Vancouver gives green flag to E-Prix electric racing event

City Council overwhelmingly approves race weekend for next summer in West Coast town

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After a five-year absence, Formula E is set to return to Canada after Vancouver City Council overwhelmingly approved a three-day race in the False Creek neighborhood next summer.

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The nine-to-one vote in favor – Mayor Kennedy Stewart was absent – now puts the ball firmly in ABB Formula E’s court, with hopes the organization will secure a contract with Montreal-based race promoter OSS Group, and then will include the July date in Vancouver. in its calendar for the 2022 racing season, pending approval by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

In addition to the races, the event will include a two-day conference focused on transportation electrification and big concerts on Friday and Saturday night at BC Place (no confirmed acts yet, but my source mentioned Sting and Adele as heads possible posters).

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Officially called the Vancouver E-Prix, this weekend will mark only the second time the all-electric open-wheel series has come to Canada, with 2017’s controversial event in Montreal mired in cost overruns, mayoral politics and major NIMBYism. This last aspect played a big part in the demise of the Vancouver Molson Indy in 2004 after a decade and a half of huge crowds and big races on the outskirts of False Creek, just east of downtown Vancouver. Noise complaints from residents, along with encroaching development, saw the Indy go into overdrive and never return.

The Formula E cars aren’t loud at all – in fact, the nearby Skytrain is said to be louder – and the track will use some sections of the old Indy circuit, although according to the race promoter, “56% less city ​​streets” than India. Temporary grandstands and other viewing areas will be erected for a capacity of 56,000 spectators.

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“We’ve mapped the track, we’ve got track approval, and we fully understand which streets need to be closed and which diversions need to be made,” OSS Group CEO Matthew Carter said at the public hearing. yesterday’s virtual. “What we offer is much more than just a Formula E race. The three parts with the business conference, the concerts and the race are very unique.

Expect plenty of celebrities to show up in force for the Vancouver E-Prix next July.  Here, Kate Upton checks the grid for the 2017 Montreal ePrix.
Expect plenty of celebrities to show up in force for the Vancouver E-Prix next July. Here, Kate Upton checks the grid for the 2017 Montreal ePrix. Photo by LAT

Formula E City Development Director Oliver McCrudden said he was impressed with the OSS Group’s plan.

“Their analysis and event planning has been exemplary, and their vision for a racing event in your city makes it clear to me that Vancouver would sit beautifully alongside the other names on our global slate,” said McCrudden of the United Kingdom. United.

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Carter agrees and hopes the multi-event concept will become a model for Formula E racing in the future.

“I hope (Vancouver) becomes the crown jewel of Formula E, and that they bring this business model to other cities around the world,” said the OSS Group CEO. “It’s a very different proposition to a normal Formula E race.”

The motion to organize the race was presented to city council by Sarah Kirby-Yung, an independent councillor; and Green Party adviser Michael Wiebe as a way to help Vancouver and British Columbia’s pandemic-stricken tourism and hospitality industries. The economic benefits are estimated at approximately $80 million.

This morning, Kirby-Yung said she was delighted the council was so overwhelmingly behind the race weekend. “It took work, but it’s so important for Vancouver to show that we welcome these events. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.


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