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.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski