Plugged In

The next generation Formula E car. [Photo by Eddie LePine]

The next generation Formula E car. [Photo by Eddie LePine]

By Eddie LePine

After attending last year’s FIA Formula E race in New York, I decided to follow up and go to this year’s race to see what had changed and what was still to change.

Thanks to my good friend Joe DeBlasio, I once again had stellar accommodations at a luxury condo in the city. I’ll tell you what, going to races with Joe, I am getting spoiled. Unlike the usually crappy hotels that my partner Jack Webster usually comes up with, this trip to New York was a treat indeed.

There were two races on the Brooklyn circuit over the weekend, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, the final two races of the 2017-2018 season and the final races for the current generation of Formula E cars. Next season, the need to change cars during the race will no longer be needed, as the new generation cars will be able to run at full speed for the entire race. An example was on display in the paddock, and it certainly looks futuristic.

Contrary to what motorsports enthusiasts might think, this Formula E racing is quite interesting and getting better all the time. Once you overcome the lack of engine noise as the cars run on the track, the competition is actually quite close and fierce. The drivers in this series are absolutely top notch and all are here to win.

The crowd was very enthusiastic and as a good sign going to the future, this event was officially sold out. The stands were full on both days, there were a lot of activities going on to entertain the fans, including live music and activities for kids, so all in all, it was a very fan friendly event.

Jean Vernge ended up winning the driver’s championship (and the second race on Sunday) driving the Techeetah, while the team championship ended up going to Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, by a mere two points over Teheetah, thanks to brilliant driving by Audi drivers Lucas Di Grassi and Daniel Abt (who finished 1st and 2nd on Saturday), with Di Grassi finishing 2nd on Sunday to secure the team title for Audi. Team principal Allan McNish was over the moon with Audi winning the team title in just their first year of competition – perhaps a sign of future Audi domination like they dominated sports car racing the past couple of decades? We shall see, there is a lot of competition in Formula already, with more manufacturers coming down the road, like BMW, Nissan, Porsche and Mercedes.

Formula E certainly looks like the wave of the future for motorsports, and it will be interesting to see it continue to grow and improve. Sooner or later, we will be seeing an all-electric 24 Hours of Le Mans or 12 Hours of Sebring, it’s just a matter of time.

For now, Formula E is plugged into the future of motorsport.

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