Boston Celtics owners provide financial jolt to Formula E

2 Comments

The all-electric FIA Formula E Championship has received a $21 million investment from Boston Celtics managing partner Wyc Grousbeck (pictured, left) and a dozen of his co-owners in the legendary NBA team according to the Associated Press.

The AP reports that Formula E is the first investment for Grousbeck’s Causeway Media Partners, a recently-formed company that has raised about $100 million to invest in sports and entertainment properties.

Mark Wan (pictured, right), a co-owner of both the Celtics and the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, and Bob Higgins (pictured, center) are managing partners at Causeway alongside Grousbeck, who led the group that bought the Celtics in 2002 and guided the franchise to its 17th NBA title in 2008.

“We know the power of competition and entertainment, and will bring our knowledge to the development of the market for electric vehicles,” Grousbeck said to the AP.

“Causeway’s mission is to find investment opportunities that benefit from our deep network of NBA and NFL team owners, media executives and professional investors. Formula E is a perfect match.”

The investment marks yet another link to the United States for Formula E, which will stage two American rounds in 2014-2015 at Los Angeles and Miami. Additionally, a pair of U.S.-based teams, Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing, will be part of the group of squads vying for the inaugural series title.

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings, has always maintained that the U.S. represents a critical market, and in an e-mail to the AP, he said that Causeway’s involvement will help raise the series’ profile here at home.

“To have a partner that knows deeply the U.S. sports market places us in a unique position to develop our championship in the Americas,” Agag said.

In addition to his company’s investment, Grousbeck will also serve on the board of Formula E Holdings.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.