WTCC champion Lopez open to Formula E drive with DS, remains keen to race at Le Mans

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Defending World Touring Car Championship champion Jose Maria Lopez is open to driving in Formula E in the future following DS Automobiles’ tie in with Virgin Racing.

In a press conference at the London ePrix in June, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson announced that his team would be joining forces with DS, a subsidiary of Citroen, for the second Formula E season.

Lopez has enjoyed considerable success since joining Citroen in the WTCC for the 2014 season, winning the title in his rookie year. He currently leads the 2015 championship by 55 points.

Following the tie-in between Virgin and DS, Lopez said in an interview with autobild.es that he would be open to racing in Formula E in the future, claiming such a deal was now “much closer”.

“For me, whenever there is competition, four wheels, electric or non-electric motor, it excites me,” Lopez said.

Citroen is set to pull the plug on either its WTCC or World Rally Championship programme at the end of 2016, as confirmed to Autosport earlier this month.

Lopez is keen to remain with Citroen for the 2016 WTCC season, but said that his future is largely dependent on the team, and said that he would like to race at Le Mans in the future.

“My desire is to continue with the team, but it will depend on them,” Lopez said. “Today I do not think about it. I know that I love Le Mans, I would love to do it, and it’s something that I could do whilst prioritizing WTCC.”

After being lined up to race for the never-realized US F1 Team, Lopez has enjoyed considerable success since making the switch to tin tops, and the grids in both endurance and electric racing would only be richer for his presence.

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.