2017 GP2, GP3 calendars released, Jerez to host standalone round

© GP2 Series
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GP2 and GP3 have confirmed their calendars ahead of the 2017 season, with both series adding a standalone round at Jerez in October.

GP2 and GP3 act as the second and third rungs on the single-seater ladder, with a number of Formula 1’s biggest talents previously plying their trade in the series.

For 2017, GP2 will return to Bahrain for its opening round, having started its 2016 campaign a few weeks later at the Spanish Grand Prix.

GP2 will support F1 at every European round from Spain onwards, as well as at Baku in Azerbaijan. A standalone round is scheduled at Jerez on October 6-8 ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi on November 26.

GP3 will first appear on the undercard for the Spanish Grand Prix in May, but will not return until the Austrian Grand Prix weekend at the end of July. It will then support all of the summer European rounds, as well as featuring at Jerez and in Abu Dhabi.

“We’re delighted to race in Jerez between Monza and Abu Dhabi,” GP2 chief Bruno Michel said.

“We wanted to have the same number of events (including three flyaway rounds in 2017 as in the previous year, but we were mindful of freight costs. This meant not adding a fourth flyaway round and staying in Europe for a standalone event.

“This is also why we decided to hold our final pre-season test session in Bahrain, ahead of the season opener.”

2017 GP2 Series Calendar

1. Sakhir, Bahrain – 14-16 April
2. Barcelona, Spain – 12-14 May
3. Monte Carlo, Monaco – 25-27 May
4. Baku, Azerbaijan – 23-25 June
5. Spielberg, Austria – 7-9 July
6. Silverstone, Great Britain – 14-16 July
7. Budapest, Hungary – 28-30 July
8. Spa, Belgium – 25-27 August
9. Monza, Italy – 1-3 September
10. Jerez, Spain – 6-8 October
11. Abu Dhabi – 24-26 November

2017 GP3 Series Calendar

1. Barcelona, Spain – 12-14 May
2. Spielberg, Austria – 7-9 July
3. Silverstone, Great Britain – 14-16 July
4. Budapest, Hungary – 28-30 July
5. Spa, Belgium – 25-27 August
6. Monza, Italy – 1-3 September
7. Jerez, Spain – 6-8 October
8. Abu Dhabi – 24-26 November

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”