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.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

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“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”