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An exciting development in motor sport starting in September this year.

Have you been following the press releases about the new Formula E series?  This new all electric race series kicks off this year with pre-season testing in July at Donington Park race circuit.  The inaugural series takes place over a total of 10 rounds and they are all staged in major cities around the world, kicking off in Beijing on 13th September.  All 10 rounds will be street races, and the whole event; practice, qualifying and the race itself will be completed on the same day in order to minimise disruption in the cities involved, and to keep costs down.  The final round will be in London on 27 June 2015.

This is without any doubt going to be an exciting race series to watch from a number of aspects.  Concerning the cars and drivers, the formula has been designed with plenty of overtaking possible so plenty of action.  Concerning the technology, generally what develops in racing eventually finds its way into road cars.  Power trains, energy recovery, and battery technology are sure to be candidates in this respect, and I would hope that a truly viable electric road car may soon be able to benefit from developments in electric racing technology.  One only has to look at ABS, traction control, electronic stability programmes, lubricant technology, suspensions systems …. the list goes on, to see that this spin off must happen if this race series is successful.

The Formula-E website is here  and has full details of the specifications, race venues etc.

The Cars

For the inaugural season, all teams will be using the same base car.  It’s the Spark-Renault SRT_01E and you can view photographs of it here together with more facts and figures.  The car is built by French company, Spark Racing Technology with components provided by a consortium of manufacturers including chassis by Dallara, drive train and electronics by McLaren, and batteries by Williams F1.  For future seasons, the teams will be able to develop their own cars and technologies within the FIA specifications.

The drive train is limited to a maximum of 200kW/270hp.  The full amount is available for practice and qualifying, but the output is limited to 133kW/180hp during the race, except for a limited number of short time boosts to full output to facilitate overtaking.  This doesn’t sound like a lot, but full torque is available to the driver from standstill to full speed.

Each team has two drivers and a total of 4 cars; two per driver.

Race Format

Drivers get a one hour practice session and can use both cars if they wish.  Practice is followed by a 90 minute qualifying session with drivers going out in groups of 5 cars.  Only one car is available to each driver during qualifying.  The fastest driver in qualifying gets 3 points.  Full power of 200kW is available for both practice and qualifying.

The race is run for approximately one hour.  Drivers must make a mandatory pit stop and change cars.  Power output is limited to 133kW, but the boost button is enabled to provide short burst of full power of 200kW.

Points are awarded per the FIA points system, but the driver posting the fastest lap during the race is awarded an additional 2 points.

Teams

UK – Virgin Racing, Drayson Racing

USA – Andretti Autosport, Dragon Racing

China – China Racing

France – e.dams

Japan – Super Aguri

Germany – Audi Sport ABT

India – Mahindra Racing

Monaco – Venturi Grand Prix

Drivers

As of the date of this blog, only 2 drivers have been signed so far.  Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt for the Audi Sport Abt team.