I was forced to attend Formula 1 car racing in my younger years. Yes, forced. After university, I lived for a couple of years in the Japanese city of Suzuka where the Japanese Formula 1 circuit was located. Working as an English teacher with the local Suzuka City Board of Education, my colleagues and I were marched out and put on the grandstand whenever the F-1 showed up in town. We were meant to display how multi-cultural and cosmopolitan Suzuka was supposed to be. Yes, all three of us.
After those years, I lost interest in motor racing until I had a son. He loves anything with speed and is enamoured with fast cars. So, of course he was interested in attending the Formula ePrix when it came to London.
The ePrix Races
The first season of the Formula E ePrix ended with its final race in London in June. The ePrix is motor racing’s first fully electric car racing series in the world.
There are 10 teams in Formula E. Each team has 2 drivers with 2 cars each. So if my math is right that’s 40 cars in each race. The cars are built by a specialist company, Spark Racing Technology, the tires are Michelin and the batteries are by Williams.
These batteries are amazing! Each Williams battery is equal to 10,000 AA disposable batteries. It can fully recharge in 50 minutes.
The Advantages to ePrix Racing
- City-center racing make the races fairly easily accessible. For example, the London race was held in the centrally-located Battersea Park. This first season has seen races in Moscow, Beijing, Miami, Monaco and Berlin.
- The noise levels are much lower which makes it easier on children’s eardrums. You can also hear each other talk which is next to impossible to do in Formula 1.
- Electric car racing focuses on battery performance and energy conservation. There is a certain amount of skill involved in knowing when to use the most battery power and when you need to recharge.
I am excited about electric car racing in terms of future consumer potential as well. Let’s face it, where there’s money there is going to be innovation. Hopefully innovation that gets made in the racing circuits on battery powered cars get passed down to electric cars on the consumer level.
The ePrix Racing Teams
The Formula E racing teams are dotted with famous names associated with its more famous relatives, Formula 1 and INDY car. For example, Simona de Silvestro (a woman race car driver – yay!) races for Andretti Autosport, owned by the famous Indy racer Michael Andretti. Every American knows the name Andretti which is a by-word for racing speed. Nicolas Prost who races for the E.Dams-Renault team is the son of legendary Formula 1 racing champion Alain Prost. Bruno Senna (the nephew of another Formula 1 legend, Ayrton Senna) races for the Indian team, Mahindra Racing.
My son was happy with the result of the London race which was won by British racer, Sam Bird, of the Virgin Racing team. He has an obsession with all things related to Virgin. The overall winner of the series was Nelson Piquet Jr who raced for Chinese team, Nextev TCR.
What Did We Think of ePrix?
It’s a fun family day out. Battersea Park is a great central location. For any family members who aren’t into racing, there is plenty to do in the area. The ePrix races are all cities I would enjoy sightseeing while my son and his father attend a race! The season is done for ePrix 2014-15 but there is always next year!