Gearing up for electric car racing

The world of electric racing got a big boost in name recognition this week when renowned IndyCar team Andretti Autosport, led by household racing name Michael Andretti, became the latest entry in the upcoming FIA Formula E Championship.

What’s dubbed as the world’s first fully-electric global racing series will begin in September 2014 and be spread across ten city center circuits.

The Andretti team joins UK-based Drayson Racing, who recently set the world electric land speed record, and China Racing, as the third team out of a maximum field of ten. Those in the racing series will use the new Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E car, built by French-based company Spark Racing Technology, together with a consortium of manufacturers in motorsport including McLaren, Williams, Renault and Dallara.

image via FIA

Andretti Autosport is the first team from the US to enter. It holds an amazing pedigree of non-electric racing victories, including four IZOD IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012), two Firestone Indy Lights titles (2008 and 2009), one USF2000 championship (2010) and the world-famous Indianapolis 500 twice (2005 and 2007).

Michael Andretti himself has spent more than 20 years competing in CART and Formula One, with 42 victories in CART, a runner-up on five occasions and second on the list of the most IndyCar laps led, just behind his father Mario.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Andretti Autosport to the series; a team with an incredible racing pedigree and track record who I have no doubt is going to make a big contribution to the FIA Formula E Championship,” said  Alejandro Agag, CEO of Championship promoters Formula E Holdings, in a statement. “It’s fantastic too for such a highly-established outfit to show its commitment to sustainable motoring and with two US races on the inaugural calendar – Los Angeles and Miami – I’m sure American motorsport fans will have a lot to cheer come race day.”

Besides Los Angeles and Miami, other sites for the series are set to include Berlin, London, Rome, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Putrajaya and Bangkok.

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling