Thursday, August 28, 2014

Forza Motorsport 5: Meet the SRT_01E electric racer

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Your eyes don't deceive you. At first glance, it does look like today's Formula 1 cars but what you notice here is something different. It was born alongside the new age motorsports and this new age of motorsport can only mean one thing; zero emission motorsport. That's right, the FIA Formula E is coming and this is the primary machine for the opening match; the Spark-Renault SRT_01E.

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The year 2014 gives birth to a brand new generation of motorsport. The FIA Formula-E Championship is a brand new FIA single-seater championship and the world's first fully-electric racing series. The inaugural season starts from September 2014 to June 2015, spanning 10 different locations from London, Beijing, and Miami.

The Spark-Renault SRT_01E is the first ever open-wheeler electric racing machine to be homologated by the FIA and this zero-emission racer aims to turn the tables of what is achievable in electric motorsport while balancing cost-effectiveness and sustainability.

It was built by the newly-established Spark Racing Technology while the monocoque chassis, built from carbon fiber and aluminum, was done by Dallara. The electric powertrain and electronics was sourced by McLaren Electronics System while the battery was sourced by the Williams F1 Team, producing 200kw of power while linked to a 5-speed Hewland sequential gearbox with fixed ratios.

In the opener of the FIA Formula E Championship, 10 teams, with two drivers each, are competing in the first season. The teams are AMLIN AGURI, ANDRETTI FORMULA E, AUDI SPORT ABT, CHINA RACING, DRAGON RACING, E.DAMS-RENAULT, MAHINDRA RACING, TRULLI, VENTURI, and VIRGIN RACING. There are selection of aces taking part in the opener; aces of all kinds such as motorsport icons, F1 testers, former Formula 1 racing drivers, even female drivers. The opening match will be in Beijing, the capital city of the People's Republic of China, on the 13th of September.

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Of course, it looks like a Formula 1 car but because this is a zero-emission racing machine that runs solely on electric power rather than prehistoric fossil fuel, this is a total difference to experience but I really want to know what's like to be behind the wheel of the Formula E car and to find out, I went to the Top Gear Test Track for some experimentation.

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As I noticed it, the SRT_01E is a very serious racer with some very serious zero emission technology. Sure I may not hear something at the start until the whirring of the electric motor kicks in on the move, but unlike a Formula 1 car, this Formula E car won't attack you like extremists on a spaceship and when it comes to handling, the aerodynamics really done its sorcery and it handles like a boss! I was very impress to have an electric car that can handle like a Formula 1 car and if I'm going on the opening match, this could be a very exciting match to see. It may be a serious motorsport but it's probably one of the most exciting to see.

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After taking a lap round the Top Gear Track with the Formula E car, I still believe testing it here is not quite enough because next time, I will travel round the world and see if the Formula E car tackles through the world's best courses in Forza Motorsport 5.

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