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Revealed: Formula E Night Race Plans

Formula E could hold its first night race later this year at the Ad Diriyah E-Prix…

Photo: Formula E

The ABB FIA Formula E Championship could hold its first ever night race next season after plans for such an event have recently been discussed by teams and officials.

A possible race through the dark could take place as part of the first round of Season Six at Ad Diriyah in Saudi Arabia this December.

E-racing365 can also reveal that plans are in motion to look at making the Ad Diriyah weekend a double-header event.

Saudi Arabia, along with most countries in the region, has its weekend on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday traditionally the first day of the working week.

Therefore the likely dates for the second Ad Diriyah E-Prix would be Dec. 6-7.

This would ensure that the event does not clash with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix the previous weekend and the Bahrain FIA World Endurance Championship round which has long been scheduled for Dec 14.

The idea of a dusk or night race is believed to be attractive to teams and partners who could run special illuminated liveries for such an event.

These, combined with the flashing HALO which designates arming and deployment of the Attack Mode, would be considered to make a spectacular addition to the Formula E race format.

The ideas are believed to have been discussed at a sporting working group meeting earlier this month and teams are generally known to be in favor of the initiative.

Sustainable lighting for a night race is likely to be provided by Enel, a long-time partner for the championship.

Team and Driver Reaction Favorable

Formula E teams and drivers would welcome a future dusk or night race in the all-electric championship.

Panasonic Jaguar Racing team principal James Barclay says that a night race would be a good news story for the championship on several levels.

“The concept of a night race on the FE calendar is an attractive proposition, Barclay told e-racing365.

“Hopefully the promoters can work together with Formula E to provide renewable energy to power the lighting infrastructure – that would be a positive story and a completely different spectacle for our sport.”

Citing an increase in the atmosphere and vibrancy of a potential night race, both BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver Alexander Sims and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Daniel Abt have told e-racing365 they would relish the opportunity to race in the dark.

“The look and feel of the race would be really special and it is definitely a cool idea,” said Sims.

“When you think about a Singapore or Abu Dhabi F1 style night race where the track is lit up, you think about the spectacle for TV viewers and fans, etc.”

Sims is one of many Formula E drivers with endurance racing experience and has won into-the-night enduros such as the Total 24 Hours of Spa and Motul Petit Le Mans in recent years.

“From a driver’s point of view it probably doesn’t add too much to the actual challenge like a Sebring or a Spa 24 Hours where you generally can’t see a great deal apart from what is in your headlights.

“For me those experiences are the best for me in terms of driving ever. There is a heightened reliance on gut feeling and reflexes because you are working with a small zone of vision. I love it.”

Abt agrees, saying he would relish the opportunity to race under the lights.

“It would be awesome,” he told e-racing365. “Running into the night and then directly going over into a big concert is what we should do.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for from 2014-17. Contact Sam

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Kris G.

    February 9, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    It can be a cool addition yes to the calendar principally because the unique to FE halo lightning systems.

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