Andretti Signs on to Formula E Racing

Andretti Signs on to Formula E Racing

Andretti Autosport announced Wednesday that it will become the third team to race in FIA Formula E.

The series will feature races in 10 cities around the world starting next year. So far, Formula E has three teams signed on: Andretti, China Racing and Drayson Racing. There is still space for seven more teams with a total of 10 two-car teams meant to compete in each “e-Prix.” The season begins in September, 2014 and will run through June 2015.

Andretti said he thinks racing electric cars will help the sport appeal to a younger audience.

“We’re in the business of racing and we’ve been looking for opportunities to diversify, and when we were contacted about this we felt it was something we needed to look into,” he told the Associated Press. “The more we looked into it, the more interested we got. We like the relevancy of the series because one of the problems auto racing is starting to face — and is going to face more of in the future — is relevancy.”

Andretti plans to run one car for the championship while the other will serve as a “star car” that well-known racers will be asked to pilot based on availability.

But racing electric cars will present certain challenges. For example, the cars will only last up to 25 minutes, at which point the driver will need to pit and sprint almost 330 feet (100 meters) to a freshly charged car. Teams also won’t be allowed to heavily modify those cars either.

“They don’t want to have a whole lot of development in the actual car, they want the development to go into the electric technology,” Andretti said. “They are really going to control that side of it with the rules that you can’t do a lot to the cars.”