One of Formula 1’s most exciting drivers left without a ride this year, Kamui Kobayashi, will head to sports car racing in 2013.
The Japanese driver has concluded a deal to race for the Italian AF Corse squad in the FIA World Endurance Championship, in a GTE Pro class Ferrari F458 Italia.
“It’s an honor for me to become part of the Ferrari family,” he said. “I will work hard and give my all in this new chapter of my career. I can’t wait to start working with AF Corse and really hope I can aim for the title.”
Kobayashi’s teammates have not yet been named, although Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Olivier Beretta are in the frame for seats at most WEC races.
Kobayashi raced three full seasons with the Sauber team and scored his first podium at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix. Sauber replaced both Kobayashi and the departed Sergio Perez, with Nico Hulkenberg joining from Force India and third driver Esteban Gutierrez graduating from the GP2 Series.
He made his debut with Toyota for the last two races of 2009, deputizing for the injured Timo Glock. Some spectacular passing maneuvers on his debut in Brazil marked him as a man to watch, and he scored his first points finish with sixth in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to end that season.
Kobayashi’s countryman and fellow ex-F1 driver, Kazuki Nakajima, has been confirmed to Toyota’s FIA WEC LMP1 program for this season.
Adam Cianciarulo sweeps to second straight Pro Motocross 450 win
Adam Cianciarulo (450) and Dylan Ferrandis (250) swept both motos of their divisions Saturday in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship event at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota, significantly impacting the points standings.
“Man, what a dream come true,” Cianciarulo said. “I really wanted to go 1-1 last round at RedBud and had that silly mistake. Today, we got the job done and made it happen. Two consecutive victories in the 450 Class just feels really good. I just want to keep the ball rolling.”
With three rounds remaining, Cianciarulo is ranked second in the standings at a 15-point deficit to Zach Osborne, who won three of the first five rounds.
In the 250 standings, Dylan Ferrandis jumped ahead of Jeremy Martin (who won three consecutive events earlier in the season) by three points (257-254).
Ferrandis beat third-ranked RJ Hampshire in the first moto and nipping Martin by 0.4 seconds in the second.
“That was a difficult race in the second moto and the pressure was on,” Ferrandis said. “It was really good for me to have that battle and come out on top in the second moto. The championship is really close and I think that we were able to put on a good show for everyone today. Jeremy [Martin] and I have a good relationship I think and we congratulated each other and talked about the battle after the race.”
NEXT: The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will hold its seventh round Sept. 26 with the Geico Motorcycle WW Ranch National at Jacksonville, Florida.
Thor Spring Creek National (Spring Creek MX Park, Millville, Minnesota)
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (1-1)
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (2-2)
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (5-4)
Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (8-3)
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (6-5)
Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (3-10)
Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda (7-6)
Joey Savatgy, , Suzuki (9-7)
Max Anstie, United Kingdom, Suzuki (10-8)
Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (4-16)
450 Class Championship Standings
Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 235
Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 220
Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 215
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 196
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 194
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 190
Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 173
Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 141
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha – 134
Joey Savatgy, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki – 122
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-1)
Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (5-2)
Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki (4-4)
Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (3-6)
Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (9-3)