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GP2: Several teams, drivers announced for 2016 season

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It’s been a busy couple days of GP2 Series news, with more teams and drivers confirmed ahead of the 2016 season. Over the weekend, Jordan King was confirmed with Racing Engineering, and theres’ been a number announcements since.

Evans, Gelael, Jagonya Ayam join Campos 

Mitch Evans is set for his fourth season of GP2. The 21-year-old Kiwi has a best finish of fourth in the championship in 2014, and came fifth last year in his second season with the Russian Time team. He’ll move to Campos Racing, joined by Sean Gelael, the Indonesian driver who debuted last year with Carlin.

Gelael’s Jagonya Ayam support will join the team for the next two seasons, following an agreement reached in Indonesia. The team will now be known as Jagonya Ayam Campos Racing.

Both Evans and Gelael have made occasional sports car starts in the last year or so as they’ve sought to advance their careers. Evans won his FIA WEC debut with Jota Sport in LMP2 at Spa-Francorchamps and then was second in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Gelael has raced with the Jagonya Ayam (Indonesian KFC) branding in the Asian Le Mans Series over the winter.

Giovinazzi steps up with PREMA Powerteam

Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi moves up from the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, where he finished second to Felix Rosenqvist, will advance into GP2 with the PREMA Powerteam. PREMA, a star team in F3 for more than a decade, steps up into GP2 itself, taking over what had been the Lazarus team.

Giovinazzi, incidentally, had been in the Jagonya Ayam with Carlin team last year in F3, but lost out to PREMA’s Rosenqvist last year.

Russian Time adds Marciello with Markelov

Ferrari academy veteran Raffaele Marciello, who served as Sauber F1’s reserve driver last year, will switch to Russian Time to replace Evans for his third GP2 season. He’s finished eighth and seventh in the championship the last two years with Racing Engineering and Trident, respectively. Artem Markelov, the Russian driver, will be back for his third season, all with Russian Time.

Testing schedule announced

GP2 has also released the schedule for its two preseason tests. Testing will take place in Spain, in Barcelona, March 9-11 and at Jerez, March 29-31.

Breakdown of teams/drivers thus far

Following these confirmations, here’s how the GP2 Series grid looks thus far for 2016:

  • ART Grand Prix: 1-TBA, 2-Sergey Sirotkin
  • Racing Engineering: 3-Jordan King, 4-TBA
  • DAMS: 5-Alex Lynn, 6-Nicholas Latifi
  • Jagonya Ayam Campos Racing: 7-Mitch Evans, 8-Sean Gelael
  • Russian Time: 9-Raffaele Marciello, 10-Artem Markelov
  • PREMA Powerteam: 20-Antonio Giovinazzi, 21-TBA

All these seats are TBA:

  • Rapax (Nos. 11, 12)
  • Trident (14, 15)
  • Status Grand Prix (16, 17)
  • Carlin (18, 19)
  • MP Motorsport (22, 23)
  • Arden International (24, 25)
  • TBA (26, 27)

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.