CFH Racing co-owner Ed Carpenter has confirmed that road and street course specialist Mike Conway will not be back behind the wheel for the team in the IndyCar Series next year.

The British racer contested the Series’ road and street course events with the team – then known as Ed Carpenter Racing – last year, picking up wins at Long Beach and Toronto.

He also dovetailed this with occasional outings for Toyota in the World Endurance Championship, and it is believed that the Japanese giant – which won this year’s WEC crown – has taken up an option on Conway’s services where he will be required full-time next year.

“It’s unfortunate, but we thank him for what he did,” Carpenter admitted.

“We’ll be going in a different direction and hopefully in the next month we’ll be able to make a decision on a driver and make an announcement and have more success.”

CFH Racing – a merger between the single-car Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing teams – will field Josef Newgarden full-time in its #67 entry, while oval specialist Carpenter is again expected to share the #20 seat through the season.

While the IndyCar Series still has almost three months to run until its 2015 season officially kicks off, the rumour mill is running on overdrive with speculation as to who will claim a number of potentially vacant race seats which remain up for grabs.

Having been dumped from Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Formula 1 line-up next season, Jean-Éric Vergne has made no secret of his desire to remain in open-wheel racing. The Frenchman – a veteran of 58 Grand Prix starts – had a one-off outing with Andretti Autosports’ Formula E team at Saturday’s Punta del Este street race, and impressed everyone by qualifying on pole position in unfamiliar surrounds.

“I’m working with a manager who works with a few drivers in America, Julian Jakobi, and at the moment, it seems like it is quite hard to go to a top team right away, but I am very interested to see what type of seats are available,” he confirmed. Certainly his performance in Uruguay will have done his prospects absolutely no harm.

Another driver with strong F1 connections is former GP2 Series champion and Lotus reserve driver Davide Valsecchi, who has secured a test outing with the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports outfit.

The 27-year-old Italian’s racing career stalled after he dominated the GP2 Series in 2012, with a role as Lotus’ reserve driver in 2013 amounting to barely any on-track driving. He acrimoniously parted ways with the team before the end of the season amid claims he had not been paid.

SPM will give the promising racer his first taste of an IndyCar racer at Sebring next month, as it looks to evaluate him as a potential teammate for new appointee James Hinchcliffe, who swapped seats with the Andretti Autosports-bound Simon Pagenaud.

Image via Motorsport

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Geoff Burke

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