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2016 United States GP confirmed to be going ahead at COTA

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The 2016 United States Grand Prix will go ahead as planned at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on October 23 following uncertainty about the future of the race.

After a washout of a race in 2015 and a subsequent cut in funding from the state of Texas, the race at COTA was listed as being “subject to agreement” on the final calendar for the 2016 Formula 1 season.

Circuit chairman Bobby Epstein has been working to ensure that F1 would remain in Austin, leading to today’s announcement that an agreement had been struck with the series.

As a result, the 2016 United States GP has the green light for what will be its fifth edition at COTA.

To celebrate, the circuit today announced that 10-time Grammy-winning artist Taylor Swift will be performing a special concert at COTA on the Saturday of the race following qualifying.

“We are so happy to confirm F1’s return to COTA as well as Taylor Swift’s headline performance. We can’t think of a better way to mark this important 5-year milestone for F1 in Austin,” Epstein said.

“Since we first hosted this event in 2012, we have gained a lot of knowledge and insight that has allowed us to make significant annual improvements to the event that we are confident will continue to establish the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix as the standout race weekend on F1’s calendar.

“By combining the excitement of Formula 1, the fun of the festival, and a full concert by Taylor Swift, we ensure fans can enjoy the greatest sports and entertainment event of the year.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to Texas and the Circuit of The Americas, for what promises to be an amazing weekend.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”