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Gasly insists he’s ready for F1 chance amid Toro Rosso speculation

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RED HOOK, NY – Pierre Gasly feels he is ready to step up to Formula 1 with Toro Rosso in the near future amid ongoing speculation about the Red Bull B-team’s driver plans for 2018.

Gasly won last year’s GP2 title before being sent to the Japanese Super Formula series by Red Bull for 2017 as it opted to continue with its existing Toro Rosso line-up of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat.

Despite Sainz’s reluctance to spend another year with Toro Rosso and ongoing questions about Kvyat’s future, recent reports have suggested Red Bull plans to keep both on for 2018.

Gasly remains relaxed about his future F1 chances, though, saying that things remain fluid and that nothing is official until it is announced.

“For me my target is still the same. At the moment nothing is signed in Toro Rosso,” Gasly told NBC Sports.

“Of course at the moment everyone is talking with everyone, and every week it’s changing. Until it will be official, I think everything is possible.

“Of course my targets stay the same after winning GP2 last year. I just feel like I am ready for F1. I will keep pushing until it happens.”

When asked if he would consider finding a drive outside of Red Bull’s umbrella for 2018 if no opportunity came, Gasly said: “At the moment I’m just focused on F1, and then after we will see in a couple of months what will happen for next year.”

Gasly made his Formula E debut in New York last weekend with Renault e.dams, deputizing for Sebastien Buemi, and recorded two top-10 finishes, including a run to fourth place on Sunday.

“It’s been really exciting, really busy as well since yesterday to learn all the procedures and get used to the car, it’s been a lot of hard work,” Gasly said of his debut outing.

“But I really enjoyed it overall. We managed to score points in both races, we managed to go into Super Pole this morning with the fastest lap of the weekend.

“It’s been really positive with close racing on-track. Both races were good fun. It’s been a good experience.”

Tequila Patron to end ESM and IMSA partnerships after 2018 season

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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Earlier on Monday, Tequila Patron, a long-time sponsor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, both at the team level – they have a long standing partnership with Tequila Patron ESM – and the series level, announced that they will be ending their sponsorships at the end of the 2018 season.

After sponsoring Highcroft Racing in 2008 and 2009 in the American Le Mans Series, Tequila Patron and ESM formed a partnership in 2010 to launch their own team. Since then, they have scored overall wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Petit Le Mans. They have also competed internationally, in both Prototype and GT categories.

“On behalf of the entire Extreme Speed Motorsports organization, it has been an honor to represent such an amazing brand for the past 13 years,” said team co-owner Scott Sharp via a team release.

“I have the deepest gratitude for all of (Patron CEO and ESM co-founder) Ed Brown’s support. Together we have tackled various challenges, won races at each step, and built ESM into such an incredible team. Simultaneously, it has been thrilling to watch Ed and his team build the Patrón brand in a meteoric fashion and along the way become an icon in the motorsports world! We will miss not carrying the now infamous green and black livery, but the same passion for excellence will remain!”

IMSA President Scott Atherton also expressed gratitude toward Patron for their long-time involvement.

“IMSA and Patron Spirits have enjoyed a fantastic partnership for more than a decade. Tequila Patron rose through the IMSA ranks, from a high-profile team sponsor with Patron Highcroft Racing beginning in 2008, through its entitlement sponsorship of the Patron GT3 Challenge starting in 2009, and its presenting sponsorship of the American Le Mans Series beginning in 2010,” Atherton detailed.

He continued, “Tequila Patron continued in a prominent position as the American Le Mans Series merged with GRAND-AM to create the new IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and has been our entitlement partner for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup since 2014 in addition to its longstanding support of the Tequila Patron ESM race team and its pair of Nissan DPi race cars.

“All associated with IMSA – competitors, promoter partners, series officials and fans – will miss the iconic Tequila Patrón brand next year. On behalf of IMSA, we thank CEO Ed Brown and Tequila Patron for all they have done over the many years to help us grow IMSA and the sport as a whole. We’re more proud than words can express to have counted Tequila Patron among our family of premium brand partners.”

Team co-owner Scott Sharp, in a story posted on SportsCar365, asserted that the ESM team has every intention of continuing in 2019.

“We’re working on a number of options,” Sharp said. “Obviously I think we’ve singly got the best team we’ve ever had, personnel-wise. Having been refining over the years and making selected additions, we’ve gotten ourselves to be super strong. The goal is keeping everyone together. We’re working through a few different options that will hopefully allow us to do that.”

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