The Future of the Sport?

By on July 24, 2013

Image courtesy of Formula e Championship Series

Racing in one form or another has been around a very long time. Some researchers will tell you racing dates back to the days of early man when two Neanderthal men scratched numbers on the side of their rocks, and proceeded to roll them down a hill with the sole intent of finding out who had the fastest rock. The next step in the evolutionary process was the invention of the wheel, which in turn led to the famous Roman chariot races, and the sports first super star, even to today, there seems to be a small debate as to the true identity of this Roman Wheel Man, some say he raced under the name Ben Hur, Others say his name was Charlton Heston. The sport took a giant leap forward with the introduction of the internal combustion engine, and the rest, as they say, is history. When we fast forward to the current day and look at where the sport has progressed from these early days you have to be in awe. From two cave men rolling rocks down a hill to electronic fuel injection, aerodynamics, and paddle shifters, the sport has come a long way, but everyone involved with the sport knows it must continue to grow, and evolve, so what is the next step in this great evolutionary process?

A group of hard working, dedicated gentlemen from London, may have the answer to this question with the formation of their new Formula e Championship Series. This new series will fall under the sanction of the FIA and feature open wheel formula cars powered with electric energy. As an “open Championship” this series will allow different automotive manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their designs, and advancements in electric vehicles in a racing environment, and provide for further research, and development within these fields. The inaugural season is slated to begin in September of 2014, and run through June of 2015, exact dates have yet to be finalized, but series officials expect to have the schedule complete late in 2013. The schedule will include races in nine host countries; the United States will host two races, one in Los Angeles, and one in Miami. Other stops are planned in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil, and Argentina.

This first Formula e season will feature ten teams fielding two entries each; all drivers will be behind the wheel of the newly developed Spark-Renault SRT_01E. The Zero Emissions Spark- Renault is a single seat, purpose built race car using the newest technologies available in electric motor sports. This car is designed to be cost effective while maintaining the durability required to run solely on temporary street circuits. The car is capable of speeds reaching up to 200MPH. All races will be a one day format with practice, qualifying, and racing taking place the same day, this is designed to be more cost effective for the teams involved. Another interesting twist, all Formula e races will have two mandatory pit stops where the drivers will change cars.

Andretti Auto Sports is the first American based team to commit to the new series. Andretti plans to use one of his entries to compete for the e-prix Championship, and reserve the second entry for what they are calling a star car. The star car will be driven by well known drivers like the current Izod Indy Car Series Champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay.

So, is this the wave of the future, only time will tell, regardless of the results, we applaud the founding fathers of this Series for the innovative thinking, and concepts to further grow the sport.

For additional information on the Formula e Series visit their web site at www.fiaformulae.com

Image courtesy of Formula e Championship Series

Categories: Motor Sports, Sports
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