The ERA Championship is positioning itself to fill the void for junior single-seater series in the world of electric motorsport, according to a key figure at the nascent series.
Announced in March last year, the series is set to get underway later this year with four rounds in the UK, Belgium and Netherlands.
It will use a common chassis based on the Dome F110 Formula 4 car, named the Mitsu-Bachi F110e, with a focus on low costs and accessibility.
The championship’s technical and business director Dieter Vanswijgenhoven says cost control and providing an electric single-seater platform below the ABB FIA Formula E Championship are ERA’s two main goals.
“There wasn’t anything out there besides Formula E doing anything with [electric] single-seaters, so there is a nice big gap in motorsport at the moment that we’re hoping to fill up,” Vanswijgenhoven told e-racing365.
“There are a lot of young drivers who are looking at Formula E, all the electric stuff, but wanting to stick to single-seaters and they need to go and race combustion engines until they get picked up for Formula E.
“I’m not officially saying that we’re a feeder series or anything but there is obviously nothing there so we’re jumping in that void.”
Season One entries in the standard Sports class are priced at €100,000 ($111,000), with the Innovation category, which allows teams to develop specific parts of their powertrain, will cost €70,000 ($78,000).
“In both cases, you own the car, so the second season will obviously be a lot cheaper than that,” Vanswijgenhoven explains.
“We’re on the cheaper side of Formula 4. What you hear a lot is that motorsport keeps getting more and more expensive, and less people are able to do it.
“This kind of defeats the point for us, for an entry level series. If you want to get a lot of people into electric cars, it’s obviously important to make it affordable.
“In the Innovation class as well, we want to see small to medium-sized companies that can’t do anything with Formula E team up with universities to show some high-tech stuff that isn’t big OEMs within Formula E.”
Series Targeting Variety of Team, Driver Backgrounds
ERA Championship’s unique position allows it to target competitors from different backgrounds, including those interested in EV technology as well as typical single-seater teams.
“We’re hoping that universities get on-board for the Innovation class but teamed up with small to medium-sized companies that are working on EVs but don’t have a motorsport outlet at the moment,” Vanswijgenhoven adds.
“Also, the already established Formula 4, Formula 3 teams that just want to add on to what they’re already doing and getting ready for the future.
“I would like to see some drivers do a combined season of either Formula 3 or Formula 4 with us, but also the ones who are maybe doing Formula Ford but don’t have the budget to do Formula 4.
“This is an opportunity to be able to do something maybe a bit more meaningful or future-orientated, to show what they can do.
“Especially for Season One, we’re going to be the only ones out there doing this so we’re expecting there to be quite a few eyes on what we’re doing.
“Whoever is going to out-perform anyone else is going to get the spotlight.”
The series is close to confirming its Season One calendar and will host an on-track demonstration at Zolder later this month.