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IndyCar’s Alexander Rossi and SuperCar’s Chaz Mostert switch series in virtual racing

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“The Switch” is in at Andretti Autosport for this weekend’s virtual racing schedule. NTT IndyCar Series star Alexander Rossi will compete in both the IndyCar iRacing Challenge on Saturday and the Supercars Eseries on Wednesday, April 29. Conversely, Virgin Australia SuperCars driver Chaz Mostert of Walkinshaw Andretti United will compete in both contests.

Rossi and Mostert will become “virtual teammates.”

Mostert will make his (virtual) NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut in Saturday’s AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of The Americas, Round 5 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.  He will pilot the Marco Andretti’s No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb machine, with Rossi as his teammate, alongside with James Hinchcliffe, Zach Veach, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Colton Herta.

Rossi will then compete April 29, in Round 4 of the Supercars All Stars Eseries, with races to be held at the Watkins Glen and Toronto circuits, two venues familiar to Rossi, and the INDYCAR fraternity. He will drive the No. 27 (SPONSOR) Holden ZB Commodore, joining Mostert and Bryce Fullwood in the Walkinshaw Andretti United stable.

“Prior to 2020, I wasn’t much of a sim racer and never had any intentions of becoming one,” Rossi said Wednesday. “But in light of the current situation it has become a great platform for us to stay relevant to our fans and sponsors.

“I had such an incredible time driving the V8 Holden with WAU in Bathurst last year. It was a no-brainer for me to return virtually to the grid for two races where I know the tracks incredibly well and have had good success there in the past.

“With Chaz racing with us at COTA in the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge this weekend, we will have to come up with some sort of friendly bet to see who finishes higher in their respective wild card races. I would put your money on him….”

Mostert hopes to open his racing prowess to a new audience in IndyCar.

“For me it’s super exciting to compete in my first IndyCar race, even if it is virtually,” Mostert said. “Having the link between our organizations has presented me with an amazing opportunity, so a huge thank you to the entire Andretti Autosport team for having me.

“I ‘ll be looking to do a solid job, I’m not expecting too much, I’ve driven a Supercar around COTA once, but I’m tipping the IndyCar will be a different kettle of fish. It’s great to have some awesome teammates to bounce off, so I’ll be picking their brains in the lead up.

“The news of Alexander joining the Supercars field as a wildcard is really exciting, I watched their Bathurst wildcard closely, and to be honest, I was a bit bummed I wasn’t a part of the team then to hang out with them and find out a bit more about their world. It’ll be great to be on the same team, I’ll be leaning on him for advice, and I hope he will do the same.

“We will definitely have to some sort of bet going on the results, we will keep it fun for everyone, including ourselves.”

Saturday’s IndyCar iRacing Challenge will be televised in the United States by NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. That’s 4:30 a.m. Sunday, April 26 in Australia.

Sunday’s Supercars AllStars Eseries is Wednesday, April 29 from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. Eastern Time, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Australia.

Walkinshaw Andretti United, now in its third year of operation, was born from three iconic organizations in world motorsport, Walkinshaw Racing, Andretti Autosport, and United Autosports. It fields two Holden ZB Commodores in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

The three organizations cover the globe, with Walkinshaw Racing based in Australia, Andretti Autosport in America, and United Autosports in Europe. The Team, originally Walkinshaw Racing, debuted as the Holden Racing Team in 1990, and is one of the most successful Supercars teams of all time, having amassed seven Bathurst wins (1990, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2011) and six driver championship wins (1996, 1998, 1999 2000, 2001, 2002). Walkinshaw also produced two other driver championship wins with their HSV Dealer team (2006, 2007) bringing their total to eight.

Andretti Autosport, led by racing legend Michael Andretti, boasts a wide racing portfolio rooted in tradition and designed for success.

Under the banners of Andretti Autosport and BMW Andretti Motorsport, the Indianapolis-based team fields multiple entries across the IndyCar Series, Indy Lights, the FIA Formula E Championship and the GT4 America Series.  The team also competes as Walkinshaw Andretti United in the Australian Supercars category through partnership with Walkinshaw Racing and United Autosports.

The global racing enterprise boasts four Indy Car Series championships, four Indy Light titles, one Indy Pro 2000 championship and has captured victory five times at the famed Indianapolis 500 race.  The team also holds two X Games Gold Medals and five U.S. rallycross championships.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

 

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).