Although NASCAR is much more popular than Le Mans style endurance racing in the U.S., the fact that top international race car drivers prefer electric cars is an indication of where auto racing is headed. As states such as California and my own state of Washington move away from fossil-fuel-car infrastructure, this trend will be reflected in all areas of commerce, transportation, and sports. I believe it will eventually become a national trend.
Formula E car racing proves that electric cars are superior in many ways to gas-powered vehicles, both technologically and environmentally. These drivers and engineers are ahead of the curve, but they are showing the way for the rest of the planet to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of our lives, including auto racing.
I have been a fan of Formula E racing for several years and I’m familiar with the current engineering and design innovations. I am inspired to write about the topic because of my passion for the sport and its potential to set a standard for all auto, boat, motorcycle, airplane, etc., racing.
Auto-racing teams in at least one class of professional competition will probably not be seeking sponsorships from oil and gas companies if current trends continue.
The best racing cars on the planet right now are electric Formula E vehicles with bodies made from recycled material. Tires are being made from natural fibers, which are also recyclable. Sustainability has become a major design/engineering priority for the sport.
The first thing you will notice is the lack of ear-damaging noise—electric car engines are not very loud—and there is no blue or black smoke emanating from exhaust pipes. You will not be subjected to the smell of petroleum-based fuels or suffer from the usual noxious carbon emissions at the racetrack.
These are also much safer race cars than in the past. Driver, crew, and audience safety is the number one consideration.
Stoffel Vandoorne is the current 2022 Formula E world champion.
It’s amazing to note that 40% of all the energy in the new cars is coming from regeneration by creating more electricity from moving wheels, brakes, etc.
Other innovations include some interactive participation from fans during the races, extra power boost options, and parity among racing teams because everyone is basically using the same car. The focus is on strategic skillful driving instead of the raw power of bigger engines.
The United States has not been the most successful player in the international Formula E scene, although there is at least one American racing team sponsored by the famous Andretti family.
Here’s an insight into what Formula E racing is like for the drivers and racing teams: Strategy and driving skill are how you win!
Each car is given a limited amount of energy to compete in the race. If the driver is too greedy for power early in the race, he may run out of fuel before completing the final lap. Fans can give their favorite cars an extra five second power boost by using an app prior to the race or within 15 minutes of the start.
There are specified zones on the track created for cars to enter if they want to trigger one of the three power bursts granted to each driver during the race. Choosing the optimal timing for these moves often determines whether they are successful in propelling their team to victory.
Watching the excellent European coverage of Formula E racing can be quite entertaining and exciting. The experience might inspire you to recall some of those Speed Racer cartoons you used to love so much as a child.
The race announcers are always British for some reason, but FIA is an international auto racing organization with global participation. China now has its first Formula E driver. India also has a pro racing team. Countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are sponsoring races, and New York City hosted its first Formula E Grand Prix in 2022.
These super-high-tech cars compete in Grand Prix races across the planet. They participate in street races where major cities create race tracks in the middle of their metropolitan areas. Purposefully created tight turns in the track are designed to slow the cars down, and slight diversions called “chicanes” are added to straight stretches to keep the speeds below 200 mph for safety purposes and energy conservation.
Another innovation is the presence of cameras in all the cars so race officials and sports commentators can see what’s happening in each vehicle as it races around the track. Much of the race coverage uses onboard cameras on the cars to show viewers the drivers’ perspective from inside the vehicle.
Drivers and crew are also linked via a sophisticated remote sensor and communications network. This allows mechanics and engineers to monitor the vehicle’s onboard systems in real time, check tire temperature, measure battery power, etc. without requiring the driver to bring the car in for a pit stop.
Whether or not you are a traditional auto racing fan, Formula E races can be interesting and entertaining events with many dramatic twists of fate and amazing side stories, subplots, and surprises as teams compete for that prestigious world championship.
The fact that the racers and designers are aiming to eliminate as much of their carbon footprint as possible makes the sport an even more satisfying experience.
Formula 1 and Le Mans style LMP cars have been using hybrid engines and combinations of electric and combustion power units.
Formula 1 racing officials have announced plans to produce a “100% sustainably-fuelled hybrid engine” in 2025. The designers claim that this second-generation hybrid motor will be carbon neutral and “powered by a drop-in advanced sustainable fuel”.
The oil and auto industries will most likely be less interested in sponsoring non-fossil-fuel cars, and their endorsements are no longer necessary to sustain a professional car racing team. It’s simple enough to get sponsorship from tech companies, sports drinks, insurance companies, etc. Actor Patrick Swayze and artist Richard Mille have also helped sponsor racing teams.
As a result, we are much less likely to see Exxon/Mobil or STP logos on electric-powered racing cars.
Welcome to the future of world class auto racing. . .
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