Panther’s TBA seat has a few good possibilities

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With two yet to-be-announced seats ahead of the IZOD IndyCar Series’ race at Texas Motor Speedway this Saturday night, we’ll offer some thoughts on potential drivers of Panther Racing’s No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet, and Dale Coyne’s No. 18 Honda, which won the first race at Detroit.

Well, we were going to, but it appears the No. 18 announcement has been made via Twitter, and Pippa Mann appears set for that seat in Texas.

But as for the No. 4, hey, we won’t have the chance to make these prognostications after Wednesday, and we didn’t have the chance to make any last season with only one in-season driver change (Bruno Junqueira filling in for an injured Josef Newgarden in Baltimore).

No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet/Panther Racing

  • Oriol Servia. If contractual issues can get sorted, this is probably your guy. His Texas results aren’t great (two DNFs in four starts, with best finish of 15th), nor did he endear himself to the locals with a tweet concerning the track’s safety aspects as it was the first 1.5-mile race since Las Vegas 2011. But in terms of his ability to jump in a car last-minute and get up to speed, plus with having worked in Panther’s technical partnership team of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, a near obvious choice.
  • Townsend Bell. No NBC broadcasting commitments or American Le Mans Series race this weekend, plus he tweeted last weekend in Detroit he “wanted to pull a Mike Conway” and go from couch to cockpit and win. Oh, and driving for Panther at the Indianapolis 500 didn’t hurt. Has only one prior Texas start, ninth in 2004 for, you guessed it, Panther.
  • Carlos Munoz. He did alright in his IndyCar debut at the Indianapolis 500, eh? A less likely or viable candidate given his Andretti Autosport contract, but he does have IndyCar testing miles under his belt at Texas earlier this year, and has been rumored as a possibility.
  • A.N. Other No. 1. Ryan Briscoe, who drove at Detroit, is now in Europe for Le Mans advance work, and Conor Daly is there likewise in Hungary. Katherine Legge could fit, potentially, as a driver who raced at Texas last year.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”