Last Thursday, the ten Formula E teams received their first all-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars, coinciding with the opening of the Formula E headquarters, a 44,000sqf facility in Donington Park where all pre-season tests will take place. The teams received one of the French-built car apiece, and is scheduled to receive another three more by 15 July.
The SRT_01E is the first and only car featured in this upcoming inaugural season that will kick off in Beijing on 13 September. The design and production is led by Spark Racing Technology with a host of other leading motorsport manufacturers: the super light, monocoque chassis is supplied by Dallara; the electric powertrain and electronics is provided by McLaren Electronics Systems, and the 200kw batteries that can generate 270bhp is a product of Williams Advanced Engineering. The 18″ treaded tyres are a special design by Michelin. The SRT_01E is capable of speeds of up to 150mph; snail-pace compared to Formula 1 racecars, of course, which can go up to around 250mph (although maybe not this year, with the new V6 engines in place of the V8s). Then again, this is just the beginning for all-electric racecars.
Rigorous testing has covered 3000km, and test driver, Ho-Pin Tung, has completed three race simulations. He reported, “There’s going to be super-close racing because you can brake really late.” Will this also entail more car-bumping and crashes? We can’t wait.
Watched the race test and Tung’s comments:
The Virgin Racing team recently became the second team, after Audi Sport, to confirm their drivers. The Richard Branson-backed team announced that racers Jaime Alguersuari and Sam Bird will be racing for them come September. Alguersuari, who hails from Spain, became the youngest F1 driver when he made an appearance in 2009, and the youngest driver in the British Formula 3 during his debut year in 2008. British Bird claimed five victories in the GP2 Series last season, narrowly missing out on the title. He was a test driver for Williams and Mercedes for their F1 machinery, and is racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship for Ferrari.
The Formula E is expected to attract a new legion of motorsports fans, who are perhaps also environmentally conscious. The organisers recently enjoyed a successful first round of financing, attracting investments amounting to EUR50 million, mainly from Qualcomm and Amura Capital.
According to Steve Pazol, GM of Wireless Charging for Qualcomm, “Formula E is the perfect way to demonstrate the leading edge of technology of this next generation of environmentally responsible transportation.”