The world envies British style. But style can only go so far.
If Aston Martin were to release a line of cars titled “James Bond,” perhaps a few would sell. Upon investigation however, most consumers would likely sidestep the marketing pageantry in an effort to bring more quality—not novelty into their garage.
While the value of aesthetics in products cannot be denied, most consumers these days demand excellent user experience in products, particularly in the technology sector.
A new international driving series is attempting to provide such an experience for race fans.
It is called E.
Imagine Formula 1 on batteries.
The league is already in its second season and is sponsored by the FIA.
The goal for this series’ launch is to entice millennial audiences into the racing culture without burning carbon-based fuels.
But don’t be fooled. You’ll need a seatbelt if you go for a spin in one of these newly designed automobiles.
Despite a flashy technology and cool team owners like Leonardo DiCaprio already sponsoring teams in the series, it will likely take more than the stamp of approval from Hollywood to win over millions of millennials. And it won’t be as easy as waving a green flag.
Skeptics wonder whether the racing experience will draw interest from audiences of Formula 1 or NASCAR series or whether millennials will be interested at all.
According to insiders, Formula E races feature laser light shows, DJ’s playing electronic dance music—an entirely new atmosphere for race fans.
They are confident millennials will catch on.
According to Chris Schroeder, Chief Marketing Officer at Vermonte, an ownership group of Formula E, the experience will not underwhelm.
“When people see fully electric racecars spinning ‘360’s’ and smoke rising up, one thing will be clear—this isn’t your grandpa’s electrical vehicle. These things have power.”
However, questions remain over long-term viability of the auto racing series.
The launch of Formula E comes amidst auto racing’s recovery from the global economic crisis.
Attendance for NASCAR racing attendance is “stabilizing” and the league is preparing for large-scale renovations to arenas. Time will tell. In the mean time, team owners, fans, and advertisers will be banking on the technology working and working well.
Formula E is expected to sell about one hundred thousand tickets per event.
The Formula E racecar was designed collaboratively by a host of companies, including Renault. The car operates on batteries built by British Williams Advanced Engineering, which can send cars down the track at speeds of over two hundred and twenty miles per hour.
Formula E is aiming to become an attractive event as it travels the world. However, integral to their goal for becoming “the next big thing in racing” is the accessibility through television. Formula E will be broadcast through deals with eight channels including ITV, FOX Sports, and TV Asahi which will allows the infant sport to reach over two hundred million viewers this season, according to the FIA website.
The league is made up of nine teams including a team co-founded by Leonardo DiCaprio called Venturi racing in addition to two American teams—Andretti Auto Sport and Dragon Racing.
Formula E is already international and in its second season. However, tapping into the American audience will likely be the key challenge to sustaining interest and increasing relevance as an alternative to carbon fuel based racing series. The series’ emphasis on technology will likely be its greatest feature as it continues to integrate cutting edge developments in technology and fusing them to the romantic timelessness a sport like racing embodies.