Oriol Servia adapts to new Dragon role, and isn’t done driving

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MIAMI – He hasn’t been in a Verizon IndyCar Series race in 10 months, but with four FIA Formula E races under his belt since September, Oriol Servia has still banked more seat time than most of his IndyCar driver colleagues lately.

Now though, the popular Catalan is embracing his new role as partner and managing director of Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing, having been confirmed to the new role earlier this week.

It’s an interesting contrast for Servia, now 40, who spent parts of the 2000 through 2014 seasons (except 2010) with 11 different teams in CART, Champ Car or IndyCar – and Dragon isn’t among them.

But with his base in California near the team’s Los Angeles area headquarters, and with Penske looking to expand Servia’s role within the team, the new role made sense.

“Hopefully it’s a good one,” Servia said of his move during Friday���s FIA Formula E driver press conference. “Since I joined the series, and joining the team with Jay, I liked where the championship was going.

“From the beginning I was going to be involved in managing and operations. We decided I’d start driving because it’s what I’ve done all my life. I didn’t give up the wheel that easy, trust me.

“But a couple things happened. Loic Duval became available, and we’ve regarded him highly for a while. We saw the opportunity of me taking on a bigger role.”

Servia’s career ran the gamut in IndyCar of these teams: PPI, Sigma Autosport, PWR Championship Racing (the former PacWest), Patrick Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, Newman/Haas Racing (three stints), KV Racing Technology (three stints), Forsythe Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (two stints), Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Panther Racing.

Of those 11 teams, only Coyne, KVRT and RLL still field full-time teams in IndyCar, with DRR likely set for another Indy-only appearance this season.

But the year Servia didn’t race in IndyCar, in 2010, he struck up a relationship with Michael Andretti and got a taste of the managerial side of affairs.

“Something I liked through my career in IndyCar is that I’ve been through a lot of good, and maybe not so good teams,” Servia said. “In 2010, when I wasn’t driving, Michael hired me as a consultant for a few races.

“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. I’ve got along with Jay well for a few years. We saw a great opportunity for me to step up more on the technical and commercial side of the team.”

Will Servia’s managerial role prevent him from a possible Indianapolis 500 appearance? The answer, definitively, is no.

“We’ve had some good conversations… it’s looking good,” Servia told this writer with a smile, but without giving anything else away.

Servia’s two drivers this weekend are his aforementioned replacement, Duval, and Belgian ex-Formula 1 driver Jerome d’Ambrosio.

Dragon Racing enters the weekend fifth in the Team’s Championship, with 38 points.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.