GP2: Vandoorne extends championship lead in Spain with win and second place


MONTMELO – Stoffel Vandoorne’s exceptional start to the 2015 GP2 Series season continued at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend as the McLaren junior driver claimed another feature race win before finishing second in the sprint race on Sunday.

Vandoorne extended his record run of pole positions to six during qualifying on Friday in Spain, finishing four-tenths of a second clear of DAMS driver Alex Lynn at the top of the timesheets.

He was less dominant during the feature race on Saturday, coming under pressure from Russian Time’s Mitch Evans and Racing Engineering’s American driver Alexander Rossi in the closing stages of the race. Vandoorne managed to fend the duo off at the end to clinch his third consecutive feature race victory in GP2, having last lost on a Saturday in Russia seven months ago.

Despite starting eighth on the reverse grid for the sprint race on Sunday, Vandoorne made a superb start to move into fourth place at the end of the first lap. The Belgian soon rose to third when Raffaele Marciello spun at the end of the virtual safety car period and dropped down the field, whilst pole-sitter Norman Nato soon dropped down the order, leaving Lynn in the lead ahead of Vandoorne.

Lynn produced a fine display of defensive driving to keep Vandoorne back, doing enough to pull away in the closing stages and clinch his first victory in the GP2 Series by 2.2 seconds. Lynn and Vandoorne were joined on the podium by Pierre Gasly, who secured his first top-three finish in GP2, whilst Rossi’s strong start to the season continued with a fourth place finish.

With four races completed, Vandoorne’s lead over the rest of the field in the championship already stands at 37 points, but with the likes of Lynn, Rossi and Gasly proving their pace, he still has a long way to go to clinch this year’s GP2 crown.

The next race takes place on the streets of Monaco in two weeks’ time.

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.