Hong Kong Formula E track layout unchanged for season four opener

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The street course used for the Formula E race in Hong Kong will remain unchanged for this December’s opening round of the all-electric series’ fourth season.

Hong Kong hosted Formula E for the very first time last October with a course in the Central district of the city state, with Sebastien Buemi becoming the maiden victor.

Just days after the conclusion of Formula E’s third campaign in Montreal, the series kicked off proceedings for its fourth season with a launch event in Hong Kong.

Despite facing some criticism for the disruption caused for locals in Hong Kong, officials confirmed at the event that the layout would remain unchanged for the double-header race weekend, taking place on December 2-3.

Efforts were made to adapt the circuit and make it longer in order to pose more of a challenge to drivers, but the compact course used in season three will remain unchanged.

“We tried many ways working with all the Hong Kong departments to see how we could lengthen the track. Unfortunately, we couldn’t,” Alan Fang, chief executive of Formula Electric Racing, told the South China Morning Post.

“It’s very difficult to widen the track to four lanes. The circuit will pretty much stay the same but there a few turns and things that the FIA is working on to refine it and make it safer and more competitive.”

The race promoters are set to open up the fan eVillage for free this year, giving more fans the opportunity to sample Formula E, as well as more than doubling the capacity for fans.

“We sold quite a number of tickets over two days. Each day there were about 10,000 fans in the eVillage,” Fang said.

“We had comments that the people going to eVillage didn’t get a view of the track and it costs money [to get in] as well.

“Unfortunately, due to the large number of spectators coming in, it’s difficult to open up all the tracks. It’s not like a circuit track where we actually can leave space between the fence and the audience.

“So we will keep it that way, but we’ll let them enjoy the eVillage for free.”

Hong Kong will act as the curtain-raiser for a 14-race calendar for Formula E’s fourth season, finishing up in Montreal once again in July 2018.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”