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Piquet won’t give up in fight to enter Macau F3 race

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Nelson Piquet Jr. is refusing to give up in his fight to enter the prestigious Macau Formula 3 round later this year despite having his attempt to race in Pau blocked by the FIA in May.

Ex-Formula 1 driver and defending Formula E champion Piquet announced in May that he would be making a one-off appearance in the FIA European F3 Championship event at Pau in France with Carlin.

However, upon arrival at Pau, Piquet was informed that the FIA had blocked his entry, believing it defeated the object of a junior championship.

“I was shocked, absolutely shocked,” Piquet told NBC Sports.

“I was on the plane, arriving there, everything was normal. We landed, I turned my phone on… This can’t be true. I was so, so pissed off. I didn’t even go to the track. I landed, got a car and went straight back to Monaco, I was so upset.

“The team, they spent the money, they brought the car all the way down and everything. For the FIA to say no two days before the race… Still, I don’t agree with it.

“I spoke to most of the teams, most of the teams were OK with me doing it. And then they told me that wasn’t true, that most of the teams were against me racing. So I don’t know.

“Everybody was looking forward to it: the fans, the journalists, the media. I wasn’t there for money. I was there purely because I like that race, I wanted to do it, and we found a solution with Trevor [Carlin]. Plus that would have allowed me to do Macau.

“There’s not much I can say. I’m upset about it. I won’t give up.

“I’ll maybe do Macau if the FIA allows me. We’ll see.”

When asked if he thought the FIA would change its mind, Piquet said: “I don’t know. I have no idea what they’re thinking.”

Piquet announced last week that he would be returning to the NASCAR Xfinity Series next month at Mid-Ohio, and also remains open to entering IndyCar on a full-time basis should the right seat become available.

Australia SuperCar Champion gets IndyCar Test at Team Penske

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Scott McLaughlin’s latest reward for winning the 2019 Virgin Australia SuperCar championship is an INDYCAR test at Team Penske.

“Scott has been incredibly successful for DJR Team Penske over the last three seasons and he has become a true champion of our sport,” said team owner Roger Penske, who will become the owner of INDYCAR, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 in early January. “He certainly embraces new challenges and we think this is a great opportunity to utilize the IndyCar Series rookie testing program so Scott can experience what it is like to get behind the wheel of one of our Indy cars.”

McLaughlin, who has scored back-to-back Virgin Australia Supercars Champion for DJR Team Penske (DJRTP), will participate in an INDYCAR Rookie Evaluation test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. on Monday, January 13.

“I am always open to new challenges and I’m thankful to Team Penske for providing this opportunity to test an Indy car,” said McLaughlin, who established a new Supercars single season record with 18 victories this past season. “We had an amazing year in 2019 and I’m looking forward to defending our Supercars championship next season. I’m also excited to grow as a driver and being with Team Penske creates cool opportunities to try something new. Although I have spent a few hours in a simulator earlier this year, it’s going to be a blast to see what one really feels like at a place like Sebring.”

McLaughlin joined DJR Team Penske in 2017 as one of the brightest stars in Supercars. He has produced 35 victories and 44 pole positions over the last three seasons while helping DJRTP claim team championships in 2017 and 2019, the driver’s title each of the last two seasons and the legendary Bathurst 1000 race in October, along with co-driver Alex Premat.

McLaughlin will defend his Supercars title for DJRTP in 2020 in the No. 17 Shell V-Power Ford Mustang.  He will build on his already successful racing career by driving a full-sized open-wheel car for the first time.

Team Penske enjoyed another successful IndyCar Series season in 2019. The team earned its record 18th Indianapolis 500 victory as Simon Pagenaud captured the checkered flag in May, while Josef Newgarden won his second series title in three years and the team’s 16th INDYCAR Championship. Team Penske will once again compete with three full-season entries in 2020, featuring series champion drivers Newgarden, Pagenaud and Will Power.

Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 540 major race wins, over 620 pole positions and 37 Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. Over the course of its 53-year history, the team has also earned 18 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win, overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring along with a win in Australia’s legendary Bathurst 1000 race. Team Penske currently competes in the IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team also races in the Virgin Australia SuperCars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500