Miami ePrix Preview: U.S. set to host electric open-wheel series for first time (VIDEO)

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MIAMI – The FIA Formula E Championship heads to the United States for the first time this weekend, adding Miami to the list of high-profile cities the all-electric open-wheel championship has visited.

As you’d expect, there are a number of logistical challenges to sort out to launch a one-day event. The championship is working with the city to close the streets in the high volume, high traffic area ahead of Saturday’s race.

Having been to the Baltimore and Houston IndyCar street races in recent years, there’s elements of those two events currently at play. Notably, the concrete barriers are ready but yet to be placed, as was the case in Baltimore. The media center is on the arena floor at the American Airlines Arena, a spacious environment and the media center equivalent of Houston’s on steroids.

Andretti Sports Marketing, which helped salvage the Baltimore race in 2012 and 2013, is event promoter this weekend and has been flat out on the process, as you’d expect.

There’s also the question of how this race will play to the locals. As FIA Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag has told this writer in the past, this race hits one of the two biggest markets FE expects to hit in the United States. China is the second. Local promotion is evident on the local news, and there seems to be a buzz – no pun intended – based on some of the pre-race events the organizers have assembled this week.

A video of Agag on CNBC is linked below (and here, separately).

Still, what will make the weekend here is the racing, and thus far through four races, there’s been no shortage of storylines or potential winners.

There have been four different winers, four different polesitters and four different drivers who have set fastest lap thus far.

Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT) leads the championship with 58 points, ahead of Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) on 48 and the e.dams teammates of Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost on 43 and 42, respectively. The e.dams totals have that team leading the Team’s Championship by 11 over Virgin, 85-74.

Drivers have full power available in practice and qualifying (200 kw/270 bhp) before the number is reduced for the race (150 kw/202.5 bhp), although the drivers that win FanBoost can be temporarily increased to 180kw / 243bhp for 5 secs per car.

How each drivers maximizes the power at their disposal and transitions from qualifying to the race is one of the things to watch. Additionally, how long each drivers pushes his or her battery life in the first portion of the race will determine who emerges ahead by the end of 39-lap race. Bird, for example, was peerless at Round 2 in Malaysia en route to the most dominating win thus far in the first four races.

Points are awarded in standard FIA scoring as in F1, with 25 for the win down to one for 10th place. The polesitter scores three points and the driver who sets the fastest lap, two.

But chances are the racing will be close, down to the wire. The series opener in China ended with the last-lap accident between Nick Heidfeld and Nicolas Prost and Lucas di Grassi on top, and last race in Argentina saw Antonio Felix da Costa emerge victorious following a series of calamities that affected the other contenders.

The unpredictability is off the charts, as are the number of potential winners.

There have also been four race-to-race driver changes since Argentina. Scott Speed will fly the flag as the lone U.S. driver, filling in for Marco Andretti at Andretti Autosport. Meanwhile Charles Pic (China Racing) will return for the first time since the season opener in China, and Loic Duval (Dragon Racing) and Vitantonio Liuzzi (Trulli) make their series debuts.

In total, 14 of the 20 drivers racing this weekend have past F1 experience (all except Bird, Duval, da Costa, Daniel Abt, Salvador Duran and, interestingly, Prost). So the caliber of field is deep all the way through.

Here’s the entry for the weekend, with teams ranked by current points totals:

  • e.dams (85 points): 9-Sebastien Buemi (43 points, 3rd in points), 8-Nicolas Prost (42, 4th)
  • Virgin (74): 2-Sam Bird (48, 2nd), 3-Jaime Alguersuari (26, 7th)
  • Audi Sport ABT (66): 11-Lucas di Grassi (58, 1st), 66-Daniel Abt (4, 17th)
  • Andretti Autosport (41): 27-Jean-Eric Vergne (11, 15th), 28-Scott Speed (first race)
  • Dragon Racing (38): 7-Jerome d’Ambrosio (22, 8th), 6-Loic Duval (first race)
  • China Racing (37): 99-Nelson Piquet Jr. (37, 5th), 88-Charles Pic (12, 14th; first race w/team)
  • Mahindra Racing (36): 5-Karun Chandhok (18, 10th), 21-Bruno Senna (18, 11th)
  • Amlin Aguri (31): 55-Antonio Felix da Costa (29, 6th), 77-Salvador Duran (0, 26th)
  • Trulli GP (12): 10-Jarno Trulli (12, 13th), 18-Vitantonio Liuzzi (first race)
  • Venturi (8): 23-Nick Heidfeld (5, 16th), 30-Stephane Sarrazin (3, 18th)

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.