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Motorsport

A new generation of motor racing

Inaugural race of an electric motor racing series takes place in Beijing this year featuring famous names.

Last updated: 20 May 2014 20:07
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Agag has developed his electric racing series from a concept to reality in a matter of months [Al Jazeera]

The fruits of Alejandro Agag’s dogged labour are at last emerging.

The CEO of FIA-backed Formula E – an electric motor racing series which begins in September 2014 – has taken delivery of a new fleet of racing cars to be used in the inaugural season.

In addition, Formula E’s new headquarters at Donington Park race circuit in the United Kingdom have been completed.

“We’re here for the racing heritage, which is important for us as we’re racing people,” Agag told Al Jazeera.

“Being here and seeing the cars makes everything worthwhile. The project has tremendous momentum, people are very excited, teams are very happy. So all in all, things look very good.” 

Formula E facts

Cars can reach 225 kilometres/hour.

During races, drivers can boost car to overtake increasing output from 133kw to 200kw for a limited
time.

Renault, Mclaren, Williams, Michelin involved in manufacturing cars.

Leonardo di Caprio and Sir Richard
Branson have invested in teams.

Racing on the streets of 10 major cities around the world including Beijing, Putrajaya, Punta Del Este, Buenos Aires, Miami, Los
Angeles, Monte Carlo, Berlin and London

There will be a level playing field as every team will start off this year with the same car.

The competition will heat up in the second season when teams will introduce their own technology.  

 

Agag, a Spanish former politician and businessman, has developed his vision of a single seater, 100% electric racing series from a concept to reality in a matter of months.

Ten teams of two drivers will race around city streets. The championship, which begins in Beijing in September 2014, has already attracted some big names in motorsport.

Four-time Formula One world champion Alain Prost co-owns the e.dams team. After buying a Formula One team in 1997, he bowed out of the ownership game with a large debt.

He says he is wary of repeating the same mistakes but the concept of Formula E offers something different;

“What I like is that Formula E is completely new, it’s completely different. You cannot compare it to anything else; the format of the races, the places you race, the technology of the car, the fact that this technology is going to change year after year. I wanted to live with this, I wanted to see what it is and experience it.”

Some of the drivers who have put their names forward for the first season include ex-Formula One drivers Jarno Trulli, Bruno Senna, Sebastien Buemi, Nick Heidfeld, Narain Karthikeyen, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Takumo Sato and Lucas di Grassi, Formula E’s regular test driver.

Sam Bird, well known to GP2 racing, has signed up with the Richard Branson-backed Virgin team and he is hoping to capitalise on his recent success on street circuits.

“Formula E is innovative, it’s new, it’s exciting, we will go to amazing places around the world, all of which will be street tracks, which are my forte," Bird said.

"As a person on this planet, it’s good to be showing I’m aware of the difficulties we have with renewable resources.  Everybody should do their part for the environment."

One of Formula E’s main objectives is to promote electric vehicles on the road.

Mumbai-based car manufacturer Mahindra is well known to motorsport having entered MotoGP in 2011 and is now turning its hand to Formula E.

Mahindra Racing’s team principal, Dilbagh Gill, hopes the series will help with the modernisation of its electric road cars currently on the market.

“We’ve been manufacturing electric vehicles for the last 25 years. This will be a nice platform to demonstrate our technology and to help transfer the technology back to the road cars to improve their performance. So far our road cars haven’t been that exciting but have been very useful - more a commuter’s car. But now people are demanding more from their electric vehicle.”

New generation fans

The championship hopes to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans and certainly gives us petrol heads something to think about. If you happen to be in the United Kingdom over the next two months and you fancy checking it out for yourself, then head to Donington to watch the test days for free.

So is Formula E the future of motorsport? Let’s leave you with Virgin Racing team driver Jaime Alguesuari’s sentiments on this matter:

“In general life there is a change, in future, in time. No-one believed maybe 30 years ago that the internet would replace magazines, that digital music would replace vinyl. This is similar. This has to be the future. It’s going to be mega. You should follow Formula E because it’s a change in time. Whether you believe it or not. What option do we have? When we run out of petrol, what’s left? “

820

Source:
Al Jazeera
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