Formula E to showcase virtual reality technology in Long Beach

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The FIA Formula E championship has announced that it will showcase virtual reality (VR) technology over the Long Beach ePrix weekend following a successful series of trials.

In partnership with San Francisco-based Virtually Live, Formula E is pushing to enhance the experience for viewers of the series and offer unique features to fans.

“Virtually Live is a revolutionary, immersive virtual reality technology for experiencing live events in real time, providing fans who can’t attend in person with a new way to experience events as if they were physically present,” a statement from Formula E read.

“During the course of the Long Beach ePrix [April 2], Formula E and Virtually Live will be showcasing their virtual reality experience through a series of events including a fans’ forum.

“Following the trial at Long Beach, fans will be able to download the experience in the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive App stores.”

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag was pleased to announce the partnership, believing that it will give fans unable to make it to a race the feeling of being part of the weekend.

“As an innovative championship, we’re excited to partner with Virtually Live,” Agag said.

“Virtual reality is one of the most exciting new ways to broadcast live sports and improve fans’ viewing experiences.

‘Now, we can give fans that cannot attend a race in person the opportunity of feeling like they are actually immersed in the Formula E experience from any perspective.”

Formula E will announce further information about harnessing VR later in the season.

Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

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It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

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