Formula E’s initiative to take international open wheel racing to New York City for the first time in history has been declared a resounding success.
The Qualcomm New York City ePrix was a sell-out, with 20,000 fans making their way to the Brooklyn Circuit in Red Hook over the weekend. They were treated to a pair of action-packed races, while the other on—track entertainment and displays at the eVillage ensured that there was always something for fans of all ages to do.
Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E, said: “Formula E has a habit of breaking new ground – this weekend in New York was yet another example of achieving what many thought was impossible. We managed to bring international open-wheel racing to New York for the first time in history, this is something that sets Formula E apart from any other series – bringing electrifying motorsport to the world’s leading cities. Along with Hong Kong on Victoria Harbour and Paris with the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, New York has quickly positioned itself as a flagship event on the Formula E calendar. The race in New York was a defining moment in the series and years in the making. We worked tirelessly with the local authorities to find the right location. It couldn’t be Central Park and Liberty State Park wasn’t an option either. I actually thought it wasn’t going to happen, I didn’t lose hope but I wasn’t certain we’d get Formula E to New York… it hadn’t happened before in any form of open-wheel racing – then we found the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. It was the most viable option and it also meant we didn’t need to close any streets. But, best of all, we still had the most spectacular view of New York. I had a similar feeling on the grid as at our first-ever race in Beijing. We’d done it – and the race proved to be a resounding success in front of a sell-out crowd. As the saying goes – if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere!”
The New York location meant that it attracted a host of big name stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Hemsworth – who drove the Formula E Car – and James Bond star Naomie Harris.
Also in attendance were Michael Dougals and Catherine Zeta-Jones. “This is the first formula race of any kind that has been in the city,” said Douglas. “Just coming over here to Brooklyn by boat was really fun. There are creating a spirit and the noise issue is something that has made Formula E much more family friendly.
“A lot of parent are feeling much more comfortable with all their kids being out, so congratulations to the organisers. We have our kids out here with their friends and theare all enjoying it a lot.”
Zeta-Jones added: “I’m very impressed. It’s great for New York to have Formula E here. It’s wonderful to see driving for the future and it’s a party atmosphere.”
Both races were won by DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird – his first wins of the season – and the Brit was effusive in his praise for the work the series had done to make the event happen.
“I want to say congratulations to everybody within Formula E for putting on such an amazing event,” he said. What a coup to get New York on the calendar and let’s hope that we stay here for years to come.”
Lucas di Grassi was one of the first drivers to test the original Formula E development car and has been a passionate advocate of the series ever since. The Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport driver – who closed the gap to Sebastien Buemi in the championship to 10 points over the weekend – said: “I want to compliment Formula E in bringing the series to New York. We are only in the third year of the championship and the premiere for a car race in the heart of this metropolis is another fantastic milestone.”
Now attention turns to the first ever Formula E race in Montreal on July 29/30, which will be the concluding race of the 2016/17 season.