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Giedo van der Garde joins Jota Sport for ELMS, Le Mans

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Former Formula 1 driver Giedo van der Garde will move into endurance racing in 2016 after joining Jota Sport for the European Le Mans Series season.

Van der Garde made his F1 debut with Caterham in 2013 and spent the following year as a reserve driver at Sauber before an acrimonious split with the team that resulted in a court hearing ahead of last year’s Australian Grand Prix.

The Dutch racer tested a DTM car with Mercedes at the end of last year, but has opted to move into endurance racing for 2016 with Jota Sport’s LMP2 team.

Van der Garde will race alongside British youngster Harry Tincknell and Jota team owner Simon Dolan in ELMS, and will also race at two rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship including the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

“In F1 I was competing in the highest level of motorsport, but with Caterham there wasn’t a real possibility to win races,” van der Garde said. “Now with JOTA there is, and again at a high level of racing. That’s what I’m aiming for: winning.

“To win the 24 hours of Le Mans isn’t even a dream; it’s my goal. Therefore I am very pleased to sign with such an established and proven team as JOTA Sport. This is a new chapter for me going in to endurance racing and I am sure it will be an enjoyable one.

“I have always enjoyed the teamwork side of racing, particularly from an engineering perspective, so I think this will be an asset to start with. Endurance racing has so much momentum at the present time and after some time away from the cockpit last season I could appreciate the levels to which it has grown.

“To make my debut with JOTA Sport this season is a very good start to the year. I’ll do my utmost to be successful for JOTA during ELMS, but also in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the biggest events in racing. It is a huge challenge, but a dream come true. I can’t wait to go flat out.”

Champion Marc Marquez leads MotoGP into virtual world Sunday

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During its layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MotoGP will become the latest racing series to enter the virtual world.

The MotoGP Virtual Race will be held at 9 a.m. ET Sunday, March 29 with 10 riders. It will be streamed on several platforms, including the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel. Reigning series champion Marc Marquez is among the riders in the field.

The premier class of MotoGP has yet to hit the track this season as its opener was canceled and the next three races were postponed, including the Grand Prix of the Americas being moved from April 5 to Nov. 15.

Several other racing series have tried online racing in recent weeks.

IMSA held a “SuperSaturday at Sebring” March 21 in place of the postponed Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. NASCAR started its Pro Invitational Series last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will continue Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar kicked off its six-race IndyCar iRacing Challenge with a Saturday race at Watkins Glen International that was won by Sage Karam.