Fully electric single seater cars, races on street circuits in the biggest cities of the world and direct interaction of drivers and fans in social networks – Formula E represents a completely new type of motorsport, in which Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport has been one of the leading figures from the first minute.
Formula E does a lot that differs from traditional racing series. This includes a countercyclical racing calendar that many will know from soccer. The 2016/2017 season begins on October 9 in Hong Kong and ends on July 29/30 with two final races in Montreal. Furthermore, Formula E is the first international racing series to be held in the “Big Apple” – in the middle of New York City at a spectacular location in Brooklyn.
The other locations are also first-class. In the third Formula E season, the tour around the globe takes Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport to Marrakesh, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Monaco, Paris and Berlin. The street circuits in the cities specifically set upt for Formula E meet Formula 1 safety standards and make for spectacular races. Formula E events are compact, with free practice, qualifying and the race all on one day. Visitors can conveniently use public transportation to get to the venue, much like going to a soccer match. Spectator parking around the race tracks in Formula E is deliberately not provided for.
A special feature of Formula E is the fact that the drivers do not change tires in the middle of the race as is typically the case in motorsport, but rather their cars. That should change for the fifth season of Formula E (2018/2019) when the new battery from technology partner McLaren Applied Technologies with double the capacity is introduced, rendering the current obligatory car change obsolete.
Advancing the development of electric mobility and inspiring people’s enthusiasm for it are two of the aims that the organizers of Formula E surrounding CEO Alejandro Agag have set. More and more automotive manufacturers and technology companies like Schaeffler are joining them in this pursuit, as well as visionaries like Virgin boss Richard Branson and stars like actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who is Chairman of the Sustainability Committee of the electric racing series.
Stars and starlets are present at Formula E races as well. Electric mobility and environmentally friendly motorsport are the topics on everyone’s mind and for which Hollywood actors are happy to serve as ambassadors.
This is another reason why the still young Formula E is already a major event in worldwide media. Over 190 million people around the globe followed the previous season’s races and qualifying sessions on 78 different channels. In Germany, Eurosport broadcasts every race live.
Unique as well is the interaction with the fans, who can get in touch with the drivers in the eVillage and can even compete with the Formula E drivers at the wheel of simulators. From January 5–7, 2017, there will be a world premiere: At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the 20 Formula E drivers will be lining up against ten fans in an eRace. With a one-million dollar cash prize, the race is the best-rewarded event in the history of virtual racing.
Viewers have an influence on the “normal” Formula E races as well. In the races, every driver only has a limited amount of energy (around 56 kWh) and limited output (170 kW) available to use. With the so called “FanBoost,” an online voting for the fans, the most popular three drivers receive an extra portion of power, which makes overtaking easier.