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Global electric-car racing competition to launch in 2014

Toyota Racing TS030 Hybrid race cars at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Photograph by: Toyota , handout
A new “Formula E” global series of city-centre electric car races will start in 2014 after motor sport’s governing body licensed the commercial rights to a Hong Kong-based consortium.

A statement this week said London-based Spanish businessman Enrique Banuelos will be lead investor in Formula E Holdings Ltd., with compatriot and fellow shareholder Alejandro Agag serving as chief executive.

British businessman Paul Drayson, a former science minister and amateur racing driver who runs Drayson Racing Technologies, is also involved in a project that will cost about €50million ($61.9-million) to launch.

The promoters said that the series, sanctioned by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), aimed for races in at least 10 different cities – of which five will be in Europe.

Proposed locations worldwide include Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing as well as Mumbai, Sydney, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Mexico City, Miami and Los Angeles.

Agag told Reuters that there was already an agreement in place with Rio while a race around Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate would be the first choice for Germany.

The plans are for a grid of 10 teams and 20 drivers in 2014, expanding to 14 teams the following year, with entrants able to use their own cars or one based on a Formulec EF01 prototype, which has already achieved a top speed of 240 kilometres an hour.

Races will be an hour in duration but because the batteries will last only 15 to 20 minutes, there will be two pit stops scheduled with drivers having to change cars.

“This new competition at the heart of major cities is certain to attract a new audience,” FIA president Jean Todt said in the statement.



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