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City focus crucial to Formula E’s success for FIA

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TURIN, Italy – FIA president Jean Todt has stressed the importance of Formula E sticking with central city locations ahead of the publication of the new calendar for the championship’s third season.

Formula E has shied away from traditional race circuits, instead opting for locations that are in city centres to promote the benefits of electric vehicles and make the events accessible for fans.

Speaking at the beginning of the FIA Sport Conference in Turin on Tuesday, Todt expressed his happiness with Formula E’s first two campaigns.

“The last [round] will happen in 15 days in London. This will close the second year of the Formula E championship which is spectacular,” Todt said.

“I can’t remember in my life to have ever seen a new championship – this is a new-born championship – I have never seen such a new event with such a huge resonance.

“There is great interest, great producers, teams, suppliers, drivers, so it is an amazing thing. However, you need to be very careful, because we should never take anything for granted.

“One of the reasons for its success is the fact that these races are organised in city centres. This is one of the key parts of its success. If they were organized on traditional circuits, then it wouldn’t work really.

“In economic terms, it would be easier, but it’s not the idea.

“We have seen an evolution of racing. With climate change, we have new challenges, we’re fighting pollution, CO2 emissions.

“Electric cars are particularly suited to use in city centres, so the fact we can be welcomed in cities such as Paris, London, Beijing – it’s a shame that we haven’t reached Rome yet, but who knows? Maybe with the new Mayor we can talk about it, she’s nice, so I could see an opportunity there.

“It is a championship that must do and has to be run in city centres.”

The first FIA-approved version of the calendar for the 2016-2017 season is due to be published on Friday, the previous drafts having only been sent to teams by the series organizers.

Should the draft receive approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, races in Montreal and New York could be set to join the schedule.

The only confirmed new race for season three is the Hong Kong ePrix, scheduled for October 9.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.