Photo courtesy Velocity News

Taylor Harte hopes to follow fellow New Zealander Scott Dixon in IndyCar someday

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The next Scott Dixon – or at least the next IndyCar driver from New Zealand – may be on the horizon.

Of course, everyone is familiar with Dixon, who captured his fifth IndyCar championship Sept. 16 at Sonoma Raceway.

Now, if things go well for young New Zealander Taylor Harte, he potentially may follow in Dixon’s IndyCar footsteps in a few years.

Harte, who was born in the U.S. before growing up in New Zealand, is back on this side of the pond, pursuing a USF2000 ride for 2019, the first step on the Road to Indy route.

According to New Zealand’s Velocity News, Harte began racing go-karts at the age of six and has gone on to record considerable success in the ground huggers, including the KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championship for KF3 in 2013 and the North Island Championship in DD2 in 2017.

And, Velocity News noted, Harte has made podium appearances in the last 52 races he’s taken part in.

Harte is spending much of his time currently serving as a mechanic for Swam Motorsport, which competes in both the USF2000 and Pro Mazda series. He recently had a chance to test a USF2000 ride and showed strong promise.

“I went into the USF2000 car straight out of go karting, which is a big step up, but I ended the day just half a second off the top guys and they were on new tires,” Harte told Velocity News. “I have done a lot of work in a simulator with Darren Manning, an ex-IndyCar driver to improve myself as much as I can.

“I adapted really well, but I still have a lot to learn.”

Harte hopes to have a ride in USF2000 in 2019, but finances are still a question mark. Still, he’s not giving up on his dream of conquering USF2000, then progress up the development ladder in Pro Mazda, Indy Lights and the pinnacle, IndyCar.

“That’s the plan for us,” Harte said.

Harte is the son of Dane Harte, who was a crew chief in both CART and the Indy Racing League for Dick Simon Racing and Cheever Racing in the 1980s and 1990s, including being part of the 1998 Indianapolis 500-winning team with Eddie Cheever behind the wheel. Dane Harte also served as a crewman for Lyn St. James at Indy.

“I’ve got a lot of teams calling me and wanting to do stuff,” Taylor Harte told Velocity News. “It’s just a matter of getting my name out there and getting the funding.”

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Simona de Silvestro to become Venturi Formula E test driver

Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
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Simona de Silvestro will become a test driver for the Venturi Formula E team for 2018/2019 season.In addition

De Silvestro previously raced limited events in the series during the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 seasons.

I’m delighted to make my return to Formula E as a test driver for Venturi Formula E Team and I’m grateful to Susie (Wolff, team principal) and Gildo (Pastor, team president) for the opportunity,” de Silvestro said on SpeedCafe.com.

“Since competing in Season 2, I’ve kept a close eye on the Formula E championship and followed its development with interest,” de Silvestro continued. “The arrival of the new Gen2 car represents a huge milestone for the series and I am very happy to be back in an active role at this exciting and important time.”

De Silvestro has raced in Australian Supercars since 2017. She will continue to race in that series with Kelly Racing as she balances her time with Venturi.

The bulk of de Silvestro’s testing will be done in its simulator in Monaco.

“The next 12 months will be really busy for me with both Formula E and my Australian Supercars commitments but I’m ready for the challenge and it’s a joy to be working with such a well connected and committed team as Venturi,” de Silvestro said.

“Simona is a real team player and a driver I was keen to work with,” said team principal Wolff. “She has a very positive attitude and no-nonsense approach to her work which will fit in well with the team.”