Formula E: The Meteoric Rise of the World’s Fastest-Growing Motorsport

Formula E’s steep climb to major popularity among motorsport enthusiasts is one seldom seen in the world of sports. The young racing series, only completing its inaugural season in 2015, boasts close to 350 million fans worldwide. Now, beginning its 10th season, Formula E looks to bring its best action to date. With 17 races across 10 venues set to take place from January through July, this season has a lot it’s still yet to offer.

What is Formula E?

Formula E is a class of motorsport racing that uses only electric-powered vehicles. The “E” in Formula E stands for electric, distinguishing it from traditional petrol-guzzling internal combustion engine racing series like Formula 1. The series was created to promote and develop electric vehicle technology, sustainability, and clean energy solutions in motorsports.

A Brief Formula E History:

Inaugural Season (2014/15):

Three years after the plans for the racing series had been set in 2011, the idea became a reality. After thorough testing and many prototypes, the Gen1 Formula E electric racing car was ready to be unleashed in the world of motorsport. The first Formula E season featured 10 races in major cities around the world, including Beijing, Miami, and London. Teams such as Audi Sport, Renault, and Mahindra Racing participated, with Nelson Piquet Jr. winning the drivers’ championship.

FanBoost and Fan Interaction:

Formula E introduced the FanBoost concept, allowing fans to vote for their favorite drivers to receive an additional power boost during the race. This innovative yet divisive approach aimed to increase fan engagement.

Gen2 Car (2018/19):

The Gen2 car, introduced in the 5th season, featured improved performance, a distinctive “Batmobile-esque” design, and a battery that could last the entire race distance, eliminating the need for mid-race car swaps. This was the beginning of an impressive new era in Formula E and electric motorsport. Prior to this season, each driver would need two separate cars, both on a full charge, to complete each individual race. A mid-race swap was not only standard but necessary in this racing series. The Gen2 car was a major engineering accomplishment, with the battery forcing out 250kW (335bhp) for a top speed of 280km/h (174mph).

Gen3 Car (2022/23):

The Gen3 car ran its inaugural season in last year’s racing campaign. “Inspired by a fighter jet”, the Gen3 was built to set new benchmarks in the world of electric motorsport. It broke numerous performance records, including the fastest average lap time and the highest speed, in only its first season. It is the pinnacle of efficiency and was designed and manufactured with a focus on sustainability. Along with a new car, new regulations came into the racing series. It was in this season that FanBoost was eliminated as a tool for both the fans and drivers.

Growing Popularity and Global Impact:

Formula E gained popularity for its unique combination of electric vehicle technology and sustainability. It attracted top-tier manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz, McLaren, Porsche, BMW, Jaguar, and Audi. As the series progressed, Formula E races were held on various continents and within a myriad of countries, showcasing the global reach and appeal of electric racing. Formula E has witnessed a remarkable 17% year-on-year growth in its global fanbase, reaching a substantial 344 million heading into its 10th season. This surge has propelled Formula E ahead of NASCAR, now securing its position as the fourth-largest motorsport worldwide. 

With most of the season still on the horizon and a very solid start from both the drivers and the Gen3 car in its sophomore campaign, this Formula E season promises to bring plenty of incredible action and excitement for everyone tuning in.

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