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Evans relishing ‘fresh start’ in Formula E with Jaguar

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GAYDON, UK – Mitch Evans says he is relishing the opportunity to make a “fresh start” with Jaguar in Formula E after spending the past four years racing in GP2.

Evans, 22, was announced as one of Jaguar’s full-time race drivers for its maiden Formula E season as it prepares to return to top-line international motorsport after a 12-year absence.

Evans won the GP3 title back in 2012 before stepping up to GP2, where he has won five races and recorded a best finish of fourth place in the drivers’ standings in 2014.

The New Zealander has completed some sportscar racing over the past two seasons, as well as testing a Porsche LMP1 car last winter, hinting at a desire to move out of GP2.

At the launch of Jaguar’s first Formula E car, the I-Type, on Thursday, Evans said he felt ready to cut ties with GP2 and make the next step up in his career.

“I’m ready to depart GP2. It hasn’t gone overly well for me,” Evans told NBC Sports.

“This is a great way to have a fresh start and I’m really excited by the future of the championship.

“I’m delighted to be joining Formula E with Jaguar. It’s a bit of a dream for me. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead and to be racing some of the top drivers in the world as well.

“It’s all come in a bit quick for me, a lot to soak up, but I’m excited for the season to start in Hong Kong.”

Evans confirmed that he would see out the GP2 season with Campos, the final two rounds scheduled in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi on weekends that do not clash with Formula E.

“I’ve got a contract with the team. It’s a bit of a sore subject,” Evans said.

“It’s just the way it works out sometimes. At least I can say I’m a GP3 champion, which is nice. I’ve won five GP2 races, so there’s a lot of things I can be proud of in GP2. Just obviously the championship hasn’t worked out.

“Now I’ve got a really exciting new chapter, but I will see out the GP2 championship. There are only two races left. Hopefully we can end that on a high going into Formula E.”

Evans is also open to dovetailing his Formula E commitments with a drive in another series, with a large number of the current grid also racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

“I’d love it. I’d love to line another category up parallel to this,” Evans said.

“Obviously they don’t clash, most of the drivers do that anyway. I would love to do that. There are only a couple of championships that allow you to.

“We’ll see. At the moment this is my main priority. If I can find something else, that would be great, in the WEC or whatever it is.

“At the moment I’m focusing on this and soaking in the new opportunity, and then I’ll go from there.”

Evans will make his Formula E debut at the opening race of season three in Hong Kong on October 9.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.