Davey Hamilton, Sam Schmidt, Ric Peterson, Simon Pagenaud, Heather Lovier

Davey Hamilton back with Schmidt; team under one name

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Davey Hamilton has renewed his partnership with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, where the former driver will continue as co-owner of the No. 77 Honda driven by Simon Pagenaud.

“Working with Simon Pagenaud and the entire Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team has been fun because we know that each time the car hits the track we have the opportunity to win,” Hamilton said. “This is a true team sport, and having continuity in personnel for the third year in a row will enable us to not only win more races but also contend for a championship.”

This is doubly good news for SPM and for IndyCar observers, for multiple reasons.

For one, Hamilton was the driving force behind the HP sponsorship that adorned Pagenaud’s car the last two seasons. With Hamilton’s known business savvy – he put together deals with HP and other brands to race in the Indianapolis 500 five straight years from 2007 through 2011 with multiple teams – and co-owners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson, the trio should be well on their way to finding new backers to replace HP for 2014.

Second, this removes the awkward, clunky nomenclature that SPM had in 2013. The Pagenaud entry was labeled as the Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports No. 77, while the second car, Tristan Vautier, was the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports No. 55. For good measure, the team’s third car at Indianapolis, driven by Katherine Legge, was officially the No. 81 Schmidt Peterson Pelfrey Motorsports entry.

For 2014, Hamilton’s still there, but his name isn’t in the team name, which saves us all the trouble of remembering which car had which ownership structure for naming rights. Pagenaud and teammate Mikhail Aleshin (now No. 7) will both run under the single Schmidt Peterson Motorsports banner, and Hamilton’s presence is a plus to the team and the paddock.

Additional commercial announcements should come, if not before IndyCar media day on Feb. 18 in Orlando, likely before IndyCar’s official preseason test at Barber Motorsports Park next month.

Formula E adds Hong Kong race for October 2016

Photo: FIA Formula E
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The FIA Formula E Championship will add Hong Kong to its calendar for its third season, 2016-2017.

The race will take place on October 9, 2016 – exactly one year from now – around the city’s Central district. The 2km circuit will run between Lung Wo Road and the Star Ferry, with cars reaching speeds of up to 225kph (140mph).

The launch event today featured the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Honourable CY Leung; Mr. Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development; Mr. Alejandro Agag, CEO, Formula E Holdings; Mr. Lawrence Yu Kam-Kee, President of the Hong Kong Automobile Association; and reigining FE champion Nelson Piquet Jr.

“The Hong Kong ePrix will be one of the highlights on the FIA Formula E Championship calendar,” Agag said in a release. “As one of the most innovative, cutting-edge and fun-loving cities in the world, Hong Kong and Formula E share many of the same qualities. We look forward to bringing all the fun and entertainment of Formula E to this amazing city, and international motorsport back to Hong Kong.”

The track map is linked below.

Hong Kong track map

Prema Powerteam to race in GP2 next season

MACAU, MACAO - NOVEMBER 16:  Prema Powerteam driver Esteban Ocon of France in action during the Formula 3 event as part of the 60th Macau Grand Prix on November 16, 2013 in Macau, Macau.  (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
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Prema Powerteam has confirmed that it will enter GP2 for the first time in 2016, taking over the entry of Team Lazarus.

Prema has established itself as one of the most formidable teams in junior motorsport over the past 30 years, winning countless championships – including the last five FIA F3 titles – and helping to launch the careers of Ryan Briscoe, Roberto Merhi and Esteban Ocon (pictured).

In 2016, it will enter GP2 – Formula 1’s feeder series – for the very first time, taking over Lazarus’ entry as its four-year association with the series comes to an end.

“We are delighted to line-up for this exciting new adventure in the GP2 Series,” Prema manager Rene Rosin said. “Prema always followed the evolution of the GP2 concept as an interested spectator, and it is now finally time to join the game in first person.

“The move to the GP2 Series is a logical step for Prema, following the successful experiences in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and in the Italian and the German Formula 4 Championships, which will continue with the same level of commitment.”

Series CEO Bruno Michel was pleased to welcome Prema to GP2, and believes that it will adapt quickly to life in the championship thanks to its impressive racing record.

“I am very pleased to welcome Prema to the GP2 Series,” Michel said. “Their remarkable track record makes me believe that they should be able to adapt quickly to our category.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank [Lazarus team principal] Tancredi Pagiaro and his team for their hard work and dedication for the past four seasons. I wish them the best for the future.”