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Finally, the world's first ever fully electric racing series officially exists after Leonardo DiCaprio teamed up with Venturi Automobiles to enter the tenth and final car that will complete the grid for the first year of the new Formula E.
The team, headed by DiCaprio and Gildo Pallanca Pastor, the founder of the Monaco-based Venturi Automobiles EV manufacturer, is the last name to join the Formula E venture, after Richard Branson's Virgin Racing joined up last week, along with Drayson Racing, Andretti Autosport, Audi Sport, and Mahindra Racing.
"The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles," DiCaprio said. "Venturi Grand Prix has shown tremendous foresight in their decision to create an environmentally friendly racing team, and I am happy to be a part of this effort."
The Formula E season will begin in September next year and run through to June 2015. The first race will take place in Beijing, before moving on to Malaysia, Rio de Janeiro, Uruguay, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Miami, Monte Carlo, Berlin, and finally closing in London.
Unlike Formula 1, which is tightly controlled and only allows teams to use the same basic technology, Formula E will be an "open championship" allowing each team to develop its own drivetrains and parts. The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has laid out some basic specifications that each car must meet, but the greater freedom will allow for more innovation that will hopefully benefit the EV industry as a whole.
Each of the ten teams will run two drivers during the series, and cars will be limited to 180 bhp, offering top speeds of around 140 mph. In order to solve the problem of recharging, which takes far longer than traditional refueling, the teams will swap the entire car during pit stops, replacing the drained vehicle for a fully charged one.
The first vehicle to be debuted by one of the Formula E teams is the Spark-Renault SRT_01E, which weighs in at 800 kg and a max power output of 270 bhp. In the video below the vehicle is sent for its first test run, operating at just 25% capacity.
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