Force India creates GP2 partnership with Hilmer Motorsport

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Force India has expanded into the GP2 ranks with a partnership with Hilmer Motorsport, the team announced Friday. The provides Sahara Force India an official place in the championship, and expands the organization’s driver development program beyond its reserve lineups.

Facu Regalia and Daniel Abt will drive the team’s GP2 entries; Daniel Juncadella will focus on his reserve role with the F1 team.

“As a team we’ve always placed great emphasis on nurturing young drivers so I’m delighted to announce our partnership with a GP2 team,” Force India team principal Dr. Vijay Mallya said. “It’s the logical next step as we look to bring through the next generation of drivers and provide them with the opportunity to showcase their talent. Our presence in GP2 moves us closer to having a holistic development programme to school drivers from grassroots karting to the higher echelons of professional motorsport.”

Added Hilmer team boss Franz Hilmer, “We are very happy about the collaboration between Hilmer Motorsport and Sahara Force India Formula One Team. I’ve had an association with Sahara Force India for ten years and we are looking forward to working together on a sporting level going forward.”

Abt was already confirmed in this year’s GP2 lineup, and Regalia steps up from GP3, where he finished second to Daniil Kyvat in 2013.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski