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Rome approves plans to stage Formula E race in 2018

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Rome has given the green light to plans for a Formula E race in 2018 following a vote by city officials, who offered unanimous approval.

Rome was first set to stage a Formula E race during its inaugural season (2014/15), with the event being announced back in 2012 before a change in the city government caused the idea to be shelved.

The election of mayor Virginia Raggi led to a resumption of talks including Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag and FIA president Jean Todt, leading to the plans being put to the authorities on Thursday.

A unanimous vote was returned, giving the green light for a Formula E race to be staged in Rome as early as next year.

Formula E officials have completed feasibility studies in Rome, but a track layout has not been confirmed, with the series still yet to make a final call on whether to go ahead with the race. A final decision is set to be made in the coming months as the calendar for season four is compiled.

“The prospect of Rome hosting an ePrix is an exciting one, especially as that’s where the first concept of the original Formula E car ran on the streets past the Colosseum only five years ago,” Agag said.

“We are grateful to the city of Rome to grant the required permits, and now we are one step closer to bringing electric street racing to the capital of Italy – a country with strong culture and deep roots in motorsport.

“We are continuing to assess the possible inclusion of Rome on next year’s calendar in spring 2018, and I’m sure Rome can assert itself as a flagship event along with the likes of Hong Kong, Paris, New York and Montreal.”

IndyCar star Scott Dixon to test skills on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Scott Dixon will be the latest IndyCar driver to enter the realm of reality TV when he auditions in Indianapolis next week for “American Ninja Warrior.”

The four-time IndyCar champion, nicknamed “The Iceman,” thought it sounded fun when he was approached with the idea of trying out. As the competition has drawn near, Dixon is wondering what he got himself into.

“I feel a lot of pressure on this one,” Dixon told The Associated Press before heading to this weekend’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. “When it got to be about a month away, I figured I should start training for it, and it’s pretty hard stuff.”

IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan all auditioned for the show, which follows competitors as they tackle a series of obstacle courses in qualifying rounds across the country. None of IndyCar’s contestants advanced out of the first round and neither did NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Dixon’s appearance comes about the same time the Game Show Network has Sebastien Bourdais as a guest host for “Daily Draw” for the entire week leading into the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Most recently, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly teamed to finish fourth on “The Amazing Race,” and James Hinchcliffe was a runner-up last year on “Dancing With The Stars.” Castroneves is a former “DWTS” winner.

Dixon, the 2008 winner of the Indianapolis 500 who ranks fourth on IndyCar’s all-time wins list, is accustomed to success. But the New Zealander not so sure he’s going to become the next great ninja. Most of his fitness work focuses on endurance training, and preparing for the obstacle course has taken Dixon out of his element.

“It’s not my wheelhouse,” he said. “This is agility kind of stuff and I’m looking forward to the process. I’m not looking forward so much to the failure, because it’s going to happen at some point, so I guess I just have to make the most of it and enjoy the experience.”

Dixon was famously robbed at gunpoint in the drive-thru of a Taco Bell last year hours after he won the pole for the Indy 500. Asked if his ninja training will have him better prepared should that happen again, he did not think so.

“I suppose if I run away it would help,” Dixon said. “But I don’t exactly have a ninja toolkit to get me through that situation.”