Formula E panel of representatives says South Africa “ticks all the boxes”
A global panel of Formula E representatives has welcomed the inclusion of Cape Town on the 2022 racing calendar, as the city gears up for a massive celebration of sustainability, including a series of different events.
In early July it was announced that Cape Town would become the first Southern African city to host the all-electric Formula E racing series, joining a host of the world’s most iconic cities to present the ABB FIA Formula World Championship. The announcement was made by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) in Geneva following the scheduled meeting to approve the calendar and by Formula E Operations.
The panel, which included South African Gary Ekerold, the Jaguar Racing Formula E Team Sporting Manager, together with Formula E Co-Founder and CEO Alberto Longo and key representatives of the e-Movement team, spoke to media just ahead of Round 13 in London on Saturday afternoon.
Jaguar South Africa, Founding Partner to the Formula E Cape Town E-Prix bid, supported the drive to host the first Formula E event in Cape Town.
Gary Ekerold, Sporting Manager Jaguar Racing, said: “On behalf of Jaguar Racing and the five South Africans involved directly in our team, we’d like to say congratulations to Formula E, e-Movement and obviously Jaguar South Africa as Founding Partner to this bid. We’ve been to New York with the Statue of Liberty, Paris with the Eiffel Tower, and now we will go to Cape Town with Table Mountain in the background.
“Cape Town has put itself in Pole Position to have its share of global tourism, and hopefully this will have positive implications for its economy. It’s been a long time since South Africa has hosted an FIA World Championship single seater racing event [since the 1993 South African Grand Prix], so to go back there and show Cape Town all about e-mobility and electric racing is absolutely fantastic”
Alberto Longo, Formula E Co-Founder and CEO, said: “South Africa ticks the box of every single thing we need in order to host a race of Formula E. To start with I’m sure you’re aware we race in the heart of the biggest cities in the world. We want to go to iconic venues that you can really identify very quickly in one shot on TV, and I think this is one of the main reasons we are in South Africa - because they really offer us one of the best, most amazing locations that we will ever do a race at. Having Table Mountain as a backdrop which is a landmark of the city, the sea, the stadium, I think we are going to be able to put a fantastic event up there.
“And then the passion of South Africans, the heritage of motorsport there, they just love motorsports. I think it’s a place where every serious and professional motorsport series must do an event. Without saying we have amazing partners there, amazing promoters, and the city has expressed an interest in hosting an event there for a long time, so all the things that needed to happen in order for us to decide on a new venue happened in South Africa”.
Support for the event, both in South Africa and internationally, underlines the role of hosting Formula E races in driving economic development, especially in tourism where it is invigorating the events sector, and providing much-needed job opportunities.
The event also provides an opportunity for Cape Town and the country to demonstrate its environmental, commercial, and technological credentials on a global scale. Formula E is seen as a catalyst for innovation, investment, and job creation in the much-needed e-mobility and sustainable energy space.
Iain Banner, Co-Founder and Chairman of e-Movement, said: “South Africans can look forward to a week-long festival of events and activities celebrating sustainability. The race is what I call the celebration. But we’ve come up with what we are calling the e-Fest. And the e-Fest is a five-day program around sustainability and eMobility. So, we’ll have a 2-day conference of eMobility where we’ll have all things ‘E’ from one-wheelers to bicycles, possibly even a plane and a boat to showcase to the public what ‘E’ is all about both now and going into the future.
“We’ve also got a golf tournament which Ernie Els is hosting for us where our drivers and team principals will play with sponsors and others in the eco-system. And then very importantly we’ve got a climate change summit where we’ll be talking about all things sustainable. And a big initiative in taking this to Cape Town is not only to race, but to grow the economy and promote eBusiness as well.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said: “Cape Town is pleased to be chosen as one of the cities to participate in the Formula E tournament. The event will unlock major investment, job creation and tourism potential through identifying Cape Town as the racing destination of the African continent. We look forward to working towards this event. The City has the necessary infrastructure and skills to host an event of this size and we are confident that the event will further cement Cape Town’s global reputation as the World’s Leading Festival and Event Destination.”
Since its inception in 2014, Formula E has attracted millions of viewers, drawn to the excitement of cars racing the downtown streets of some of the world’s most picturesque cities at speeds of up to 280 km/h. Local broadcasters, Supersport and SABC, have committed to promoting the event and have already started to broadcast the Season 7 races in South Africa.
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship actively promotes electric mobility and alternative energy solutions to contribute to reducing air pollution, which the World Health Organisation estimates kills more than seven million people a year. Electric vehicles provide one of the most effective solutions to reduce carbon air pollution.