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Formula E in Adelaide street race talks

Tom Howard

Thursday 26th June, 2014 - 4:00am

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The all new Formula E car being driven by Jarno Trulli

The all new Formula E car being driven by Jarno Trulli

Adelaide’s famous parklands street circuit has emerged as a contender for a round of the new Formula E series as the electric open-wheel class looks to expand into Australia.

The FIA backed championship for electric powered single seaters is already assessing venues for the future ahead of its inaugural 2014/15 season.

Ahead of its September debut in Beijing, China, Formula E has attracted a field of 20 cars, including high-profile teams such as IndyCar giant Andretti Autosport and Audi Sport ABT and a host of ex-F1 drivers headed by Jarno Trulli.

Competing entirely on street circuit venues, championship CEO Alejandro Agag has revealed he is eager to add Australia to Formula E’s second season, with two cities in the frame.

“We would definitely like to expand to Australia,” Agag told Speedcafe.com.

“We are in conversations with two cities in Australia and we would really like to come to the country for season two.

“In Australia there are a lot of quality street races and infrastructure and a great following for racing.

“The discussions are at an early stage but they are serious.

“I think at the moment we are focussed on getting the championship going but once it is up and running we will start working on the next venues.

“We have to put the calendar for our second season together by December this year so by then we will have everything defined.”

While Agag refused to disclose the cities in question, the South Australian Motorsport Board has confirmed that conversations between the two parties have taken place.

Chief executive Mark Warren told Speedcafe.com that the board is keen to further the discussions with Formula E but a formal proposal is yet to be tabled.

He admitted if an agreement is reached the race would most likely be held either a week before or after V8 Supercars‘ blue riband Clipsal 500 event, with the first conceivable opportunity in 2016.

“There have been some conversations with Formula E and we have been following them with quite some interest,” Warren told Speedcafe.com.

“We started discussing about Formula E internally about two years ago that was when it was first mooted as a possibility.

“Personally I would love to have them in Adelaide it would make sense as a category to try and get here, but there has been no formal proposals as of yet.

“They are running on street circuits so there probably are not that many locations that would make sense for them to go, so Adelaide would be a good candidate I would have thought.

“The championship is already running within a week or two of other motorsport events and we would probably to the same. It would make sense for us to run it around Clipsal.”

Although, happy to accommodate Formula E, Warren says the board will be keeping a close eye on how the championship performs in its first year before any decision is made.

“We want to see what sort of viewing audience they get and how many express an interest in the series,” added Warren.

“We would need a good financial case for the state to make that sort of investment and ultimately bringing a category like that to Australia wouldn’t be a cheap option.”

While Agag was quick to rule out the Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise street circuit, another venue likely to be in contention is Sydney Olympic Park, which contains the short straights and multiple corner characteristics required by Formula E.

Destination New South Wales declined to comment on the possibility of Formula E hosting a race in Sydney after being contacted by Speedcafe.com.

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