Tomorrow, motorsport enters a new era with the first ever sanctioned electric car race set to take place. We’re talking about the new Formula E Championship, whose inaugural season gets underway tomorrow in Beijing and will feature 10 events hosted all around the globe. The final race will take place in London on June 27 of next year and in between there will be races held in the U.S., one in Miami on March 14 and the other in Long Beach on April 4.
For season one, each of the 10 teams competing will run identical Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E cars. Each driver will have two cars, one to start with and the other to swap into once the first one goes flat, and each team will have two drivers. From season two, Formula E will become an open championship, allowing teams to design and develop their own cars in accordance to the technical specifications set out by the FIA.
Peak output of the cars is 200 kilowatts (270 horsepower) and top speed is limited to 140 mph in order to preserve battery life. A single charge is expected to see the cars race for between 20 and 30 minutes and each of the races is expected to last one hour. In contrast to top-level motorsport, which usually hosts races over a number of days, each Formula E event will take place in a single day, including qualifying and the race itself.
In addition to providing excitement, organizers hope Formula E is able to provide a framework for further research and development electric cars, just as rallying has done for all-wheel-drive systems and what endurance racing is currently doing for diesel and hybrid technology. It should come as no surprise that a handful of major automakers and technology companies are involved with Formula E, including Audi, Mahindra, McLaren, Renault and Virgin.
Below is a list of the teams competing, and their drivers:
Amlin Aguri - Katherine Legge, Takuma Sato
Andretti Formula E - Franck Montagny, Charles Pic
Audi Sport ABT - Lucas di Grassi, Daniel Abt
China Racing - Nelson Piquet, Ho-Pin Tung
Dragon Racing - Jerome d'Ambrosio, Oriol Servià
E.Dams Renault - Nicolas Prost, Sébastien Buemi
Mahindra Racing - Karun Chandhok, Bruno Senna
Trulli - Jarno Trulli, Michela Cerruti
Venturi - Nick Heidfeld, Stéphane Sarrazin
Virgin Racing - Jaime Alguersuari, Sam Bird