Getty Images

Hong Kong Formula E track layout unchanged for season four opener

Leave a comment

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.

Female racer makes history with record finishes in dirt national midget events

Photo courtesy Toyota Racing
Leave a comment

Holly Shelton is riding high after setting a milestone for a female driver in a national midget series feature event on dirt this past weekend.

The Sacramento, California-area resident recorded the highest finish ever for a female dirt national midget series driver with a runner-up finish last Friday at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header weekend at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Shelton broke her own national record for top finish by a woman in a national dirt event – she finished third in a USAC race at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last year.

One night after setting her new national record, Shelton and her Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota roared back Saturday to finish third (started on the outside pole) in the second half of the weekend double-header, making her the first female dirt driver ever on the national midget circuit to earn back-to-back podium finishes.

“It’s cool making history as a female, but my number one thing is I just want to win,” said Shelton, who will be graduating from Cal-State Sacramento with a B.A. in Criminal Justice this fall. “Truthfully, on the track I don’t even remember that I’m a girl. I’m just racing all the guys with the same goal they have – to win.”

Only one other woman has finished second in either a USAC or POWRi midget feature – Sarah McCune at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999 – but that was on pavement, not dirt.

The record-setting weekend was great consolation for Shelton, who missed three races earlier this season due to surgery and then sat out three other races last month after suffering a race-related concussion.

“It felt good,” she said of her back-to-back podium finishes. “It builds up my confidence. The car is fast and we keep getting better and we want to build on it.”

Shelton was one of four women that competed in midget competition this weekend. The others were 19-year-old Maria Cofer and 16-year-olds Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson.

“It’s awesome seeing all the little girls come up to me excited to see me at the track,” Shelton said. “Hopefully, it encourages them to pursue their dreams as well and, as the years go on, more girls will get into it.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski