Conway remains unsure of pecking order in FIA WEC

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Toyota driver Mike Conway is relishing the start of the new FIA World Endurance Championship season at Silverstone in nine days’ time, but remains unsure of the pecking order as Audi and Porsche bid to beat the Japanese manufacturer in 2015.

Conway raced for Toyota in three races last year as he opted to focus on his commitments in IndyCar with Ed Carpenter Racing, claiming wins at Long Beach and Toronto.

However, the Briton has opted to devote his full attention to WEC in 2015, joining Alexander Wurz and Stephane Sarrazin in the no. 2 Toyota.

At the pre-season ‘prologue’ in France last month, Porsche set the pace, but Conway believes that the pecking order will not become clear until the three leading teams in LMP1 are racing out on track together at Silverstone.

“Obviously we knew [Porsche] were quick, and it was the first time this year that everybody came together and we could see what everyone’s got,” Conway said at the series’ season launch in London on Thursday.

“It’s still very hard to tell where you sit at the moment, but it gave us a good indication in some areas of where we’re going to be.

“I think everyone’s excited, and looking forward to Silverstone next weekend where I think we’ll really see the situation of where everyone’s going to be.

“But everybody’s done a mega job, we’ve seen everybody find seconds of the winter.”

Porsche’s no. 18 car of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb finished fastest at the Prologue, lapping 1.8 seconds clear of the leading Audi in third place.

Toyota could only muster fifth and sixth place in the combined standings from the test, with Conway’s car a full 3.5 seconds down on the fastest lap from the no. 18.

Adding to the competition that Toyota is likely to face this year, Nissan will be entering the series at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June with its GT-R LM Nismo car.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.