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Gerry Hughes appointed permanent NextEV Formula E chief

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The NextEV NIO Formula E team has confirmed that Gérry Hughes will take over the day-to-day running of the operation on a permanent basis.

Hughes joined NextEV in December 2015 as chief race engineer, having previously worked in Formula 1 with the likes of Red Bull, Jordan and Super Aguri. Hughes also enjoyed a stint in IndyCar with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Hughes was made acting team principal of NextEV following the death of Dr. Martin Leach last November, but will now take over the role on a permanent basis.

Hughes will also become the head of NIO’s performance program, which comes following the launch of its all-electric EP9 hypercar in December.

“Taking on the role of project lead for both the Formula E team and EP9 supercar programs will include new challenges for me, but they are challenges that my team and I relish,” Hughes said.

“I must thank everyone at NIO for their support and confidence in me during this transitional period. I am extremely honored that William Li and Lihong Qin have given me this opportunity and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that both programs are a success going forwards.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).