TCR going for glory

By Yang Ning Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-27 0:33:01

Season finale to ignite weekend in London

TCR’s Nelson Piquet Jr drives during the Formula E Moscow ePrix championship in Moscow on June 6.


Piquet Photos: Courtesy of Enova Holdings

With the maiden season of the Formula E Championship drawing to a close at the weekend in London, NEXTEV Team China Racing (TCR), founded in 2004, will be going for its greatest goal since its inception. The London finale is the only double­-header this season, and Nelson Piquet Jr, the former F1 driver who now races for TCR, sits atop the drivers' standings with 17 points ahead of his compatriot Lucas di Grassi of Audi Sport ABT.

With a gap of 55 points, it will be hard for TCR, which now sits at third place in the teams' standings, to really put up a proper challenge to e.dams-­Renault, a team co-­founded by Alain Prost, one of the greatest names in motor racing history.

"We'd be going for the team championship should there be another Piquet Jr," opined Steven Lü, vice-president and CEO of TCR, to the Global Times.

"But maybe this is best for us in the long term. We have to take on these growing pains to thrive in future seasons."

Lü acknowledged that it's ­possible the fans will see a Chinese driver competing in the Beijing ePix on ­October 17 later this year, which marks the beginning of the ­championship's second season.

Piquet won two titles in the Long Beach and Moscow races for the team and has managed five podium-finishes­ so far.

But for TCR, it would take a face familiar to the Chinese public to genuinely popularize the sport and the team itself in the country.

As a new form of ­motor racing and the world's first fully-electric racing series, FE was first started in Beijing in September last year, running through 10 of the world's leading cities across Asia, Europe, North and South America such as Berlin, Miami and Monaco.

A total of 10 teams, including TCR, and 20 top drivers compete on temporary city-center circuits, attracting a new generation of motor racing fans.

According to Alejandro Agag, CEO of FE Championship, over 180 cities have asked to stage a race in the second season, with Paris and Mexico City very likely to be added to the calendar.

Starting from season two, FE will be a technical "open championship," where eight manufacturers­ will be allowed to develop their own powertrains to boost the ­performance of each team.

But Lü thinks the "opening-up" wouldn't really differentiate the teams that much, as it did in F1 racing.

"FIA has been very cautious not to let what happened in F1 repeat itself in FE," said Lü.

"If the batteries were the same, changes in powertrain wouldn't affect race cars' performance too much."

FE organizers are hoping the ­series will serve as an R&D framework for the electric vehicle sector, promoting clean energy and sustainability to the general public, exactly what China needs to reduce its car emissions and air pollution levels.

If Piquet Jr maintains his form, Chinese fans will be able to witness yet another record-breaking ­moment for Chinese professional motor ­racing.

Related news:
An interview with Team China Racing Vice-President Steven Lü

Posted in: Feature, Motorsport

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