Derani enjoys successful IndyCar test, would consider future race seat

Photo: IndyCar

Sports car star Pipo Derani has said that he would consider a full-time move into the Verizon IndyCar Series in the future should an opportunity arise after enjoying a successful test with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports on Wednesday.

Derani moved away from single-seaters in 2014 after stints in Formula 3 and the Pro Mazda Championship to embark on a career in sports cars.

The Brazilian has emerged as one of motorsport’s brightest prospects, winning both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring last year with Tequila Patron ESM and testing an LMP1 car with Toyota.

Derani has since secured a seat with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing for the opening three rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship, including Le Mans.

It was confirmed last month that Derani would be joining the IndyCar test at Sebring on Tuesday, piloting the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

“It went really well. It was very interesting to get back in a single-seater for the first time in almost three years and especially an Indycar,” Derani said of the test.

“We started early and I had an initial 10 lap run and got up to speed quickly. We then started working on the car immediately which was nice, as the team obviously trusted what I was doing at this initial stage so we could start on set-up work.

“The car is obviously quick, but having driven an LMP1 car recently it didn’t take so much getting used to, and it actually prepared me well, especially in the braking capability and overall grip levels. The lack of power-steering is immediately apparent which is nice as it gives an extra physical element to driving.”

Despite it only being a preliminary test, Derani said it has offered a possible way back into single-seaters and he would seriously consider an IndyCar drive in the future.

“It is still early days and it was just a test, but it has opened a new door and given me an understanding of what is needed to drive these cars,” Derani said.

“I am young enough at 23 to look at racing both sports cars and single-seaters so I will look and think very carefully about what I could potentially do if the right opportunity came along in Indycars.

“I have my commitments with Ford Chip Ganassi and Tequila Patron Racing this season so I have to give those programs my 100 percent concentration. But if I got the right opportunity to race Indycars then for sure I would seriously consider it.

“From where I stand now I would absolutely love to race these cars but it would need to be at the right time and with the right preparation.

“I am a professional driver and fortunate in the sense that I have these kinds of opportunities to consider.I think it would have to be a long-term program with good continuity and stability and not just a one off race here or there.”

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s