Nov 29, 2017

An Electrifying Spectacle !

 

This weekend (December 2-3, 2017), Hong Kong once again plays host to Formula E, the world’s premiere electric street racing series. This is the second ePrix hosted by Hong Kong, kicking off Formula E’s fourth season.

The ePrix returns for the second consecutive year to the purpose-built urban track at the Central Harbour front.

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Criticism

The idea of Hong Kong hosting a motorsport event on its narrow and congested streets does seem far-fetched. The 2016 edition of the Hong Kong ePrix had its share of mixed reactions, especially in terms of traffic impact, logistics, and ticket sales. It drew a whopping loss of HK$ 50 million.

Kenneth Ng, President of the Hong Kong Automobile Association and Chairman of the Formula E Working Group, says: “Motor racing is still perceived as a rich man’s game. Against that background, it involved a few years’ effort in persuading the Government to appreciate that this is good for Hong Kong. One can imagine, and appreciate, their reluctance in endorsing something which has no precedents in Hong Kong – a street race like Monaco or, closer home, Macau.”

There is certainly room for improvement from last year’s event, with expensive tickets, view-obstructing barriers, and traffic congestion giving rise to complaints from residents.

 

Formula E: The Pride of Hong Kong

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Despite all criticism, the event was deemed a success. Formula E has huge potential not just to build the circuit and the sport, but, with some improvements and adjustments, can add to Hong Kong’s credentials as a city and as a tourist centre.

Antares Au on behalf of HK Racing Drivers Club, says: “Formula E Hong Kong is a bold endeavour which has been years in the making. It embodies the efforts of thousands who seek to put our city on the map of international motorsport. That these endeavours found success should be our collective pride. Motorsport fan or otherwise, the people of Hong Kong have accomplished [something here].”

“I am so glad that we pulled this off and in the end, all of the Government departments were happy with the way the event turned out. Hong Kong needs more positive energy these days and we hope that the first Formula E Hong Kong ePrix is just the beginning!” says Kenneth Ng.

 

eVillage

 

The double-header race is cleverly paired with an ‘eVillage’ experience, offering a range of family-friendly activities and entertainment options relevant to racing and electric cars. The 29,900 square metre facility provides information on urban electric car racing, displaying cutting-edge concepts and innovations and providing immersive fan experiences. Leading car manufacturers and tech start-ups have interactive setups of their own. Further, visitors can test their fitness against the greats of motorsport in the Explorer Zone, while staying up-to-date on the races via a giant screen showing live action from the track.

 

FanBoost

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A truly unique way to involve fans in the race is the innovative FanBoost. For each race, fans can vote for their favourite driver via various social media channels to give them an extra power boost. Voting starts about two weeks prior to an event and is also open during the opening six minutes of the race. The three winning FanBoost drivers each receive an extra 100 kJ of energy to be used in a power window between 180 kW and 200 kW.

By allowing fans to give their favourite drivers an extra boost of power during the race, FanBoost bridges the worlds of analogue and digital sports to create an unprecedented level of dialogue in motorsport.

 

The Future for Electric Vehicles

With the latest innovations in electric vehicle technology on show, Formula E is an exciting attraction for car lovers and racing enthusiasts alike. This year, fans can expect a host of new cars that have never been seen before in Hong Kong.

“Electric vehicles are definitively the future in Hong Kong, and if not for the reduced concession introduced recently by the Government, the future likely would have come earlier. It should be a global trend too, but I cannot speak for every country as electric cars still have issues to overcome,” said Kenneth Ng.

The event combines energy, entertainment and the promotion of a clean environment. The ePrix is no doubt eco-friendly, and not just because the vehicles are emission free. Its innovations also have the potential to trickle down and benefit the electric car industry.

It will, however, take more than one racing competition for the green message to sink in. “I think it is a good idea that they are trying to be eco-friendly,” Joseph Brenner, an American who visited to watch last year’s race, says. “But still there is concern on the impact that the batteries have on the environment.”

With better promotion and improvements, the city stands to benefit from hosting more eco-friendly international spectacles.

 

Specifics

 

The second Hong Kong ePrix will kick-start the fourth season of the FIA Formula E Championship. This year’s event will be expanded to two races, making Hong Kong the first Asian city to host a double-header. The Formula E championship is currently contested by ten teams with two drivers each.

Date: Saturday & Sunday, 2-3 December 2017 

Saturday, Formula Qualifying Session 1 at 11:00am

Saturday,  2017 FIA Formula E HKT Hong Kong E-Prix Round 1 at 15:00

Sunday, Formula Qualifying Session 2 at 11:00am 

Sunday,  2017 FIA Formula E HKT Hong Kong E-Prix Round 2 at 15:00

Venue: Central area (near Central Harbour front Event Space)

Website: www.hkformulae.com

 

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