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Team England adds touring car legend Plato to ROC line-up

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Two-time British Touring Car Championship winner Jason Plato has joined the line-up for November’s Race of Champions in London.

Plato has established himself as one of the most prominent drivers within British motorsport over the past two decades, winning two BTCC titles and almost 100 races since making his debut in 1997.

The Briton has also raced in the World Touring Car Championship and attempted to launch a career in NASCAR in the early 2000s before returning to BTCC.

Plato will now try his hand at the Race of Champions, a multi-discipline racing challenge that will see him pitted up against the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Jorge Lorenzo and Tom Kristensen at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on November 20-21.

“I’ve always enjoyed my visits to the Race Of Champions and there’s no greater incentive than to look at the drivers who assemble there every year,” Plato said, having last taken part in the ROC in 2010.

“They are the very best in the world and it’s a privilege to race against them on the same track in identical cars.  This has been another good year for me in the BTCC and of course I’ll do everything to make sure I arrive at the Race Of Champions as a three-time champion.

“I will also look forward to finding out who will be racing with me for Team England. As the home nation I can’t wait to hear the noise of the crowd and I hope we can do them proud.”

2015 Race of Champions – Confirmed Drivers

Sebastian Vettel (F1)
Tom Kristensen (WEC/Le Mans)
Petter Solberg (WRC)
Daniel Ricciardo (F1)
Mick Doohan (grand prix motorcycle racing)
David Coulthard (F1)
Jorge Lorenzo (MotoGP)
Nico Hulkenberg (F1)
Nelson Piquet Jr. (F1/GRC/Formula E)
Felipe Massa (F1)
Jason Plato (BTCC)

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.