Andretti Sports Marketing to run Formula E race in Miami

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The Andretti Sports Marketing group has been selected as official event organizers for the new FIA Formula E Championship’s Miami street race, which will occur on March 14, 2015. Miami will be one of two U.S. races, along with Los Angeles, for the new all-electric open-wheel series.

In just the last two years, ASM has already made a sizeable footprint in the promoting game between IndyCar, Global Rallycross, and now FE.

“I’m excited that we are serving as the event organizer for the 2015 Miami Formula E race,” said Michael Andretti, CEO for Andretti Sports Marketing. “We at Andretti Sports Marketing are committed to making this event a world class experience and we anticipate a long and great relationship with Formula E.”

“We’re very pleased to be partnering with Andretti Sports Marketing to organize the Miami Formula E race,” FE series CEO Alejandro Agag added. “They bring with them a proven track-record of organizing not just large-scale motor racing events but providing spectators with an all-encompassing experience – just as they have done with the Milwaukee IndyFest with its festival atmosphere, unique infield activities, family-fun rides and live entertainment. This is exactly the type of event Formula E will bring to the streets and people of Miami in spring 2015 and we’re looking forward to putting on a great spectacle.”

ASM continues to promote IndyCar’s Milwaukee IndyFest event, now the ABC Supply Co. Wisconsin 250, held in August. The Miami race, though, will serve as its second event it will promote as the de facto replacement for the canceled Grand Prix of Baltimore, which ASM promoted for two years. Some of my informal conversations with Andretti have hinted at a greater Formula E presence, as Andretti Autosport will also field a team in the series.

This does raise a few eyebrows about certain actual and potential dates in the Florida markets, though. For one, the ASM group has long been linked to potential promotion of a new IndyCar street race in Fort Lauderdale, but the race has never been placed on an IndyCar schedule.

The March 14 date would seem to go head-to-head with the 12 Hours of Sebring, one of the flagship events of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Sebring has not announced its 2015 date yet – it could either fall the 14th or possibly a week later, the 21st – but it won’t lose much of its audience anytime soon and perhaps the difference in distance from central Florida to South Beach will provide for two different audiences.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.