Lucas di Grassi wins inaugural Formula E race in Beijing


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.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.