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Ganassi set for NASCAR, Indy, sports car cross-continent conquest

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Chip Ganassi has frequently stated on Twitter, when he tweets, the hashtag #ILikeWinners.

He and his Chip Ganassi Racing Teams have several shots to pull them off this weekend, even more than normal, in what might be one of the most ambitious weekends for one single team in motorsports history.

We’ve noted all of the CGRT race programs this year between NASCAR, IndyCar and sports cars, with a likely Red Bull GRC encore as well.

This weekend, meanwhile, is about to see a cross-continent conquest in the first three disciplines. Ganassi will be fielding a combined 12 cars and 17 drivers between Bristol (NASCAR), Long Beach (IndyCar and IMSA) and Silverstone (FIA WEC).

Ganassi noted it late Monday night, and the team replied to my earlier joking Homer Simpson GIF noting the level of racing content this weekend.

So where can you catch Ganassi cars this weekend? Here’s the respective lineups:

Larson and McMurray at Daytona. Photo: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

NASCAR, Bristol Motor Speedway (all Chevrolets)

  • Sprint Cup (Sunday): 1-Jamie McMurray; 42-Kyle Larson
  • Xfinity (Saturday): 42-Larson; 48-Brennan Poole
Dixon during the Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway on April 2, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona. Photo: Getty Images

Verizon IndyCar Series, Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (all Chevrolets)

  • 8-Max Chilton
  • 9-Scott Dixon
  • 10-Tony Kanaan
  • 83-Charlie Kimball
Ford GTs at Sebring. Photo courtesy of Michelin
Ford GTs at Sebring. Photo courtesy of Michelin

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix (all Ford GTs, GT Le Mans class)

  • 66-Joey Hand/Dirk Mueller
  • 67-Richard Westbrook/Ryan Briscoe

FIA World Endurance Championship, 6 Hours of Silverstone (all Ford GTs, GTE-Pro class)

  • 66-Olivier Pla/Stefan Muecke/Billy Johnson
  • 67-Marino Franchitti/Andy Priaulx/Harry Tincknell

So there you have it. Twelve cars and 17 drivers spread across Tennessee, California and the United Kingdom. Not to mention hundreds of staff and crew members.

This is the first of two weekends where all four of these programs will be in action concurrently.

On the chaotic and similarly crazy Sept. 17-18 weekend, IndyCar wraps its season in Sonoma, the Sprint Cup Series opens its Chase at Chicagoland Speedway, the Xfinity Series also races at Chicagoland, while both the FIA WEC and IMSA Ford GTs will be at Circuit of The Americas on September 17 in Austin.

Extreme E reveals competition format for its global races next season

Extreme E
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Extreme E, a new series that will raise awareness about climate change by racing electric SUVs around the world, unveiled its competition format Friday.

The five-race environmentally conscious series will begin next season with races held in Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Greenland and Brazil.

Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport are among the eight teams that will race in the series. Each team will have a male and female driver who alternate in each event.

ELECTRIC APPEAL: Why Ganassi is going to the Extreme E

In the details provided Friday, the two-day events will feature two qualifying races Saturday and two semifinals and a final round Sunday. Each race is two laps: One driven by the male driver and the other by the female. Results are based on finishes, not times.

The first semifinal is slotted with Saturday’s top four qualifiers, and the top three finishers advance to the final. The second semifinal (also known as the “Crazy Race”) will feature the last four qualifiers with the winner advancing to the final.

Click here to see the details of Extreme E’s sporting format.

Here’s the release from Extreme E:

29 May, London: Extreme E, the revolutionary electric off-road racing series, has outlined the race format for its five-event adventure to some of the most formidable, remote and spectacular locations across the globe, starting early 2021.

The series has devised an innovative format unlike any other, likened to a Star Wars Pod Racing meets Dakar Rally, which is designed to break the mould in motorsport with all-action, short, sharp wheel-to-wheel racing, world-class drivers and teams, the cutting-edge ODYSSEY 21 electric SUV and its stunning, formidable environments, all firmly in focus.

Each race, which will be known as an X Prix, will incorporate two laps over a distance of approximately 16 kilometres. Four teams, with two drivers – one male, one female – completing a lap apiece in-car, will race head-to-head in each race over the two-day event.

Qualifying takes place on day one to determine the top four runners who will progress through into Semi-Final 1 and the bottom four competitors who will go on to take part in Semi-Final 2: the unique ‘Crazy Race’.

The Crazy Race will be a tooth-and-nail, all-or-nothing fight, with only the quickest team progressing into the Final, while the top three will make it through from Semi-Final 1. The winner of the Final – the fastest combination of team, drivers, car and engineers over the epic two-day battle – will then be crowned the X Prix Winner.

Another innovative feature is the Hyperdrive. This will award an additional boost of speed to the team who performs the longest jump on the first jump of each race. Hyperdrive power can be used by that team at any point in the race.

This initial format is designed to incorporate eight teams, and can be adapted to accommodate additional entries.

Teams will field one male and one female driver, promoting gender equality and a level playing field amongst competitors. Each driver will complete one lap behind the wheel, with a changeover incorporated into the race format.

The teams will determine which driver goes first to best suit their strategy and driver order selections are made confidentially, with competitors kept in the dark as to other teams’ choices until the cars reach the start-line. Contests between males and females will therefore be ensured.

X Prix circuits will also incorportate natural challenges that will leave viewers at the edge of their seats, and drivers and teams will be pushed right to the limits of their abilities; with hazards to navigate and defeat such as extreme gradients, jumps, banks, berms, pits, dunes and water splashes.

Alejandro Agag, Extreme E Founder and CEO, said: “Extreme E is a championship like nothing else that has come before in sport. Its goal and objective is to accelerate innovation and tackle climate change head on using transportation.

“Creating this innovative sporting format, which we’re likening to Star Wars Pod Racing meets Dakar Rally, is vital in order to engage the next generation of motorsport fans. We hope our fans will enjoy the short, sharp, wheel-to-wheel racing this format has been built around, and with our high performance electric vehicle, driver changeover, the Hyperdrive feature, and the Crazy Race qualification format, there is plenty to watch out for, and many chances for positions to change hands, Our races really will go right to the wire.”

Extreme E’s cutting-edge 550-horsepower, ODYSSEY 21, incorporates a number of innovations to enable it to cope with all the rigours of racing over the toughest terrain, where no car has raced before. The battery-electric, 400kw (550hp), 1650-kilogram, 2.3-metre wide E-SUV is bespoke from the ground up. Capable of firing from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, at gradients of up to 130 percent.

It is made up of a common package of standardised parts, manufactured by Spark Racing Technology with a battery produced by Williams Advanced Engineering. This encompasses a niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame, as well as crash structure and roll cage, whilst tyres, for both extreme winter and summer requirements, supplied by founding partner Continental Tyres.

As well as being used as platform for equality and illutstrating the capabilities of electric vehicle technology, Extreme E will highlight the impact that climate change is having on its remote race locations, using a committee of leading scientists to help bring global attention to issues such as deforestation in Brazil, rising sea levels along the West African coastline, melting Arctic icecaps in Greenland, and more.

The championship will announce further drivers, teams and partners over the coming weeks as it builds towards its early 2021 start-date apace.