Every year millions of cars take a drive down the famous Las Vegas strip, but few are worthy of a police escort, and even fewer are all-out race cars. In town for the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, the Formula E series gave the public its first look at the final form of the all-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E race car, shutting down the Vegas strip to do so.
Requiring the culmitive efforts of not just Spark and Renault, but Dallara (which provided the chassis) and McLaren (which designed the drivetrain) among others. Driving the electric race car was Lucas di Grassi, who has been instrumental in helping test and tune this cutting edge vehicle. More than once he goosed the accelerator pedal, easily kicking the backend out, just as you’d expect from a conventional Formula 1 car.
The Formula E schedule kicks off this September in Beijing, before hopping all over the world, from Shanghai to Miami and many places in-between. This is just the opening salvo in a marketing blitz designed to hype up a racing series that has a lot more riding on it than any established racing series.
Not to be dramatic, but the success or failure of Formula E may affect the future design of electric vehicles, as well as the hopes for other, equally-ambitious zero-emissions racing series. I’ll do my part in pumping up the series, but will you?