More movements in GP2, GP3, Formula Renault 3.5 for 2015

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It has been a busy week in three of the most prominent junior championships – GP2, GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5 – with driver announcements, moves and withdrawals all of note.

Here’s a quickfire round-up of all of the latest driver moves and changes ahead of the start of the new racing seasons.

GP2

  • Trident driver Raffaele Marciello will take part in practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix later this month, marking his first on-track running as a reserve driver for Sauber F1 Team.
  • GP2 veteran Johnny Cecotto Jr. (pictured) appears to be on the move for 2015, taking part in Formula Renault 3.5 pre-season testing for Zeta Corse this week. The Venezuelan is yet to confirm his plans for the new year, though.
  • Marlon Stockinger has rejoined Status ahead of its debut season in GP2 in 2015, having raced for the team in GP3 back in 2012.

FORMULA RENAULT 3.5

  • Colombia’s Oscar Tunjo has been forced to give up his seat with Pons Racing for 2015, with the team stating that he “was forced to reconsider his plans due to budget concerns”.
  • Pons has confirmed one of its drivers for the new season, though, with Roberto Merhi staying in FR3.5 for a second year. Merhi was poised to make his F1 debut for Caterham last season ahead of the team’s collapse, taking part in practice for the Italian, Japanese and Russian Grands Prix.
  • Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar has switched teams for 2015, moving from ISR to Fortec. Jaafar is backed by Mercedes title sponsor Petronas.

GP3

  • Artur Janosz has been confirmed at Trident, moving up to GP3 after two years in the European F3 Open championship.
  • Kevin Ceccon will spend a third year in GP3 in 2015, switching from Jenzer Motorsport to Arden International.
  • Having been confirmed in Nissan’s LMP1 squad for 2015, Jann Mardenborough will not race in GP3 this year.
  • Nick Yelloly has also left GP3, confirming that he will race in the European Le Mans Series with Jota Sport in 2015.
  • German youngster Marvin Kirchhofer is reported to have signed a deal to race in both GP3 and the FIA F3 European Championship in 2015.

MotorSportsTalk will be providing comprehensive coverage of all of these junior championships in 2015 as F1’s stars of tomorrow continue to forge their path to the top of the racing ladder.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.