Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Nico Jamin confirmed with Andretti to step up to Indy Lights

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Andretti Autosport has its second confirmed driver for the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season, with Nico Jamin stepping up from the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires campaign.

The young Frenchman stormed to the 2015 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda title with Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, and won a couple races in Pro Mazda with the Capes, ending third in points.

After a successful test with Andretti at the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test in October at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jamin will now join the list of those who’ve run in all three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires ladder.

“I am delighted to announce that I will be driving in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires for Andretti Autosport in 2017,” Jamin said. “I remember my first USF2000 race back in 2014, walking by Mario Andretti in the paddock and I asked him to take a picture with me. That day, I was far to think that I was going to drive for a team owned by his son, Michael, a few years later. This is a dream come true and I thank everyone who made it possible – my family, partners, the whole Andretti team and fellow Frenchman, J-F Thormann. We have had extremely positive test days already and I am very much looking forward to seeing the first green flag of the season wave at St. Petersburg.”

Michael Andretti added, “We are really pleased to welcome Nico to our Indy Lights team,” said team owner Michael Andretti. “His progress in the MRTI system has been promising so far and he was impressive in recent testing. We’re looking forward to a competitive season for Nico and the No. 27 team.”

Jamin will take over the No. 27 car vacated by Dean Stoneman, as the team’s second confirmed driver alongside Dalton Kellett. Andretti is keen to continue running at least three cars, and with Shelby Blackstock departing for Belardi Auto Racing, it’s possible that this year’s Atlantic champion Ryan Norman, who’s tested with Andretti, could fill that role.

Jamin follows Nicolas Dapero (Juncos Racing) as Pro Mazda graduates who step up – Aaron Telitz will as well after winning the title, with his team to be revealed at a later date. Kellett and Blackstock have also been confirmed for 2017.

Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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