One day after the announcement that BMW is to join the FIA Formula E Championship as official manufacturer from Season 5 (2018/19), preparations are running flat out for two truly special races on this year’s calendar: New York City will host rounds 9 and 10 of the FIA Formula E Championship, on 15th and 16th July. The all-electric races, where BMW works driver António Félix da Costa (POR) and Robin Frijns (NED) will compete with BMW supported MS Amlin Andretti cars, headline the first major motor racing event ever to take place in the Big Apple.
The United States has hosted Formula E races in previous years, but this season New York takes centre stage. The circuit is located in Red Hook, Brooklyn, alongside the Hudson River, with the classic Manhattan skyline providing the scenery. The MS Amlin Andretti team will look to return to the points in America – home race for the Andretti team – after a tough race in Germany. Félix da Costa and Frijns have both scored points during the season, mostly recently Frijns’ top-six score in Paris (FRA), and hard work between races aims to ensure further progress in New York City.
MS Amlin Andretti races the ATEC-002 in Season 3, with Félix da Costa and Frijns in its two entries – Frijns in number 27 and Félix da Costa in number 28. BMW will provide expertise and support to the American team as it runs its own powertrain for the first time in Season 3, having run the standard Formula E technology in the first two seasons.
Fans can vote to give their favourite driver a ‘FanBoost’ – an extra energy allocation, available in the second half of the race – online. The three drivers with the most votes receive an extra 100KJ of energy, which can boost power by up to 30KW. There are two methods: voting on fanboost.fiaformulae.com, or by using the hashtag #FanBoost, plus #AntonioFelixdaCosta or #RobinFrijns, on Twitter or Instagram.
António Félix da Costa, MS Amlin Andretti: “Racing in New York City is very special, and even more so because I’m driving in the Andretti team. We’re the first FIA series to race in New York, and we’re very honoured about that. Personally, to have been part of this series for most of its life, I feel very proud of everything that’s being achieved. On the performance side, we’ve worked extremely hard between events to improve our performance and hopefully get some decent results.”
Robin Frijns, MS Amlin Andretti: “It’s the first time for me visiting the big city of New York, so it’s going to be a new experience. The track looks really narrow, so it’s going to be a tough race, especially keeping the car away from the walls. We had a bit of a break after Berlin, so we are really looking forward to getting back on track and scoring good points with both cars at the home race for Andretti.”
New York City is arguably the most famous metropolis of the Americas, one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and home to many global cultural centres. The Brooklyn district has received an upsurge in investment and comes with a trendy reputation. High tech start-ups and avant-garde design rub shoulders with franchises from basketball’s NBA and ice hockey’s NHL – the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders respectively.
Sited on the waterfront of the Hudson River at Red Hook, the two races will take place around long-standing industrial buildings in the area. It’s totally new to the calendar and is thus something of an unknown to teams and drivers. Drivers can expect the tight track and its rough surface to present challenges, but there are several good opportunities for overtaking. Turns one and six are tight hairpins with heavy braking, and turn five follows a long flat out section – again with a heavy braking zone. Unconventionally, the pitlane is not in line with the start straight, with cars entering the pitlane just before, and exiting just after turn five.