Formula E: Beijing welcomes series for launch ceremony

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Less than four months before the world’s first fully-electric racing series takes its first green flag in Beijing, officials from Formula E joined with officials from the Chinese government and the city for the Beijing ePrix’s launch ceremony.

The September 13 race will take place on a 20-turn street circuit that wraps around several of Beijing’s Olympic landmarks, including the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium (pictured). The circuit was officially revealed back in March.

“On June 12 it will be exactly 100 days before Beijing hosts the opening ePrix and the world’s first all-electric Formula race,” said Formula E Holdings CEO Alejandro Agag.

“Today, I walked part of the circuit and visited areas where the first infrastructure holes have already been drilled and it’s just an incredible feeling and something that everyone here is excited about.”

Steven Lu, who leads the organizing team for the race, said that the city’s past handling of major gatherings such as those aforementioned 2008 Summer Olympics will ensure a trouble-free first running.

“Their experience gained from many previous major sport events will guarantee the success of the opening round of Formula E and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to Beijing in three months’ time,” he said.

Earlier this month, F-E’s 10 teams –  including American squads Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing – received their first deliveries of Spark-Renault SRT_01E machines.

The series also opened the doors to the teams’ new testing facilities at Donington Park in England. The track will host five pre-season test sessions, with the first coming on July 3.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.