Grid for maiden Formula V8 3.5 season continues to take shape

© RPM Racing

The grid for the first Formula V8 3.5 season is beginning to take shape following a series of driver announcements over the past week.

Previously known as Formula Renault 3.5, French manufacturer Renault confirmed last year that it would be withdrawing its support of the series, handing organizational and promotional duties over to Spanish company RPM Racing.

RPM launched a new website for the series earlier this month, confirming that it would be running under the Formula V8 3.5 banner.

2015 vice-champion Matthieu Vaxiviere announced in December that he would be returning to the series in 2016, but a number of other drivers have now also confirmed their entry.

Rising Brazilian star Pietro Fittipaldi will make the jump up to Formula V8 3.5 for 2016 after spending last season in the FIA European Formula 3 series.

Fittipaldi is the grandson of two-time Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, and will race for defending teams’ champion Fortec.

“I am very pleased to continue working with Fortec in this new chapter of my career,” Fittipaldi said. “The championship will be very competitive, so I know that it’s going to be a big challenge.

“I am confident that we will have a strong package, but we will have to work hard in order to run at the front right from the beginning.”

Spanish team Pons Racing also confirmed its line-up for the coming season earlier this week, signing Dutch racer Beitske Visser for a third year in Formula Renault 3.5.

Visser will be joined at Pons by Aleksander Bosak, who spent 2015 racing in GP3 with Arden.

Finally, Japan’s Yu Kanamaru will return to the 3.5-litre series in 2016 with Teo Martin Motorsport after taking part in six races last year with Pons, scoring a best finish of sixth at Le Mans.

The 2016 Formula V8 3.5 season is due to kick off on April 16 at Motorland Aragon in Spain.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images

Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.