Nelson Piquet Jr. keen to race full IndyCar season in the future

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LONDON, UK – Defending FIA Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr. says he is open to taking part in a full Verizon IndyCar Series season in the future.

Piquet has raced in a variety of championships throughout his career, ranging from Formula 1 and Global Rallycross to Formula E, becoming the latter’s first champion last June.

The Brazilian tested an IndyCar with Penske at Sonoma last summer, but told NBC Sports during Formula E pre-season testing that he was not chasing a full-time seat.

However, ahead of this weekend’s Formula E season two finale in London, Piquet conceded that he would now like to spend a full season in IndyCar with a front-running team if the opportunity arose.

“I tried IndyCar already but I haven’t raced. I would like to do maybe a season with a good team, I think it would be fun,” Piquet told NBC Sports.

“After I came back to open-wheel and after I did this, it’s like it triggered me to do some more open-wheel stuff. So maybe do a season in IndyCar with a good team.”

Piquet previously raced for James ‘Sulli’ Sullivan in Red Bull Global Rallycross, who also runs the KVSH Racing team in IndyCar, the seat currently being occupied by Sebastien Bourdais.

Despite admitting that the number of NASCAR drivers keen to try IndyCar may push him down the pecking order at Penske, Piquet said he is working on getting Sullivan to give him a run-out at some point.

“They have so many drivers. A lot of NASCAR drivers are interested in doing that, so with them, it makes my name go lower down the queue,” Piquet said.

“I have an owner, ‘Sulli’ from KVSH, who was my team owner in rallycross. There’s always that option which Sebastien Bourdais is racing now.

“We’ll see. I’m still trying to convince him slowly to let me do a couple of races. As long as I’m young, fit and healthy, I can do it. I think I still have five years, easily, in which I can do it.

“I’m not in a hurry, just need to find the right time, right moment.”

Piquet deputized for Max Chilton at Carlin in last year’s Indy Lights doubleheader in Toronto, and is open to returning to the series in the future despite it being at a lower level than IndyCar.

“I would like to do a few more of those. Even though it’s a lower series, it’s still fun racing,” Piquet said.

“I would like to do ovals in a single seater and I haven’t done it. I would like to start it on an Indy Lights, and if it goes well, maybe do a couple of normal Indy [oval] races. Maybe the Indy 500.”

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.