History was made this weekend as the world’s first ever fully-electric single-seater race took place in Beijing, marking the successful season opener of the FIA Formula E Championship.
The race, or Beijing Evergrande ePrix, was held on a spectacular temporary race track built around the city’s iconic Olympic ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium and was won by Audi Sport ABT’s Lucas di Grassi.
Some 40 million are believed to have watched the race worldwide on television with 75,000 attending on site and one billion social interactions recorded around the race.
Brazilian Di Grassi stole victory after race-leader Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) and Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld touched on the final corner of the final lap in the battle for the lead, sending Heidfeld into a spectacular crash which he walked away from unharmed.
Andretti driver Franck Montagny finished runner-up nearly three seconds adrift of di Grassi with team-mate Daniel Abt crossing the line third, only to later have it taken away from him after failing short of the required 28kw power consumption usage. Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was eventually promoted to claim the final place on the podium.
Lucas di Grassi said: “Firstly, I’m happy Nick [Heidfeld] is ok and it shows how safe these cars are. I didn’t see what happened myself but it’s like a dream come true. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The team did a great job all through practice and qualifying, yes we made a few mistakes but overall I’m extremely happy to be the first ever winner of a Formula E race.”
Round two of the new Formula E series takes place in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on November 22 2014.