© Renault Sport

Renault signs Chinese karting protege Sun Yue Yang

Leave a comment

Renault has announced the signing of Chinese karting protege Sun Yue Yang to its young driver academy on a multi-year deal.

Yue Yang, 15, became the first Chinese driver to finish on the podium in the World Series Karting Cup and currently sits fifth in the championship standings.

Yue Yang becomes the fifth member of the Renault Sport Academy, formed following the French manufacturer’s return to Formula 1 as a constructor for the 2016 season. Existing members include Jack Aitken, Louis Deletraz, Kevin Joerg and Oliver Rowland.

The announcement from Renault confirmed that Yue Yang will continue to ply his trade in karts for the time being before making his single seater debut at the end of the year.

“The Renault Sport Academy is a highly beneficial tool for young drivers,” Renault Sport racing director Frederic Vasseur said.

“Firstly, we thoroughly evaluate them to give the right steer through the vast motorsport landscape. Then, they are exposed to the pinnacle of technology through the F1 team and what is required to get there.

“In short, we aim to turn each Academy driver into an elite athlete, capable of performing to his or her absolute best.

“The Academy is also a tool for the Renault markets to better engage with motorsport within their own regions. We are pleased and proud to give Renault China the opportunity through the Academy to bring Yue Yang through the ranks.

“Yue Yang has shown strong potential in WSK to, with the right preparation, work his way to Formula 1. The opportunities for both Yue Yang and Renault China to benefit from this partnership are huge.”

Renault also announced a new initiative driven to find the next generation of racing drivers in Asia, with the top Chinese driver in the final three rounds of the Asian Formula Renault season set to be offered a place on the Academy for 2017.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.