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Jaguar launches Formula E team with Carroll, Evans as race drivers

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GAYDON, UK – Jaguar has officially launched its new Formula E operation ahead of the all-electric series’ third season, confirming Adam Carroll and Mitch Evans as its race drivers.

Jaguar confirmed last December that it would be entering Formula E from its third season in a bid to boost its electric vehicle development and technology.

The move sees Jaguar return to top-line international motorsport for the first time since 2004, when it ended its five-year stint in Formula 1 before selling the operation to Red Bull.

Jaguar Racing has conducted private testing with its powertrain in the lead-up to the collective test sessions at Donington Park over the past three weeks.

The car is Jaguar’s first all-electric racer, and will be known as the I-Type, in-keeping with its naming patterns for many of its road cars.

Carroll has been integral to its testing program, taking part in both the private running and all six days at Donington.

The Northern Irishman raced in GP2 before winning the A1 Grand Prix title in 2009, and also made two IndyCar starts with Andretti Autosport in 2010.

Most recently, Carroll has plied his trade in British GT, but came close to making his Formula E debut in Buenos Aires earlier this year when the participation of both Nick Heidfeld and Jean-Eric Vergne was in doubt due to injury and illness.

Now, Carroll will get his chance to showcase his talent in Formula E with Jaguar, marking his first full-time single-seater campaign since his A1 GP victory in 2009.

“It’s a real privilege to be racing for Jaguar in Formula E,” Carroll said.

“You only have to look at the calibre of the other drivers in the series to see the level of competitiveness and prestige that this championship now has.

“To drive for Jaguar is also a dream come true. They are the biggest brand to come into the series and one of the most evocative names in racing.”

Evans’ arrival comes off the back of four years racing in GP2, the premier feeder series to F1, which was preceded by a GP3 title success in 2012.

The New Zealander arrives off the back of four days of running with Jaguar at Donington Park, getting acclimatized to the Formula E car after seeing off competition from Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell for the seat.

“Formula E is a real drivers’ championship with some of the most competitive racing in the world,” Evans said.

“Any of the drivers will tell you how challenging it is to find the limit in a Formula E car and gain those extra tenths and I’m looking forward to the season ahead.

“Some of history’s most iconic cars have been developed by Jaguar, and I’m thrilled to be part of Jaguar’s electric future and our return to motorsport.”

While both Carroll and Evans will be Formula E rookies in season three, both arrive with significant racing pedigree, which combined with Jaguar’s commitment to the series should make them competitive from the off.

Carroll and Evans will be joined at Jaguar by Ho Pin Tung, a Chinese-Dutch racer who has three Formula E races under his belt as well as a variety of experience from other series. Tung will act as reserve driver for the team.

“I believe that Jaguar’s entry to the series is a significant moment for the FIA Formula E Championship,” Tung said.

“I have direct experience of racing in this series and have seen how effectively Formula E brings a thrilling showcase of next-generation technologies right to the cities of fans around the world.

“I am looking forward to making a meaningful contribution to this future of electric mobility and to Jaguar’s significant racing legacy.”

The event also saw Japanese technical company Panasonic confirmed as Jaguar’s title sponsor for season three. The team will be known as Panasonic Jaguar Racing.

The launch event held at Jaguar’s HQ in Gaydon, England echoed its storied automotive and racing past, the room packed with classic cars such as the Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-9, and even the Jaguar R5, the last F1 car produced by the British marque in 2004.

However, the message was firmly about the future: Jaguar is back at the top table of motorsport through its presence in Formula E as it looks to push the boundaries of electric technology and – naturally, given its pedigree – be successful on-track.

Formula E’s third season begins on October 9 in Hong Kong.

Oliver Askew: ‘I was starting to lose confidence’ after ‘hardest hit I’ve had’

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Oliver Askew knew something was medically wrong in the days after concussion-like symptoms began from “the hardest hit I’ve ever had” in the Indianapolis 500. He’d been evaluated and cleared to race after the Aug. 23 crash, but he just didn’t feel right.

The IndyCar rookie told The Associated Press on Thursday he has been experiencing dizziness, sleeping difficulties, irritability, headaches and confusion since he crashed in the Aug. 23 race. He continued to race in four more events as he tried to “play through it” until friends and family encouraged him to seek medical treatment.

He since has been diagnosed with a concussion and is working on a recovery plan with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s sports medicine concussion program, the same place NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. received care after concussions in 2012 and ’16. Askew will not compete in next weekend’s doubleheader on the road course at Indianapolis, and Arrow McLaren SP will put three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Chevrolet.

“This is all I’ve worked for,” the 23-year-old told AP. “I don’t come from money, and I’ve worked my way up and have finally gotten my shot in a good car. And then all of a sudden, the results just weren’t there in a car I knew should be performing. And I just didn’t feel like myself, you know?

“So initially I felt like I needed to stay in the car and continue to improve. And then I didn’t feel like I could do that with my condition and what was going on. I was starting to lose confidence in myself.”

Earnhardt praised Askew for going to Pittsburgh to see Dr. Micky Collins.

“Oliver is in the best hands when it comes to taking care of this problem and getting back on the racetrack. It was very smart of him to get in front of Micky so that he could understand the seriousness of the situation and begin the process of getting well,” Earnhardt said. “You can absolutely heal from this but not without taking the step of getting help. Often that’s the most difficult step.”

Athletes often hide injuries to continue competing, and even Earnhardt admittedly masked concussions during his driving career. Askew didn’t know what was wrong with him but was frightened to get out of the car.

He is a paid driver who brings no sponsorship money to the team (but did bring a $1 million scholarship for winning last year’s Indy Lights championship), and owner Sam Schmidt holds the option on his contract.

As he tried to race on, his performance suffered. Askew had finished third and sixth at Iowa — the previous two races before Indianapolis. After the crash, he was part of a multicar accident the next week at Gateway and has not finished higher than 14th in the four races since Indy.

A year after winning seven Indy Lights races, Askew has fallen from 12th to 18th in the standings and slipped considerably off the pace. He said he struggled in team debriefs, had difficulty giving feedback and has gone through a personality change that was noticeable to those close to Askew.

Spire Sports + Entertainment, which represents Askew and was among those who pushed the driver to see a doctor, noted Arrow McLaren SP did not reveal that Askew was suffering from a concussion in its Thursday announcement he would miss next week’s race.

“Oliver clearly demonstrated his talent until Lap 91 of the Indianapolis 500, and I hope this does not become another case study of why athletes do not tell their teams they are injured,” said agent Jeff Dickerson. “The reason they do that is because more often times than not they are replaced. In motorsports, there is always somebody to replace you, and whether it was Dale Jr. or Oliver Askew, there is always another driver available.

“I hope this is not a barrier to progress for other drivers — especially young drivers afraid of losing their job — to notify their teams they are hurt. I hope the team proves me wrong because the good news is, the kid has had a head injury for the past month and has still run 14th in IndyCar.”

After finally seeking medical treatment, Askew said he was relieved to learn there was something wrong. He said doctors told him the injury has a “100% recovery rate” and he believes he will be able to race in the IndyCar season finale next month at St. Petersburg. He’s been rehabilitating with exercises and tasks that strain the brain such as deliberately going to grocery stores and the airport.

“Honestly, you know, if I had not gone to see medical professionals I would probably stay in the car,” Askew said. “But now after hearing what’s wrong and that it could get worse, God forbid I have another hit, I know I did the right thing. I think I can be an example for young drivers now in stepping up and saying something is wrong, I need to have this checked out.”