GP2: ART follows McLaren’s lead with livery change, whilst Hilmer joins the grid

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MONTMELO – Following an exciting first race weekend in Bahrain three weeks ago, the GP2 Series resumes on Saturday in support of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix with a couple of changes to the grid.

Following the example set by McLaren earlier this week, ART Grand Prix – home to McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne and Honda-backed Nobuharu Matsushita – has also changed its livery to match.

The team has traditionally raced in white and red, but will revert to a black and red design for the rest of the season.

Vandoorne heads into the weekend following a near-perfect start to the 2015 season, claiming pole position, the feature race win and second place in the sprint race in Bahrain to storm into a 10-point lead at the top of the standings ahead of Rio Haryanto.

Matsushita’s debut weekend was less spectacular but still very impressive, finishing sixth in the sprint race and setting the fastest lap in the process.

In other GP2 news, Hilmer Motorsport returns to the grid for the Spanish round after missing Bahrain due to financial problems. Johnny Cecotto Jr. will become the first driver to race in seven different GP2 seasons when he lines up on the grid for the German team on Saturday, with Nick Yelloly racing in the sister 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.