Nathaniel Powers and Will Hoskins will swap seats for the remaining two races of 2015, in a dual announcement from Downton and Westwood that has stunned the paddock.
The two teams are currently embroiled in a battle for fourth place in the Constructors' Championship.
In a low key press conference following the Mexican GP, Ingram have annnounced that they have extended the contract of Nikolai Milkovich.
"We are delighted Nikolai has agreed to stay with us for next season, and doubly pleased that he has signed for 2 years!" exclaimed Ingram, "We believe we have one of the strongest driver pairings on the grid, and if we can give them a car to fight for podiums we are confident they will secure them".
"I have driven for William for the last two seasons, and I've been very happy here, two more years hopefully fighting towards the front". said Milkovich.
Will Hoskins has taken a stunning pole position for the Mexican V-Prix in Mexico City, with a lap time almost two tenths faster than closest rival, Rossi's Puccio Giodano. Despite his recent good form, Enrique Ruiz could only manage third place with a time 6 tenths shy of the leading Westwood, and Nikolai Milkovich continued Ingram's impressive weekend in fourth. Championship leader Elroy Wagner took fifth, while the second of the Ingrams, Rossis and Westwoods sit in 6th, 7th and 8th respectively. Following that, Liverpool, Downton, AMR, FUN and Meteor are all in Noah's Ark formation, with Ocelot and Warrior in a hard fought scrap at the back. Be sure to join us for what is sure to be another fascinating V-Prix in Mexico!
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Downton have signed 2015 Virtual European Racing Series champion Dmytro Kovalenko as their reserve and test driver for 2016, after the loan deal that will see Kip Maxwell leave the team for the first time in the series' history.
In practice for the Mexican V-Prix, it was Westwood's Will Hoskins that was fastest, continuing the impressive form of both the Englishman and his team in recent times. He was three tenths clear of second placed Puccio Giodano, who in turn was in front of Nikolai Milkovich for Ingram. The Franklins were fourth and fifth fastest respectively, with the in-form Ruiz ahead of championship leader Elroy Wagner by a single tenth of a second. The second Westwood of Tumo Kinnumen took the sixth fastest time, while Liverpool seem to have fallen even further behind the frontrunners, only managing 7th and 12th. Enzo Domenicalli was a full six tenths slower than his team mate in 9th, while it was a horrible session for Nathaniel Powers - having never scored a point in Mexico, his bad luck continued with a gearbox problem only three laps into his first run.
Full standings below:
North Star Racing have confirmed that FV2 race winner Alesky Nowosinki will make his Formula Virtual debut alongside Judson Sikes in the 2016 season, while the team's line-up is completed by Jacinto van Slooten taking the role of test and reserve driver.
"We've been very impressed with his rate of progress through the junior ranks," stated Team Principal Nick Forrest. "If he can continue that throughout his time with us, then I imagine we'll be seeing some great performance from him before too long."
"I'm incredibly grateful to the guys at North Star for giving me this opportunity," Nowosinki told reporters, "I can't wait to get into the car and see what it's capable of, and I'm really looking forward to giving Judson a good fight this time!"
This will not be the first time that Sikes and Nowosinki have been team-mates. The duo both raced for the Holmqvist team in the 2014 Formula Single-Seater Championship, now known as the Virtual World Racing Series. During that season, Nowosinki fell short of the Russian's performance, but Forrest believes there will not be such a disparity next season.
"It is beneficial, I'd say, that they've raced together in the past." he explained, "They already have the experience working alongisde one another, they both know each other's driving style, so that'll help us with regards to development, and with Aleksy's current form, I'd expect him to give Judson a run for his money this time around."
"Best of luck to him." was all Sikes had to say on the matter.
The first Polish driver to enter the series has been joined by the experienced Jacinto van Slooten, who started six raced for the Downton team in 2013, before moving into a reserve driver role at Team 23 and later Lucas.
"It's definitely exciting, being a part of a brand new team entering the sport," the Dutchman said, "I'm hoping I can help the team build a good car for the other guys, and I'm sure they're hoping the same."
Nowosinki will get his first taste of Formula Virtual machinery at the 2016 Young Driver Test, where he will be joined by North Star's development driver, Lowell Hamm.
Enrique Ruiz will remain at Franklin in 2016 as many suspected after Jamie Franklin - a guest commentator at today's Italian V-Prix - confirmed the news during his commentary stint, however the team principal did also announce the team were still evaluating options for an engine supplier for next season.
Joining Johan Halvosen and Stuart Harrison at Meteor for the 2016 will be Jamie Gerrard, Emma Wilson and Luke Stokey.
The announcement comes to follow the prior agreement between Meteor and FIRST, stating that Gerrard will be FIRST’s test driver on a loan-based deal for 2016. Meteor confirmed that whilst Gerrard is still under contract with the Meteor team, he will not be actively developing and working with the team.