Cape Town in race to host Formula E
New bidding company hopes to bring global electric racing series to the city’s streets
Formula E bid company e-Movement has announced plans to bid for a Formula E race in the streets of Cape Town.
It has secured the backing of Jaguar SA as founding partner for the initial stages of the project in Cape Town, as a potential candidate host city for the electrically-powered race series.
Iain Banner, Chairman of e-Movement, confirmed the positive progress made after the feasibility study undertaken by members of Formula E Operations during a site visit in September 2019: “The objective of the study was to assess the suitability of Cape Town as a possible venue for a round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in future seasons. Three possible circuit layouts have been identified and we are now in the process of exploring these possibilities with the City of Cape Town and other interested parties.”
Banner added that the proposed event will simultaneously anchor a renewable energy week, comprising a major conference and exhibition in an industry which is poised for rapid growth over the next decade.
Councillor JP Smith, Cape Town’s Mayco member, said such an event would provide an opportunity to position the city and thee Western Cape region as the pioneering renewable energy hub of SA.
Lisa Mallett, Marketing Director: Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa, said “Jaguar is at the forefront of electric mobility globally, and has made massive strides in electrification right here in SA.
“In 2018 Jaguar laid the foundation for the future of e-mobility in SA with the rollout of the R30m public charging network and followed up with the introduction of the World Car of the Year-winning all-electric Jaguar I-Pace last year.
“Partnering with eMovement to bring this premier motorsport event to SA, will assist in showcasing the tangible efforts Jaguar has made in infrastructure and carrying the momentum of all Electric Vehicles on a local level."
Jaguar has a team competing in the Formula E championship, which is currently contested by 12 teams with two drivers each. The series started in 2014 and features electrically-powered race cars similar in style to the hybrid-drive cars of Formula One, with racing taking place on temporary city-centre street circuits.
The championship currently has races in Chile, Mexico, US, UK, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Indonesia and Morocco.
MotoGP riders absent from Qatar opener as Nagashima shines
The motorcycle grand prix season started in Qatar on Sunday without MotoGP riders due to the coronavirus outbreak but their absence gave Tetsuta Nagashima a chance to seize the limelight.
The Japanese KTM rider celebrated a surprise first grand prix win in the Moto2 category, in his 70th start and 10 years after the late Shoya Tomizawa triumphed at the Losail circuit.
"Shoya was like a brother to me. When I started racing we were always together and he taught me a lot," said Nagashima, who had started 14th, as he remembered his friend who died after a crash at the 2010 San Marino Grand Prix.
"I remember it well when he won the race here. My first time winning is unbelievable."
Italians Lorenzo Baldassarri and Enea Bastianini were second and third.
In Moto3, Spaniard Albert Arenas handed Austrian manufacturer KTM their 100th victory in grand prix racing across all classes, beating Scottish rider John McPhee (Honda) by a mere 0.053 seconds.
The floodlit MotoGP race, which usually enjoys top billing, was cancelled due to Qatar imposing travel restrictions on passengers from Italy among other countries.
Moto2 and Moto3 riders were not affected by the measures because they were already in Qatar for a previous pre-season test session.
Ducati and Aprilia are the main Italy-based teams while Italian riders include Yamaha's MotoGP great Valentino Rossi. Italian engineers and mechanics are also spread across the paddock while the media has a large Italian contingent.
Italy is the European country hardest hit by the virus, with the death toll on Sunday put at 366 with a 25% jump in cases to 7,375 from 5,883 on Saturday.
Polo Cup acquires new sponsor
SA’s popular Polo Cup one-make racing series will line up for a consecutive 24th season with a newly announced sponsor.
World-renowned Volkswagen tuning company Oettinger is officially launching in SA and will be joining the series as the headline sponsor, says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. The eight-round series will therefore be known as the Oettinger Polo Cup.
The Oettinger brand, famous for tuning VWs for more than 70 years, is officially returning to SA through the efforts of Universal Healthcare’s team owner and driver Dr Johan Pretorius, who acquired the local rights to the famous brand late in 2019.
The 2019 title sponsor, Falken Tyres, will continue to support the series as the official tyre partner and all competing Volkswagen Polos will be shod with Falken’s slick racing rubber.
The Polo Cup, which pits drivers against each other in identical cars, is a popular series for young drivers starting out in their racing journeys and has launched a number of successful international racing careers including brothers Sheldon and Kelvin van der Linde, and siblings Jordan and Tasmin Pepper.
The 2020 Oettinger Polo Cup season begins at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria on Saturday.