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IndyCar Open Wheel

Serallas Gets IndyCar Test with Andretti

After a solid season, Felix Serrallas may be getting set to move his way up the open-wheel ranks as he will test with Andretti Autosport at Sebring International Raceway on November 10 & 11.

“I’m beyond excited to finally get a chance to drive an IndyCar and it’s great to be having that chance with Andretti Autosport. This is something I have been dreaming about since I can remember. I’m so grateful to DCM for making this happen,” he said. “I grew up watching all these drivers and it’s almost like a dream to be able to test and learn from someone like Ryan Hunter-Reay, who I have watched for many years. I’m excited to learn how to drive the most physical car in open-wheel racing. It will help me develop into a better driver, test my fitness and compare myself to the big dogs in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

His manager Henry James expressed excitement about the opportunity, stating his client has worked hard to develop at a fast rate.

“He is a truly humble ambassador of his native Puerto Rico and he has always aimed to make his rise through motorsport an achievement for himself and his country – an attribute about Felix which I value very highly,” he added. “We are collaborating with our commercial partners to continue supporting Felix on his way towards his 2017 campaign and I am sure he will be a worthy addition to the Verizon IndyCar Series. JF Thormann at Andretti Autosport has worked very closely with us to bring together this opportunity for Felix and the Andretti team have shown great willingness to support and promote the commercial interests of Felix’s partners and supporters.

“The team won this year’s Indy 500 with Alexander Rossi, another rookie who rose through the highest levels of single-seater racing in Europe, so I have high hopes of seeing Felix in a similar winning position in the near future.”

Serrallas had a solid season of competition in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, winning the season opener last year at St. Petersburg. He then followed it up with a victory at Iowa Speedway in July, showing his diversity as a driver.

“Felix has had an impressive Indy Lights career so far and is a driver that has shown potential in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system,” Michael Andretti said. “We’re happy to be giving him his first IndyCar Series test, and are excited to see his times.”

If the 24-year-old is able to make the next step of his career, he will become the firs Puerto Rican driver in IndyCar competition.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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IndyCar Open Wheel

Magnussen Rejects Andretti IndyCar Rumors, Wants Renault F1 Stay

Formula One racer Kevin Magnussen is rejecting rumors that he will leave the sport to join the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2017, saying that he wants a stay with his current team Renault.

Magnussen clarified his position, sending his thoughts to fans on Twitter after Racer.com claimed he could be an option for Andretti Autosport for their next driver signing with the #26 car still vacant for 2017 alongside Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Alexander Rossi.

 

https://twitter.com/KevinMagnussen/status/788260810569158656

https://twitter.com/KevinMagnussen/status/788260810569158656

Doubts have emerged of his position as Nico Hulkenberg has signed a multi-year deal for 2017 and Magnussen is potentially fighting amongst other drivers for the second seat at the team.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Renault reserve Esteban Ocon have both been discussed in the media as potential other options, leading some to believe that Magnussen could be again be heading out of the sport.

Magnussen is highly-thought of by some as he famously claimed a maiden podium on his McLaren and F1 debut in the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. He finished third for his best result in the sport before inheriting second after Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified.

The 24-year-old completed the 2014 season with the British team before spending a year out as a reserve to Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. He stood in for Alonso at the 2015 race in Australia as Alonso was recovering from a massive crash in pre-season testing.

The Danish driver returned to driving full-time in the sport in 2016 for the French manufacturer, scoring six points at the Russian Grand Prix at the start of May.

Magnussen claimed significantly better results than team-mate Jolyon Palmer at the beginning of the year.

However, since then, his battle with Palmer has become closer, despite him outracing the Briton by finishing ahead of him on 10 occasions. The Danish driver has also out-qualified him 11-7 in their head-to-head after 18 rounds.

Formula One drivers have made IndyCar moves an intriguing career option in recent years, with Andretti’s Rossi and Chip Ganassi’s Max Chilton joining other ex-drivers in the US.

However, he has not raced outside of European-based series in his career so far, which has consisted of racing in junior formulae before making his F1 debut.

EMAIL CAMERON AT cpatersonf1@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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IndyCar Open Wheel

Newgarden-Penske Marriage Perfect Fit For Both Parties

Initially, when discussions began about the possibility of Josef Newgarden moving to Team Penske for 2017, it caught some off-guard based upon Newgarden’s partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing. However, with everything out in the open, it seems as though it’s the perfect marriage for both parties.

For starters, it’s a marketing dream if you’re looking to put together a marketing package. Roger Penske is known as an American racing icon with success in all sorts of series, including the Verizon IndyCar Series. Now you partner a young American with an American organization, and you have the perfect image for a company which wants to chase the American dream persona. It’s worth noting Newgarden will be the first American driving for Penske since Hornish in 2005. Team President Tim Cindric said it’s not why they hired the Tennessee native.

Instead, Cindric insists the hiring is based on the talent and the youthfulness Newgarden brings to the team being 25-years-old as they look towards their future.

“It’s no secret that he’s bringing the average age of our drivers down a little bit, so I think it’s somebody that we can build with and I guess the most important thing is showing that he can be successful at this level,” Cindric said. “He’s somebody that we met with when he was the IndyCar Lights champion. I remember meeting with he and Rick (Mears) and Roger after he won the Lights Championship, and he’s somebody we’ve kept our eye on from that point in time.”

Team Penske’s line-up has been full of experience, senior drivers usually. The average age of their 2016 drivers which included Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya was 37.25. Now with the addition of Newgarden instead of Montoya, it drops the average age down to 33.25.

Each of the top organizations in the series have a youth driver in their fold as Andretti Autosport has Carlos Munoz and an Indy Lights squad, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has James Hinchcliffe and an Indy Lights team, and Chip Ganassi Racing has Max Chilton. Now Team Penske has put themselves on par with these organizations in future planning with their new addition.

In theory, you could say Penske is actually in the best position in that respect. Team Penske finished 1-2-3 in points last season with Pagenaud, Power, and Castroneves. Newgarden was the fourth place finisher with ECR following a victory at Iowa Speedway, where he led 282 of 300 laps. Since 2012, he has picked up three wins and 10 podium finishes, becoming one of the biggest young prospects with a ton of success the past two seasons. With each of the top-four finishers from the 2016 season, they’re the team to beat heading into the new season.

As a young driver, Newgarden made the best move he could for his career. Team Penske has run up front over the past five years in grand fashion, winning championships with Pagenaud and Power. If he shows the talent he had at ECR, Newgarden could become the third face to be crowned under the Captain’s banner in recent years.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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IndyCar Open Wheel

Bourdais Says Personnel Decisions Key to Coyne Move

Each season, Dale Coyne Racing has continued to get stronger as an organization – and perhaps they’re about to put the final piece together to make them a serious contender.

The organization announced earlier this week that Sebastien Bourdais signed a two-year agreement to drive their Honda full-time in 2017. Bourdais stated he was able to make the decision based on his knowledge of Dale Coyne Racing as an organization, how the deal came together and the effort put in by Dale Coyne with decisions.

“Dale’s commitment is a testament to what he wants to achieve,” Bourdais said. “I couldn’t be any happier, thanks to his efforts and all the personal investment and all that, that we could be able to do that. I’m really, really excited about it.”

Dale Coyne says the pieces came together based on their previous experience with Bourdais. The Frenchman originally raced for DCR back in 2011, making nine starts with a best finish of sixth.

Coyne now believes he has the right pieces, especially in bringing Craig Hampson and Olivier Boisson on board. Hampson joins the organization after spending four years with Andretti Autosport. He previously worked with Bourdais in the Champ Car World Series, scoring 31 victories, 31 pole positions and four consecutive Championships from 2004 to 2007. Meanwhile, Boisson was Bourdais’ Race Engineer while at KVSH Racing the past couple years, claiming four victories.

“For me to be able to continue with Olivier, my engineer from KVSH, and to bring a guy of the caliber of Craig in the system, was definitely the key,” Bourdais said. “Super exciting factor to try and be confident that we could be really competitive and build a strong organization, engineering-driven.”

With everything Bourdais feels they’ve put in place, he feels they can build on DCR’s success last year with rookie Conor Daly. Daly ran up front, leading laps and posting five top-10 finishes, including a runner-up in Detroit.

As to who will be Bourdais’ teammate, that has yet to be announced but Coyne says the team is in the process of working that out. He noted they should know their line-up by the end of October.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.J

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IndyCar Open Wheel

Foyt Beginning to Make Off-Season Waves

After Chip Ganassi Racing had announced a switch from Chevrolet to Honda, it opened the doors for other manufacturer switches to come in knowing Chevrolet would want to keep a solid line-up.

The next move is by A.J. Foyt Racing as they will switch to Chevrolet.

“Yeah, I think we’re going back with ’em,” A.J. Foyt told RACER.com on Thursday. “I’ve had a lot of good memories with Chevrolet.”

The organization has also confirmed they will have two entries once again, but have yet to announce which drivers will be behind the wheel.

Takuma Sato has only produced one win – the Long Beach Grand Prix in 2013 – through his four seasons with the team. They struggled last year with both drivers – Sato and Jack Hawksworth – finishing outside of the top-15 in points. Sato is currently rumored to possibly drive for Andretti Autosport or Dale Coyne Racing in 2017.

Based on Larry Foyt’s comments to RACER.com, it appears neither driver from 2016 will return.

“We’re talking to four or five drivers and some engineers, just waiting to get our engine contract done, and then go from there,” he said. “IndyCar is such a tight field, and everyone gets better ever year, so we need to take a bigger step than everyone else.”

One of the biggest rumors right now surrounds Juan Pablo Montoya. He spent the last couple of seasons with Chevrolet driving for Team Penske, but was replaced by Josef Newgarden. It’s worth noting Montoya is searching for a full-time ride in the series.

“The championship was tough, but I had a win this year,” Montoya said post-season. “I won the Indy 500 last year, and I should have won the championship last year. There’s no reason why not.”

This past season, things didn’t go as Montoya hoped with only one victory and finishing ninth in the points standings. In contrast, Montoya was able to win two races, including the Indianapolis 500, and finish second in points in 2015.

“To be honest with you, if you look at all the tough things that happened this year, to actually finish where we did in the championship is pretty good,” Montoya said. “We just didn’t get a break this year.

“We struggled as a team at Indy, in traffic, it just got out of my hands. I made a mistake in Detroit, too, on cold tires (crashing out of the second Dual in 20th). I was saying to my engineers; we put ourselves in such difficult positions that you’ve got to drive over your head to make something happen. When you start doing that, you start making mistakes. It’s just tough.”

Other rumored candidates include Sage Karam, Conor Daly, and Carlos Munoz.

Karam competed in 12 races in 2015, but only ran a single race last season – finishing 32nd in the Indianapolis 500.

Meanwhile, both Daly and Munoz are coming off full seasons, finishing 18th and 10th in the standings respectively.

Daly drove for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016, who recently announced Sebastien Bourdais as a full-time driver for 2017. DCR stated they expect to announce a second driver by the end of this month.

Munoz drove for Andretti Autosport, but all indications show he will not be back for 2017. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, and Alexander Rossi have each announced contract extensions already, with AA continuing to state they will have four cars in 2017.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.