AUTHOR: Junaid Samodien
PHOTO CREDIT: ABB FIA Formula E World Championship
The eagerly anticipated Cape Town E-Prix has now come and gone, and according to event promoter Iain Banner “it was a big success.”
Banner, who played an instrumental role in bringing the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship to the city, said: “Part of what we are doing with the race was to focus on making a difference, creating jobs and yes, all in the renewable sector, in the green economy.”
The E-Prix “fulfilled it’s mission to be a top three race”, Banner said, who also added that the race was a complete sell-out with 25,983 tickets sold.
“It was really heartened by Nelson Piquet Jr, one of the Formula E commentators saying: This is the best Formula E race I have ever been to.’ Now, I take those sort of comments with humility.”
Banner also mentioned that he always had confidence that the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix would be a sell, despite the other doubting him, and has set a new target for 2024. “My target for next year is 40,000. I believe quite easily that we will sell 40,000 and that will be sold out,” he said.
Despite the successes of the Africa’s first Formula E race, event promoters E-Movement will look into ways of improving for the future.
“There are adjustments that are required. For example, we need to improve. We had sufficient food and beverages in our fan areas. We had sufficient quantities, but we didn't have enough distribution points. So we need more local vendors and we want to support local business and I'm looking forward to us expanding on the hospitality offering. It's a full days experience. There's all these things going on that make for an incredible value day so that we will be focusing on,” Banner said.
The 2.921 kilometer circuit provided quite challenging for the drivers, not only due to the challenging turns 9 and 10, the fast nature of the track, but the bumpy nature of the circuit was a big talking point, which the event promoter aims to address for next year.
“There are two areas that we'd like to improve on, and that is the bumpy areas on the track, particularly down Beach Road (7, 8 and 9) and turning into Fritz Sonnenberg (turn 10), there were two heavy bumpy areas. Those will be those will be dealt with to create a smoother surface.”
“I don't have the absolute fact, but one of the reasons that Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) had an overpower penalty, was because they showed that he had too much power when the car bounced upwards, the inverter somehow showed a higher power delivery because there was no resistance from the road,” Banner said.
Teams, drivers and international media were left quite impressed with the inaugural E-Prix, and are quite hopeful of a return next season, but Banner quickly to addressed the topic, saying: “We signed a five year contract with the five year extension. It was dependent on the outcome of year one. We had to prove our ability to put on a world class race that stands up with the best, and we've done that. Now it's a case of putting the funding together for years two and beyond, which is something I'm immediately focusing my mind on. I know we can make Africa proud. Never mind the Cape or South Africa. We can make Africa proud. Let's do that. Let's do that. Not for the next 5 or 10 years, but for the next 20 years. That's my commitment. I believe that we are well entrenched with the Formula E decision makers.”
With planning well underway for next year, the provisional 2023/24 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is expected to be published around mid-May, whilst the final dates are confirmed at the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in October.
“I'm very optimistic that we will find Cape Town for the first time on the provisional calendar [for Season 10] because last year we were not,” he said.
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