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Tom Dillmann gets good open-wheel, bad sports car news on same day


© GP2 Series Media Service.

Tom Dillmann, a 26-year-old French driver whose name sounds either English or German depending on the day, is one of the rising open-wheel stars who’s also dovetailed his open-wheel races with a bit of sports car racing.

He confirmed on Monday he’s signed with AV Formula for next year’s Formula 3.5 V8 championship, alongside teammate Alfonso Celis Jr.

Here’s his tweets confirming that:

It means he’ll be able to continue in open-wheel. Besides the Formula 3.5 series, Dillmann has also competed in parts of three GP2 Series seasons from 2012 to 2014.

This year, he finished seventh in the Formula 3.5 V8 series, the last known as Formula Renault 3.5 before the manufacturer pulled its support (Oliver Rowland won the title).

While Dillmann’s news is good on the open-wheel side, after the FIA World Endurance Championship season finale in Bahrain on November 21, he might find the sledding tougher finding rides on the sports car side of things.

Dillmann joined the Signatech Alpine LMP2 team for the final two rounds of the season and won in Shanghai last week upon his team debut.

Dillmann, while a professional, was rated as a Silver driver by the FIA, thus fulfilling the “amateur” driver requirement to the regulations of the three-driver lineup (one Silver is required in LMP2).

Upon today’s release of the new-for-2016 ratings (linked here via the FIA), Dillmann has been bumped up from Silver to Gold.

In theory that would be a good thing, but in actuality it isn’t.

As a Gold, and since there are more professionally rated Golds than there are available pro seats, Dillmann’s chances to secure a ride will likely go down, as his value was higher as a Silver.

Dillmann addressed the sports car element of the day in a couple tweet replies.

If Dillmann is able to find further sports car opportunities next year given his new ratings, good on him, but chances are he’ll find the road more difficult on that front. But having an open-wheel program confirmed secures his chances for yet another year.

Follow @TonyDiZinno