Formula E is set to make its debut in the Middle East next season in Riyadh, with the Saudi Arabian capital scheduled to host the opening round of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship in December.
Formula E is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars. The series was conceived in 2011, and the inaugural championship started in Beijing in September 2014.
In a first for the electric street racing series, Formula E will bring international motorsport to the Gulf kingdom for the very first time as part of a 10-year agreement with the General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabian Motor Federation.
The announcement was made by Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdullah AlFaisal, president of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, and Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, together with founder and CEO of Formula E, Alejandro Agag.
“Bringing racing to Riyadh for the first round of the new season is the perfect setting for the next phase of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship," said Agag.
"An exciting and vibrant country that is focusing on its future, Saudi Arabia will be the ideal venue to mark the competitive debut of the next generation Formula E cars.
"Many other sports are already increasing their presence in Saudi Arabia and we’re proud that they’ve chosen Formula E over other categories in racing. Most countries are now looking to Formula E, especially Saudi Arabia which is concentrating on the development of new technologies, renewable energies and electric vehicles.”
Pending confirmation of the calendar by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, the E-Prix will see the Formula E cars navigate the streets on the outskirts of Riyadh - with experienced motorsport promoter Carlo Boutagy tasked to deliver and promote the race through his company CBX.
Further details on the location and circuit layout will be revealed in due course.
Riyadh will join Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, which are both part of the Formula 1 calendar, on the international motorsports map.
“Saudi Arabia is looking to the future and Formula E is the motorsport of the future, that’s why this is such an exciting opportunity," said Prince Abdulaziz. "It aligns perfectly with the country’s 2030 vision and offers the prospect of world-class racing on the streets of the capital for the first time in our history.
"For all fans, men, women, young and old, the dream of a hosting a ‘home race’ will now come true. As a driver myself, who cares about growing the sport, nothing could make me happier."
He added: The length of the partnership will give Saudi Arabia and Formula E the platform to create a lasting legacy for both the sport globally and the kingdom over the course of a decade. This is the latest in a series of game-changing sports events that the people of Saudi Arabia will now be able to enjoy as families, with benefits that go far beyond the sport to deliver a positive impact across our society.”
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