Gutierrez ‘definitely not done’ with F1, wants full-time race program

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MONACO – Esteban Gutierrez says he is “definitely not done” with Formula 1 despite making the move into Formula E after losing his seat with Haas at the end of the 2016 season.

Gutierrez raced for Sauber through 2013 and 2014 before stepping back into a reserve role with Ferrari, which ultimately led to a move to the start-up Haas team for 2016 in a race seat.

While teammate Romain Grosjean was able to score a number of points finishes, Gutierrez failed to take a single top-10 result through 21 races for the team, leading to his dismissal at the end of the season.

Gutierrez has since moved into Formula E with the Techeetah team, but the Mexican remains determined to return to F1 in a full-time seat seat in the future.

“Definitely I’m not done [with F1]. I’ve taken this step which to me was very important to do something proper,” Gutierrez told NBC Sports in Monaco.

“I had opportunity to be there as a third driver, but I wanted to focus on a racing program. Step by step, you know achieving the things that I want to achieve.

“I feel confident, I’ve been preparing a lot physically. I made quite a big step on that side, preparing for the races here in Formula E, driving a different car.

“It’s anyway a great experience to have.”

When asked if he’d had a fair shot in F1 yet, Gutierrez said that he had not been able to fully display his talent through his three seasons on the grid.

“I wouldn’t say it was not fair, but it was not really the chance to show my speed,” Gutierrez said.

“I think there are things that happen in life for a reason, and I’m going to keep pushing. I’m very motivated and looking forward to what’s in the future.

“I’m not really thinking about what’s in the past. The past just gives you lessons, whatever the situation was, it’s always good to learn.

“I take that as experience. I think it will be good.”

Outside of F1, Gutierrez admitted that he finds both IndyCar and the FIA World Endurance Championship interesting racing options, but doubts he’ll move into the latter until much later in his career.

“I think both are very interesting. Probably in my case, IndyCar is more attractive. I think WEC is still something I think of as in the future.

“I’m still quite young, so there’s much more to learn and much more to do. So IndyCar is quite attractive. Let’s see what all of the different options are.”

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”