The inaugural season of the all-electric racing series Formula E will now conclude with a double-header at London's Battersea Park on June 27th and 28th, adding a second race to the already-planned finale. Permission to build the temporary circuit was granted yesterday by London's Wandsworth Council alongside the reveal of the 15-turn, 1.8-mile track layout.
The course itself is almost rectangular in nature and rings the outskirts of Battersea Park on the River Thames. The action on the course's many high-speed straightaways and bends will be routinely interrupted by a number of chicanes and braking zones. Though the layouts have varied, each race in Formula E's first season has taken place on a street course like this. These types of courses are typically shorter than an official race track, and tend to offer closer (and therefore more thrilling) racing.
Formula E is a unique series in a number of ways. It's the first major motorsport run completely on electric engines, which means the cars produce little more than a high-pitched whine as they zip around the street courses. (That's a major point of contention for long-time motorsport fans, for whom the roar of combustion engines is held in holy regard.) It also features a "fan boost" component, where votes cast online give three drivers a momentary horsepower boost each race.
The series is a testing ground for electric vehicles
Formula E is just as much an electric vehicle testing ground as it is a racing series, and is especially focused on the development of better battery technology. The high-performance cars can make it through about half a race (25-30 minutes) on one battery, and instead of swapping in a new one the drivers have to pull into the pits and jump into a second car to finish the race.
The scheduling change is far from the first that Formula E has endured in its debut season. Earlier this month, a race in Moscow was announced for the first week of June, replacing Rio de Janeiro on the schedule. That race, along with a proposed event in Hong Kong, was called off due to hesitance from the local governments. Formula E debuted with an exciting race in Beijing last September, and has since held races in Malaysia, Uruguay, and Argentina.