Photo: Getty Images

Formula E: di Grassi scores win in Switzerland while Vergne falters

Leave a comment

ABT Schaeffler Audi’s Lucas di Grassi charged through the field after starting fifth to win Sunday’s Zurich E-Prix, the first auto race in Switzerland since 1954 and the penultimate weekend of the 2017/18 ABB FIA Formula E season.

Di Grassi managed to quickly work his way through the field prior to the car swaps, overtaking then leader Mitch Evans – he was forced to conserve power on his Panasonic Jaguar Racing Spark-Jaguar – in the first half of the race, and cruising home to a dominant victory.

However, chaos reigned behind him, as Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne, the championship leader by 40 points over DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird entering the weekend, faltered mightily.

Vergne, who was working his way forward prior to the car swaps after starting 17th, found himself in the top 10 before pitting to swap cars under a full course caution with the rest of the field – Vergne hit the front wing of Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, which had fallen off after the Swedish driver clouted the Turn 1 wall, to cause the caution.

The caution saw the entire field take to the pits for the car swaps, but Vergne suffered a disastrous swap after his car wouldn’t start, costing him valuable time and positions.

Insult was added to injury when Vergne was one of several drivers – along with Evans, Renault e.dam’s Sebastien Buemi and Dragon Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez – assessed a drive-through penalty for speeding under the full-course caution period.

It left Vergne to languish in 10th at the end as the final points scorer. Meanwhile, title rival Bird survived the chaos to finish second, slashing the championship deficit to 23 points ahead of July’s season-ending double header in New York City.

Jerome d’Ambrosio finished third for Dragon Racing.

As it stands, Vergne leads Bird by 23 points, while di Grassi’s win vaulted him up to third in the championship.

Results can be found here, while championship standings can be found here.

Follow@KyleMLavigne

Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 Shootout

@MazdaRacing Twitter
Leave a comment

Michael Carter was selected as the winner of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.

Carter was one of four drivers who competed for the honor and a $100,000 scholarship that went along with it. Matthew Dirks, Hannah Grisham and Loni Unser also competed.

With the scholarship, Carter will compete in the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.

“What a journey this has been,” said Carter in a press release. “The reason I started racing a Mazda was because of the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. It was our one single goal all along and to finally accomplish that is surreal. The process begins next week of getting ready for next season, for the series test at Barber, and to put together a good season in the Global MX-5 Cup.”

Carter was invited to the Shootout largely because of his 2018 performance in SCCA. He finished second in the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Points Championship, won the Spec Miata Challenge and won in Spec Miata at the American Road Race of Champions.

The 18-year-old Carter had his eye on the Road to Mazda early.

“Each year, it is exciting to see the next batch of talent that is in the pipeline,” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports. “I heard something from Michael and his father that really hit a chord with me which was that they built a Spec Miata with the sole purpose of going up the Mazda Road to 24 ladder.

That really speaks to the challenger spirit at Mazda, to why we have the Shootout, and to the family that we have at Mazda. Michael is the driver today who walks away with the scholarship, but we had four families come together here who have all gone racing together. For all of us at Mazda, it’s very rewarding to give these families a chance to go racing together. We look forward to watching Michael take the next step in his career in next season’s Global MX-5 Cup.”