FIA Electric Racing Series Electric and Electrifying
ZF becomes technology partner of the Venturi team in Formula E.
Racing through large cities around the world, at full speed on long straights, close-fought battles in tight curves – all of this without using a drop of racing fuel and with zero local emissions. This scenario has been a reality for two years. The season 2014/15 was the first one to see racing cars competing in FIA Formula E, featuring forward-looking racing technology. The world's first racing series for all-electric Formula cars has since become more and more popular with spectators. This is no surprise as Formula E impressively shows the emotional and dynamic potential of electromobility – not on remote race circuits, but in the very heart of cities like Hong Kong, Berlin, Paris and New York.
Just like the racing cars equipped with combustion engines in Formula 1, the Formula E racing series also places highest demands on technological development. The electrification of automobiles is one of ZF's most important topics for the future, an effort ZF underlined by creating a dedicated E-Mobility Division at the beginning of 2016.
Therefore, it seems almost natural that the Group would support Formula E as of season 2016/17: ZF is the new official technology partner of the Venturi Formula E Team (known to some from the commitment of founding member Leonardo DiCaprio), supporting it with components and know-how. The automobile developer and low volume manufacturer headquartered in Monaco has been competing in Formula E since its debut season. In the new season, former DTM driver Maro Engel (D) and Stephane Sarrazin (F) are racing for the team.
Video: ZF becomes Technology Partner of the Venturi Team
Complete electric drive from ZF as of 2018
Already in the new season beginning in October, Venturi will use special high-performance shock absorbers developed by ZF Race Engineering. The team will be supported by the company in testing and optimizing the chassis and current driveline.
For the season after next, starting in fall 2017, ZF and Venturi will jointly redesign and further optimize the current Formula E transmission. At the same time, development efforts are already underway on a completely new ZF driveline, which will comprise a powerful electric motor including power electronics as well as a new transmission. As core of the Venturi race car, the performance of this new driveline will be leveraged to ensure combined racing success in the fifth season starting in fall of 2018.
Volume production technology benefits
Collaboration with the pioneers of the e-racing series will extend far into Research and Development to ensure that the latest technology tested in racing is transferred to volume production. "The technology partnership with Venturi in FIA Formula E gives us impetus for new technologies that will ideally also find their way to daily street use," emphasizes Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG. "Electrification is the key to individual mobility of the future and, in Formula E, we would like to make a significant contribution to Venturi’s success. This allows us to prove our exceptional competence as development partner and technology leader, also in motorsports with e-race cars. With its forward-looking and sustainability-oriented concept, FIA Formula E provides the ideal setting for this."
When the new season will be opened with screeching tires and buzzing motors in the urban canyons of Hong Kong on October 9, however, the focus will be fully on racing – after all, this is what electrifies the spectators worldwide.
Photos: Spacesuit-Media, Shivraj Gohil; Nat Twiss