Posts with «formula one» label

Formula E kills its latest junior series just days before the first scheduled race

Just four days before the first race of its latest all-electric junior racing series was set to take place, Formula E said the NXT Gen Cup will not be part of the World Championship calendar this season. The cancellation is "due to unexpected constraints faced by the support series,” a Formula E spokesperson said in a statement.

The NXT Gen Cup was scheduled to be part of the four European events in Formula E's Season 10, including this weekend's Misano E-Prix double-header. However, according to The Race, there were last-minute hitches in a deal between Formula E and the support series' organizer, Fredrik Lestrup and the Lestrup Racing Team.

As a result, the electric Mini Cooper SE-based NXT Gen Cup (which debuted at a few events last year) is off the calendar for the time being. Formula E previously ran the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy support series between 2018 and 2020, but that didn't prove successful.

The NXT Gen Cup decision has left Formula E scrambling to pad out the slate of activities available for fans at Italian circuit Misano. Organizers have added pit-lane autograph sessions, additional pit walks and expanded other promotional activities.

There's arguably more concern for the drivers, engineers and other team members who were set to take part in the NXT Gen Cup. Races were planned to include male and female drivers, many of whom were under 17. The circuit would have given them valuable experience as Formula E and motorsport as a whole attempts to blood the next generation of competitors. However, a spokesperson said that “Formula E remains committed to nurturing the next generation of talent through FIA Girls on Track and other impactful initiatives for young people.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/formula-e-kills-its-latest-junior-series-just-days-before-the-first-scheduled-race-180029941.html?src=rss

Formula E adds Mini EV junior series as support race in four European events

Formula E is adding a junior support series that will accompany electric open-wheel championship events throughout Europe, in addition to two events on the DTM schedule. This is Formula E’s first support series since the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, which operated from 2018 to 2020.

The NXT Gen Cup actually started last year as a support series for the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, but will now adventure throughout Europe. Events are open to drivers between the ages of 15 and 25 and will feature at all four European races included in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship’s Season 10, including Misano, Monaco, Berlin and the finale in London.

The all-electric series will include both male and female drivers, with line-ups to be announced starting next week. Formula E says many of these drivers will be under 17, so this gives them “the opportunity to compete on the same circuits as Formula E’s 22 world-class drivers.” This not only presents race fans with something extra to watch, but helps prepare the next generation of drivers for the big leagues. That’s why it’s called the NXT Gen Cup.

Subject to final FIA approval, this year’s NXT Gen Cup will make its inaugural appearance on April 13 in Misano, Italy. Racers will drive a car based on the Mini Cooper SE, called the LRT NXT1. This front-wheel drive vehicle boasts the equivalent of a 180HP motor, plus an extra 60hp from a push-to-pass system.

These are electric vehicles, of course, so there’s a 30kWh battery with an accompanying 800-volt system. Other features include regen when braking, adjustable Ӧhlins shock absorbers and Hankook semi-slick all-weather tires. The organization built 20 cars for the series, so every driver will have the same exact vehicle. The championship will generally include two 20-minute practice sessions, a 20-minute qualifier and the actual 20-minute race.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/formula-e-adds-mini-ev-junior-series-as-support-race-in-four-european-events-163032160.html?src=rss

Formula E 2024 preview: Everything you need to know about season 10

The tenth season of the FIA-sanctioned all-electric Formula E racing series goes green this weekend with the opening round in Mexico City on January 13. This will be the second year of the series using the ultra-efficient Gen3 car, and aside from a number of teams swapping out one or both drivers, there aren't any huge changes from last year. However, Formula E's new TV deal should make races easier, and less frustrating, to watch in the US. 

Formula E, now streaming on Roku and Paramount+

After being broadcast in the US on CBS Sports, Formula E announced a new TV deal last June to expand availability of live events to Roku and Paramount+. 11 races will be streamed live exclusively on The Roku Channel for free. There will also be race previews, replays and Formula E's version of Drive To Survive (Unplugged) available to stream on Roku. There's a new post-race highlights show too, called Recharge, to catch you up on any of the action you might've missed. All of the Formula E content on The Roku channel will be available for free. The other E-Prix will air on CBS and stream live on Paramount+, except for any events that happen overnight in the US. Those will broadcast on Formula E's former home, CBS Sports Network. 

Even though The Roku Channel is an ad-supported network, Roku Media's head of sports Joe Franzetta said there won't be any ads interrupting the races. Instead, the company is working with Formula E to show those during pre- and post-race programs. Since this is the first season of the partnership, he didn't rule out changes in the future. 

"For our first season with Formula E, we will run the races themselves as an ad-free experience," he explained. "We will continue to explore ad formats, such as picture-in-picture advertising as our partnership progresses."

Handout via Getty Images

Races shown on CBS and Paramount+ may still cut to commercial during live action, according to Formula E's chief media officer Aarti Dabas. This was a huge headache for viewers in the US last season as major race action took place at multiple E-Prix while the broadcast was away on a commercial. During the Portland race, the network went to ads during the last four laps. In Rome, viewers missed a massive wreck. Dabas says Formula E is aware this can be frustrating and it constantly trying to improve the experience, including expanded use of picture-in-picture or "double box" so that live action is still viewable. 

"We can understand it can frustrating for fans when they miss key action," Dabas said. "We learn with each broadcast and ensure steps are taken to provide a better viewing experience to fans."

Formula E will make archived races available to stream for free seven days after the E-Prix. Those will only be available on the series' website via the library of past races it launched last November. Currently, there are no plans to make that available to stream on other platforms, but doing so on the Formula E website only requires you to sign up for a free account. 

Attack Charge pit stops still aren't ready for races

The Race reported earlier this month that Attack Charge stops aren't expected to be used at the first race in Mexico City. This is yet another delay in bringing pit stops back to the all-electric series. Early on, drivers would have to change cars in order to make it through a race. The technology eventually progressed to the point where the combination of initial charge and re-gen during races gives teams enough power to make it until the end. As it stands, drivers only pit in the event of damage or a problem, which almost certainly dooms them to finishing at the back of the pack. 

Formula E was supposed to trial Attack Charge stops at select races last season, but the infrastructure wasn't ready in time. According to The Race, there are still issues with having enough equipment for every team, a problem that limited use of the setups at preseason testing in Spain last November. The earliest the pitstops could debut is at the E-Prix in Diriyah at the end of the month. There are concerns about how the 30-35-second stops will affect the quality of the racing, since the street circuit nature of Formula E usually means tightly packed cars. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/formula-e-2024-preview-everything-you-need-to-know-about-season-10-163019008.html?src=rss

Formula E's version of Drive to Survive will hit Roku in January

Motorsport fans who yearn for juicy behind-the-scenes insights might want to circle January 2 on their 2024 calendar. The third season of Formula E's unscripted reality show Unplugged will hit the Roku Channel on that date. It's the first time that the show will be available on Formula E's new streaming home, while fans around the world will be able to check it out on YouTube

Unplugged will arrive on Roku just 11 days before the motorsport's tenth season starts with the Mexico E-Prix on January 13. That race will also stream on Roku as the platform ventures into live sports.

The latest season of Unplugged follows the events of the 2022-23 Formula E campaign, including a title race that was only decided on the final weekend. Along with the twists and turns and personal drama, the eight-episode season will also highlight some of the motorsport's tech advancements, such as the new Gen3 racecar that drivers had to get to grips with.

In case you need a refresher of what happened in Formula E's last campaign (or you just want to rewatch all the action), it's worth noting that every race from the motorsport's first nine seasons is available to stream on its website. Every Season 10 race will be available on that platform too, albeit one week after each event. Along with Roku, races will air live on Paramount+ and CBS this season.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/formula-es-version-of-drive-to-survive-will-hit-roku-in-january-102516767.html?src=rss

Formula E now lets you stream every race from its first nine seasons for free

There's still time to get acquainted with Formula E before the new season begins in January. To help with that, the all-electric racing series has opened up its vault and made every race from its first nine seasons available to stream for free. Starting with the first event in Beijing in 2014 through this past season's finale in London, there's a lot to relive or watch for the first time. If you're trying to stream them all, that's 90 hours of action over 116 races you have to look forward to.

Formula E's new Race Replay archive is available for free via it's website and mobile app. All you need to do in order to gain access to the back catalog is to register for an account. What's more, the series says every race from 2024's Season 10 will be available seven days after airing live. Even if you don't have access to the required channels or platforms needed to watch live next year, you'll still be able to follow along a few days after each event.

When the lights go out in Mexico City, Formula E will offer fans expanded viewing options in 2024. Roku will stream 11 races live through its Roku Channel for free. That platform will also offer previews, replays and other commentary in addition to the live events. Paramount+ will stream five races live as simulcasts with CBS, the broadcaster that has been home to Formula E in the US for a while now. 

Season 10 begins January 13 in Mexico City before a double-header in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia later in the month. 17 total races are scheduled for 2024, including a US stop in Portland that has been expanded to its own double-header weekend after debuting last season. Formula E completed its preseason testing in Valencia in late October and you can read our key takeaways from that event here

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/formula-e-now-lets-you-stream-every-race-from-its-first-nine-seasons-for-free-193820963.html?src=rss

Formula 1 hopes AI will help it figure out if a car breaks track limits

The margin of success in Formula 1 often comes down to tiny measurements of time and distance. Drivers know the exact lines to take at corners for optimal lap times. Sometimes, though, racers will go out of bounds as they try to gain an advantage. To help officials check whether a car's wheels entirely cross the white boundary line, F1 will test an AI system.

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the motorsport's governing body, says it will employ Computer Vision tech at the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend. This approach uses shape analysis to determine the number of pixels that cross the line at the edge of the track.

The FIA doesn't plan to fully automate reviews of track limits breaches for the time being. Rather, it wants to significantly reduce the number of potential rule violations that are sent to officials for manual review. 

As Reuters notes, July's Austrian Grand Prix saw four people having to review around 1,200 potential violations. After some track limit violations went unpunished in October's US Grand Prix, officials acknowledged they'd have to find a new approach. Enter Computer Vision.

This tech has been used in medicine to help review data from cancer screenings. "They don’t want to use the Computer Vision to diagnose cancer, what they want to do is to use it to throw out the 80 percent of cases where there clearly is no cancer in order to give the well-trained people more time to look at the 20 percent," Tim Malyon, the FIA's deputy race director and head of remote operations, said. "And that’s what we are targeting."

The FIA hopes to reduce the number of possible infringements that officials manually review to around 50 per race. The aim is to "remove the ones that clearly don’t need a human review," Malyon said.

While the FIA won't rely entirely on AI to make race calls anytime soon, Malyon expects that to happen eventually. "I’ve said repeatedly that the human is winning at the moment in certain areas. That might be the case now but we do feel that ultimately, real time automated policing systems are the way forward."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/formula-1-hopes-ai-will-help-it-figure-out-if-a-car-breaks-track-limits-191546853.html?src=rss

Formula E preseason testing 2023: Five key takeaways from Valencia

Formula 1 may do its preseason tests right before the new schedule of races begins, but Formula E holds its trials months before the first E-Prix. The official action starts in Mexico City in January, but last week the all-electric series took to the turns of Valencia for its annual preseason test. 2024’s Season 10 will be the second for the ultra-efficient Gen3 car, following a debut that delivered lots of wheel-to-wheel racing and a hard-fought driver’s championship that was decided in the final two races. While there isn’t a new car this year, there’s still plenty to know before the lights go out in Mexico.

A battery fire cut testing short

Teams lost a considerable amount of track time after a battery fire following the Tuesday morning session. The Race reports that the incident occurred in a pit stall occupied by WAE, the all-electric series’ battery supplier. The fire reportedly started from a battery that had been removed from the DS Penske driven by rookie Robert Shwartzman for three separate stints. Shwartzman had to stop on track due to an issue and once the car was back in the pit lane, the battery was removed and taken to WAE for inspection. Motorsport.com reports that the automatic battery safety system was activated causing the driver to stop. According to The Race, witnesses say there was a small audible explosion about 90 minutes after the car came to a halt on the circuit.

Formula E canceled the Tuesday afternoon and both Wednesday sessions while it looked into the cause of the fire. One person was taken to the hospital as a precaution but was released without any treatment. The series’ governing body, the FIA, deemed conditions safe to resume testing on Thursday afternoon following “investigations and findings provided by the technical suppliers,” Formula E explained.

As The Race notes, there has never been a traction battery fire at an E-Prix in nearly 10 years of events. There were incidents in 2015 and 2017, but those affected the smaller 12-volt battery. This was also unrelated to the new Attack Charge as Shwartzman had yet to demo that infrastructure. Formula E only had eight units for 11 teams and DS Penske didn’t have one at the time, The Race reports.

The first female driver in a Gen3 car

Gabriela Jilkova drives the TAG Heuer Porsche
Simon Galloway

During the preseason test in Valencia, teams were required to put rookie drivers in their cars for three of the 18 scheduled hours of running. The lineup included former F2 driver Robert Shwartzman (DS Penske) and current F2 drivers Victor Martins (Nissan) and Zane Maloney (Andretti), among others. The rookie test saw the first female driver in a Gen3 Formula E car as well. ​​LMP3 and GT4 driver Gabriela Jilkova got behind the wheel of the Porsche team’s EVs, completing a 46-lap run. Formula E previously held rookie tests ahead of the Berlin E-Prix and during an extra practice session in Rome, both happening earlier this year.

The first test of Attack Charge

During a 10-hour session last Friday, Formula E held a simulated race, giving teams a 27-lap trial to test setups, run through safety car periods and demo the upcoming Attack Charge pit stops. The series had planned to introduce the stops last season, but supply-chain issues meant the technology would only be ready for the final few races. By then, Formula E felt it would be too late and decided to postpone the debut of Attack Charge to this season.

A first look at fast charging 👀🔋 pic.twitter.com/OLrvwLVO50

— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) October 24, 2023

There is still a lot of unknown about how the stops will work, but what we do know is that they will take place during a specific window Formula E officials will announce right before the race. The series has also said that teams will be unable to double stack their two cars, a practice of pitting both vehicles back-to-back, which could lead to some interesting decisions about which driver gets priority. An Attack Charge stop is also expected to be quite long at 30-35 seconds. A mechanic hooks up a charging cable to the back of the car while the battery is replenished.

Jaguar and Porsche are quick… again

Mitch Evans in the Jaguar TCS Racing I-TYPE 6
Simon Galloway

After strong showings at the start of the Gen3 era last season, it looks like Jaguar TCS Racing and TAG Heuer Porsche are going to be contenders once again. Jaguar and Porsche vehicles claimed four of the top five times in each of the three test sessions, including quick laps from the Envision team that runs Jaguar powertrains.

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans posted the fastest time of the week, notching a 1m24.474s mark that was over half a second quicker than the fastest lap in last year’s test. Evans, who finished third in the driver’s championship in Season nine, also topped the times in the second session. New teammate Nick Cassidy, who finished second in the championship last season while driving for Envision, kept Evans from sweeping all three sessions with a 1m24.617s in the final running of the week.

Mahindra seems poised to bounce back

Season nine was one to forget for Mahindra. The team that’s been in Formula E since the series began finished 10th out of 11. Significant offseason changes include an all-new driver pairing of Edoardo Mortara and Season seven champ Nyck De Vries. Mortara was fifth fastest in the first session of the week while De Vries posted the third best time in session two. Mahindra was hampered by the battery fire as it suffered damage to its equipment and both cars, but both drivers showed great pace at different points during the week.

The driver’s championship should be close again

19 of the 21 drivers set lap times within 0.7 seconds of each other during the last session of the week. Sure, that’s one-lap pace as opposed to managing all of the nuances of a Formula E race (like energy consumption and regeneration), but it’s clear the drivers are learning how to unlock the potential of the Gen3 cars. Last year, for example, teams were grappling with new cars and new tires, having to figure out the optimal performance for a harder Hankook compound.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/formula-e-preseason-testing-2023-five-key-takeaways-from-valencia-133234132.html?src=rss

Formula E breaks indoor land speed world record in 'unlocked' Gen3 car

Ahead of the final two races of Season 9 in London, Formula E showed off the "unlocked" potential of its Gen3 electric race car. The EV series has claimed the world record for indoor land speed, clocking in at 135.9 MPH (218.71 KPH) in a GenBeta development car. The run took place on a .176-mile straight on the London E-Prix circuit, a portion of which is inside the ExCeL London arena. The car, piloted by NEOM McLaren Formula E driver Jake Hughes, beat the previous record of 102.7 MPH (165.2 KPH) by 33 MPH. 

Hughes went head-to-head with fellow driver Lucas di Grassi (Mahindra Racing) in a modified version of Formula E's duels format typically used for qualifying. Each one was given a chance to set the fasted speed on the indoor section of track and both bested the former world record on all three of their practice runs before making official attempts. Neither Hughes nor di Grassi had driven the GenBeta car prior to this exhibition. 

Formula E says the GenBeta car has a number of upgrades to make it faster and more powerful than the Gen3 car used in race events. First, it has an enhanced power output of 400kW, up from 350kW in race trim. The added power comes via all-wheel drive for the first time in a Formula E car through "activation of the front powertrain kit" for more traction while accelerating. 

“The GenBeta is the first time that four-wheel drive has been activated in a single-seater race car for both acceleration and braking regeneration," explains Alessandra Ciliberti, Formula E's technical manager. "The GenBeta showcases what will be possible for Formula E racing in the near future.”

The GenBeta car was also running softer Hankook tires which afforded "faster warm-up and better peak grip." The harder race-day tires are currently designed for all conditions and to offer low degradation over the course of an E-Prix. Additionally, 3D-printed wing endplates, wheel fins and a wind deflector were installed for enhanced aerodynamics and peak straight-line speed. Al was also used to analyze the drivers' runs, powered by Google's Vertex platform and McKinsey & Company's QuantumBlack, helping interpret telemetry and fine-tune strategy.

In order to make the record official, the drivers had to start from a standstill and completely stop inside the convention center. This meant taking a 130-degree turn at about 25 MPH before going flat out along the straight. Speeds were captured 16.4 feet before the drivers hit the breaking zone, or the section of the circuit needed for them to stop and remain inside the building. 

The regular Gen3 car is already the fastest and most efficient electric racer ever built. It's capable of over 200 MPH at top speed and generates 40 percent of the power it needs to complete an E-Prix through braking. Formula E describes GenBeta as "an innovation platform" that was created by the racing series, the FIA, Sabic and Hankook. Projects with the vehicle are meant to experiment with new materials and technology in a bid to increase performance, efficiency and sustainability. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/formula-e-breaks-indoor-land-speed-world-record-in-unlocked-gen3-car-040005749.html?src=rss

Roku will stream live Formula E races for free

Roku just made its first live sports deal, and it may be welcome news if you're a motorsports fan. The company has struck a deal to stream 11 Formula E races for free through The Roku Channel, beginning with the next season. You'll also find on-demand videos like race previews, replays and the "Unplugged" documentary. The channel is available through Roku hardware, the web and dedicated mobile apps.

This isn't strictly an exclusive. Paramount+ will simulcast five Formula E races alongside CBS. The offering will be available starting in January 2024. Formula E media chief Aarti Dabas sees both the Roku and Paramount+ deals as ways to "dramatically increase" exposure to the race series, particularly in the US.

This isn't on par with Formula 1 or other major sports deals. However, it significantly expands the range of content available through Roku's ad-supported service. The Roku Channel initially launched with a focus older movies and shows, but has since added premium subscriptions, originals and live TV. Now, it has a chance to attract sports fans.

There's plenty of pressure to grow. Numerous other streaming services have their own sports exclusives. Amazon Prime Video streams a limited number of NFL games, while Apple has Friday Night Baseball and MLS Season Pass. Paramount+ already has multiple soccer exclusives. Moreover, ad-supported channels are reaching more platforms — Amazon recently launched its own free TV for Fire devices. Formula E could sustain interest in Roku's hardware and services, especially for viewers who crave live content.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/roku-will-stream-live-formula-e-races-for-free-145612443.html?src=rss

Ace Championship is more than just a Formula E feeder series

“There’s nothing in between.”

Ace Championship founder and CEO Dilbagh Gill is explaining the motivation behind building another all-electric racing series. Gill, who was CEO and team principal of Mahindra Racing since Formula E began, left his post last year to embark on something new. His project is one that had been “fermenting” in his mind for a year and a half. “I always thought there had to be a credible ladder in the electric racing series,” he said.

Gill explained that while traditional, combustion-engine racing has had a development path for decades, there’s nothing currently that exists between electric karting and FIA world championships like Formula E. “It’s not something we’re trying to reinvent,” he said. “We’re just trying to take the ladder the other direction.”

A major hurdle for young drivers climbing the ranks in motorsport is cost. It’s not enough for a driver to be quick, they need the financial backing as well. So, in addition to creating a new training ground for future champions, Ace is also working to reduce the barrier to entry when it comes to the cost of equipment. “They have the talent, but they don’t have the opportunity,” Gill noted. “Let’s try and make a championship which can be more inclusive than motorsport is today.”

Ace Championship isn’t just hoping to develop a new crop of drivers each season. The series will also offer opportunities for ages 15-25 who are interested in engineering, communications, marketing and other aspects of motorsport to get real-world experience. Gill said that during his eight years in England at the reins of Mahindra Racing, guest lectures opened his eyes to the fact that nearly 30 percent of university students in motorsport disciplines were from Asia. “What are they going to do next?” he asked himself. “Could something like [Ace] help them find a path?” Gill further explained that Ace would offer a scholarship program to reduce the financial burden even more. “Some talented folks who can’t afford getting in, we will be supporting them,” he said.

As a means of lowering costs, teams will be able to run four drivers with two cars. In most current series, each driver has their own vehicle – hence the high cost to participate. Ace Challenger will be the series’ entry-level format, meant for drivers who found success in karting and are looking for an academy experience. Here, races will run at reduced power so that drivers can acclimate to the car as well as learn about “technique, technology and collaborating with engineers.” Ace Championship is the higher level that runs the cars at increased power output. The focus shifts from the basics to things like detailed race strategy and energy management – two key elements for Formula E and other series.

To further level the playing field, Ace will keep all of the cars at its so-called Powerpark. “We don’t want the cars going back to their garages to start getting modified,” Gill explained. “We want to keep them in a controlled environment.” He also emphasized the importance of building the facilities in Asia. “We think Asia is going to be the melting pot [for electric racing],” he said. “From there, we are within five hours of flying to three or four regions.”

Serving as the series HQ, the campus will offer simulators for each team as well as classroom training on topics like telemetry, working with engineers and social media management. Preparation will be key because the currently proposed format would have each team traveling for around 10 weeks before returning to Powerpark. This means they’ll have to devise strategies for each circuit before they depart since there won’t be simulators to train on while they’re on the road.

With the new championship, Gill and his colleagues are also designing a completely new all-electric racer for the series. When Ace was first announced at the Hyderabad E-Prix in February, Gill showed off a prototype vehicle that was built from a Formula E Gen2 chassis. However, the car the series will use won’t just be modified leftovers from the previous generation forever.

“After eight years at Mahindra Racing, when I left, they gave me a Gen2 car,” Gill said. “So that was an easy acquisition of a prototype – my personal car.”

Ace is currently working to build a brand new chassis, which Gill explained won’t “use anything that exists on the market.” The reason for this, he noted, is that the custom-made cars will run a front powertrain kit and no existing chassis can integrate it “without a lot of work.” The current plan is to have the new cars ready for the third year of the championship, which should begin in 2024. Gill said Ace aims to use its initial design for six years before an anticipated upgrade. Both the Challenger and the Championship series will use the same car with some physical differences – like slight variations to the nose kit and rims. Power output can be controlled by software, which will allow a team’s four drivers to use just the two cars.

Another key element of the car’s design will be LED lighting. Formula E uses lights around the halo of its cars to indicate things like Attack Mode. The Ace Championship aims to make things a bit more dynamic here, with color changes for things like when the driver is accelerating, when a car is regenerating energy through braking or when the driver is coasting. Ace also wants to take a page from the Tour de France and use the LEDs to point out the leader. Gill said the lights could also indicate the driver in P1 as well as green and purple sectors in qualifying or the driver with the current fastest lap. “We have to figure it out,” he admits, but the lights could be a simple way to make races more informative for fans and they’ll undoubtedly provide a unique look during night events.

The series is also exploring the possibility of using two different tire compounds for Ace Challenger and Ace Championship, “so that drivers can understand the different nuances,” according to Gill. He floated the idea that there’s a tire with a smaller performance window for the Challenger series so that you have to bring it to a peak and manage it the rest of the way. And for the Championship, perhaps the tire is “a bit more forgiving… so you can push it without much degradation.” Gill enlisted former Formula 1 and Mahindra Formula E driver Nick Heidfeld to work with tire manufacturers on the various compounds and Ace already has a prototype that it’s currently testing.

The current Ace Championship prototype based on a Formula E Gen2 car
Ace Championship

At the end of the day, Gill envisions having a car that’s within three to three and a half seconds of the performance of a Formula E car. “The steps are smaller,” he explained. “New people coming to Formula E, especially on the drivers side, it takes a long time for them to get adapted.” The overall idea is for the Ace Championship cars to offer drivers a translatable experience to Formula E in the way Formula 2 does for Formula 1. “This step up from our championship isn’t where a [driver] will struggle for a year,” he said. Drivers who are new to Formula E may be quick over one lap, but variables like tire and energy management can be very challenging for the uninitiated.

“We believe tire and energy management is going to be valuable across all forms of motorsport,” Gill proclaimed. Internal combustion engines have hybrid components in series like Formula 1, and drivers and engineers must learn how to manage and deploy that energy properly during a race. That is amplified in Formula E where you start the race with less energy than it takes to finish. Teams rely on the drivers’ ability to regenerate the difference on track, as well as their strategy for managing consumption on each lap. And, of course, being able to go quick without using up your tires is a valuable skill for any racing discipline.

The Ace Championship plans to schedule races in four different regions: East Asia, Southwest Asia, The Americas and Europe and Africa. During its first two years, the series will only travel to two of those areas with the goal of expanding in 2026. Grouping races like this allows Ace to eliminate the cost of flying teams around the world between events. Racing in each region could take place over the span of a quarter, with the aim of having a new set of drivers each time. While the series hosts its first events in 2024 and 2025, it will also be building a second set of cars. Gill explained that Ace wants to have enough vehicles to have regional events take place while the others are back at Powerpark getting refurbished for the following quarter.

Scheduling is wide open at this point, though. Gill admitted a regional championship may have to be condensed into three weeks so Ace can “synchronize” with the Formula E calendar that runs from January to July. The goal here is to do tandem events with the FIA-sanctioned global EV championship, taking place around the E-Prix during the same weekend, even though it may only be one Ace category due to the time and logistics of street circuits. Again, it’s much like Formula 2 does at some Formula 1 races. Not only will piggybacking off Formula E events provide visibility for the series, but it will give young drivers and support staff a glimpse of how things are done at the next level.

Other Ace races will be standalone, including two of the six events during a regional championship being doubleheaders on back-to-back days. Gill said the current idea is for the independent races to take place on small circuits. Each regional schedule will serve as its own championship, so at the end of the first year, there will be four winners – two from each Ace category.

The ultimate prize for the Ace Championship is to train drivers, race engineers, mechanics and other members of a motorsport team who move on to FIA disciplines like the World Endurance Championship, Formula 2 or Formula 1. And that by doing so, they’re establishing a talent pool across all of those areas ready to contribute to the success of a world championship team.

“Our goal is to make world champions in the next five years,” Gill said.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ace-championship-is-more-than-just-a-formula-e-feeder-series-153018295.html?src=rss