Stoffel Vandoorne has been crowned the 2015 GP2 Series champion after finishing fourth in Sunday’s sprint race at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia.
Vandoorne, 23, has dominated proceedings throughout the GP2 season, claiming five victories and setting a new record for consecutive pole positions earlier in the year.
The McLaren junior driver had been expected to secure the title on Saturday in Russia, but victory for America’s Alexander Rossi forced him to postpone celebrations until Sunday.
Vandoorne managed to finish the sprint race in fourth place, beating Rossi in sixth, to give himself an unassailable lead with four races remaining.
“We knew before coming here [winning the title] was our target,” Vandoorne said. “We could have done it yesterday, but things did not go 100% our way. But crossing the line in fourth today ahead of Alexander Rossi was enough to do it. That’s what counts in the end.
“The job is done and now I have two weekends left in the season. I will be relaxed and have no pressure. I will push really hard for a couple more victories and finish the season on a high.
“To be crowned with two rounds to spare, it shows all the work we’ve done this season and how good it’s been together with ART. We’ve achieved great things over the past two years. We’ve broke nearly all the records this season. It’s one that I will definitely remember forever.”
Vandoorne will now be trying to find a place on the Formula 1 grid in 2016, but may be set for a year on the sidelines given the lack of seats available. As champion, he is unable to return to GP2.
However, the fashion in which the Belgian has won the title has outlined him as a surefire star for the future in F1, and will make McLaren’s driver dilemma all the more difficult in the future.
There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.
Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.
Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.
HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday
Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.
Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.
Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):
—IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold
—IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold
—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold
—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold
—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold