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Pressure Mounting for U.S. West Coast Return

Formula E teams pushing for return to West Coast for second E-Prix in U.S….

Photo: Formula E

Manufacturers and teams are pushing for the return of an ABB FIA Formula E event to the West Coast of the U.S., which has been identified as one of the most important markets for the all-electric championship.

It comes amid a survey conducted at a recent Formula E commercial working group meeting that sought feedback on key race locations.

While China was identified as an important area for growth, a race in California, the largest EV market in the U.S., stands as a key objective among stakeholders.

Formula E has made two appearances at Long Beach, from 2015-16, and despite coming close to hosting a race in Los Angeles during its inaugural season, a return to California has not yet materialized.

It has been despite talks with several other major cities in the State, including San Francisco and San Jose.

Both of Formula E’s American-backed teams, Dragon and Andretti, told e-racing365 that like China, which recently confirmed a second E-Prix, the U.S. should also have two races on the calendar.

“While we are thrilled to be racing again in New York City, we believe that it is important that we also find a way to return to California or another city on the West Coast of the United States,” a spokesperson for Dragon told e-racing365.

“California is the largest EV market in the United States, and most importantly, electric vehicle adoption has and continues to happen faster in California than anywhere else in the country.”

According to a study from environmental advocate Next 10, 4.5 percent of all vehicles on the road in California are either full electric or hybrids, compared to 1.2 percent for the rest of the U.S. and 2 percent of all cars in China.

California is also home to leading universities and numerous tech startups working on the clean-mobility revolution, which Formula E is also playing an ever-expanding and critical role.

“The State of California, its residents and private businesses like Dragon, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, also share a strong commitment to combatting climate change,” the Dragon team spokesperson added.

“You will find similar sentiments across the public and private sectors in states such as Oregon and Washington.

“Given the West Coast’s strong environmental policies, the dense concentration of people working at the leading edge of mobility and clean energy technologies, the base of motorsports fans and abundant car culture, we believe the market should be a high priority and would play an important role in the long-term success of Formula E in the United States.”

Andretti Formula E chairman Roger Griffiths echoed Dragon’s sentiments and has called for Formula E Holdings to re-ignite the potential of a West Coast event in the coming seasons.

While the 2018-19 schedule leaves no room for a West Coast race, future evolutions in the calendar could provide opportunities, according to Griffiths.

“I think it goes beyond just ourselves and Dragon wanting to get a race over in California because it is a huge market and I think the sixth largest economy in the world here, so it is super attractive to OEMs and manufacturers,” he told e-racing365.

“It would be significant to hold a race [in California].

“As far as breaking in to the U.S. market then I think one on the East coast which we now have and then one over here in California would be the perfect scenario.”

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 Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Edgar Sanchez

    July 13, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Maybe Formula E should consider a race at Portland Raceway. The track is 10 minutes from downtown and you can ride light rail to it. That puts it right in the middle of a city without the need for making a street circuit. It might not be its desired California locati9n but there would be plenty of interest in Portland and Seattle. Plus the upgrades coming with PIR hosting Indycar would make it more than a suitable venue.

    • Old Trombone

      July 13, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      Beat me to it sir!

      I live in Sacramento and I would DEFINITELY go to any FE race on the west coast. Portland already has a Track right in the middle of town with a rail stop on its doorstep. Alternatively how about a Ladybird race in Sac’s fab-40’s, right past Ronald Reagan’s old place?

      If you want a Nürburgring-among-the-vineyards track with world-class chefs giving lunches in exquisite wine-tasting rooms right in the fields, try this:
      Start just past the Shenandoah Valley school on the corner where Fiddletown Rd meets Shenandoah Rd, head east along Fiddletown Rd, turn left at Ostram Rd, then later left again at Shenandoah Rd and return to the school corner. Now that would be a track for drivers and engineers, and fans who like fine food and wine in the sun-drenched vineyards…

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