Formula E. This partnership allows BMW i to present the plug-in hybrid BMW i8, as the Safety Car, and the fully-electric BMW i3, as the Medical Car, in some of the largest cities in the world.”

You can read the entire statement from BMW by clicking here.

Da Costa ‘perfect’ for Andretti’s Formula E team

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Andretti Autosport executive vice-president JF Thormann believes that Antonio Felix da Costa is “perfect” for its Formula E operation ahead of the all-electric series’ third season.

The MS Amlin Andretti team announced over the summer that da Costa would be joining for season three, replacing the Supercars-bound Simona de Silvestro.

Da Costa impressed throughout his stint with Team Aguri, claiming the team’s only victory in Buenos Aires in season one and taking a number of other big results in season two despite using a year-old powertrain.

Like Aguri, Andretti was also unable to run an in-house powertrain for season two, putting it on the same page as da Costa heading into the new campaign that starts in Hong Kong on October 9.

“He’s perfect for us,” Thormann told NBC Sports when asked about da Costa’s arrival at the launch of the New York City ePrix earlier this week.

“From the competitive side, it’s good for that reason. Plus our sponsor, MS Amlin, sponsored him just before.

“He’s very good and astute technically, he’s very good friends with Robin Frijns, good team chemistry.

“I think he’s been a really good find for us.”

With an in-house powertrain now fitted to the car and da Costa on-board, Thormann says there is more optimism at Andretti for season three.

“Certainly quite a bit more. We knew we’d be in trouble last year having to use the season one car,” Thormann said.

“Now we’re back up to speed. We felt in Donington we had slight gremlins but we should be there at Hong Kong.”

Earlier today, BMW confirmed that da Costa would be leaving DTM at the end of the season to focus fully on his commitments in Formula E.

Antonio Felix da Costa joins Andretti for third Formula E season

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MS Amlin Andretti has confirmed the signing of Antonio Felix da Costa for the third season of FIA Formula E, due to start in Hong Kong on October 9.

Da Costa raced for Team Aguri in the first two seasons of Formula E, winning the inaugural Buenos Aires ePrix in January 2015 and finishing the last campaign 13th in the drivers’ championship despite racing with a season one powertrain.

Da Costa confirmed over the London ePrix weekend that he would be leaving Team Aguri at the end of the season, with the rebranding Techeetah operation partnering Jean-Eric Vergne with Ma Qinghua for season three.

On Wednesday, Andretti confirmed that da Costa would be joining for the new season, partnering Robin Frijns.

“To join Andretti Formula E is a big thing for me. I have always loved the way Americans go racing, and how they do sports in general,” da Costa said.

“I’m a big fan of IndyCar and, to me, Andretti Autosport has always been an iconic team. To finally be able to say that I’m joining and racing for this amazing team and family is a big deal.

“We have a great team in place, the MS Amlin car looks good and the people around me are super professional. I’m ready to get the season started.”

“We’re very excited to have Antonio join the team for season three,” Andretti team owner Michael Andretti added.

“I feel adding him is going to give us one of the strongest driver line-ups in the field. We’ve been watching Antonio over the last two seasons and I feel he has been very impressive on the racetrack.

“It will be great to be racing with him, instead of against him.”

Da Costa has already conducted testing with Andretti using its new in-house powertrain for season three, and will also work alongside Frijns at Donington Park over the six days of collective testing coming up.

Da Costa has previously expressed an interest in trying out IndyCar, and this move may open up a door for him to race in the United States in the future.

Frijns enjoyed his first test with Andretti at Mid-Ohio last month, lapping just a couple of tenths slower than full-time driver Ryan Hunter-Reay.

For now though, da Costa’s focus will be on hitting the ground running in season three and mounting a title bid for the American team.

His arrival is thought to link in with a future tie-up for BMW and Andretti, the former currently fielding da Costa in DTM.

The move does however leave Simona de Silvestro without a seat, although her departure from Andretti’s Formula E operation had been expected after a difficult campaign that yielded just two points finishes.

Michael Andretti told NBC Sports that it was possible that de Silvestro would remain within the Andretti racing setup in some shape or form, but it remains to be seen whether a role comes to fruition.

Robin Frijns to make IndyCar test debut with Andretti at Mid-Ohio

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Robin Frijns starred most of the year in the FIA Formula E Championship with Andretti Autosport and had been rumored as a possibility for an IndyCar drive earlier this year.

He’ll have his first crack at it later this month at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, on July 21 as part of a rookie test day that also features Indy Lights drivers from either 2015 or 2016.

The MS Amlin Andretti FE team confirmed the news on Thursday. Frijns will be retained for that program into season three.

The young Dutchman finished 12th in this year’s Formula E standings but that didn’t bely his pace or aptitude; poor luck cost him more results. His best result was third at Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Over the London ePrix weekend, Frijns remained coy about his IndyCar chances, but said he would be up for racing anything.

“I would do anything. I love driving cars,” Frijns told NBC Sports.

“Ovals are a different story, I never drove an oval before in my life. I know it’s not easy.

“I know some drivers like Daly and Rossi, I raced against them. We talked a few times and they said that ovals aren’t the easiest thing.

“But yeah, I want to try it for sure.”