Formula E “Drivers’ Club” launched with eight notables (VIDEO)

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The first wave of drivers officially signed to Formula E’s new “Drivers’ Club” – a group of international talent that have officially shown their willingness to race in the all-electric series – features some familiar names to IndyCar and Formula One observers.

Third-generation American driver Marco Andretti (pictured) and A.J. Foyt Racing/F-E development driver Takuma Sato may be the most well-known names to Stateside race fans. Also on the list are original F-E development driver Lucas di Grassi, current Red Bull tester Sebastien Buemi, Karun Chandhok, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Ma Qing Hua, and Adrien Tambay.

Sato, di Grassi, Buemi, Chandhok and Liuzzi all have Formula One race experience, while Hua has tested for HRT and Caterham. Tambay has spent time in a variety of European leagues such as GP3, Formula Renault 3.5 and, most recently, the DTM touring car series.

F-E says that an additional ten competitors will be added to the “Drivers’ Club” in the coming weeks.

“From the very beginning, we have set out to deliver great racing to fans across the globe and to do that you need high calibre drivers,” F-E Holdings CEO Alejandro Agag said in a statement. “Now that we’ve announced all 10 teams, everyone is keen to find out who the drivers will be.

“Of course, we cannot confirm any drivers just yet as it will be down to the individual teams to select who fills their seats. However, we hope by offering them a “pool” of top international drivers to choose from – all of whom support the new series – we can deliver on this promise of providing close, entertaining racing in city centers around the world.

“We also hope it will showcase to fans, TV broadcasters and potential sponsors the high profile names Formula E is attracting and the level of drivers they can expect to see race come September.”

Naturally, both Andretti and Sato were upbeat about their respective additions to the Drivers’ Club, with Andretti dubbing the series “revolutionary” and Sato noting that the series “provides a huge potential for the future of motor racing and electric cars.”

“I’m not entirely sure what to expect but, for me, that is the most interesting part of this experience – the unknown factor,” Andretti said. “I’m looking forward to the growth and development of Formula E and am happy to be named as part of the Drivers’ Club. I’m really looking forward to getting into the cockpit of one of these cars.”

The series recently staged a public live demo of its new Spark-Renault SRT_01E in Las Vegas, but we found another video from the event that shows the new Spark making some electric-style donuts.

It certainly looks and sounds different than your average burnout, doesn’t it?

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.”