IndyCar will hold three open tests in 2023, starting near Palm Springs, California

IndyCar test Palm Springs
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series announced three open test sessions for the 2023 season, starting in the preseason at the Thermal Club near Palm Springs, California, and a stop at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca just before the season finale.

The first test will be held Feb. 2-3 at the 470-acre property in Southern California that is used by club racers and sports car enthusiasts. IndyCar will use the track’s North Palm and South Palm circuits for a 17-turn, 2.9-mile layout.

The 2023 IndyCar season will begin March 5 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida.

“We liken this to a preseason scrimmage,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said in a release about the Thermal test. “The teams will be doing everything it takes to prepare for a run at the 2023 championship at a new and unique backdrop for the NTT IndyCar Series. The facility is spectacular, and I know everyone at The Thermal Club cannot wait to welcome our paddock.”

“For us, it means every IndyCar fan is going to get an inside look at the best cars in the world on what we think is the best track in the world,” The Thermal Club owner John Rogers said in a release. “It’s a wonderful thing, and we’re very happy it’s worked out with IndyCar and Thermal.”

IndyCar also will hold open tests April 20-21 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval and Sept. 7 at Laguna Seca, which will play host to the season finale three days later. The 2.238-mile road course in Monterey, California, is planned for a repave that should be completed by June.

IndyCar’s 17-race schedule will include 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.