Rast to miss WEC Fuji round after Audi DTM call-up

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G-Drive Racing’s Rene Rast will miss the upcoming FIA World Endurance Championship round at Fuji Speedway in Japan after being called up for the DTM round at Hockenheim on October 15-16.

Rast confirmed on his Facebook page on Thursday that he would be replacing Matthias Ekstrom at Audi Team Abt Sportsline after the Swede elected to prioritize his rallycross commitments.

Ekstrom is in contention for the FIA World Rallycross title, leading the championship with three rounds remaining. The penultimate race of the year also clashes with the October 16 weekend, leaving Audi in need of a one-off replacement.

Audi may have opted to draft in GP2 racer Antonio Giovinazzi, who replaced Timo Scheider at Moscow last year, but the Italian driver has been signed to the final three races of the WEC season at Extreme Speed Motorsports as part of a new line-up.

As such, Rast will be the man to replace Ekstrom, having already made one appearance so far this year in DTM with Audi at Zandvoort.

Rast’s main commitment in 2016 has been in the WEC with G-Drive in the LMP2 class, racing alongside Roman Rusinov throughout the season and, most recently at COTA, Alex Brundle.

The German driver also made a one-off appearance in Formula E with Team Aguri at the Berlin ePrix in May, but did not secure a full-time seat in the series for season three.

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.