Brabham sure he is ready for full-time drive in IndyCar

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Matthew Brabham feels ready to make the step up to a full-time drive in the Verizon IndyCar Series following successful tests with Andretti Autosport at Iowa and Sonoma in recent weeks.

Brabham was one of a handful of rookie drivers to test at Sonoma on Thursday, sharing the running with regular driver Marco Andretti as part of the Mazda Road to Indy programme for young drivers.

Speaking after the test day, the 21-year-old expressed his enjoyment and belief that he is now ready to make the step up to a full-time drive in IndyCar.

“[I] had an awesome day,” Brabham said. “Driving an IndyCar around Sonoma was a lot more physically demanding than when I last drove at Iowa.

“You really had to muscle the car a lot more, but it was an incredible experience and so much more fun than anything else that I have driven.

“As a team we worked our way through the program which I was scheduled to do, so they were happy. And it was good to be able to ask Marco and Justin [Wilson] questions during the day, that was a big help.

“Speed-wise, it was difficult to really judge as the regular drivers were on different compound tires to the MRTI guys and there was no official timing.

“But it appears unofficially that Piquet and myself were the fastest rookie drivers, and we did almost identical times.

“I want to race one so bad now, and after today I am ready if given the opportunity.”

Brabham has spent 2015 sampling a number of different racing cars after finishing fourth in Indy Lights last year, but remains a firm part of the Andretti Autosport family.

The American-Australian has raced for the marque in Indy Lights and FIA Formula E this year, and will hope that this latest test has put his name in the mix for a possible full-time drive in 2016.

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

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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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.