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Priaulx, Lopez complete Race of Champions line-up

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Leading touring car drivers Andy Priaulx and Jose Maria Lopez have completed the line-up for next weekend’s Race of Champions in London.

The Race of Champions pits a number of drivers from an array of series up against each other in a multidiscipline challenge, and will take place at London’s former Olympic Stadium on November 20-21.

The likes of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Jorge Lorenzo and Tom Kristensen have already signed up for the event that will see them compete for both national and individual honors.

In a statement issued by the Race of Champions organizers on Friday, Priaulx and Lopez were confirmed as the final two drivers for the event, completing its line-up.

Priaulx is a three-time winner of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, and currently splits his focus between the British Touring Car Championship and endurance series such as ELMS and TUSCC.

“What a great way to end a busy season – joining all my fellow champions in a fun head-to-head battle,” Priaulx said. “Same cars, same track: it will be an epic challenge. I love this event. Fredrik Johnsson and his team put on a great show so I can’t wait to get there and catch up with everyone.”

Lopez has also found success in the WTCC, winning back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015. However, he is perhaps better known in American racing circles for being one of the planned drivers for the failed US F1 Team that tried to join Formula 1 five years ago.

“This has been another great year for me and this invitation to the Race Of Champions is the perfect way to cap it off,” Lopez said. “This year the pressure was on and the competition with my team-mates was harder than ever so to to win the championship three races early was an amazing result.

“Now I can look forward to racing my fellow champions next week in London. The line-up is amazing with great drivers from all over the world so we now look forward to putting on a great show for the crowds.”

Here is the full driver line-up for the 2015 Race of Champions:

  • Sebastian Vettel, four-time Formula 1 World Champion (Team Germany)
  • Nico Hulkenberg, 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner (Team Germany)
  • Tom Kristensen, nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner (Team Nordic)
  • Petter Solberg, reigning FIA World Rallycross Champion (Team Nordic)
  • Daniel Ricciardo, three-time Formula 1 grand prix winner (Team Australia)
  • Mick Doohan, five-time 500cc MotoGP World Champion (Team Australia)
  • Felipe Massa, 11-time Formula 1 grand prix winner (Team Brazil)
  • Nelson Piquet Jr, reigning FIA Formula E Champion (Team Brazil)
  • David Coulthard, reigning ROC Champion of Champions (Team Scotland)
  • Susie Wolff, Williams Martini Racing Official Test Driver (Team Scotland)
  • Jorge Lorenzo, double MotoGP World Champion (Team All Stars)
  • Romain Grosjean, 2012 ROC Champion of Champions (Team All Stars)
  • Jolyon Palmer, 2014 GP2 Champion (Team Young Stars)
  • Pascal Wehrlein, 2015 DTM Champion (Team Young Stars)
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2014 Indianapolis 500 Winner (Team Americas)
  • José Maria Lopez, double World Touring Car Champion (Team Americas)
  • Jason Plato, double British Touring Car Champion (Team England 1)
  • Andy Priaulx, triple World Touring Car Champion (Team England 1)
  • Alex Buncombe, 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series Champion (Team England 2)
  • Jenson Button, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion (Team England 2)

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”