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.”