Kobayashi refusing to give up on Formula 1 dream

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Kamui Kobayashi is refusing to give up on racing in Formula 1 despite being left on the sidelines for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin after Caterham entered administration last week.

Following the sale of the operation back in July by Tony Fernandes, Caterham has faced a great deal of financial turmoil, with both the old and new owners claiming not to have received what they were due.

The team was taken over by administrators last week, who confirmed that it would not be racing in Austin or Brazil and that staff will not return to work until a new buyer is found.

Administrator Finbarr O’Connell confirmed yesterday that he has a number of parties interested in the team, but for the time being, drivers Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson have been left on the sidelines.

In a post on his Facebook page, Kobayashi said that he felt it was his duty to return to Formula 1 in the near future.

“I am concentrating all my energy on keep racing in F1,” the post read. “I believe in F1. I want to make F1 more popular in Japan. Japan is a very important market for F1, also for Japanese automakers, if F1 and motorsport become more popular, it will bring so many possibilities.

“Also, it is my role to keep racing in F1 so every child in Japan still can dream about F1. If I want to live in easy, I could choose other way. And it is big challenge to find racing solutions without money. But I will not to give up easily to achieve my childhood dream.” [sic]

Both Kobayashi and Ericsson have made the journey to Austin despite not racing this weekend, with the latter conducting work for Swedish television.

According to some reports in the paddock, Ericsson is closing in on a seat with Sauber for the 2015 season for a possible second year in F1, thus displacing either Adrian Sutil or Esteban Gutierrez.

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?