Fan Interest High for Monaco Formula E Race, as BMWi Powertrain Will Debut

The BMWi powertrain will be tested during Formula E racing this season as part of the MS Amlin Andretti Team.  Although BMW ran the standard Formula E technology in the series’ first two seasons, it says it will continue to provide expertise and support to the U.S. team while it runs its own powertrain for the first time.  MS Amlin Andretti is one of ten teams competing in the FIA Formula E Championship.

Photo Courtesy BMW Blog

BMW was one of the first manufacturers to enter Formula E, with Jaguar and McLaren following soon after. The two ATEC-002 chassis will be raced by BMW works driver António Félix da Costa (POR) and Robin Frijns (NED).

It will be interesting to see how BMW’s powertrain testing goes. The company boasts that its street vehicles, the BMWi3 and i8, have Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic, which contributes to light weight, performance, and efficiency. Probably more importantly, the BMWi series is manufactured in BMW’s most sustainable auto plant, so that production processes uses 50% less energy and 70% less water.

Monte Carlo returns to the Formula E calendar after a hiatus last year. The track layout is shorter than the one run by the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and the amendments allow for enhanced spectator viewing. What’s in, and what’s out? At just under 2 km in length, the Formula E cars will use the same famous start/finish line before turning right and immediately towards the harbor, where they’ll confront a new hairpin. Then they’ll return to the more familiar track configuration, including the Tabac and Swimming Pool corners.

As you can see, some elements, like the harbor side, the fast and sweeping right kink of the start-finish, St. Devote, and the Rascasse chicane will never lose racing fans’ interest. There’s just too much history and too many stories associated with Monaco to keep it off the Formula E calendar. After all, the venue has been hosting races in one form or another since 1929.

Photograph Courtesy of Formula E

The all-electric racing series, which is in its third season, continues to grow and gain a significant fan following. Part of the appeal comes from racing 2.0 technology: fans can vote online to give their favorite driver a ‘FanBoost’ of extra energy allocation. The three drivers with the most votes receive an extra 100KJ of energy, which can boost power by up to 30KW. If you’re watching, here are the two ways you can support your favorite Formula E drivers:

  • the hashtag #FanBoost

With futuristic looking cars, aerodynamic wheel surrounds, and impressive rear wings, Formula E design is now beginning to match its technological and sustainability advances to its visual appearance. Without the roar of combustion engines, Formula E has had to reeducate racing fans while also appealing to our instinctual sides.

Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn grew up in Stafford Springs, CT, home of the half-mile tar racetrack. She's an avid Formula One fan (this year's trip to the Monza race was memorable). With a Ph.D. from URI, she draws upon digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+