Leonardo DiCaprio is about to star in his own version of The Green Mile next year. Well, maybe not exactly, but he is going to enter a team into the newly formed Formula E electric motor racing championships next year.
The FIA Formula E Championship is a class for single-seater electrically powered vehicles conceived in 2012, with the first championship being season 2014-15. McLaren are providing the transmission, the motor and in fact all the electronics for all the cars competing in the championship. The original plan was to run all races on street circuits though this is now not the case.
DiCaprio has co-founded a team with Gildo Pallanca Pastor who is the owner of Venturi Automobiles, the electric car manufacturer. Venturi you might recall are no slouches when it comes to electric car technology, currently holding the world land speed record for an electric vehicle with a speed of 307mph.
The Monaco-based team will be called Venturi Grand Prix and is an exciting new venture for a Hollywood star that is well known for his environmental campaigning and desire for a greener form of travel.
In fact, DiCaprio is the latest in quite an impressive list of distinguished names that are all eager to be involved, from the ubiquitous Richard Branson with his Virgin team to Andretti Autosport and Qualcomm.
The hope is that Formula E will promote and push electric car technology further forward – and of course dispel any lingering myths that electric vehicles are nothing more than the milk float in disguise that some of us may remember being stuck behind in foggy early morning traffic on the way to work in the eighties.
Of course DiCaprio is not the first Hollywood star to get involved in motor sport. From James Dean to Steve McQueen and more recently Jason Priestley, the allure of motor racing has sucked in many a famous star with the time (and money) to get fully immersed in the excitement of going fast. Though whether DiCaprio’s involvement eventually goes quite so far as to get behind the wheel remains to be seen! The Venturi Grand Prix team’s drivers will be announced soon.
There will be nine host countries for the inaugural Formula E championship comprising of ten races (with two in the USA). It all kicks off in September 2014 in Beijing, China and ends rather pleasingly in the UK in June 2015. With a bit of luck, by the time Formula E comes to London it will have generated quite a bit of interest and publicity and the London leg will be the culmination of an exciting and expanding event.
Here at Motor Direct we have followed the latest developments of electric vehicle technology with a keen interest and we will of course be watching DiCaprio’s progress with Venturi and Formula E with some excitement over the coming months.
Images fiaformulae.com & venturi.fr