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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.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.