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Piquet, Webb, Rao land FIA WEC rides

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Nelson Piquet Jr. will add another series to his career record this year, having been confirmed for a partial season program with Rebellion Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Piquet joins the team’s No. 12 Rebellion R-ONE AER lineup, alongside Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld, for the opening three races of the championship at Silverstone, Spa and Le Mans. Mathias Beche, who’s also slated to drive for Rebellion, has shifted over to the Thiriet by TDS Racing team in the European Le Mans Series, an LMP2 entrant.

Piquet then marks his return to Le Mans, where he raced once in 2006 with Aston Martin.

Interestingly, Piquet, Prost and Heidfeld race against each other in the FIA Formula E Championship.

Elsewhere, there’s also been two other confirmations on Monday.

Oliver Webb, a former Indy Lights driver who’s carved out a good sports car career primarily in LMP2 the last couple years, steps up to the other privateer LMP1 entrant, Team ByKolles, for 2016. He’ll join Pierre Kaffer and Simon Trummer in that team’s CLM P1/01 AER, having previously driven with Team SARD-Morand last year.

The Manor WEC team has added another Brit, with Matt Rao joining countrymen James Jakes and Will Stevens as three of the thus far four confirmed drivers in that team’s Oreca 05 Nissans. Lineups are yet to be determined as the Graeme Lowdon and John Booth-led team have not yet announced their fifth and sixth drivers.

The Piquet and Webb confirmations mean all LMP1 seats for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans have been filled.

Dutch Grand Prix becomes fourth Formula 1 race canceled this season

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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — The Dutch Grand Prix became the fourth Formula One race canceled this season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after organizers decided Thursday they didn’t want to play host to an event without spectators.

It was to be the first Dutch GP since 1985, but F1 wants to start the season with no spectators at races.

“We would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands,” race director Jan Lammers said in a statement. “We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”

The race in Zandvoort was set for May 3 and initially postponed. Fans who bought tickets can use them next year.

The coastal circuit has been redesigned, with some corners banked to facilitate faster racing.

The other races canceled this year were the season-opening Australian GP on March 15; the Monaco GP on May 24; and the French GP on June 28.

Another six have been postponed.

F1 organizers still hope to reschedule those and hold 15 to 18 races this season, starting in July with back-to-back races at the Austrian GP.