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ERA Completes Initial Rollout at Zolder; Interest High

ERA Championship completes first public demo of F4-level electric race car…

Photo: ERA Championship

ERA Championship completed the first public rollout of its Mitsu-Bachi F110e at Circuit Zolder on Monday ahead of the series launch later this year.

The junior electric single-seater series, developed by Belgian company The Driving Force, was announced in March last year ahead of the car’s initial reveal in June.

With a focus on affordability and accessibility, the series will stage its first races this summer, with a four-event calendar likely taking place in September and October on tracks in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.

ProSpeed Competition team principal Rudi Penders completed three demo laps in the Japanese-Belgian car in damp conditions at Zolder on Monday afternoon.

ProSpeed is part of series organizer The Driving Force, which also runs the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux from its base near Zolder.

ERA’s technical and business director Dieter Vanswijgenhoven says the demo, which was attended by a number of prospective teams, motorsport figures and media, shows the series is “open for business”.

“We’re super excited that so many people turned up and everyone seems excited,” he told e-racing365.

“The weather wasn’t with us today, there was sunshine but it was a wet track, but the car was perfect and the driver is really happy with it.

“We’re very excited and we’re open for business. People can now see how serious it is, so if anybody had any doubts, I think we very effectively got rid of those.

“We’re ready for the next step and that’s obviously to get the championship rolling. Exciting times.”

The development car that ran on Monday is almost identical to the production version but uses a chain-driven design rather than direct-drive, for ease of accessibility.

“It is chain-driven because if you want to change something, you change a sprocket, whereas with a whole box you redesign the box, which doesn’t make sense,” Vanswijgenhoven explained.

“We’re going to have a direct drive, just one gear, connecting the motor to the driveshaft. That is 99 percent ready. It really is just a case of starting production at this point. 

“We were very eager to show people it’s driving and we know what we’re doing and to get rid of any doubts that are there. If there’s a car, there’s a car. You can’t argue with that!”

The car is based on the Dome F110 Formula 4 chassis, and Dome’s F110 project manager Yoshi Arimatsu was also in attendance at the event.

Interest From Variety of Teams

The series has already received considerable interest from a number of teams from a variety of categories, fitting in with its aim of attracting competitors from both single-seater and electric backgrounds.

Grid sizes are capped at 24 cars due to production constraints.

“We’ve got Formula 2 teams that are interested, Formula 3, Formula 4, LMP2, GT teams, all over the place,” Vanswijgenhoven said.

“The most interesting mindset that I’ve found is from GT teams. They look at this and go, ‘Right, I don’t have to step into something where there are 20, 30, 40, 50 different teams already doing it all over the world’, as you have in Formula 4, for example.

“This is something new and everybody starts from the same level, so if you’re not into single-seater racing yet, this is the time and the moment to get involved with it.

“If you like electric or not, it’s still something new.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is e-racing365's Managing Editor and also European Editor for Sportscar365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations at the University of Birmingham. Contact Jake

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    January 21, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Perhaps they could try and become the feeder series to formula E, like what F2 is to F1. Junior pay drivers need somewhere to progress to and a reason to compete in the series with a budget, other wise they would just go to F4 or F3 instead.

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