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Tyler Reddick to run “select (Xfinity) races” for Sam Hunt Racing

Tyler Reddick will have multiple opportunities to grow acclimated to his new home at Toyota. Besides running the full NASCAR Cup Series schedule for 23XI Racing, he will also enter “select races” in the Xfinity Series, driving the #24 Toyota GR Supra for Sam Hunt Racing. His first race will be on 25 February at Auto Club Speedway.

“It’s an honur to have Tyler, a multi-time Xfinity Series champion, join our team during a pivotal and incredible year for our company,” stated team owner Sam Hunt. “The excitement is already high heading into 2023 as we’re growing to a two-car, full-time operation, and to have his understanding of this series and these cars is invaluable. We’re excited to have him and his experience behind the wheel of one of our cars as our programme continues to grow.”

Reddick won the Xfinity championship in 2018 and 2019, after which he moved up to the Cup Series permanently. He returned to Xfinity in 2021 for Our Motorsports, which was quickly abandoned when the new #03 entry he was set to run was dropped due to COVID-era qualifying rules locking it out of the grid. He would run four races in Our’s #23 which was acquired from RSS Racing to make up for the #03 as well as three for Jordan Anderson Racing.

In 2022, he was among multiple drivers to run the #48 for Big Machine Racing Team after Jade Buford was dropped from his full-time role. He won at Texas in just his second start for the team.

SHR’s #24 will primarily be driven by Connor Mosack in twenty races, while Kaz Grala is full-time in the #26. Reddick and Grala previously worked together at Richard Childress Racing.

AlphaTauri’s Franz Tost discusses interest in signing Schumacher: “I would actually have liked to have Mick in the car”

Scuderia AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost spoke out on his interest to bring Mick Schumacher on board after his departure from Haas F1 Team, and his confidence that the German driver has the potential return to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship grid in the future.

Tost shared that he thinks “very highly” of Schumacher, and was personally intrigued by the idea of signing him on for a full-time seat. 

“He was an issue [of conversation] for me, personally. I would actually have liked to have Mick in the car,” Tost told German news outlet RTL, “Mick is talented” and “he also has what it takes to drive successfully in Formula 1.”

Ultimately, this move never came to fruition, with Tost citing “political reasons” as a main obstacle for negotiation, due to Schumacher’s association with the Ferrari Driver Academy. 

Instead, the decision was made to sign Mercedes Test and Reserve Driver and 2021 Formula E Champion Nyck de Vries, who impressed the paddock in 2022 with a points-scoring F1 debut after subbing in for an ill Alexander Albon at the Italian Grand Prix. 

Jaguar’s James Barclay Hails Riyadh Street Circuit as ‘Formidable’

Jaguar TCS Racing Team Principal James Barclay has hailed the Riyadh Street Circuit, this weekend’s host, as a “formidable” track, one that is a “real test for driver and car”.

This weekend’s Diriyah E-Prix will see rounds two and three of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, as Gen3 hits the Middle East for its first time this season. The opening round in Mexico City was a mixed one for Jaguar, with Sam Bird having retired early on due to a technical issue with his Jaguar I-TYPE 6. Mitch Evans, though, and both drivers at Jaguar’s customer team Envision Racing managed to score points, meaning that three Jaguar’s featured in the top ten.

Barclay sees this as a “positive sign”, with the hope now being that the team can “build” on their result at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. It won’t be easy, though, with this weekend likely to be the most challenging for the Gen3 cars, given how unforgiving the circuit is. A mistake by any of the drivers this weekend will result in their car hitting the barrier, with the luxury of run-offs not featuring for the vast majority of the circuit.

As daunting as the Diriyah E-Prix is, Barclay also labels it as being “memorable”, with it being the only night race on the calendar.

“We are looking forward to getting back out on track for two exciting night races in Diriyah this Friday and Saturday. This is a formidable street circuit, a real test for driver and car and made even more memorable as we race at night.

Sam Bird ‘can’t quite believe’ Diriyah E-Prix ‘is my 100th race’

Sam Bird is hoping to celebrate his one-hundredth race in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in style this weekend at the Diriyah E-Prix, after the Jaguar TCS Racing driver endured a miserable start to Gen3 and the 2022/23 season.

The Mexico City E-Prix was not one to remember for Bird, who suffered a technical issue in Free Practice Two, hampering his time on-track. As a result, he struggled in qualifying and ended up twenty-first on the grid. This didn’t actually matter too much, as the Formula E veteran retired in the opening laps following yet another technical fault.

It marked a disappointing start to Gen3 for Bird; however, looking ahead to this week’s double header in Diriyah, the Brit is “positive” about the two rounds ahead. The Riyadh Street Circuit has been a good venue for Bird over the years, with him having claimed victory twice in Diriyah – he also holds the lap record. It is most importantly, though, his one-hundredth race in the series, meaning he wants a special result to help celebrate the occasion.

“I’ve got fond memories of competing in the Diriyah E-Prix as I’ve won the race twice before and I currently hold the record for the fastest lap which I secured last year. While the result in Mexico City was disappointing, we have learnt from the data and I am positive about the next two rounds. It is my 100th race in Formula E which I can’t quite believe and I want to mark that with a decent result.”

“I’m feeling motivated to finish higher” – Mitch Evans

On the other side of the Jaguar garage, Mitch Evans is hopeful of a better weekend than he had at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, where the New Zealander managed to claim eighth.

Mahindra’s Frederic Bertrand Labels Diriyah E-Prix as ‘Another Important Race Weekend’

Mahindra Racing CEO Frederic Bertrand is hopeful that Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Rowland can both “reach the points” this weekend at the Diriyah E-Prix, which is hosting rounds two and three of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

Life in Gen3 started on the whole very well for Mahindra in Mexico City, with Di Grassi having claimed a shock pole position and then a third place finish for his efforts. For Rowland, though, it was a difficult start to the new era, with the British driver having finished outside the points following a tough weekend.

Challenges are to be expected given that the new era of the sport has just begun, with this weekend potentially set to be one of the toughest weekends of the season. The Riyadh Street Circuit is a formidable circuit, with the drivers needing to concentrate at every moment. There is no room for error at the venue, unlike at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, putting further emphasis on precision and smoothness this weekend.

It is also the first double header of the Gen3 era, something which could result in more technical issues than at the season opener.

Bertrand is “looking forward” to the upcoming weekend and is aware that the team will need to remain “strong” across both races, with the weekend set to be the biggest challenge yet of the Gen3 era.

Lucas di Grassi: “The main aim going into the next two rounds is to keep the momentum”

Lucas di Grassi is hopeful that he can carry the “momentum” from the season-opening Mexico City E-Prix into this week’s double header in Diriyah, for rounds two and three of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

Life at Mahindra Racing started beautifully for Di Grassi at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, with the Brazilian having claimed a shock pole position after beating Jake Dennis in the Final of the duels. Mahindra’s package didn’t look great in Mexico City, hence why his pole position was a surprise to most. Di Grassi went on to claim third in the race, after an excellent defensive display that saw the Brazilian use all of his Formula E experience.

Looking ahead to this week’s Diriyah E-Prix, Di Grassi is expecting a very different challenge. The Gen3 challengers will be put to the test at one of the hardest circuits on the calendar, with tyre temperature likely to be an issue due to it being a night race.

Di Grassi knows that the team must “continue improving” at each E-Prix, with the emphasis on this weekend being to “focus on high-speed stability” at the “very difficult” circuit.

“I think the main aim going into the next two rounds is to keep the momentum we had from Mexico. We have to continue improving and focus on the long term evolution of the team. In Diriyah, we need to focus on high-speed stability. It will be less energy critical than Mexico but with potentially more issues with the tyres, especially because it is a night race. The Saudi track is very difficult and has different characteristics to the Mexico City circuit so we need to be able to adapt.”

Gary Paffett named McLaren XE Sporting Director

Gary Paffett will lead the NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team from the 2023 season onwards as Sporting Director, the team announced Monday. He will also continue to oversee McLaren’s other electric racing arm in Formula E as team manager.

Paffett was retained by McLaren for their Formula E programme when they acquired Mercedes-EQ ahead of the 2023 season, having worked as Mercedes’ team manager alongside principal Ian James who also stayed during the takeover. James is also involved with the XE division as managing director. The Formula E and Extreme E teams both have NEOM title sponsorship as part of the NEOM McLaren Electric Racing banner.

Prior to taking on a management capacity, Paffett competed in Formula E for HWA RACELAB during the 2018/19 season. He and Stoffel Vandoorne combined to finish ninth in the team championship, with Paffett recording a best finish of eighth thrice in Hong Kong, Paris, and New York. HWA eventually scaled back into a backstage role for 2019/20 and the team was reformed into Mercedes-EQ, with Paffett becoming an advisor and test/reserve driver as Nyck de Vries was named a permanent driver.

“It’s great to have the responsibility of Sporting Director of the NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team and I’m really excited to work with the group of close-knit people that we have in the team, including Emma and Tanner, who showed great progress and strong performances last season,” said Paffett.

“McLaren Racing entered Extreme E in 2022 and the team has been successful thus far, with some fantastic results towards the end of the year, culminating in a podium finish at the final race in Uruguay. The target for the team is to continue that progression to move towards the front of the field. It’s a very competitive championship with some really fantastic teams and drivers involved, so it will be extremely tough competition. I’m looking forward to the start of the season in NEOM, Saudi Arabia.”

2023 Race of Champions: Stephane Peterhansel to demo Audi RS Q e-tron E2

The 2023 Race of Champions will be a bit of a party for drivers who are two weeks removed from competing in the Dakar Rally. While former ROC winners Sébastien Loeb and Mattias Ekström will take part in the racing itself, Stéphane Peterhansel will be there to put on an exhibition with his Audi RS Q e-tron E2.

The Audi RS Q e-tron E2 is Team Audi Sport’s newest rally raid challenger, intended to be a slimmer and more powerful iteration than its predecessor and capable of racing for the World Rally-Raid Championship in the T1.U category. Its début at the Rallye du Maroc in October proved to be a hit as Carlos Sainz, racing in the Open class as the car did not meet 2022 T1 regulations, recorded an overall time faster than the T1 entries.

Unfortunately for the team, the 2023 Dakar Rally went disastrously as Peterhansel and Sainz retired from crashes; the two wrecked together in Stage #6, resulting in Peterhansel’s co-driver Édouard Boulanger breaking his vertebrae, before Sainz suffered the same injuries in another accident three legs later. Perhaps adding insult to injury, team was also marred by controversy prior to Stage #5 when they received an eight-kW power boost as part of the FIA’s Equivalence of Technology rule which allows race officials to modify T1.U and T1+ entries’ speeds to level the playing field, sparking outcry from Nasser Al-Attiyah who went on to win the Rally anyway. Ekström was the lone Audi to reach the finish in fourteenth overall.

Sweden’s snow and ice will be a change of pace for the E2, which had only seen action in desert environments.

“It’s fantastic that Stéphane Peterhansel will lap in our Audi RS Q e-tron Dakar car too,” said Ekström, a three-time ROC champion set to race for Team Sweden. “The car has only rarely been seen in Europe as we usually run in the desert in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, so it will be great for the fans to come close and realise what it’s all about.”

2023 Race of Champions: Mattias Ekstrom, Johan Kristoffersson create Team Sweden

The 2023 Race of Champions‘ host country will be represented by a dynamic duo as FIA World Rallycross rivals Mattias Ekström and Johan Kristoffersson join forces to create Team Sweden. The duo have combined for six championships in the series, and have also competed against each other in Extreme E.

Ekström, the 2016 World RX champion, is a three-time winner of the Race of Champions with victories in 2006, 2007, and 2009. He and Tom Kristensen also won the 2005 Nations Cup for Team Scandinavia. For 2023, he intends to have an exhibition in the Audi S1.

He is two weeks removed from completing his third Dakar Rally. In a frustrating race for him and his Team Audi Sport peers, Ekström was at least able to reach the finish in fourteenth overall. He and Audi will attempt to make up lost ground in the World Rally-Raid Championship by running the rest of the season. His team-mate Stéphane Peterhansel will also be at ROC to show off their Audi RS Q e-tron E2.

Outside of rally raid and rallycross, he ran the inaugural Extreme E season in 2021 for ABT CUPRA before departing and incidentally being replaced by another Dakar competitor in newly crowned winner Nasser Al-Attiyah. The two-time DTM champion also has experience in NASCAR, Supercars, and WRC.

“The Race of Champions has meant a lot to me over the years, especially being able to win it in Paris, London and Beijing,” Ekström said. “It was also great to be able to show my Audi A4 DTM with some demo laps down the years. Now I’m really looking forward to lapping in the classic Audi S1, especially as we are in Sweden.”

Saudi-Lifestyle Brand CORE Announced as Title Partner of the Diriyah E-Prix

Ahead of this weekend’s second and third round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, it has been announced that Saudi-lifestyle brand CORE will be the title sponsor of this week’s Diriyah E-Prix double-header.

The Diriyah E-Prix is, of course, the only E-Prix during the season to be conducted during the night under low-powerered LED lights, making for an incredible spectacular for all the fans in attendance and watching from home. By being the title partner of the event this week, CORE branding will feature all over the 21-turn circuit, which has previously been referred to as the ‘car killer’ due to its difficulty.

It will certainly be an incredibly challenging weekend for all the teams and drivers, with their being no room for error. With that in mind, this weekend could be the toughest couple of rounds of the season, especially with so much still being unknown about the new Gen3 cars.

“We’re absolutely delighted to confirm CORE will be the title partner for the up-coming 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix, that will host rounds two and three of Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship,” said Carlo Boutagy, Founder and CEO of CBX, official promoter of the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix.

“It’s great to have such a luxury brand partner associated with the race and we can’t wait to see the exciting new, lighter and faster GEN3 cars on-track under the floodlights in Saudi Arabia at this year’s event.”

SAUDIA Announce Reigning World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne as Ambassador

SAUDIA, Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier and official Airline partner of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, have confirmed that reigning World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne has become an ambassador for the airline, ahead of this week’s Diriyah E-Prix.

This week’s double-header at the UNESCO World Heritage site city of Diriyah will be the second and third round of Season Nine, which got underway just over a week ago in Mexico City. SAUDIA were named as the World’s Most Improved Airline in 2021 by SkyTrax, with the airline having also been awarded the accolade in 2017. SAUDIA have become one of the biggest airlines in the Middle East over recent years and have been widely applauded for their extensive safety measures that they carried out in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, with the airline having been awarded the Diamond status by APEX Health and Safety powered by SimpliFlying.

Moataz Alandijani, GM Partnerships & Sponsorships, is “delighted” to have the Belgian driver onboard, due to the duo sharing the same “values of progression and innovation”.

“We’re delighted to announce Stoffel Vandoorne as an official ambassador of SAUDIA. As a leader in his field and the current champion of the ABB FIA Formula E, our partnership is based on shared values of progress and innovation. We’re looking forward to building on this important collaboration throughout Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship as SAUDIA fulfils its role of bringing the world to Saudia Arabia and build upon its position as one of the world’s leading airlines.”

Vandoorne is also pleased to be taking up an ambassadorial role for SAUDIA, with the DS Penske driver recognising that himself and the airline share a “creating memories that last a lifetime”.

Dan Ticktum: “I’m so happy with the speed we had”

Dan Ticktum proved at the season-opening round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship that NIO 333 Racing will not be the backmarkers in Gen3, with the British driver having shown incredible pace at the Mexico City E-Prix.

Having spent virtually the entirety of the Gen2 era at the back of the field, NIO came out of the blocks with a bang at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, with the team perhaps being an underdog for a few podiums this season.Ticktum showed great speed throughout the Mexico City E-Prix and even managed to make it to the duels in qualifying, where he was unfortunately knocked out in the Quarter-Finals.

The British driver started the race from fifth and looked comfortable in the top five, before everything went wrong. Ticktum saw a possible points finish taken from him, with the NIO driver having been awarded a penalty for a power spike on the dummy grid, something that wasn’t his fault. When he emerged from the pits after serving his penalty, he’d fallen to last.

Ticktum ultimately ended the race as the last-running driver but was still “so happy” with how the opening weekend panned out, after taking the unlucky penalty on the chin.

“If you look at our season last year, to be straight into the duels in the opening round is very positive. It’s quite difficult to put a lap together in the Gen3, it’s a very different car to the Gen2, but I managed to put a good lap in qualifying and then again in the duels, it was just a shame I was paired with Jake Hughes, as he was the fastest out of all the drivers, overall I’m pretty happy with the pace we showed.

Sacha Fenestraz: “We definitely had the potential to score points”

It was an unfortunate end to Sacha Fenestraz‘s full debut in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with the French driver having fallen out of the points late on at the Mexico City E-Prix, resulting in a disappointing start to Gen3 for the Nissan Formula E Team.

The rookie driver had looked very promising at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, with the Frenchman having incredibly managed to make it into the qualifying duels, where he was then eliminated at the Quarter-Final stage. It was nevertheless an excellent effort by the 2022 Super Formula runner-up, who started the first race of the season in eighth.

Fenestraz performed just as well in the race and looked set for a top-ten finish on his full debut, with the young driver having climbed as high as sixth at one-point during the opening race of the 2022/23 season. It was late heartbreak for Fenestraz and Nissan, though, as a late issue with his energy management system saw the French driver tumble to fifteenth.

Fenestraz admits that the race was a “bit frustrating”, but that ultimately it was still a massively “positive weekend”, especially given the fact he made the duels on his full debut.

“I was really happy to make it through to the Duels in qualifying, the competition is really tough so we did a great job and almost made it into the semi-final. The race was a bit frustrating, as we definitely had the potential to score points.

ABT Cupra’s Thomas Biermaier: Robin Frijns’ recovery the “most important thing for us”

ABT CUPRA Formula E Team boss Thomas Biermaier has wished Robin Frijns “all the best and a speedy recovery”, with the Dutchman having been sent to hospital following an opening lap crash at the Mexico City E-Prix.

Life back in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship wasn’t kind to ABT Cupra at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, with the team having struggled for the vast majority of the weekend. Frijns and Nico Mueller came nowhere close to making it into the duels in qualifying, as it quickly became apparent that ABT Cupra will likely be the backmarker for the start of the season.

The race started in the worst possible way for the German team, with Frijns having crashed into the back of Norman Nato on the opening lap. The crash fractured the Dutchman’s hand and wrist, with Frijns having been sent to hospital for surgery whilst the race was going on. It has since been confirmed that his surgery was successful; however, he is set for a lengthy-spell on the sidelines.

Whilst Frijns was being taken to hospital, Mueller made up four places on his first race back in the sport since Season Seven, to claim fourteenth place.

Overall, the weekend was incredibly difficult for ABT Cupra; however, for Biermaier the “most important thing” coming out of their returning race is that Frijns “recovers quickly”.

Nico Mueller ‘learned an enormous amount’ from season-opening Mexico City E-Prix

Nico Mueller endured a challenging start to the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, as the ABT CUPRA Formula E Team discovered the hard way that Gen3 is going to be an incredible challenge.

The Swiss driver would’ve presumably liked his returning weekend to the all-electric series to have gone better, with the thirty year-old having ended the weekend in fourteenth. ABT Cupra were arguably the weakest team for the entirety of the Mexico City E-Prix, with Mueller having qualified eighteenth. With that in mind, he did make up four places during the race, with the Swiss driver having “learned an enormous amount” from the start of the Gen3 era.

“The entire team and also myself learned an enormous amount this weekend – we’ll take that as a positive takeaway. When we get home, it’s on to data analysis and then into the simulator, because fortunately the next race is only two weeks away.”

On the other side of the ABT Cupra garage, Robin Frijns suffered a nasty crash on the opening lap after hitting the back of Norman Nato. Frijns was sent to hospital for surgery not long after the crash, after fracturing his wrist and hand. Whilst the surgery was a success, he is set to miss the Diriyah E-Prix, with The Race reporting that’ll he be out for the bulk of the season. With that in mind, it has been confirmed that the Dutchman will be replaced by South African ABT DTM driver Kelvin van der Linde.