Audi’s di Grassi maintains Le Mans focus before prepping for Formula E finale

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LE MANS, France – Despite a bitter disqualification to his Berlin race a few weeks ago and a hard-to-swallow runner-up finish in Moscow on Saturday, Lucas di Grassi isn’t getting down before the FIA Formula E Championship finale in London in two weeks time.

He’s got a slightly more important piece of business to take care of this week.

Di Grassi co-drives with Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis in the No. 8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the marquee race of the season, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, occurring this Saturday and Sunday.

In essence, this trio is the replacement group for the long-standing, long-dominant trio of Allan McNish (di Grassi), Rinaldo Capello (Duval) and Tom Kristensen (Jarvis), who have retired one-by-one each of the last three years.

This new trio looks to write their own chapter in the history books, and the conquest begins this week as di Grassi and Jarvis look to join Duval as overall Le Mans winners.

“Formula E preparation is much lower than Le Mans,” di Grassi told MotorSportsTalk at Le Mans scrutineering this week. “We’re prepping for Le Mans, and Formula E is in the middle.

“We have been in ‘Le Mans spec’ since the pre-test [on May 31]. Physically, fitness-wise, mentally wise, you’re on the Le Mans spec. Then you go to Formula E. We had a good result. Now we come back to the most important race of the year here.”

Audi has opened the year with a pair of wins at Silverstone and Spa, the latter with its 2015-spec version of its lower drag, lower downforce kit. But it’s been the now more veteran trio of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler who have scored both wins.

Di Grassi is more focused on joining them as 2015 race winners than worrying about FE, until Le Mans is over with.

“The focus of course is here in Le Mans,” di Grassi said. “I would exchange the Formula E title for this race, if I could choose. We try to win both.

“But yeah, Formula E is at the very beginning. There is a lot to improve. We still have a lot of reliability problems and other small issues.

“So the number one priority is WEC and Le Mans. To be here with Audi, third time here, it’s more than a pleasure. It’s an honor to be sharing this car.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.