Here are your Japanese Grand Prix times on NBCSN

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The 2016 Formula One campaign rolls into Suzuka Circuit in Japan for the annual running of the Japanese Grand Prix this Sunday at 12:30 a.m. ET/Saturday at 9:30 p.m. PT on NBCSN.

In addition to this weekend’s F1 coverage, NBC Sports Group presents the final race of the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC from Los Angeles, Calif., and NBCSN presents more than 15 hours of Mecum Auctions coverage from their event this weekend in Chicago.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app will provide streaming coverage of this weekend’s motorsports events.

F1 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX – SUNDAY AT 12:30 A.M. ET/SATURDAY AT 9:30 P.M. ET

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg hopes to increase his lead in the championship standings this weekend over teammate and rival Lewis Hamilton in Japan. Rosberg finished third at last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, which featured a 1-2 finish for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, but he was able to gain ground on Hamilton, who was forced to retire with 17 laps remaining due to an engine failure. Rosberg now leads Hamilton by 23 points in the standings with five races remaining on the schedule.

Rosberg captured the pole position at Suzuka last year, but Hamilton took the checkered flag, his third career Japanese Grand Prix victory.

Live coverage begins exclusively on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app tonight at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with Practice 1, followed by NBCSN’s live coverage of Practice 2 on Friday morning at 1 a.m. ET/Thursday at 10 p.m. PT. Streaming coverage on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app continues with Practice 3 on Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT, and live qualifying on Saturday at 2 a.m. ET/Friday night at11 p.m. PT.

Live Japanese Grand Prix race coverage begins Sunday morning at 12 a.m. ET/Saturday at 9 p.m. PT on NBCSN with F1 Countdown, and is followed by F1 Extra at 3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT.

Lead play-by-play announcer Leigh Diffey will call this weekend’s action, and will be joined by veteran analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs, and analyst and former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team Steve Matchett. F1 insider Will Buxton will report on-site from Suzuka Circuit.

Here’s the times:

Following is this week’s NBC Sports Group motorsports coverage schedule:

DATE COVERAGE TIME (ET) NETWORK
Thurs., Oct. 6 F1 Japanese Grand Prix – Practice 1 9 p.m. Streaming
Fri., Oct. 7 F1 Japanese Grand Prix – Practice 2 1 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Japanese Grand Prix – Practice 3 11 p.m. Streaming
Sat., Oct. 8 F1 Japanese Grand Prix – Qualifying 2 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., Oct. 9 F1 Countdown 12 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Japanese Grand Prix 12:30 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Extra 3 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Japanese Grand Prix (Encore) 7 p.m. NBCSN

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”