As IndyCar hits 2017's halfway point, we take stock of the weird. Photo: Getty Images

DiZinno: IndyCar hits 2017 midseason with glorious lack of rhythm

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The Verizon IndyCar Series technically reached its halfway point of the 2017 season halfway through last Saturday night’s Rainguard Water Sealers 600. At the half-distance point of the ninth race in a 17-race season, that marked half the races down and half to go.

By the end of the ninth race of the year though, the repair bills and the question marks about this season continued to add up. The only constant in this most goofy of IndyCar seasons is that there is no constant, and no rhythm, at all.

DIXON LEADS POINTS, BUT NO WINS, AND A LOT OF BIZARRE MOMENTS

Dixon and family after Indy pole. Photo: IndyCar

Nothing has felt normal about Scott Dixon’s 2017 campaign, and it all goes back to when he premiered at the preseason test in Phoenix wearing a blank, white firesuit and was driving a blank, No. 9 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing after being in a red Target car each of the past 15 years.

At the halfway point in the year, Dixon has had four podiums, three primary sponsors (GE LED, NTT Data, Camping World), two liveries, one pole, one alleged robbery at gunpoint at a Taco Bell, one hellacious airborne accident that left him limping, one crash where he got taken out through no fault of his own and exactly zero wins… and he leads the points. All this in a year where Ganassi’s switch to Honda was supposed to slow their roll as a championship contender and when Dixon’s lone knock throughout his career is that he’s a slow starter renowned as much for his heroic second-half comebacks.

FORT WORTH, TX – JUNE 10: Takuma Sato, driver of the #26 Andretti Autosport Honda, and Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, collide during the Verizon IndyCar Series Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 10, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Nothing’s gone right for Dixon from a results standpoint this year and that’s what makes it crazy to think he’s in the points lead. The usually unflappable “Iceman” was more pissed off by Takuma Sato taking him out in Texas than by either traumatic event in Indianapolis.

If Dixon’s 2017 season doesn’t encapsulate IndyCar’s “year of the weird” in a nutshell, nothing will.

PENSKE’S PERPLEXING BARBER SHOP QUARTET

FORT WORTH, TX – JUNE 09: Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #1 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden, driver of the #2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, and Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, stand on the grid during qualifying for the Verizon IndyCar Series Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Ordinarily by now we’d have a sense Team Penske would have an authoritative, de facto number one by this point in the year. Naturally, because 2017 is such a weird year, we don’t.

Will Power is the only member with two wins but they’ve come in dominant fashion at the Indianapolis road course – which you’d expect – and on Texas’ 1.5-mile oval – which you wouldn’t. Power’s relaxed, calmer state of mind has been fascinating to witness this year because in the past he’s been wound up. Now his responsibility as a dad and husband to wife Liz has seemingly taken precedence, which is good. He had a miserable start to the year with a mechanical gremlin at St. Pete, contact with Charlie Kimball at the start of Long Beach, a puncture that cost him the Barber win, and also got taken out at the Indianapolis 500. Still, he seems poised to contend down the stretch now fifth in points.

Defending champion Simon Pagenaud also typifies the “year of the weird.” He had no business coming second at St. Pete or fifth at Long Beach after nightmare qualifying sessions, yet he did. He dominated Phoenix, an oval, for his first oval win. He was nowhere at the Indianapolis 500… yet drove so smart at Texas to get third. He’s second in points, but you wouldn’t know it by how under-the-radar he’s been, even though he’s raced well this year.

Newcomer Josef Newgarden? He’s made his impact, too, with a lack of rhythm. Often Penske’s fastest in-race driver, Newgarden inherited the Barber win, has raced better on the street courses where he’s struggled in the past (finishes of eighth, third, fourth and second represent his best street course season to date), and made two mistakes on ovals that have left his crew with wrecked cars. All the while, he’s been trying to integrate into the Penske team, has moved to Charlotte, and still keep up his level of humor. He’s balancing a lot.

FORT WORTH, TX – JUNE 10: Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet, crashes during the Verizon IndyCar Series Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 10, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

And until Texas, it was fourth driver Helio Castroneves, who hadn’t won yet, who led the team from a points standpoint. Yet his lack of rhythm also exists. A consistent first five races saw him end between fourth and ninth in each, but poles at both West Coast races in Long Beach and Phoenix didn’t provide an end to his winless drought. He drove underneath a flying Dixon at Indy, and drove a wrecked, down on power car to within a fraction of his fourth Indy 500 win. It was one of the drives of his 20-year career, but one which came up short. Then losing the pole on a penalty in Detroit produced what seemed to be an angry Helio there – mistakes followed, as did a pair of poor results. A heavy crash at Texas has likely left him shaken up, as well. Fourth in points now, he needs to find the mental strength to overcome a series of frustrating results.

This doesn’t even mention Juan Pablo Montoya, who appeared to get in the heads of some of his teammates with an under-the-radar yet solid month of May in the team’s fifth car. Despite a fueling issue, Montoya recovered to sixth in the race. He proved his point, that he remains perhaps IndyCar’s best driver without a full-time seat.

SATO’S RE-EMERGENCE VERSUS ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT’S MISSED CHANCES

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 28: Takuma Sato of Japan, driver of the #26 Andretti Autosport Honda, celebrates after winning the 101st Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 28, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Takuma Sato that has emerged in 2017 is a welcome variance from the Sato that often permeated his previous seven seasons in IndyCar. Fast, but not fragile, Sato’s “no attack, no chance” style only appeared when it needed to – and paid dividends. In a car that afforded him a proper opportunity to showcase his talent at Andretti Autosport, Sato played the game perfectly at Indy all month, made the moves on Max Chilton, Helio Castroneves and Ed Jones when he needed to, and held off Castroneves for a popular victory in the 101st Indianapolis 500. His follow-up weekend at Detroit was huge too, and kept him in title contention.

And then… Texas. Sato’s aggressive streak got the better of him there and took both himself and Dixon out in the process. It’s those kind of moves that will lose the congenial Sato a championship; then again, at third place and only 14 points back, he’s not out of it either. This is the Sato dichotomy in a nutshell; he’s so fast, so good and so tenacious most of the time, but it’s those mistakes that pop up at the worst possible moments that prove his undoing. We can only hope “Good Taku” defeats “Bad Taku” through the second half of the year.

Sato, to his credit, has been the main results generator for Andretti’s team. Keeping with the “weird” theme of the year, we meet his three teammates and their seasons:

FORT WORTH, TX – JUNE 09: Alexander Rossi, driver of the #98 Andretti Autosport/Curb Honda, prepares to practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
  • Alexander Rossi (above) has driven so well this year but doesn’t have a proper result to show for it. Between a puncture at St. Petersburg, engine failure at Long Beach, fueling issue at Indy and being trapped in a “Ganassi sandwich” at Texas, Rossi has probably lost close to 100 points between those four races. He’s ninth in points on 254, but could be so much higher with a bit of luck. It feels that if he can get first big result, the rest will come.
  • Similarly, Ryan Hunter-Reay has had a cartoon anvil chasing him around. With four DNFs and seven finishes of 11th or worse in nine starts, Hunter-Reay’s borne nearly the entire brunt of bad luck. If anyone has an answer for what he’s done to piss off the racing gods of late, I’m sure he’d love to know…
  • Marco Andretti, meanwhile, has had a better season in every aspect but results. A regular practice pace setter this year, Andretti’s either just missed it in qualifying or been caught out at the wrong place at the wrong time. Like his teammates, his standing (13th while RHR is 14th) is not representative of his improved form this year.
  • We’ll get to one of their Indy-only teammates in a minute…

DALE COYNE RACING’S ROLLER COASTER OF FORTUNES

AVONDALE, AZ – APRIL 29: Sebastien Bourdais of France, driver of the #18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda greets fans as he is introduced to the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway on April 29, 2017 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In a normal year, Dale Coyne Racing wouldn’t be one of the stories of the year. But again, 2017 is not a normal year.

The investment Coyne made on the engineering front in adding Craig Hampson and Olivier Boisson to reunite with Sebastien Bourdais has been well-documented. The dream reunion came good with a storybook last-to-first win at St. Petersburg, in Bourdais’ adopted hometown.

The roller coaster that followed has also been one to note. Bourdais dodged debris flying at him at Long Beach en route to second, there. He still led the points after a solid eighth place at Barber.

But then Phoenix hit. Once Bourdais got taken out in the first lap melee triggered by his longtime sparring partner Mikhail Aleshin, it left the Coyne crew having to rebuild the car in the first of several six-figure impacts that would come.

Bourdais looked a pole contender at Indianapolis and two 231-mph laps in qualifying proved that point; then it all went wrong following an overcorrect and even worse crash at Turn 2. The track fell silent, as did the jaws of most on pit road. The horrific looking accident fortunately for Bourdais could have been worse – he’s already on the road to recovery after pelvic fractures and a hip injury – but it left Coyne with yet another lost race car.

Flash forward to race day. Replacement James Davison wasn’t the most popular pick but more than made up for it with a dynamic drive to the lead from last… and then he crashed out. Then, having been overlooked all month, rookie Ed Jones continued his stealthily solid start to 2017 with third place in a damaged car. He lost the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors and outrage justifiably followed.

With Esteban Gutierrez and most recently Tristan Vautier in the No. 18 car, there’s been more Coyne stories that have come. And then, sadly, both Vautier and Jones got taken out in the Texas melee. The repair bills keep adding up for IndyCar’s favorite small budget team out of Plainfield, Ill., who don’t deserve the luck they’ve had for their pace and efforts this year.

RAHAL’S MIDSUMMER REVIVAL

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 26: Graham Rahal, driver of the #15 Steak n’ Shake Honda stands on the grid during Carb day for the 101st Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 26, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Not even a month ago Graham Rahal was 17th in points leaving Phoenix, with a wrecked race car in the Turn 1 mess, and 100 points back of Simon Pagenaud. After Texas, Rahal might be the hottest driver in the series.

Rahal has scythed up to sixth in points with his Detroit doubleheader sweep and a fourth in Texas, and he’d be even higher had a puncture not set him back at the Indianapolis 500. The first Detroit win came after Rahal was admittedly shaken up seeing wife Courtney Force’s awful accident in NHRA competition at Epping, N.H.. Coupled with an outstanding 20th-to-sixth run at the Indianapolis road course, Rahal and the RLL Racing team have finally hit their stride for the year after a brutal opening four-race stretch.

The consistency is good to see for Rahal now, as last year, he seemed to alternate good and bad results per weekend. More consistent top-fives and a further win or two will solidify his championship challenge.

THAT FAMOUS ONE-OFF SPANIARD AT INDY

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 28: Fernando Alonso of Spain, driver of the #29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda, in action during the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 28, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Clearly we mean Oriol Servia, right?

Servia, who’s Catalan, went along like the rest of us with the ultimate one-off entry that was the story of mid-April into May, in Fernando Alonso’s bow at the Indianapolis 500 with McLaren, Honda and Andretti. We’ve written so many words about him and his odyssey already and it only seems like it will continue as the summer passes into the fall.

What we know is he enjoyed the experience, soaked up the atmosphere, did the commitments he needed to do, endeared himself to the fans, and, almost poetically, retired with 20 laps to go courtesy of a Honda blown engine.

What we don’t know is his next move; and neither does he. Does a full-time IndyCar shift really interest him beyond the “Why not?” message he said during the NBCSN Texas broadcast? Can he find an F1 seat where he can win? Or will he be destined to make another bad move at the wrong time, as has affected him most of his F1 career? We can only wait and see…

HONDA’S REVIVAL VS. CHEVY

Both on the strength of numbers (13 cars with five full-time teams to eight cars and three) and results, it’s been Honda’s best year in several up against Chevrolet. But even as Honda has racked up the accolades and the wins – thus far a 5-4 edge over Chevrolet – in pursuit of its first manufacturer’s championship since Chevrolet’s return, its reliability has been a talking point. So many failures have occurred which has seen HPD pushing the envelope. We knew this was an issue in F1 with its separate power unit there, but it hadn’t been an issue in IndyCar, until this year.

Still though, Honda’s achieved quite a lot, and done so in important races and markets. The Indianapolis win with Sato was huge both politically and corporately for Honda of Japan and America; its Detroit double sweep came in General Motors’ backyard.

THERE’S SO MANY OTHER STORIES TO TELL, TOO…

FORT WORTH, TX – JUNE 09: Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, speaks with James Hinchcliffe, driver of the #5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, during qualifying for the Verizon IndyCar Series Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

As this is getting to be north of 2,000 words (again, the year is so weird it requires so many), we’ll go through bullet points of some other notes:

  • James Hinchcliffe’s emotional win at Long Beach completed his comeback story told ad nauseum over the last two years. Somehow though it seems so long ago; Hinchcliffe’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team has since struggled from a results standpoint. His “that’s adorable” retort to Chip Ganassi, though, was priceless and an early contender for “quote of the year”…
  • SPM teammate Mikhail Aleshin has not endeared himself to the paddock with the number of incidents he’s been involved with. Between Tony Kanaan, JR Hildebrand, Ryan Hunter-Reay, the handful of cars at Phoenix and then getting caught up in the Texas pileup, Aleshin’s No. 7 Honda has been in the eye of the storm way too often. After making huge strides in 2016, it’s fair to say the “Mad Russian” has regressed in 2017 in a disappointing campaign thus far.
  • Kanaan had had a weird year to date so far, as well. He has had multiple incidents with Aleshin; he had a first-lap incident on the IMS road course; and it was only at the ‘500 where he banked a top-five. His best finish, second at Texas, came after he was being accused of triggering the massive pile-up. He took responsibility, and now heads to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for his debut run – this is weird because he only got the appointment following Bourdais’ injuries.
  • Both Ed Jones and Max Chilton have been the surprise drivers of the season in good ways. Jones has banked a number of top-10s and only had his first incident at Texas. Chilton has taken a significant step forward in his second year. His month of May was stellar and he’s racing a lot better towards the front of the field. Jones’ third at Indy technically counts as a podium; I’d not be surprised to see either on a proper podium or perhaps win their first race later this year.
  • Ed Carpenter Racing is another team that could use “weird” as its word de jour to describe 2017. Spencer Pigot has raced excellent in his starts but been undone by fiery brakes (St. Petersburg), a fiery motor (Detroit), an overcorrection on corner exit (Barber) or a bad pit stop (Indianapolis road course). He’s also raced with a famous Instagram dog as his primary sponsor… because again, 2017 is weird. JR Hildebrand and his majestic hair and scruff has looked the business on ovals but not yet on road or street courses, meshing with fellow brainiac and IndyCar engineering convert Justin Taylor, formerly of Audi’s LMP1 program. Ed Carpenter’s results haven’t matched his pace on his ovals, while Zach Veach impressed in a one-off fill-in role at Barber.
  • AJ Foyt Racing has, as expected, taken time to come to grips with the new Chevrolet aero kit and engine. But Carlos Munoz’s 10th place at Indianapolis and Conor Daly’s seventh in Texas have been nice signs of life. The team is getting there, but isn’t fully there yet in such a deep field.
  • If it weren’t for bad luck, Charlie Kimball wouldn’t have any. First-lap dust-ups at St. Petersburg and Long Beach have then ceded to back-to-back engine issues at both Indianapolis races, then an oil leak at Texas after his first career pole. Even if you assign blame to the likable Californian for one of the two first-lap contacts, it’s still not fair how much poor luck he’s dealt with otherwise, as he’s a distant 18th in points.
  • Gabby Chaves and Harding Racing have gone ninth-fifth to start, which is as surprising as it is amazing for the debut team and a driver who’s been revitalized in a new team built around him.
  • Good to see Juncos Racing debut at Indianapolis; it’d be great to see them, Harding and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing all full-time in 2018. Michael Shank Racing, too, improved as their first month went on with Andretti Autosport and Jack Harvey did enough to deserve a second chance, even if his results don’t show it.
  • Jay Howard had done a perfect job of flying under the radar in SPM’s third car at Indianapolis all month, until he crashed out and came into Dixon’s path exiting Turn 1. The crash was bad; the attempt to blame Hunter-Reay was perhaps worse.
  • Oh, and by the way, renderings of the new 2018 Dallara common aero kit are out. We can’t wait for the car’s official first test, set for July 25-26 at Indianapolis, before its first road course test the Tuesday after Mid-Ohio on August 1.

If the first half of 2017 was weird, how should we expect the second half to play out?

The next round of stories will be written starting next weekend at Road America (Sunday, June 25, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Andretti Autosport endures tough Road America outing

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All four of the Andretti Autosport drivers encountered significant problems during the Kohler Grand Prix, and none of them were able to salvage finishes inside the top ten as a result.

Most notably, Takuma Sato endured the most difficult weekend of the four-car armada after suffering a pinched nerve in his neck on Saturday, which forced him to miss the morning warmup.

And things didn’t get any better during the race, as a lap 28 spin exiting the Kink saw him lose a lap and forced him to play catchup even more than he already was. Although Sato managed to finish the race, hardly insignificant given his neck injury, he did so in 19th after starting 20th in what proved to be his worst race since winning the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

“It was a tough weekend and tough race,” lamented Sato. “I injured my neck during practice Saturday morning. We started in the back row, tried to make a push up, but I caught an accident. The engine was stalled and I wasn’t sure if we could continue, but the safety crew came and fired up the engine, so I came back to the pit, buckled again and I was able to keep going. In the end we made the finish, but we need a better weekend.”

His teammates did not fair much better. Alexander Rossi, who qualified a disappointing 15th, ran a four-stop pit strategy, and while he cycled into the top five at one point, an issue with the front wing saw him fall to 13th at the finish.

Alexander Rossi was fast Road America, but an issue with the front wing dropped him back in the field at the end. Photo: IndyCar

“I think we started with a good strategy, going for a four-stop race after starting 15th, but it all caught up to us on that first yellow,” Rossi explained. “Luckily, we had already gained track position and speed running on open track. We had an issue with our front wing, which ironically or not, is the same issue we finished the race with here last year, so we definitely need to figure out exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, too, had strong pace, even leading the Sunday morning warmup and running inside the top ten late in the race. But, contact with Charlie Kimball while battling for sixth broke the front wing on the No. 28 DHL Honda, and Hunter-Reay languished in 14th at the checkered flag.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was was 14th at the checkered flag after battling inside the top ten late in the race. Photo: IndyCar

“Charlie (Kimball) made a late block and took off my front wing. I had a good race going until Charlie moved out late like that, it’s just really unfortunate,” Hunter-Reay said of the incident.

Meanwhile, Marco Andretti battled a litany of problems, ranging from throttle issues to a broken pit speed limiter, which resulted in a drive-penalty for speeding during a round of pit stops. Andretti was a lowly 18th at the finish.

Marco Andretti battled a host of problems during the Kohler Grand Prix. Photo: IndyCar

“We started eighth, but ran into throttle problems. We went off track on the first stint because the throttle stuck wide open. We came into the pits to try to fix it and got hit with a pit lane speed violation because my pit lane limiter wasn’t working. We still weren’t getting full throttle – I was barely hitting sixth gear,” he lamented afterward.

Sato remains in the top five in the championship, now sitting fourth, 56 points behind leader Scott Dixon. Rossi sits ninth, with Andretti and Hunter-Reay 13th and 15th respectively.

 

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Kimball, Chilton quiet but solid at Road America

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While Scott Dixon scored victory for Chip Ganassi Racing, two of the team’s other drivers enjoyed quietly solid days at the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America.

Charlie Kimball, in need of a strong finish after being stricken with bad luck so far in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, scored his best finish of the year with a fine run to sixth place. While he was never a part of the battle for victory, he was “best of the rest” for most of the day and enjoyed a solid, mistake-free run.

“Overall a really solid day for the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team,” Kimball said afterward. Though he admitted tire management in the race’s third stint hampered his efforts, he was more than pleased with the end result.

“That third stint, I don’t think I managed the Firestone alternates as well as some of the guys around me,” Kimball revealed. “You saw that with (Will Power) with a better in and out lap. That was disappointing, because I think we could have maybe had a shot at a top five. Overall though, to fight off some competitors for that last stint after the final yellow felt good and it felt good to bring it home in sixth for the guys. Kind of a semi-trouble free weekend and pretty happy with it.”

Teammate Max Chilton, too, scored a solid ten finish, the Briton finishing ninth. However, unlike Kimball, Chilton lamented not being able to finish higher on a circuit where he feels very comfortable.

Max Chilton during qualifying for the Kohler Grand Prix. Photo: IndyCar

“It’s not how we wanted it, especially after how quick we were (in the morning warmup),” said Chilton, who started seventh and was second fastest in the morning warmup. Like Kimball, he struggled with tire management, and an untimely caution when he was on the primary black tires put paid to his chances of a better finish.

“Something just wasn’t working for us. On a set of reds, we were struggling massively and then we went to the blacks, which would’ve been alright, but then the safety car came out and everyone else had longer life on the reds and I was struggling again.”

With the Kohler Grand Prix in the books, Chilton currently sits 11th in the championship, three points behind tenth-place Ed Jones, while Kimball remains 18th, 72 points outside the top ten.

Mahindra to give M4Electro Formula E car public debut at Goodwood

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Mahindra Racing will debut its new car for the fourth Formula E season, the M4Electro, at the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed later this week as part of a bid to beat the existing open-wheel electric record for the hillclimb.

As part of its preparations for season four of Formula E, set to start in Hong Kong at the beginning of December, Mahindra has already hit the track with the M4Electro in private testing.

Full-season drivers Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld have both completed running in the car, while Indian actress Gul Panag has also taken part in a test.

Heidfeld will give the M4Electro its first public outing at Goodwood and look to become the first driver to hold two records at the hillclimb.

The German driver holds the overall hillclimb record of 41.6 seconds at Goodwood, set back in 1999 in a McLaren MP4/13 Formula 1 car.

“We’re excited to bring Nick and the M4Electro to Goodwood in a bid to set the fastest open-wheel electric record on the hillclimb,” Mahindra team boss Dilbagh Gill said.

“We are always looking to push the boundaries as a team and we couldn’t think of a better way to introduce the season four challenger to fans and automotive enthusiasts alike than at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.”

Qualcomm named title partner for New York Formula E race

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FIA Formula E has announced that technology company Qualcomm will be the title partner for the upcoming New York City ePrix as the all-electric series gears up to hit the United States in three weeks’ time.

New York City will play host to its first motorsport event in Red Hook on July 15-16, acting as the penultimate round of Formula E’s third season.

Qualcomm has been a key partner for Formula E since the series’ inception in 2014, and will now act as the New York race’s title partner after acquiring the naming rights, as announced on Monday. The event will be formally called the ‘Qualcomm New York City ePrix’.

“As one of our founding partners – and now for the first time a race title partner for one of the most anticipated races of the season – Qualcomm Technologies’ continued support and commitment to Formula E has been instrumental,” Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said.

“We share many of the same values in the field of innovation and technology transfer, which we’ve already seen with unique wireless charging concepts.

“I’m looking forward to making history in New York by bringing Formula E to the Big Apple for the first time – it’s going to be an unmissable event.”

Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm Incorporated, added: “Qualcomm inventions enable widespread innovation, just as motorsport fuels the evolution of the automotive industry.

“Formula E, including this Qualcomm ePrix race in New York City, is a great testbed for our automotive breakthroughs such as wireless electric vehicle charging.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Formula E to promote the benefits of the latest vehicle technologies as cars become more connected, autonomous and electric.”