As of early 2013, two teams have already stepped up and signed on the dotted line, committing to the inaugural season of the E-Prix, as some are already calling it. (You know, because "E" and "Prix" rhyme in that catchy little phrase.)
The first to sign up was Drayson Racing Technologies. They've already announced they'll be using the SRT cars provided by FEH for the 2014 season; however, they're developing their own race car for the 2015 season in conjunction with another racing powerhouse, Lola. In fact, a prototype of their joint effort has already set an electric record at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom.
The second team on the schedule is Team China Racing, which has competition experience in Superleague Formula and FIA GT1. They also plan to take advantage of Formula E Holdings' offer of team cars from SRT for 2014, and like Drayson Racing, Team China is developing its own car for 2015.
The teams will race on city streets rather than on designated tracks, much like classic and longstanding Formula One races. Just as there are 10 teams for the first season, there will also be 10 host cities. The first eight (with two more to be announced) are:
- Buenos Aires
- Los Angeles
- Putrajaya, Malaysia
- Rio de Janeiro
The teams will use Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) tech regulations, just like nearly every race with a stop in Europe on its calendar. Teams are encouraged to do as Drayson and China Racing are doing and come up with their own cars for future races, as Formula E is designated as an open championship. Anyone with a car that meets regulations can pay to play -- and possibly win.
Author's Note: How Formula E Will Work
You know what's really weird about electric races? They're quiet. Chirping-crickets quiet.
I've been to lots of electric-powered races, oddly enough. I've been to drag races and time trials. I've seen professionally built team cars and home-built conversions take to the track, too. I've seen record-setting motorcycles and puttering electrical embarrassments, and they're all (every one of them) silent but for the sound of tires on the pavement. Sometimes there's a whirr -- if you're lucky.
So a whole field of 10 Formula E cars circling the track at the same time is going to require some adjustment on the part of the spectators. I guess we're all going to have to do our part to make some noise, because the race cars just ain't gonna do it for us this time. Maybe they could play a Formula One engine soundtrack over the PA?
- Federation Internationale de l'Automobile. "China Racing Becomes Second Formula E Team." Feb. 13, 2013. (March 13, 2013) http://www.fia.com/news/china-racing-becomes-second-formula-e-team
- Formula E Holdings. (March 6, 2013) http://www.formulaeholdings.com/
- Formula E News. "The Official Formula E Blog." (March 6, 2013) http://formula-e-news.com/official-media/
- Formula E News. "Specs." (March 13, 2013) http://formula-e-news.com/specs-fe01/
- Lola. "Motorsport: Race Cars and Projects." (March 13, 2013) http://www.lolacars.com/race_cars_projects.asp
- NEDRA. "About NEDRA." (March 13, 2013) http://www.nedra.com/about_us.html
- TTXGP. (March 13, 2013) http://www.egrandprix.com/