Penske coy on JPM, Newgarden, targets IndyCar lineup in 30 to 60 days

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SONOMA, Calif. – Roger Penske is excellent at many things in racing, including keeping his cards close to the vest.

So too is Josef Newgarden, who has been rumored to potentially make the shift from Ed Carpenter Racing to “The Captain’s” Team Penske for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

So, it perhaps comes as no surprise that Penske offered no hints about his lineup for the 2017 season during a post-event media availability following the confirmation of Menards in a 10-race deal for Simon Pagenaud next season.

The only thing Penske let slip is that the four-car lineup for 2017 is not necessarily guaranteed.

Commercial arrangements appear in place for Pagenaud, Will Power and Helio Castroneves, but the fourth car – currently driven by Juan Pablo Montoya – is yet to have its commercial considerations accounted for.

Penske is targeting to have his IndyCar lineup revealed within “the next 30 to 60 days.”

“Well there’s lots of speculation of what we’re going to do on our drivers. We’re really not in a position to announce the final slate of guys for next year. Our goal is to run at least three cars and potentially four cars,” Penske told assembled reporters.

Penske was non-committal on Montoya’s status.

“We haven’t made that decision yet. We’re in discussions with him. Obviously we have to look at the sponsorship available,” Penske said.

“We’ve got to put the sponsorship around him. I think hopefully in the next 30 to 60 days we’ll have an announcement on what our final lineup will be.”

Despite several attempts, Penske either smiled or offered a “no comment” when asked Newgarden’s status.

“Right now, he’s not available yet,” Penske told a group of assembled reporters.

Penske’s also been linked to a potential sports car program – which could serve as a landing spot for Montoya down the road – and he reiterated what Penske Racing president Tim Cindric has said about wanting one.

If you’re thinking from a prototype standpoint, IMSA has moved towards the new Daytona Prototype international (DPi) platform for 2017. DPi offers one of the four homologated LMP2 chassis, but with custom manufacturer bodywork available as well as a different engine.

In a FIA World Endurance Championship situation, LMP1’s hybrid is open, while in LMP2 there are only just the four chassis with a spec Gibson engine.

“I’ll say what Tim has said, we’ve wanted to run sports cars for a number of years when we were in with Porsche,” Penske said.

“Hopefully there’s an opportunity. We’ve had a chance to talk to two or three different manufacturers. That has some bearing on what we might do, vis-a-vis with the IndyCar also.”

Mark Kent, Director of Motorsports Competition – Chevrolet, did not tip his hand either on when any official GM sports car program for 2017 will be announced. Cadillac has been projected as one of the two DPi manufacturers for 2017, but GM has not made an official confirmation or announcement about its participation.

“The only thing I can say there is, stay tuned,” Kent said.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.