Power leads Penske 1-2-3 in IndyCar’s first practice at St. Petersburg (VIDEO)

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ST. PETERSBURG – The defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion, Will Power, threw down on his final flying lap of Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg practice to top the timesheets.

Power, in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, set a 1:01.4709 to usurp his teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who had led the session up to that point.

Power and Montoya were two of five drivers to eclipse last year’s pole time of 1:01.8668, set by Takuma Sato.

Montoya’s best time was 1:01.6996, with Helio Castroneves third (1:01.7000), Scott Dixon fourth (1:01.7777) and Sebastien Bourdais fifth (1:01.8439).

Jack Hawksworth was the fastest Honda driver behind the five Chevrolet drivers, at 1:01.8713.

The 24 drivers were fairly well-behaved in their new aero kits. There were two red flags, with no major incidents. Stefano Coletti had an off at Turn 10 and there was debris exiting Turn 14. Power and Francesco Dracone also had offs, but neither sustained any damage.

Times are below, with the second session scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET – although rain is in the forecast.

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NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.