Formula E, the FIA’s all-electric racing championship, has made its mark in South America: Punta Del Este and Buenos Aires. Now the circus is headed north to the United States—home of the mighty muscle car. The highly charged racing series will make its debut in Miami, FL on March 14, and then it’s on to Long Beach, CA. on April 4.
Auto racing in the U.S. has traditionally been all about big horsepower and straight-line speed. You can see it in the local’s love of muscle cars, drag racing, and huge roaring stadiums where drivers race their cars around (and around and around) banked oval tracks. Don’t get me wrong, petrol-driven drag races and stock car racing is a sight and sound to behold. Thing is, the world’s oil supply is a finite resource. It isn’t going to last forever, folks. Pretty soon, those weekends at the track—whether you’re a spectator, a weekend racer, or a professional—are bound to get more expensive as the years go by.
One solution to feed our fix for auto racing, while doing it in a sustainable manner, is Formula E—considered the top tier of electric car racing and featuring auto technologies as well as talent rooted in its petrol-driven cousin, Formula 1 (now using hybrid cars, by the way).
Formula E will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of motorsports, and that’s why Qualcomm Technologies is proud to be an Official Founding and Technology Partner. During Formula E’s inaugural year, our Qualcomm Halo™ wireless charging technology has been used successfully to keep the pair of Qualcomm Safety Cars (we call them “Pace Cars” in the U.S.) and Medical/Extraction Cars ready for action. Beginning next year, the race teams will have the option to use it in their cars.
After four races into the inaugural season, Formula E has served up four different winners. Lucas De Grassi of Audi Sport ABT leads the drivers’ points race, followed closely by Sam Bird of Virgin Racing. Rounding out the top four are e.dams-Renault drivers Sébastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost—a serious one-two punch.
After a disappointing first race, e.dams-Renault is leading in team points. Virgin Racing is in second and is the only team that has finished in the top five every race. China Racing—in sixth place overall—has come on strong during the South American leg of the championship. Like the drivers’ points race, there is no clear favorite in the team points race either, which means that everyone is still fighting 100% for each position.
Both the upcoming Miami and Long Beach ePrix races will take place on street courses, like all Formula E events. Miami’s circuit will be situated in Miami’s downtown and along Biscayne Bay, challenging drivers, teams and cars with long straightaways ending in 90-degree turns. The Long Beach circuit will take place on an abbreviated version of the historic Long Beach Grand Prix course but will still include a long straight down Seaside Way and the celebrated hairpin leading into the straight down East Shoreline Drive between the Marina and Rainbow Lagoon Park—this should be a fast race.
If you’re an auto racing fan, a “car
guy person,” or a tech enthusiast who wants to see the motorsport series that will play a pivotal role in shaping tomorrow’s automobile technology, check out either of these races. Outside the U.S.? Don’t worry, the Formula E footprint is growing as Moscow was recently added to this year’s race calendar. If Formula E misses your country this year, keep an eye on your local television networks.
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- Scott Speed, the last American to compete in Formula One, is slated to drive at the Miami ePrix for Andretti Autosport.
- The season finale will be a “double header”—two races held within the grounds of Battersea Park, London, on June 27 & 28.
- Eight manufacturers will race next season (2015/2016), when the series becomes an open championship, allowing manufacturers to pursue their own in-house innovations in the e-motor, the inverter, the gearbox and the cooling system. During this inaugural season (2014/2015), teams were racing identical Spark-Renault SRT_01E single-seat race cars.