In the early 1990s, one of my favorite shows on TV in Zimbabwe was a 30-minute sports highlights program called Gillette World Sport Special. My favorite segments of the show were the rally highlights, where my favorite driver was Carlos Sainz, the Formula one segment where I looked forward to watching the Williams Team, and of course Nigel Mansell. My other favorite segment was the Spanish soccer highlights where I would get to see highlights from Real Madrid’s matches. Raúl González Blanco was just getting his soccer career started back then.
Back to Formula 1 — I followed it for a while until the age of Michael Schumacher. Recently, I only popped in to follow a little bit hoping to see Sir Lewis Hamilton add another title, but that didn’t materialize in that season of the final race controversy. Formula One always had a big following in my circle of friends. But what has got my attention these days though, as the world is on a path to transition to more sustainable systems, is Formula E.
Electrifying these racing industry helps not only reduce environmental impact in the sector but also helps show how far electric mobility has come. For example, the 3rd generation Formula E racer front powertrain adding 250kW to the 350kW powering the car at the rear (600kW, or approx. 800 hp). The Gen 3 has a 284kg battery pack with 51kWh capacity. Having the E-Prix here in Africa will give a great opportunity to racing enthusiasts to experience the awesome world of electric racing. It will also play a role in helping build a new following in this part of the world, especially with the younger generation.
Now in its 9th Season, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is making its debut in South Africa. Next weekend, on the 25th of February, the City of Cape Town will host its first E-Prix. The City of Cape Town is also one of the sponsors of the this first E-Prix in South Africa.
The City of Cape Town says:
“The Cape Town E-Prix is a culmination of more than five years of work between local Formula E promoters E-Movement, its partners and the City of Cape Town. Cape Town joins 11 other global cities for Season 9 of the Formula E World Championship, which opened in Mexico City last month. Formula E cars run on 100 percent renewable energy and there is a major focus on developing alternative energy solutions. Staging Formula E in Cape Town will assist the City in raising awareness of the adverse effects of air pollution.”
“We are positioning Cape Town as a leading city for renewable energy and a major event such as Formula E aligns perfectly with this strategic objective. A ticket to the event gives spectators more than just a race day experience as the festival also offers an E-Village dedicated to the fans. These initiatives will assist in strengthening and growing the Western Cape’s strong green economy ecosystem,” said Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
The Mother City is looking forward to putting its scenic route around the iconic Green Point Precinct under the shadow of Table Mountain to the test. “We have been hard at work over the last few years to prepare the Green Point precinct and Cape Town is on track to deliver a spectacular race event for motorsport enthusiasts. In addition to the extensive economic benefits for our city, this event’s legacy will deliver improved road infrastructure for the precinct which will benefit residents and allow for better access for non-motorised transport. This all forms part of the event’s core goal to transition to a greener future,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
The Street Circuit:
The Cape Town E-Prix will see Formula E’s third generation cars, which reach top speeds of 320 kph, race on the track that runs from Vlei Road down Beach Road in Mouille Point and Fritz Sonnenberg Road. The 22 cars will race their way through the Green Point and Waterfront precincts, with Signal Hill and other famous Cape Town landmarks as the track backdrop. The 2.94-kilometer, 12-turn track is predicted to be one of the fastest in the series. As it stands, over 20,000 people are expected to line up in spectator areas along the track area for Africa’s first E-Prix.
Images courtesy of The City of Cape Town.
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