IndyCar notes: Andretti leads Honda contingent; Coletti quick but unlucky and more from Long Beach


It only seems like the Verizon IndyCar Series season just started, but the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is already the third race of the year in the books. Here were some of the other stories to emerge out of Long Beach:

  • Andretti best Honda, but only P8: Marco Andretti’s post-race tweet that read: “Well executed race only to finish 8th. Frustrated.” more or less said it all. The driver of the No. 27 Merchant First/Snapple Honda had another quietly consistent run and was the top-finishing Honda driver. But the pace for Andretti – nor the other 10 Hondas in the field – just didn’t seem there as it wasn’t at St. Petersburg either. Chevrolet swept the top six in St. Pete and the top seven in Long Beach.
  • Newgarden seventh, and unlucky: After running fifth most of the race, Josef Newgarden could count himself unlucky to finish seventh. He lost time on the final pit stop sequence; still, the driver of the No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet was upbeat. “We had a little bit of trouble in the pit stop as we had to wait for Graham and after that we lost out to Tony and Sebastian. We came home seventh, so it’s disappointing that we didn’t reach our potential. It was definitely a decent result,” said Newgarden, who recorded a Long Beach career-best.
  • Coletti, Filippi, Dracone all with topsy-turvy days: KV Racing Technology driver Stefano Coletti did his now usual poor start to big gain routine, up from 23rd to 15th early, before a gearbox problem cost him multiple laps. He finished 23rd and last, but posted the fastest race lap… Newgarden’s CFH teammate Luca Filippi noted his engine went into “safe mode” on the first pit stop sequence, and that’s what affected his and Will Power’s race. It ended Filippi’s quick two-for-two start to the year in the top-10… to his credit, Dale Coyne Racing’s Francesco Dracone posted his first finish this year, and also erased a trend of finishing fewer laps in every successive race he had done up to this point.
  • Already 18 different drivers with top-10s: It’s early days yet but through three races we’re starting to get a sense of who’s becoming a top-10 regular. Thus far 18 different drivers have made it in three races; those who have driven all three races but haven’t bagged a top-10 yet include Charlie Kimball, Takuma Sato, Gabby Chaves, Coletti and Dracone.

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

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

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.