One of the more intriguing press events to happen during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend came after the event itself.
Lucas di Grassi, current Audi LMP driver and a former Formula 1 driver for Virgin Racing (now Marussia) and Pirelli test driver, was on hand to premiere the Formula E race car. Formula E is a new, all-electric vehicle championship that will bring racing to the streets beginning in 2014.
Los Angeles was selected as one of 10 worldwide cities for the new championship, and di Grassi, the official test driver, sampled the car around the Staples Center. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa welcomed the effort. Other cities chosen thus far include Miami, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, London, Rome, Beijing and Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Los Angeles has upgraded or installed 121 public electric vehicle charging stations, streamlined the permitting process necessary to upgrade electrical panels in homes and businesses, and issued rebates for in-home electric charger equipment and installation fees as part of their ‘Charge Up LA’ program.
Formula E Holdings’ CEO is Alejandro Agag, a Spanish businessman who has expanded into Formula 1 and GP2 in recent years with the purchase of the Barwa Addax Team from Adrian Campos.
Mercedes AMG Petronas team boss Toto Wolff believes that junior talents Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon have both earned their roles in Formula 1 for the 2016 season “on merit”.
Wehrlein will make his grand prix debut in 2016 with Manor Racing after winning the DTM title for Mercedes last year, becoming the youngest champion in the history of the series.
Ocon has been loaned to Renault Sport F1 Racing for its comeback season, and will work as the team’s reserve driver following his GP3 title success last year.
Wolff feels that both drivers deserve their chance in F1 this year, and also said that Mercedes will look to expand its junior program across the course of the season.
“We’re delighted that Pascal and Esteban will tackle a fresh set of challenges in 2016,” Wolff said. “Our aim is to build their experience in the best possible environment and, following positive discussions with our counterparts at Manor and Renault, it became clear that their respective Formula 1 programmes presented ideal opportunities to achieve that.
“It is very pleasing to see young drivers earning their spot in Formula 1 on merit and to see that talent is being rewarded by the system. Pascal and Esteban have proven themselves to be amongst the top young drivers out there – and both come into 2016 as champions of their respective series.
“But they still have plenty to learn and they will be staying humble, with their feet on the ground. This is an important year for them and we will be following their progress with great interest, while also looking to expand our junior program.
“Mercedes-Benz has a strong tradition of developing young racing talent and our eyes are very much open to other promising prospects for the future.”
What happens when you put a McLaren P1 owned by baseball star and CJ Wilson Racing team principal, and occasional driver, CJ Wilson, with two-time F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen, and you turn them loose at The Thermal Club for a track day?
Of course there’s other cars besides the McLaren and hockey legend, Teemu Selanne, was also on site.
This really isn’t a post so much that needs words, but one that does need proper photos and noise.
The CJWR pairing of Marc Miller and Daniel Burkett, who drive the No. 33 One Capital/Motor Oil Matters Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport dubbed “Darth Cayman” in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, have been coaching and driving at an event this weekend out at The Thermal Club, a luxury race track in California.