Aston Martin WEC chief hails ‘outstanding team effort’ after COTA GTE sweep

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Aston Martin Racing chief Paul Howarth hailed an “outstanding team effort” after the British marque dominated both of the GTE classes during Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship round at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.

The Danish duo of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen converted GTE Pro pole into their first victory of the season behind the wheel of the No. 95 V8 Vantage GTE, finishing 11 seconds clear of the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 in second place.

The result saw Thiim and Sørensen extend their lead at the top of the World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers standings, now enjoying a 12-point advantage over Sam Bird and Davide Rigon.

In GTE Am, the No. 98 V8 Vantage shared by Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda also converted pole into class victory with a crushing display that saw the trio finish over a minute clear of the field.

“Without a doubt this has been one of the most outstanding team efforts,” Howarth said after the race.

“Every member of the team and all of our partners came to COTA fully committed to win against some of the strongest opposition in motorsport and we delivered.

“It’s an immensely proud moment for Aston Martin Racing. Three pole positions in a row, a win in Mexico and then to come here and deliver a double victory in Pro and Am is fantastic.

“The team keeps going from strength to strength and we’re now even more focused on our objectives for the season.”

The next round of the FIA WEC season takes place on October 16 at Fuji Speedway in Japan.

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.