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DS Virgin chasing strong finish to second Formula E campaign

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LONDON – DS Virgin Racing drivers Sam Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne have set their sights on a strong finish to the second FIA Formula E season at this weekend’s final round in London.

Battersea Park will play host to Formula E for the final time with races on both Saturday and Sunday, with either Lucas di Grassi or Sebastien Buemi set to be crowned the series’ second champion.

DS Virgin heads to London third in the teams’ championship, just seven points ahead of Dragon Racing with 60 still up for grabs.

Bird won the second race in London last year, and will be racing with a special Union Jack livery on his car this weekend.

“I can’t wait to race again in London – partly because it’s sort of my home city, and because Formula E has created a spectacular track in a sublime setting,” Bird said.

“It holds very special memories given my success here last season. Winning the race was a brilliant way to end season 1 and I’ll be going all out to ensure the team and our fans have a similar reason to celebrate at the end this, our second season of Formula E.”

Teammate Jean-Eric Vergne has enjoyed an upturn in form in recent races, scoring his first podium of the season in Paris before picking up his maiden pole for DS Virgin last time out in Berlin.

“The last two races have been really good for me personally, so hopefully I can continue that momentum into London and have a strong end to the season,” Vergne said.

“I got a good podium here last season which gives me confidence going into the race. The technical team have done a great job to make the car really competitive so we want to give the home crowd something to cheer and really get them behind us throughout the weekend.”

Ahead of the race, DS Virgin completed a special night-time shoot in Brixton, London, giving a glimpse of the livery that Bird will race with.

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.”