History will be made this weekend when 20 fully electric race cars will start the world’s first ever ePrix. The new Formula E racing series will showcase future technology which could eventually be applied to road cars. According to the FIA Formula E website the goal is “to improve the image and perception of electric vehicles and to encourage more people to buy and use them”.
Formula E is also a chance to expand motorsport’s fan base. You don’t have to be interested in green technology to enjoy FE. Here are five reasons to watch Formula E:
1- It’s coming to a city near you
Formula E will take place on city streets travelling to at least 8 different countries in the inaugural season. Chances are you’re not too far away from one. Tickets for the first race in Beijing have already sold out and if you’re lucky enough to live near Long Beach you can go to your local event for free!
The events won’t simple be a race that comes and goes. Each city will have musicians performing in entertainment areas where fans can also meet the drivers and drive simulators. What’s more, later this year there will be a motor show at the events to showcase the race cars and electric road vehicles.
2- Single day racing
If you live in one of the host cities this might please you. In order to minimize disruption, all track action will happen on the same day.
Most motorsport events take place over an entire weekend with qualifying happen on a separate day to the race. For spectators this means a lot of travel from hotels to race tracks each day and for fans watching at home it means you can’t see everything in one sitting. A lot of weekend sports, such as Formula 1 and Golf have a noticeable rise in viewing figures on the final day of each event. Most people just care about someone winning and don’t want to wait around.
3- You can make a difference!
In football the fans, or so-called “12th man”, can be a good moral boost. Playing at home is usually an advantage as you have the majority of the crowd cheering you on.
In Formula E you can help your favourite driver in a notable way. Support your driver using fan boost and it may help him or her win! Before each race the three drivers with the most votes will be given a special five second boost. For those five seconds their motor will be more powerful and it could help them get past another car.
4- Watch drivers change cars
These electric cars are completely new -the technology is new. Batteries are heavy and range is still the biggest issue when it comes to electric cars. As a result each driver will get two cars to use during every race. A mandatory switch must happen in the garage and races could be won or lost at the switch.
The car switch will be interesting to watch. How quickly can someone unbuckle, remove the steering wheel, jump out, run to a fully charged car, and get strapped in? It might be a slow process at the start but expect it to get quicker later in the series.
5- Experienced drivers in the same cars
This weekend you can watch Prost and Senna race live against each other. Not the Prost and Senna of the late 80’s and early 90s, but the next generation. It will be nice to see the names together on timing screens again.
The Formula E field boasts an impressive lineup. All but four have driven a Formula One car before and over half have raced in F1. A lot of talented drivers have been forced out of F1 due to lack of sponsorship, and Formula E looks like the place for them to go.
These are some great racers -such as Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld for example, and all will be racing in spec cars. Every car this year will have the exact same components so driver skill will play an important role.
The first race will take place this Saturday in Beijing and I’m excited to see how it goes.