Tuesday 31 January 2023

What to expect, when you're expecting - The Cape Town E-Prix Edition.

PHOTO CREDIT: ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Author: Franco Theron

Co-Author: Junaid Samodien

With three rounds already raced, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is less than a month away from racing in the Mother City (Cape Town) for the very first time, some fans might have a few unanswered questions. So, let us try to answer these within this article.

Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E championship will see the first ever Sub-Saharan round take place in Cape Town. It is also set to be one of the fastest ever laps, with the new Gen3 cars now being able to hit well over 300km/h.

Ian Banner, the Chairperson for e-Movement and one of the custodians for the Cape Town E-Prix mentioned outright that the 2023 Cape Town E-Prix will not be a compromise and will host this event with the same professionalism as seen in Monaco and Mexico City. As seen at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Green Point precinct will be fenced off and see the addition of strict track security, as well as transport plans.

What is the Cape Town E-Prix?

The Cape Town E-Prix, as the first-ever Sub Saharan round will see 11 teams and 22 drivers do battle. Being the leading championship series for electric single-seater cars, the championship features some of the best names in the sport. Names such as: Sebastien Buemi, Stoffel Vandoorne, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sam Bird, Lucas DiGrassi, and Rene Rast are only some of the most respected names in the sport. Even Kelvin van der Linde recently stepped in for his injured teammate Robin Frijns this past weekend in Diriyah (Saudi Arabia).

Formula E sees 11 teams, namely Avalanche Andretti (Porsche powertrain), TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team, Neom McLaren (Nissan powertrain), Envision Racing (Jaguar powertrain), Jaguar TCS Racing, Mahindra Racing, DS Penske (DS powertrain), Nissan, Maserati, Nio 333 Racing, and ABT Cupra (Mahindra Powertrain)

While Mercedes won the last two drivers’ championships, each race thus far has been a nail biting affair. The new Gen3 cars are powered by 350kW, capable of 350km/h. Mix this with the fast 2.8km, 12-turn Cape Town circuit, and the racing will be fierce.

The Cape Town Formula E race weekend will see the following times (CAT times):

24/02 – 16:55 to 17:45 Free Practice 1

25/02 – 09:05 to 09:55 Free Practice 2

25/02 – 11:40 to 12:55 Qualifying

25/02 – 16:03 to 17:30 Cape Town E-Prix

In addition to the race weekend, there will also be a series of “green” events around the Cape Town CBD in the days leading up to February 25th. Some of these will include the Africa Green Economy Summit (Century City Centre), and the E-Fest Electric, where ticket holders will see a selection of bicycles, one-wheelers, scooters, cars, skateboards, and charging solutions.

The weekend will also see the launch of the Formula Student Africa, where six local Universities (Wits, UNISA, the Cape Town University, CPUT, Nelson Mandela Bay University, and Stellenbosch University) will compete in constructing an electric race car. This Student based competition is in partnership with Warwick University, who will also be present at the launch.

South African artist Amy Jones, and DJ Zinhle will be performing after qualifying on Saturday afternoon in the Allianz Fan Villages. 

How much will it cost?

There are limited tickets still available for the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix. To avoid any disappointment. Get your tickets right now: TicketMaster.com

Friday 27 January 2023


PHOTO CREDIT: ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
AUTHOR: Junaid Samodien

South Africans have been grappling with endless power cuts, after state owned Eskom implementing continuous blackouts for more than 200 days last year, and ever day so far in 2023.These ongoing power cuts, have added unique challenges to the way businesses, and events are run in the country.

Since these power cuts became a way of life in South Africa, the various municipalities formulated plans and processes to ensure that large scaled events remain unaffected by these rolling power cuts (code named: "loadshedding"). With thousands of people frequenting a specific area comes a number of safety and security risks for all concerned. Therefore, power cuts are usually ruled out for those specified precincts or areas.

Following the announcement of the ABB FIA Formula E Cape Town E-Prix, many fans instantly brought up the power cut issues. However, it's now safe to say that these fans can have some peace of mind, in knowing that the country’s power crisis will not compromise the event in any way, as back-up plans are place.

Speaking at the 30-Day Out media briefing on Thursday morning, the City of Cape Town’s Mayco Member for Safety and Security, J.P Smith, said: “With major events like this we do occasionally exempt precincts from load shedding, and we have been working with Formula E about this – but Formula E has made their own arrangement in this regard, while we are responsible for other logistics (such as safety and security) which are a massive amount of work behind the scenes.” 

Iain Banner, chairperson of e-Movement, has been working closely with the City of Cape Town’s energy experts to ensure that they have a number of plans in place should the power cuts affect the inaugural event scheduled to take place on 25 February 2023.  

Banner explains: “I’ve been working closely with the city’s Energy experts Kadri Nassiep and Michael Schmidt and we have structured a primary power plan for the majority of the precinct. We don’t only have to charge cars, we need to power the entire structure. We have a guaranteed supply up to Stage 6, but there is always a secondary system. This includes generators that run on bio-fuel that will ensure that we can provide the 2MW of instant power demand. With the help of our engineers and the Cape Town stadium team, on Tuesday (this week), we have also secured power from the Cape Town Stadium.” 

“We cannot afford for cars not to run, and with the City’s help and our two back-up plans we will ensure that they do,” he concluded.

Thursday 19 January 2023

Construction work complete, as Cape Town prepares for inaugural E-Prix.

AUTHOR: Franco Theron
CO-AUTHOR: Junaid Samodien

South Africa will soon host the all-electric ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix set to take place on 25 February 2023. 

Hosting an international event comes with a number of strict requirements, but when it comes to motorsport or a Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) sanctioned event there are a lot more requirements, or items to check off your list, including circuit design, facility upgrades (to cater to the championship), and more. 

Recently, the City of Cape Town undertook an extensive road widening and resurfacing project around the Green Point Precinct (the proposed circuit), which included the installation of removable kerbs, and the creation of "the fastest corner on the current Formula E calendar (turn 12)".

We visited the Green Point area to take a detailed look at the Cape Town E-Prix circuit to record and capture all the changes, and upgrades made before the event (images available below).

Mexico City E-Prix
Avalanche Andretti Formula E team driver Jake Dennis claimed victory at the Mexico City E-Prix last weekend in a dominant fashion, the championship will then head to Saudi Arabia and India, before it heads to the most southern point of the Southern hemisphere (Cape Town).

With just over a month to the Cape Town E-Prix, let's take a closer look at the circuit. The 12-turn, 2.94km circuit will be fast-flowing and an incredibly competitive circuit. It will most surely test the higher top speeds of the new Gen3 Formula E race cars. A total of 11 teams and 22 drivers will race around this circuit.

MAP SUPPLIED BY: e-Movement/Cape Town ePrix.
The circuit will start on Vlei road, which has been resurfaced with a red oxide pigment surface, with all construction work done by, Amandla Construction. This has replaced the previous bricked surface, which included several speedbumps. The same red oxide pigment surface has been placed within the pitlane, which will extend from turn 11 (Vlei road), behind the Green Point hospitality village, and rejoining again after turn 3.

Left - The bricked surface at turn 11.
Right - Resurfaced red oxide tarmac at turn 11
PHOTO CREDIT: Slipstream SA and D
On our circuit inspection last month, we noticed that the tarmac from turn 11 to turn 1, including the full length of the pitlane was red, and quite grippy. We asked the Cape Town ePrix event organisers, to which they replied: "the red is actually a very simple thing. We wanted to maintain the original colour scheme of the ground in that area. So the red was kept red because that's how it looked before the upgrades were done."

Let's continue with the circuit layout, shall we... From Vlei road, all competitors will turn left onto Helen Suzman Boulevard. The turns 2, 3 and turns 4, 5, 6 have also been resurfaced and widened. Turn 7 will see another left-hand turn, where competitors will turn onto the Beach road, which will take them around two more left-hand sweeping turns before turn 10, which will take teams onto Vlei road once again. Drivers will then keep there foot down racing towards the tight left-hander of turn 11 before quickly changing direction to the very quick turn 12, and across the line.

NOTE: The Cape Town E-Prix circuit fly over contains the initial circuit concept, and not the FIA approved layout. However, you can get the concept and idea of the circuit by watching the video.
CREDIT: e-Movement/Cape Town ePrix organisers.

While taking place relatively early in the 16-round championship, which is set to finish on 30 July (London), the Cape Town E-Prix is set to not only be one of the fastest races, but also one of the most beautiful. With Table Mountain and the Cape Town soccer stadium as a backdrop, the summery weather of the of this Atlantic Ocean city will play a perfect host to the championship.

Would you like to attend this landmark event? Well! Limited tickets are still available for the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix, which start from R995 to R3 450. Get your tickets right now to avoid disappointment - here 

                             A look around the Cape Town ePrix circuit with it's surface and corner upgrades.

CREDIT: Junaid Samodien/Franco Theron