Open-wheel sons on the move: Junior Panis, Herta confirmed to deals


In 1996, Olivier Panis shocked the racing world when he captured his first and only Grand Prix win in Monaco. Later that year, Alex Zanardi pulled off the “did you see that?!?” moment of the year when he passed Bryan Herta at the Corkscrew to win the last CART race of the season.

Nearly 20 years later it’s Panis and Herta’s sons in the news – both have been confirmed to new international deals for next year as they look to advance their own racing careers.

Aurelien Panis.

First up is Aurelien Panis, Olivier’s 20-year-old son, who will graduate from Formula Renault Eurocup into Formula Renault 3.5 with Tech 1 Racing.

“The whole team welcomes this collaboration with Aurelien. We have followed him with great interest in 2014 and he has demonstrated a very high potential,” said team boss Simon Abadie, via Autosport.

Panis joins the ranks of famous F1 drivers’ sons who have made recent waves including Kevin Magnussen, now out of a race seat next year at McLaren, and Max Verstappen, who will move into one at Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Colton Herta.

Meanwhile American prospect Colton Herta, who will turn 15 just before the start of the 2015 season, will race in the U.K. in the MSA Formula championship with Carlin Racing. Herta, son of IndyCar team owner Bryan, will be teammate to previously announced Lando Narris.

Herta has experience in international karting and has several plaudits to his name, including winning the IKF KPV2 Championship. Other karting titles include the SuperKarts USA TaG Cadet Championship, ProKart Challenge championship and International Kart Federation (IKF) Championship. In 2014, Herta competed in the CooperTires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

“So many great drivers have developed their careers with Carlin, this is exactly where I want to be. I can’t wait for the season to start,” he said.

Carlin’s European program continues alongside its new U.S. program with Indy Lights.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images

Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.