FIA Formula E

Bird battles through to maiden New York Formula E victory

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RED HOOK, NY – Sam Bird battled from fourth place on the grid to become the first driver in motorsport history to win a race in New York City as Formula E hit the streets of Red Hook, Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.

Bird managed to rise through to the lead of the race in the first half of the race after completing passes on Jean-Eric Vergne, pole-sitter Alex Lynn and Daniel Abt, the latter being his final victim on Lap 15.

Bird enjoyed a comfortable lead of around three seconds prior to the car swaps, only for Vergne to go on a charge and reduce the gap to just one second heading into the closing stages of the race.

A late safety car bunched the field and gave Vergne another chance to reel Bird in, only for the DS Virgin Racing driver to perfect his restart and ease home for his fourth Formula E victory.

Vergne took second ahead of Techeetah teammate Stephane Sarrazin, who charged from 11th on the grid to score his maiden Formula E podium.

With championship leader Sebastien Buemi absent due to his LMP1 commitments with Toyota at the Nürburgring, Lucas di Grassi was able to reduce the gap at the head of the standings to just 20 points after finishing fourth for ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport.

Title race outsider Felix Rosenqvist saw his dim hopes of a run to the championship fade when he spun out from fifth place in a bid to keep di Grassi back, damaging his Mahindra and eventually crossing the line 15th.

Loic Duval finished fifth for Faraday Future Dragon Racing ahead of NextEV NIO’s Oliver Turvey, while Red Bull Formula 1 junior Pierre Gasly enjoyed a solid run from 19th on the grid to P7 on his Formula E debut, standing in for Buemi at Renault e.dams.

Nicolas Prost took eighth place in the sister Renault ahead of MS Amlin Andretti’s Robin Frijns, while Adam Carroll completed the points for Jaguar in 10th.

Formula E hits the streets of New York once again on Sunday for the third-to-last round of the season.

NHRA: Dodge/Mopar to unveil new Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car today in Denver

Photos/video courtesy Dodge/Mopar
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If you’re a fan of NHRA Funny Car racing and Dodge/Mopar, you may notice something different at this weekend’s Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in suburban Denver, Colorado.

Two-time (2011 and 2014) NHRA Funny Car champ Matt Hagan – who has won the last two NHRA national events in the last four weeks – will be piloting a newly-designed 2019 Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, a 10,000-horsepower Funny Car that makes its debut today at Dodge/Mopar’s premier NHRA national event.

The new Charger SRT Hellcat succeeds the former Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, which had been in use since 2015.

“We improved on the body design,” Hagan said of the new Charger Hellcat. “It was already a great design, a great body. But now, we’re going to have a little more downforce, a little more traction on these racetracks and it will be a huge performance advantage.”

The new Hellcat includes a number of innovations, including a new front splitter to increase downforce. Just like its predecessor, the R/T, the Hellcat will go head-to-head with Chevrolet’s Camaro in the NHRA Funny Car ranks.

“We will be able to press harder with more downforce on the nose, which translates into huge amounts of downforce on the run,” Hagan said.

According to a media release, the new Hellcat features major design changes in three key areas: the front end, bodysides and burst panel placement:

* “At the front, the shape of the nose has been tweaked and a new splitter (photo), built of carbon fiber and Kevlar like the rest of the Funny Car body, has been added. The splitter substantially mimics the look and shape of the production vehicle’s splitter while generating greater downforce to help plant the Funny Car to the track.

* “Bodyside scallops have been redesigned to more closely identify with the production Hellcat while also enhancing on-track function and performance. The deeper character lines provide greater visual ties to the street version of the Hellcat, while also helping to mitigate the “body burn” common on all Funny Cars due to the close positioning of the exhaust headers.

* “The location of the burst panel on the hood has also been reworked. The panel is now centered over the top of the engine to more efficiently release energy and pressure in the event of engine issues, a common occurrence in race cars that are pushed to the razor’s edge of performance.”

Since the R/T was first introduced into the Don Schumacher Racing corps, it has gone on to 50 wins, 42 runner-up finishes and 40 No. 1 qualifiers in NHRA national events and one NHRA Funny Car World Championship (Ron Capps, 2016).

The new Charger SRT Hellcat, which can exceed 330-plus mph and covers 1,000 feet in under four seconds, is the drag strip version of the supercharged, 707-horsepower production Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world.

While Hagan will drive the first Hellcat, his other three Dodge-powered DSR teammates – Capps, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. – will soon take delivery of their own versions of the car over the remaining 11 races of the 2018 season.

One day after winning two weeks ago at Norwalk, Ohio, Hagan and crew chief Dickie Venables put the new Hellcat through its paces with several test runs. The results were so strong that it was decided to debut the car at Denver and run all qualifying and elimination rounds with it.

“We made four good, solid runs in testing at Norwalk,” said Hagan. “We put the body through a lot of different things and were really, really pleased with it.

“I really think it’s going to translate over to performance on the race track, and hopefully more win lights in the future.”

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