Sebastian Vettel makes surprise cameo debut in Legends Trophy


The Legends Trophy had a surprising — and rule-bending — cameo in the doubleheader opener of the second round of its virtual championship series.

Four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel made his competitive sim racing debut at the virtual version of the Malaysian Grand Prix track where he had four victories in 10 F1 starts from 2008-17.

The Ferrari driver didn’t fare as well racing against several racing legends on rFactor2. The German finished 15th in the first race and 12th in the nightcap, getting caught up in incidents he didn’t cause both times.

REAL FUN IN SIMULATION: Dario Franchitti loving Legends Trophy experience

EMMO’S RETURN: At 73, Fittipaldi has taken to sim racing

The Legends Trophy is open to former drivers older than 40, but Vettel, 32, was provided a provisional entry from the series, which allows former from Formula 1, IndyCar, sports cars and rally to compete virtually every Saturday at tracks around the world.

Juan Pablo Montoya took the points lead by winning the opener and finishing fifth in the second race.

“It was insane at the start,” said the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, who missed a multicar pileup on the opening lap. “The problem with these cars is that when you touch, the thing takes off everywhere, and you don’t know where you’re going to head out. I just tried to stay out of everybody’s way, and the road kind of cleared for me.

“I was driving and sliding around, and I had a lead of seven seconds. You just think ‘don’t worry’
but even when you say ‘don’t worry’, you’re still about to fly off at the next corner.”

Adrian Fernandez, an 11-time IndyCar winner, won the second race for his first Legends Trophy victory.

Montoya leads with 84 points over Emanuele Pirro (80) and Jenson Button (74) in the five-week series. The champion will have $25,000 donated to his favorite charity.

Ryan Hunter-Reay hired as replacement for Conor Daly at Ed Carpenter Racing

Ryan Hunter-Reay Carpenter
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ryan Hunter-Reay was named to replace Conor Daly in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet, starting in the NTT IndyCar Series event next week at Road America.

Hunter-Reay is the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. He finished 11th for Dreyer & Reinbold last month in the 107th Indy 500, his first start since the 2021 season finale. He drove full time for Andretti Autosport from 2010-21.

“We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader. I am excited to welcome Ryan to the team,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a team release. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test. I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”

Hunter-Reay has 18 IndyCar victories, most recently in 2018. He also is a winner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having been a part of winning entries in the 2020 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 2018 Petit Le Mans. Last year, he was an endurance driver for Cadillac Racing while being on standby for Chip Ganassi Racing.

He replaces Daly, whose departure was announced a day earlier in what the driver and team said was a mutual decision.

“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed,” Hunter-Reay said in a team release. “He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help. Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in BITNILE.COM.

“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world. Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an NTT IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber. However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, while representing BITNILE.COM, we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”

Said Milton “Todd” Ault, the chairman of sponsor “It is great for to be aligned with an Indy 500 Winner and an NTT IndyCar Series champion. I have followed Ryan’s career for years and I am confident he will challenge the entire ECR team to perform at higher levels. I wish everyone luck at Road America.”