Team roster confirmed for second Formula E season

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The FIA has announced the team roster for the second season of the Formula E championship ahead of pre-season testing in August.

As expected, the same ten teams that took part in the 2014-2015 season are signed up for 2015-2016.

Also as expected, there are a couple of subtle name changes following the signing of new partnership agreements and the end of others.

As announced over the London ePrix weekend, Virgin Racing will now be known as DS Virgin Racing after announcing a partnership with French firm DS Automobiles.

Audi Sport ABT will now be known as ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport after signing an agreement with German technology firm Schaeffler.

Finally, Amlin Aguri has been listed on the entry list as “Team Aguri”. According to a report from motorsport.com last week, insurance firm Amlin and the Aguri team went to court ahead of the London ePrix regarding a possible split, which now appears to have occurred.

When asked for comment by MotorSportsTalk about the case, Amlin Aguri team principal Mark Preston refused to comment.

However, MotorSportsTalk understands that Amlin is poised to switch to another team for season two, although this is not reflected in the entry list.

Otherwise, the status quo remains on the entry list. Here are the teams that will be racing in season two of the FIA Formula E championship.

2015-2016 FIA Formula E season entry list

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Andretti Formula E Team
Dragon Racing
DS Virgin Racing
e.dams-Renault
Mahindra Racing
NEXTEV TCR
Team Aguri
Trulli Formula E
Venturi Formula E

“After our successful inaugural season, it’s very positive for the championship to have ten teams registering for season two, several of which have backing from leading manufacturers,” series CEO Alejandro Agag said.

“This clearly shows the strength of the series and we’re already looking forward to getting preparations for next season underway.”

Testing for the second FIA Formula E season is set to take place at Donington Park in England next month ahead of the first race in September.

NHRA shocker: Englishtown ceases drag racing operations, including NHRA Summernationals, effective immediately

Photo courtesy NHRA
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If put in baseball terms, Wednesday morning’s news from the NHRA is comparable to Yankee Stadium closing down for good.

One of the most popular and longest-running race tracks on the NHRA national event circuit — Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey — announced in a statement that “it will no longer host any drag racing events at its facility, effective immediately. This includes the 49th Annual NHRA Summernationals, scheduled to take place this June.”

This is massive — and terrible news — for NHRA fans, particularly those on the East Coast, as the track more commonly known simply as “Englishtown” has long been a destination point for fans in the New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland area for decades. That not only includes NHRA national events, but also local bracket racing at the track.

Few details on the decision to stop all drag racing events are known. However, the track has long struggled being landlocked and unable to expand its runoff area for cars that have problems stopping under their own power. That is especially problematic for Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars, which are the most powerful cars in the sport and, due to the 10,000 horsepower they produce, often need longer stopping distances.

NHRA Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta was killed in a crash at Old Bridge Raceway on June 21, 2008, when his car was unable to stop in the runoff area and collided with a portable crane past the runoff area.

NHRA spokesperson Jessica Hatcher told NBC Sports in an email Wednesday morning that the sanctioning body will not look to find a replacement venue for Englishtown on the 2018 racing schedule.

As a result, the 2018 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule will shrink from 24 to 23 going forward with Englishtown’s departure.

” ‘Stunned’ is the perfect word to describe how we are all feeling right now,” Hatcher said. “For 2018, we are focusing on the remaining 23 events and do not foresee any additional changes to the schedule.”

New NHRA president Glen Cromwell said in a media release, “NHRA drag racing events have been held at the track in Englishtown for almost 50 years. The Summernationals have played an important part of our heritage and we hope that fans in the area will try to make it to another of our events.

“Our focus remains on making the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series a memorable experience for our fans, racers, sponsors, partners and tracks.”

The nearest venues to Englishtown that will host NHRA events this season are Maple Grove Raceway outside Reading, Pennsylvania (105 miles west of Englishtown) and New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire (310 miles northeast).

The Napp family, which owns Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, issued a statement that the facility will remain open and continue business as usual going forward — with the exception of eliminating all drag racing events, both national and local.

“Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, the Napp family owned and operated business announced today a reorganization of the company’s business operations,” the statement said. “To achieve this goal, Raceway Park will no longer conduct quarter mile or eighth mile drag racing events effective immediately.

“Raceway Park will retain and use the ‘stadium’ portion of the facility including the VIP hospitality tower and grandstands and continue most of its operations including the spring and fall auto swap meets, numerous car shows, both motocross racing and practice, kart racing, as well as drifting, a full schedule of road course activities, mud runs, monster truck shows, musical concerts, & festival events and more. The long standing Old Bridge Township Airport, owned and operated by Raceway Park will also continue to operate as normal.”

From a driver’s perspective, veteran NHRA racer Shawn Langdon, who is switching from a long career in Top Fuel to Funny Car this season for Kalitta Motorsports, won in Top Fuel at Englishtown in 2013 and laments the decision to drop drag racing there.

“It really caught me by surprise because I had not heard a thing about that,” Langdon said. “It’s unfortunate because that place has such rich history and so many great things have come out of that race in the past. It was a track that meant a lot to the Kalitta family and with Scott. They always wanted to win one for Scott. We’d have loved to have the opportunity to go back to the track and win that race for Scott.”