Force Indy aligns with other teams to field cars for Myles Rowe, Ernie Francis Jr. in 2023

Force Indy Francis Rowe
Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment

Force Indy will align with two existing teams for the 2023 season to put drivers Myles Rowe and Ernie Francis Jr. in feeder circuits to the NTT IndyCar Series.

Francis Jr. will drive a No. 99 Force Indy entry for HMD Motorsports in Indy Lights.

Francis, a winner in the Superstar Racing Experience and Trans-Am series, finished 10th in the 2022 points standings in his first Indy Lights season with Force Indy. He will be among several drivers in Indy Lights cars prepared by HMD Motorsports, which won the 2022 championship with Linus Lundqvist.

Rowe will drive a No. 99 Force Indy car for Pabst Racing in the rebranded USF Pro 2000 Championship (formerly Indy Pro 2000) presented by Cooper Tires. The New York native will be moving up from USF2000, where he won five races and finished second in points last season with Pabst (despite scrambling to secure funding).

Rowe became the first Black driver to win in USF2000 with Force Indy during the team’s inaugural 2021 season. Force Indy was formed in 2020 as part of IndyCar’s Race for Equality and Change in a technical support alliance with Team Penske. African-American team owner Rod Reid put an emphasis on hiring Black American men and women in all departments of the team.

Myles Rowe finished second in the 2022 USF2000 points standings as a winner with Pabst Racing (USF2000).

In a release, Force Indy said crew members who worked on Francis’ Indy Lights car last season will be integrated in roles at HMD Motorsports. The team also will transfer cars and equipment to HMD Motorsports as “focus will shift toward establishing a program that sponsors multiple drivers at top teams while fostering additional pathways for diverse talent across the motorsports spectrum.”

Reid also will continue to mentor Francis and Rowe while running the NXG Youth Motorsports diversity program.

“Force Indy already has a lot to celebrate,” Reid said in a release. “In 2021, we made history as the first African American-owned team and driver to win an IndyCar-sanctioned race. Now we are aligning ourselves with two championship-caliber teams as we seek growth and continued success both on and off the track.”

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.