When Venturi , the company that brought us the VBB-3 , announced its plans to enter the 2014 Formula E Championship with Hollywood A-lister, Leonardo DiCaprio, by its side, it not only added some much needed star power to the young racing series, but it also brought in another team that will compete in the series’ inaugural season next year.
The addition of the Venturi-DiCaprio team meant that a total of five constructors have now signed up for the series, which is scheduled to have its first ever race in Beijing, China on September 13, 2014.
Having DiCaprio as part of the Venturi team is important on a lot of facets. For one, his involvement will undoubtedly give the series a household name that it can attach itself to in order to attract mainstream fans and media alike.
It also validates DiCaprio’s commitment and reputation as one of the foremost proponents of eco friendliness. "The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles," the Gatsby star said.
"Venturi Grand Prix has shown tremendous foresight in their decision to create an environmentally friendly racing team, and I am happy to be a part of this effort.”
But the most important aspect of Venturi’s entry to Formula E means that the roster of constructors that are joining the series is growing and it has some pretty highly regarded teams. More are expected to announce their plans of joining Formula E in the coming months, and judging by the teams that have already confirmed their participation, we’re confident that more auto brands will join in sooner than later.
Click past the jump to read a primer for the 2014 Formula E season
What Is Formula E?
initially conceived just last year, the strides Formula E has taken in the short time that it’s been around has been nothing short of impressive.
Ever since it was brought up in 2012, the series has taken incredible huge steps in less than a year, none more important than being sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) as an official class of auto racing .
Formula E is intended to be the highest class of competition for one-make, single-seat, electrically-powered racing cars. It will hold its inaugural season in 2014 with in 10 cities around the world with all the races being held on street circuits. Among the cities that have already been announced as hosts for the first season of Formula E racing include Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Rome in Italy, Los Angeles in the USA, Bangkok in Thailand, Beijing in China, and Berlin in Germany.
The first Formula E season is expected to take place from September 2014 to June 2015 with a maximum of 12 races.
2014 Formula E Schedule
The inaugural season of the Formula E Championship has been scheduled to take place in Beijing, China on September 13, 2014. All in all, the season will have 10 rounds and will conclude on June 27, 2015 in London.
Along the way, the series will have one more stop in Asia (Malaysia - October 18, 2014) other than China, to go with three rounds in South America (Brazil - November 15, 2014; Uruguay - December 13, 2014; Argentina - January 10, 2015), two rounds in the US (Los Angeles - February 14, 2015; Miami - March 14, 2015), and three rounds in Europe to conclude the season (Monaco - May 9, 2015; Germany - May 30, 2015; London - June 27, 2015).
- Round 1 - Beijing, China, 13th September 2014
- Round 2 - Putrajaya, Malaysia, 18th October 2014
- Round 3 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 15th November 2014
- Round 4 - Punta del Este, Uruguay, 13th December 2014
- Round 5 - Buenos Aires, Argentina, 10th January 2015
- Round 6 - Los Angeles, USA, 14th February 2015
- Round 7 - Miami, USA , 14th March 2015
- Round 8 - Monte Carlo, Monaco, 9th May 2015
- Round 9 - Berlin, Germany, 30th May 2015
- Round 10 - London, UK, 27th June 2015
Unlike in Formula One, all ten teams competing in Formula E will be using the same car: the Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E racecar.
The racecar is the only one that will be raced by all 10 teams. It looks like any modern single-seat race car, but other than its aesthetics, a whole load of features distinguishes this racer from other ones in other series.
For one, a Dallara-designed monocoque chassis made out of carbon fiber and aluminum. It will also carry a McLaren-sourced electric engine that’s capable of producing up to 270 horsepower, although that output will only be limited to 180 horsepower during races.
The (Other Nine) Constructors
Drayson Racing became the first constructor to sign up for Formula E Championship, doing so as early as January of this year. The Oxfordshire, UK-based outfit made its name in the industry for being one of the pioneers of the low-carbon motorsport R&D business. Lord Drayson, CEO of the company, will also serve as the team principal of the racing team.
A month after Drayson Racing became the first team to join Formula E, China Racing followed. With a decade’s worth of experience in motorsport racing under its belt, China Racing has competed in several different international racing series including A1GP, Superleague Formula and FIA GT1. The team, led by CEO Steven Lu and chairman Yu Liu, also has a rich experience in motorsport operation and management having organized 10 events in a number of cities in China.
The Andretti name is royalty in American racing circles and it figures that with Formula E holding its inaugural season next year, the team that bears its name would be somehow involved. Actually, Andretti Autosport didn’t waste any time signing up to be part of Formula E, becoming the third team to do so after Drayton Racing and China Racing. Led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport has been synonymous with title wins, highlighted by its four IZOD IndyCar Series championships to go with a pair of Indianapolis 500 wins.
IndyCar outfit Dragon Racing followed Andretti Racing straight into signing up as a constructor for the Formula E Championahip, becoming the fourth team to do so. Owned by media and publishing entrepreneur Jay Penske, the Dragon Racing team adds Formula E into the number of racing series it’s involved in joining its IndyCar series team that features drivers Sebastian Saavedra and four-time Champ Car World Series champion Sébastien Bourda.
Unlike all of the teams that are part of the Formula E grid, the e.dams team holds the distinction of being the only one that was created specifically for Formula E. The team is based outside Le Mans , France, and was born as a joint venture between two icons of the racing world: Jean-Paul Driot, founder of top single-seater team Dams and racing legend Alain Prost, a four-time Formula One World Champion. Despite being neophytes, the e.dams team can fall back on the wealth of knowledge and experience its two founders have in the world of motorsports.
Legendary Japanese racing driver, Aguri Suzuki, is bringing his racing know-how and expertise to Formula E after the team became the sixth constructor to enter the new racing series. The Tokyo based team will be spearheaded by Suzuki, who himself brings a wealth of Formula One experience as a driver, team owner and mentor. Mark Preston has a been named the team principal.
Audi Sport ABT
German tuner, ABT Sportsline, announced its plan to enter the 2014 Formula E Championship last month and to commemorate that announcement, it also disclosed that the team will be headed by Team Principal Hans-Jürgen while competing under the "Audi Sport ABT Formula-E Team" name as a reference to the tuner’s participation in Audi’s DTM racing team.
Mahindra Racing, the motorsports division of the Mumbai-based, $16.2-billion, multinational Mahindra Group, announced its entry to the fun of Formula E a few weeks ago, and became the eighth team to sign up for the series’ inaugural season next year. The team has yet to name a team principal but don’t be surprised if Mr S P Shukla, chairman, Mahindra Racing and President of Group Strategy, gets the nod.
Not one to be left out in anything that could resemble a rollicking good time, Virgin founder Richard Branson announced that his company, Virgin, will compete in the 2014 Formula E Championship. At the time of the company’s announcement, Virgin became the ninth team to join the series and will be headed by team principal Alex Tai.