READY FOR THE BIG TIME?
The title battle for
Season 3 of the
FIA Formula E
to down to the wire in
Montreal, and it was
Lucas Di Grassi who
came out top. The Abt
Shaeffler Audi Sport
driver capitalized on
the misfortune of
Sebastian Buemi by
Race One from pole,
then finishing sixth
in Sunday’s Race Two.
Buemi, meanwhile, was
disqualified from Race
One, and a black flag
on Sunday put him
out of contention.
Brazilian Di Grassi
claimed the Formula E
title having finished
third in Season 1 and
runner-up to Buemi
in Season 2.
automotive media. They had plenty
to cover, from A-list celebs, to the
fascination with a new kind of racing,
to (much to the chagrin of old-school
racers) the sound – as in, very little of it.
The buzz factor was high. Formula E’s
eMotion Club, was packed with
aforementioned celebrities, as well as
sponsors entertaining and engaging with
guests very much intrigued by the series.
Two weeks later the series decamped to
Montreal. In terms of world cities, it may
rank a notch below New York, London
or Paris, which have also hosted the
all-electric series, but according to Amlin
Andretti Autosport Chief Technology
Officer Roger Griffiths, it was every bit
as good on ambience as New York,
and with a stellar track layout to boot.
With these two events closing out the
season, and the likes of BMW, Mercedes
and Porsche joining the fray, Formula E
has gone to the next level. Having spent
his long career in racing with stints in F1
and IndyCar, Griffiths is excited by the
opportunity the series is presented with.
“The Formula E drivetrains are a new
world, and developing rapidly from one
day to the next,” says Griffiths, who
spent several years on Honda’s IndyCar
program. “I imagine it’s what the early
days of the internal combustion engine
were like. As a race fan, you have to be
excited about being in on the ground
floor of racing’s next frontier.”
So where does this put the series from
a fan perspective? According to RACER’s
recent audience survey, Formula E has
some way to go to win the hearts of
die-hard race fans. But the door is open.
Nearly half of you said you’d be willing
to embrace the series when the speeds
come up. That day may not be far off.
As new champion Lucas Di Grassi notes,
Formula E is making all the right moves.
“I want to compliment Formula E for
coming to New York,” he says. “We’re only
in the third year of the series and a first
car race in the heart of this metropolis
is another fantastic milestone.”