Lucas di Grassi wins inaugural Formula E race in Beijing

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Lucas di Grassi has won the first ever Formula E race in Beijing today after capitalising on an accident at the final corner between Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld on the last lap of the race.

The inaugural ‘ePrix’ was a great step into the unknown, but after years of planning, the series has made a promising start at the Olympic Park in Beijing with di Grassi claiming the spoils.

It was Prost who had dominated the race weekend until an ill-judged move at the final corner on the last lap of the race. The Frenchman picked up three points for scoring pole position ahead of di Grassi and Daniel Abt, and led the entire race before his final corner collision with Heidfeld.

Venturi racer Heidfeld had slowly made up positions through the race after starting in sixth place, and found himself catching Prost in the final few laps as the Frenchman struggled to keep the power up on his car.

On the run down to the final corner, Heidfeld moved to the inside of Prost, only for the Frenchman to cut back across and side-swipe the German driver.

Heidfeld proceeded to spin across the kerbing, launching his car into the air and into the barrier before coming to a rest on his roll hoop. Thankfully, he emerged from the crash unscathed, albeit furious with Prost’s actions. He was quick to take to Twitter after the race to make his feelings known.

di Grassi managed to pick up the pieces from this accident to slip past and claim the first ever Formula E victory ahead of Andetti’s Franck Montagny and Virgin’s Sam Bird. Daniel Abt had finished third on track, but was demoted to P10 after failing to take a drive-through penalty during the race.

Charles Pic finished fourth for Andretti, putting the American team on top of the teams’ championship, whilst Karun Chandhok came fifth for Mahindra Racing.

Although the final corner collision did overshadow the end of the race, it appears that the first outing for Formula E has been well received. There are definitely minor issues to iron out, such as the car changes at half distance, but on the whole, the series has enjoyed a good start in Beijing.

The series now takes a two-month break, returning on November 22 in Malaysia for the Putrajaya ePrix.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.