Auto Racing Turns Green? Welcome, Formula E

If there’s one sport to which I pay no attention at all, it’s auto racing.  I admit, I’ve never attended a NASCAR event nor an Indy Car race.  I’m ignorant of auto racing’s nuances.  I just don’t get the appeal of turning left, crashes, and incredibly loud noise.  When you add the fact that NASCAR vehicles average 5 MPG and that its fans seem largely hostile to the science behind climate change, well, you can see why auto racing doesn’t hold much appeal for me.

Maybe that will change with the advent of Formula E, a world class racing series for electrically-powered racing cars.  Organized in 2012, Formula E’s inaugural championship will take place in 2014.  Ten cities are planning races that will be run exclusively on public streets rather than at race tracks.  Host cities include Beijing, Buenos Aires, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Rio de Janeiro and Rome.  Former F-1′er Lucas di Grassi (check out these “electric doughnuts” in LA) was the first “name driver” to sign on.  So far 42 cars have been ordered, with F-1 team McLaren providing the motor, transmission and electronics for all of the cars.

One thing for sure…Formula E gets it.  From their mission statement:

The world is changing. An appreciation of our finite resources and the impact we have whilst using them is well documented. Sustainability is not only the phrase of the moment, but the mantra of tomorrow. As one world together, we must shift our habits and generate change.

The car very much part of this. An alternative fuel source must replace the fossil fuel technology we have known since Karl Benz launched his automobile in 1885.

To celebrate and demonstrate this new chapter in the story of the car, Formula E will be creating a breathtaking, captivating and unique event that retains enough of what we know and love about cars and racing, but challenges the community to participate and interact with it.

So, as Formula E gets ready to launch, I’ll be interested observer from the curb.  And, maybe, if F-E comes to the NY area I’ll get some headphones and give it a go in person.

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