Photo: NextEV NIO/LAT

Piquet pushing for KVSH IndyCar appearances as part of possible GRC deal

Leave a comment

HONG KONG – Nelson Piquet Jr. hopes that he can secure some one-off appearances in the Verizon IndyCar Series with KVSH Racing in 2017 to sweeten a possible deal to race for James “Sulli” Sullivan’s team in Red Bull Global Rallycross.

Season one FIA Formula E champion Piquet expressed his desire to get a seat in IndyCar to NBC Sports in July, having previously tested with Team Penske in September 2015.

The Brazilian raced the full 2014 and 2015 Red Bull GRC seasons for SH Rallycross/DRR, headed up by Sullivan, and most recently returned for a three-race stint this year from Washington, D.C. through Seattle.

With Piquet’s FE commitments taking precedence this weekend, SH Rallycross fielded Tanner Whitten for his Supercars debut in Los Angeles, and the GRC Lites graduate banked two top-10 results.

Sebastien Bourdais has raced for KVSH’s IndyCar program since 2o14, but looks destined to join Dale Coyne Racing for 2017, and is set to test for Coyne at Gateway Motorsports Park later this week.

KVSH Racing is in the process of determining its 2017 ownership and driver plans as a result. Sullivan and team co-owner Jimmy Vasser were on site in Los Angeles this weekend for the Red Bull GRC finale.

Piquet explained in Hong Kong at last weekend’s Formula E season-opener that although a full-time seat would not be possible due to clashes with other commitments, he would like to secure some occasional run-outs as part of a new GRC deal.

“A little bit,” Piquet told NBC Sports when asked if there had been any progress on his IndyCar hopes.

“The team that I race for in rallycross, KVSH, they have IndyCar, so I’ve been pushing them to get something done because they want me to go back to do rallycross.

“I said ‘well look, try to sneak in a bit of IndyCar for me and the deal will happen even easier.’

“Not a full season, because there are clashes, but for sure to do a race here, a race there, Indy 500 – I’m gonna try and do some stuff.”

Piquet took his first Formula E pole in Hong Kong, heading up a front-row lock-out for the NextEV NIO team just 12 months after its cars occupied the final two positions on the grid.

Piquet’s hopes of victory were dashed when he was forced to take to the run-off area to avoid a crashed car, with a poor strategy call deepening the Brazilian’s plight. He eventually finished the race 11th.

“The team did an amazing job, stepping forward from where we were last year, but if we want to win races, we need to up our game even more,” Piquet explained.

“Everyone’s taking this so seriously, we have to really really push as much as we can. All I can say is that it’s frustrating, mistakes like today, and I hope the team learns.

“We need to do a better job overall because if we’re not going ot have the most efficient car and make mistakes, it’s going to hurt us even more.

“I think we need to be the best at strategies, have good qualifying and then we can salvage some good points, a few podiums here and there.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.