There are a lot of stories that you can write about Formula E drivers without having seen them actually turn a wheel in anger. You can talk about the redemption of former F1 drivers like Lucas di Grassi and Sebastian Buemi. There’s the retirement tour aspect with elder statesmen Nick Heidfeld, Jarno Trulli and Stephane Sarrazin in the field. And there’s the family legacy stories with Nicolas Prost, Bruno Senna and Nelson Piquet Jr. running Formula E.
It’s the latter of which who starred in Long Beach for the first electric race on the famous street course. Thirty-five years ago, Nelson Piquet won his first Formula One Grand Prix at Long Beach. This weekend, Nelson Piquet Jr. won his first Formula E ePrix by dominating the race at Long Beach.
Long Beach is the most historic road course race in America. It’s the one that everyone wants to win. Even Formula One wants to take it back from IndyCar and they’re only interested in big money and big extravagance which is something that Long Beach doesn’t do to nearly the extent that F1’s newest races.
While Long Beach has a long history of making heroes out of its winners, sometimes, it’s the underdogs that have their day on the streets of the California port. This time out, it was a part-timer driving an oval-specialist’s car taking the checkered flag as Mike Conway won his second Long Beach Grand Prix.
It’s been almost twelve years since Takuma Sato last won a race. That was the legendary Macau Grand Prix in November 2011. AJ Foyt Racing hasn’t run a race since an oval race in Kansas in July 2002. All it took for the two to break their losing streaks was to find each other as Takuma Sato picked up his first IndyCar win by taking the chequered flag at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.