In a bid to bridge the gap between karting and racing, a new four-wheel electric series racing championship was announced by the ACE group in Hyderabad on Saturday.
On the sidelines of the Hyderabad E-Prix, a prototype race car was driven around the street circuit by former Formula One driver Nick Heidfeld.
“It’s a perfect timing to have a junior electric category because a lot of Formula E drivers have struggled while coming to e-racing from other categories but with this we can bridge the gap and help more youngsters take up the sport at an early age and make them thorough professionals,” Nick said.
While the initial launch will be in India in 2024, Dilbagh Gill, Founder and CEO of ACE Championship said that they will spread wings in the coming future.
“What we are trying to achieve is global regional electric racing. We want to get it started in Asia and then move to Europe then North and South America. The initial launch will be here in India to get it started out here. It’s a compressed format where there will be 10 weeks of racing out of which six will be weekend races and they will be double headers. The special aspect of the car is two categories of racing are going to take place in the same car. On a double-header race weekend, we are going to have four races, two in each category. So that’s how 24 races will take place,” Dilbagh said.
“We want to start in 2024 and the first race in all probability will be in Hyderabad. We will be starting the drivers’ call in the next couple of weeks and we are going to run a scholarship programme and a talent hunt programme. We will get the car and the technology ready, demonstrate it and start talking to Formula E and FIA and be a part of their family,” Dilbagh added.
The ACE Championship will have two levels - the entry-level Challenger series and the top-tier Championship.
In a first, the same car will be used in both levels of racing, meaning teams can run four drivers in two championships with two vehicles, an opportunity afforded by the technological advancements the series promises to deliver.
“We are starting a championship that is close to a Gen2 level and since we have the duality, we have the chance to experiment with it. This is a feeder series of talent just not for the drivers but also for engineers and other mechanics involved in the championship.”
The CEO further informed that the current prototypes are being built in Barcelona and that they are planning to build a base in Hyderabad.
“The current prototypes are being built in Barcelona and the testing will also be done there but we are in talks with the Telangana government and trying to figure out if we can build the cars in Hyderabad.”
To encourage drivers from across racing championships participate in the championship, the organisers have decided not to put on an age cap, for the moment.
“At this stage we don’t want to put an age limit to the upper side and will have only for the lower side. As far as the electric power chargers are concerned and the software, we are in consultation with some of the leading German manufacturers and the prototype we are using currently is a German one. We are evaluating the technology and will finalise soon.”
The Formula E World Championship was held in the Hyderabad Street Circuit but the CEO said that they haven’t planned to build a street circuit and that they will be racing in the existing ones.
“Keeping costs in mind, unless there is an existing street circuit we would stick to a circuit that is already in place,” he said.
Nick on his part said that he will be a part of Dilbagh’s team and his role will be to help the championship grow.
“The idea is to help youngsters take the sport, especially in India and I am happy to join Dilbagh and his team and we will try to make it a success,” Nick said.
“I will be helping in developing the car and on various other aspects in making the championship successful. I will put the glasses of a driver and give my inputs whenever needed. We want to encourage youngsters take up e-racing.”
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