The Formula E all-electric racing series has announced plans to bring an innovative ePrix to London in 2020.
The race will take place on an unusual indoor-to-outdoor track passing through the city’s ExCeL exhibition centre and along the waterfront on the streets of the Royal Docks.
Scheduled as a season-ending double-header on July 25-26, 2020 it is the first of a multi-year deal with the city, subject to circuit homologation and approval of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
Formula E previously held ePrix in London’s Battersea Park in 2015 and 2016 but was forced to find an alternative location after protesters argued the event caused disruption and harmed the local environment.
The electric racing series favours city-based ePrix which are known to appeal to sponsors. In a recent interview with SportBusiness, James Barclay, team director of Jaguar Racing, one of the first car manufacturers to enter the sport, spoke of the importance of this element to partners.
“Brands want properties that engage audiences the majority of time in the heart of key metros and want activities which are close to their consumer bases. One reason we came in, and I’m sure many other manufacturers did as well, is the sport is so accessible.”
Formula One is also targeting a race on the streets of London but has yet to announce any official plans. Formula E founder and chief executive Alejandro Agag seemed to allude to this when he said: “Every motorsport series would love to host an event in London – this has been our desire for quite some time now and we’re delighted to have found a new home in the Royal Docks at ExCeL London.
“We have a growing base of knowledgeable and passionate fans in the UK, and this race adds to a fantastic summer of sport as a world-class event we hope Londoners can be proud of. Formula E coming back to the UK extends beyond pure racing excitement, it’s also a strong message for London to tackle inner-city air pollution by promoting clean technologies and electric sustainable mobility.
ExCeL London chief executive Jeremy Rees said: “Events at ExCeL are thriving and London provides the perfect backdrop to host global entertainment brands, such as Formula E.
“We look forward to working closely with Formula E to showcase the versatility of our venue, creating a truly unique experience for teams, drivers and spectators. Hosting this event, is also closely aligned with our vision to create a more sustainable venue, in the heart of one of the most exciting destinations and best-connected cities in the world.”