Rossi set for practice run at COTA

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Alexander Rossi is set to become the first American to participate in a Formula One race weekend on home ground in six years.

Dave Doolittle of the Austin-American Statesman reports Rossi will drive in the first practice session for Caterham at the Circuit of the Americas on November 15th.

Rossi has already made two appearances for the team in practice sessions in Canada this year and Spain last year.

He was drafted into Caterham’s GP2 squad at short notice three races into the season after Ma Qing Hua had to drop out. Despite a lack of testing he finished third on his debut in Bahrain and lies 11th in the championship ahead of the final two races in Abu Dhabi next month.

It’s been a busy year for Rossi who also raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours for the Caterham-backed Greaves Motorsport team and appeared for Caterham in the Young Drivers’ Test at Silverstone, as he also did last year.

Earlier this year Rossi told F1 Fanatic the success of F1’s latest venture into America hinges on finding a local driver who can compete:

“I think that it will struggle until there’s an American driver,” said Rossi, “just because American people are so patriotic, they’re not going to come out or they’re not going to spend a year watching or cheering for a German, British or Spanish driver it’s not how it’s going to work.”

“I think if there’s an American driver that’s the first step, but even then I don’t think it’ll captivate the audience, and an American driver has to be successful.”

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.”