Inaugural Qualcomm New York City ePrix on July 15 & 16
This weekend the Formula E New York City ePrix heads to Brooklyn for the first ever race to take place in the five boroughs. While in the city earlier this week French driver Jean-Eric Vergne took some time for a stroll on The Highline and a quick chat with nycmonthly.com.
For people unfamiliar with all-electric racing, give us some context. What’s the highest speed you generally get up to and what would you equate being in the driver’s seat to?
Well, the highest speed in KPH is around 220. I think the general feeling is, you got a lot of torque delivery due to it’s an electric car, so acceleration is pretty impressive.
This is the first international motorsport series to race in New York City. Why do you think Brooklyn was a good fit for the inaugural event?
I believe that it’s a great place for Formula E, because you get an amazing view of Manhattan, you get a view on the Hudson, you get a view on the Liberty Statue and it states the image of New York City.
Other than the races, what can fans and spectators expect from the weekend?
I’m not sure if there is robot race driving, but if there is, it’s electric cars, again, but driving driverless, so it’s pretty impressive to see. In a few months or maybe next season, they’re going to be racing together as robots and that’s something quite cool to see. Formula E, all over the tracks a lot of stars, so I guess there are going to be some personalities on that race. And it’s a great show.
If people are reading this thinking that an ePRIX can’t be as exciting as traditional racing, what do you want them to know? Why should they come check things out this weekend?
People love NASCAR or IndyCar, especially the ovals because there is a lot of action. Everything is happening in the last lap, and in Formula E, it is the same. So, the tracks are smaller, very narrow, very difficult to drive, very easy to make a mistake, very easy to end up in the wall, so there always is a lot of spectacle during the race, a lot of unexpected things happening. The fans love that.
And they also have a way to help the driver they want to win. They can vote. It’s called a FanBoost, and the driver that has received the most votes has some kind of extra power to try and have a day. He can defend his position. And the other thing that is quite special is that we’re racing the avenue. In 10, 20 years time, on the track, all the cars are going to be electric or with green power, and we’re the first. And I think to be able to give such a good show on driving the future is quite something to come to watch, only for this reason.
Photo Credit: Spacesuit/Techeetah