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Andretti All Charged Up About Going E Racing

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 10 2015

IndyCar veteran Marco Andretti will take a shot at Formula E racing this weekend. (INDYCAR/LAT USA file photo)

By John Sturbin/Senior Writer

Marco Andretti will plug into the environmentally-conscious and socially-hip FIA Formula E Championship Saturday with his debut in the Buenos Aires ePrix.

Andretti will drive the No. 28 Spark-Renault SRT–01E for father Michael’s Andretti Formula E Team in the Argentine resort city, the first-year series’ fourth race and resumption of its 2014-15 season.

“I’ve been looking forward to the chance to get behind the wheel of a Formula E car,” Andretti, a nine-year veteran of the Verizon IndyCar Series, said during a pre-race news conference. “I can’t really take my time learning (the car) as it’s a one-day event; I’m going into it very open-minded. Adapting is the word of the weekend, for sure.”

Marco will be the only American competing on the 2.407-kilometer/12-turn circuit at Puerto Madero. He will be teamed with Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne, returning to the Andretti lineup for his second outing in the Spark-Renault.

“I’ve been bouncing a lot off Jean-Eric Vergne because he adapted quite well in his first race,” said Andretti, 27. “The goal is to be competitive and hopefully we can do that and put on a good show and have a good race for the team.

“Having never been in the car, it’s a bit of an unfamiliar situation for me but the team’s pace looks solid enough for a great result. I like unknown situations; I’m up for the task.”

Team Andretti is fifth in the championship standings following events in China, Malaysia and Uruguay. Lucas de Grassi of Audi Sport ABT won the 25-lap Evergrande Beijing ePrix; Sam Bird of Virgin Racing won the 31-lap Y Capital Putrajaya ePrix and Sebastien Buemi of e.dams-Renault prevailed in the 31-lap Julius Baer Punta del Este ePrix.

Andretti Formula E is among the motorsports ventures owned by Michael Andretti – a former CART open-wheel champion and current owner of Andretti Autosport in the IndyCar Series. Among the 10 teams competing with two-driver rosters is Dragon Racing, the Los Angeles-based organization founded by Jay Penske, son of racing entrepreneur Roger Penske.

Teams also are being fielded by four-time F1 World Driving Champion Alain Prost, co-founder of e.dams-Renault; former F1 regular Jarno Trulli, co-founder/driver of Trulli Formula E Team and award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio, co-founder of Venturi Formula E.

The inaugural, nine-race, Formula E season began in September 2014 and will run through June 2015. The schedule includes events in the United States at Miami Beach and Long Beach this spring.

The Spark Racing Technology Spark-Renault SRT –01E is a carbon-fiber/aluminum monocoque constructed by Dallara Automobili, the Italian-based company that also builds all Dallara chassis for the IndyCar Series. Weighing-in at 1,957.7 pounds (with driver), Formula E cars are powered by two motor generator units producing 200 kilowatts, the equivalent of 270 horsepower, with a maximum of 18,000 RPM. Top speed is 160 mph.

Drivers compete in two cars per race with a strict limit on the amount of energy used set at 28 kilowatts per hour. Another unique feature of the series is its FanBoost System, by which three drivers receive a one-time, five-second extra 30-kilowatt power boost based upon a public vote via social media.

The race will be televised live Saturday in the United States at 2 p.m. (EST) on FOX Sports 2, with repeat telecasts Sunday on FOX Sports 1 at 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. (EST). Formula E’s live online streaming platform also is available. For full broadcast and streaming details, visit FIAFormulaE.com.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 10 2015
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