Photo courtesy DS Virgin Racing

Formula 3 runner-up Joel Eriksson to get Formula E rookie test after Marrakesh race

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For Swedish racer Joel Eriksson, it’ll be a situation of going from “3 to E.”

The 19-year-old Eriksson finished runner-up in FIA Formula 3 last season. Now, he’s preparing for a Formula E rookie test for DS Virgin Racing.

The test, which will also include one other still-to-be-named driver, will take place Jan. 14, one day after Round 3 of the 2017-18 Formula E Championship at Marrakesh’s Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan.

Eriksson will pilot a Formula E race-winning DSV-03, the first time he’s been behind the wheel since last season’s Formula 3 effort when he earned seven wins and 14 podium appearances.

“Formula E has a wealth of very talented drivers so it’s great to be experiencing this first hand and getting my first taste of electric racing,” Eriksson said in a media release. “DS Virgin Racing are a proven race-winning team so I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel.”

Eriksson was voted 27th in a recent poll by Autosport Magazine of the top 50 drivers of 2017.

“DS Virgin Racing is passionate about nurturing new talent and Joel is one of the most up and coming drivers on the scene right now,” team principal Alex Tai said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in our race-winning machinery.”

Added DS performance director Xavier Mestelan Pinon, “When Joel came in for his simulator session at DS Performance’s HQ, we were impressed with his work rate and how quickly he got up to speed. I am looking forward to seeing him in action on Marrakesh’s circuit to confirm his potential in the Formula E series.”

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.