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Briscoe thankful for Ford opportunity; still open to another Indy 500 run

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SEBRING, Fla. – Although he won’t be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time next season, Ryan Briscoe still has the option of running next year’s 100th Indianapolis 500 if he chooses.

Briscoe, confirmed Saturday morning as one of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ford GT drivers full-time in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, would be available for the month of May, as there are no IMSA or 24 Hours of Le Mans clashes.

“I’d like to be able to do that,” Briscoe told MotorSportsTalk in a phone interview. “I’m gonna try to keep the options open. It doesn’t conflict.

“If the opportunity is right, would love to be in the 100th.”

Briscoe was drafted in as a last-minute injury substitute for James Hinchcliffe at this year’s race at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, following Hinchcliffe’s serious accident in practice the Monday before the race. It turned into the balance of the season, save for Detroit and Toronto, when he had Le Mans commitments.

In theory, Briscoe would make sense in an extra Ganassi car – as he was for the team in 2013 – and while there are no restrictions on what car he could drive, he’d undoubtedly want to be in a car that has race winning potential.

“Yeah absolutely,” he said. “You would have to make sure it’s a smart decision.

“My main priority is taking this car (the Ford) to Le Mans, and making sure I’m well to do it. But the Indy 500 is the Indy 500. Next year is a big one.”

Briscoe was due to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, but didn’t get the chance as his Corvette C7.R he was scheduled to drive with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia sustained an accident in practice and was withdrawn from the race.

He did do the iconic race double in 2013, with Ganassi for the Indianapolis 500, then with Level 5 Motorsports’ HPD LMP2 chassis at Le Mans.

Briscoe, who was jokingly asked by Will Power’s brother and comedian Damien Power “what a Chip Ganassi is” during an interview earlier this year, now rejoins the Ganassi fold for the fourth separate time.

He raced the full 2015 and 2014 IndyCar seasons and as noted, the 2013 Indianapolis 500.

“There’s familiarity and familiality with the team, which is great,” Briscoe said.

“It’s an honor to be racing for Chip. He’s one of the best in the business. Being on this Ford GT program, is just massive.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”