London makes the list for 2014 Formula E electric race

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Eight of the ten cities which will provisionally host races in the electric motor-racing series Formula E have been announced by the series promoter.

Dallara Formula E motorsport
Initial sketches have been released by Italian firm Dallara for its design of the Formula E customer car

London, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro will host races in 2014, according to Formula E Holdings, which hopes to announce the final two host cities in the coming months. The completed list has to be handed to the motorsport governing body, the FIA, by September.

FEH chairman, Alejandro Agag, said that 23 cities had formally declared their interest in hosting races, and he hopes to be able to announce further races in Australasia and Africa from 2015. ‘The fact that cities all over the world are interested in the FIA Formula E Championship is extremely heartening and shows a global commitment to clean mobility and sustainability,’ he said.

Agag is currently in talks with the eight shortlisted cities to establish exactly what’s needed in technical terms for them to host a street race involving 20 cars, including requirements for charging, and on the design of the circuits. ‘They will be in city centres, easily accessible by public transport, and will feature some of the most beautiful and well-known landmarks as a spectacular backdrop for the races,’ he said. ‘The fact that we will race in city centres highlights the main message of our Championship: the electric car as a solution for mobility in cities of the future.’

London Mayor Boris Johnson could barely contain his enthusiasm. ‘Zero emission world-class motor racing is a scintillating concept,’ he said, ‘and I am hugely keen that London be involved in the birth of Formula E. It has the potential to highlight the impressive strides being made in the manufacture of electric vehicles and hosting a street race could also be of considerable benefit to our city.’

The UK already has a strong stake in Formula E, with McLaren developing the drive-train for the customer cars that will be used in the series’ first year, and the first team announced, Drayson Racing, based here. A second team has also been announced recently — an official Chinese entrant, FIA Formula E China Racing.
Formula E cars will be powered entirely by electricity and will therefore produce no emissions in use: a significant factor in improving air quality in cities, according to FEH. In the first year, each of the ten teams will be provided with four cars made by a consortium including Spark Technology, McLaren and Italian bodywork specialist Dallara.