LAT/Formula E

Venturi links up with Mercedes technical partner HWA in Formula E

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Venturi has confirmed a new partnership with Mercedes technical affiliate HWA ahead of the new Formula E season, starting in Hong Kong on Saturday.

HWA has worked with a number of Mercedes’ racing operations since 1998, and will now expand its reach into Formula E via the Monegasque Venturi team.

Venturi finished ninth in last season’s Formula E teams’ championship, but is now aiming to move up the field after striking the new partnership with HWA.

“This organization boasts an impressive record, in the DTM for example, where they are the official partner of Mercedes,” Venturi president Gildo Pallanca Pastor said.

“Venturi Formula E Team and HWA will both benefit from this collaboration. My teams in Monaco, stronger than ever, are working hand in hand with HWA.”

HWA’s arrival acts as a first foray into Formula E for a Mercedes-affiliated brand ahead of the German marque’s factory entry in season six (2019/20).

Venturi is also fielding two Mercedes factory drivers, Edoardo Mortara and Maro Engel, in Formula E this season.

An IndyCar iRacing Challenge at Talladega? Drivers have discussed it

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If Dale Earnhardt Jr. is interested in an IndyCar iRacing event on an oval, he might like the latest idea being kicked around by NTT Series drivers.

“I personally would want to run at Talladega, but I don’t think that’s an option,” Arrow McLaren SP driver rookie Oliver Askew told NBCSports.com in a Friday interview about his simulation work for the second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “IndyCar drivers have a group chat with iRacing, and someone had the idea of running at Talladega, and I thought it was brilliant.”

It actually would be a throwback of sorts as a USAC-sanctioned race with Indy cars at Talladega nearly happened 40 years ago.

The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will be running its second consecutive road course Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN or streaming here).

Of the four remaining races in the six-race series, there’s a chance that three of them could be ovals: A Drivers’ Choice track April 11; a “Random Draw” April 18 and a non-IndyCar “Dream” track May 2 (the April 25 race will be at Circuit of the Americas).

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IndyCar drivers are voting on next week’s track, and the options include high-speed ovals such as Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan Speedway.

A multicar crash at Talladega last October. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Talladega apparently isn’t on the list for next week, but surely it could be considered for a future race if it meant having Earnhardt in the field. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is a six-time winner at Talladega, and the NASCAR on NBC analyst’s family is synonymous with the 2.66-mile oval where his late seven-time champion father won a record 10 times.

“I hope he can make that happen,” Askew said of racing against Earnhardt. “I hope IndyCar can grant his wish on that.”

The addition of Earnhardt would fit well with an IndyCar iRacing Challenge that already features champions from NASCAR (Jimmie Johnson) and Supercars (Scott McLaughlin).

Will Power would like to see more of that.

“I think that would be great if we can get big-name drivers from other series,” Power said. “Getting a couple guys from Europe would be cool.”