Briscoe, Panther to join Indy road course test session

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Ryan Briscoe and Panther Racing will be joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal for tomorrow’s IndyCar test session on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The session will see both Briscoe and Rahal testing various configurations of the 2.6-mile layout, as IMS and INDYCAR officials are seeking feedback that could lead to future modifications to the circuit.

There has been much speculation about a possible IndyCar road race at IMS in 2014 that could “kick off” preparations for the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Indy’s legendary oval. However, nothing has been made official on that front just yet.

“I thought Sonoma would be the last time I would be driving an IndyCar for some time, so to get the invite to be part of this test is really cool,” Briscoe said in a statement from Panther.

“It’s always special to drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – whether it’s on the oval or any other course. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Briscoe has ran six IndyCar races for Panther this year, but his full-time commitments in the American Le Mans Series kept him out of last Sunday’s race on the streets of Baltimore (he did compete in the ALMS’ own weekend there).

Those duties will also keep him out of the remaining IndyCar events in 2013 (Houston, Oct. 5-6; Fontana, California, Oct. 19). Oriol Servia is finishing the season in Panther’s No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet.

For those that will be in Indianapolis tomorrow and wish to see the test at the Speedway, they are welcome to watch from the South Terrace Grandstands and the viewing mounds in Turn 2.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”