Simona de Silvestro, Jules Bianchi entering Ferrari’s winter series

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IndyCar standout Simona de Silvestro (pictured) and Marussia F1 driver Jules Bianchi will each take part in at least one race during the inaugural season of the Florida Winter Series that’s run by Ferrari’s Driver Academy.

The four-event calendar will be preceded by a test on Jan. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway’s road course. After that, the series begins on Jan. 25-27 at Sebring International Raceway, followed by a Feb. 3-5 stop at Palm Beach International Raceway.

Two different configurations of the Homestead road course will then play host to the final races from Feb. 12-14 and again from Feb. 17-19.

The Scuderia said in a release that Bianchi’s involvement in the series would fit in alongside his duties “linked to the development of the Marussia F1 car.” Meanwhile, de Silvestro will be keeping her skills sharp as she tries to shore up her plans for the new season.

In addition to Bianchi, other pilots from the Academy will take part in the series including FIA European Formula 3 champion Raffaele Marciello, Formula Renault ALPS winner Antonio Fuoco, and Canadian driver Lance Stroll.

Also listed as competitors are Spanish F3 Open Series champ Ed Jones; Euro F3 racers Dennis van de Laar, Louis Sa Silva, and Nicola Latifi; one of Fuoco’s ALPS rivals, Alex Bosak; and karting talent Leonardo Pulcini.

Drivers in the series will compete in the Tatuus FA10B, which is constructed to FIA F3 safety standards and has 190 horsepower from its engine. Additionally, each driver will have a team of professional mechanics and engineers available to help them.

Shakedowns of the Florida Winter Series cars took place last month at Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit in Italy.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.