Tag Archives: nyc eprix

Formula E NYC e-Prix the debrief

First, I’d like to express my gratitude to the organizers of the first ever FIA Formula E New York City ePrix for giving me the opportunity to participate in such an amazing event. Thank you!

I could only imagine what it took logistically to put this race on. And it certainly took a lot of different groups to come together and pitch in for the occasion. I saw Jeanie from CoTA running around with a radio looking very official. Walking in Friday morning there was a Pocono Raceway truck prominently parked at the entrance. According to the fire marshal posted at the Finish line they provided 10 of their fire crew for the race. I know that the Northern New Jersey and New England region flag chiefs co-chief’ed the event bringing flag and communications marshals not only from their local regions but from around the country and around the world. I got the pleasure to work with a Pit Lane chief from Arizona, alongside marshals from my home region as well as from Canada (both Ontario and Quebec) and from France (Paul Riccard Circuit!). That was super cool. And even though I didn’t make it onto the Scrutineer team like I was hoping to do, I got to work closely with them in pit lane which was mission accomplished for me. So I was thrilled.

What exactly did I get to do… well everything I wanted to.

  • I got to be in Pit Lane, as pit lane marshal
  • I was posted at Pit Out, working a Radar gun
  • I got to wave the green flag when the lights malfunctioned
  • I got to push some Formula E cars around to Parc Ferme
  • I got to steer one of the FE cars instead of a Scrutineer

What more could I possibly ask for?

There were some awesome perks for working this event. After all it was my local race, just about 30 miles from home. Although using public transport it took me longer to get there than it usually does to go to Lime Rock or Pocono Raceway. The organizers provided two nights hotel stay free of charge. We had an awesome pizza party on Saturday which they generously over-estimated allowing me and probably many others to take a few slices back to the hotel to have cold pizza for breakfast. The shuttle buses were provided to get to the track which was super convenient. It was great, and greatly appreciated too!

The series and the races didn’t disappoint either. First of all it was a big and small atmosphere at the same time. Big because there was a lot of clout for this massive international event. But small enough that the whole pit lane and garages filled a relatively small area. The pit lane set up was unique in that the garages faced each other, and therefore when cars were released they shot out at each other slotting into one lane. Even the safety cars and medical cars were electric, provided by BMW and including i3, i8 and an X5 hybrid electric SUV. It was cool to see i3’s with German plates (from Bavaria) and the North American HQ with American (New Jersey) plates. Cars looked identical and yet unique. I loved the little things that were noticeable about them.

The races were messy, and yet with limited safety car or virtual safety car periods. I managed to sneak a peek at the start on a big screen near pit lane and it was nuts to see all those pieces of body panels flying as cars inevitably bumped into each other on a tight circuit… but they continued. Some cars stopped on track and our fellow F&C marshals got to respond under local yellow to push them into cutouts. Which by the way were awesome. The track set up, including catch fencing and marshal post cutouts were perfect. Nice big holes, marked by orange paint and without sharp fencing edges sticking around. I mean someone did an awesome job designing and executing the set up. It was unlike any other street circuit I’ve done recently for IndyCar or Formula 1 for example. Props to them.

And then there was the view. The views were spectacular. You could see lower Manhattan across the river. You can see various boats and ferries passing by. You could see the Statue of Liberty. And with the weather we had it was a perfect view to take in. I’m even super happy it rained on Friday because it added to the appearance/view of the track with big rooster tails one day, and nice shiny cars the next on a sunny day. It was perfect!

All in all I had a blast. I feel lucky to have had a chance to participate. And I feel very proud of the job the organizers did to put on this event. I think this race was incredible and I am totally looking forward to doing more events for Formula E. It’s a shame it took me this long to volunteer I remember planning to go to Cyber Jaya on the first season or at the very least the Miami race, but never did.

Oh… and for those that say there’s no sound. That’s a tricky one. The sound is deafening. It’s a very high pitch electric/metalic noise that comes through as the cars leave past you at full blast. Coming at you though you can’t hear them at all, which is nuts, but that was the function of our Pit Lane team, whistling every time a vehicle was in pit lane because none of them could be heard at slow speed. But being at Pit Out and seeing them go full throttle you could definitely hear them and maybe even too much. The fact many of them went way too close to the wall on exit, often hitting it, that was another sound that was clearly audible. Body panels bottoming out or smacking the wall make very loud noises that you don’t normally hear over traditional engine noise.

I loved this event! I want to do more…

Roborace… Yay or Nay?

The main question everyone had going into the first New York City ePrix debuting Formula E on the streets of South Brooklyn was whether or not they are the future. In my opinion there’s no question about it, of course electric race cars will be part of our future in Motorsport. But one of the support races called the Roborace, that is a real question whether it’s the future or not?

I do believe it is.

There’s so much opportunity!

We were treated to a display of a traditional LMP3 chassis car with a driver on board doing several learning laps around the Brooklyn Street Circuit to teach the software how to do an ideal lap. Then the pilot gave control over to the computer to do a lap while keeping his hands close to the steering wheel with the ability to take over if the computer did something wrong. And finally the car executed a perfect lap with the driver out of the car…. The car didn’t go particularly fast, but it did what it was supposed to do driving autonomously and speed in my view is a totally adjustable parameter at that point.

So do I think this stripped down prototype replace the flashy Le Mans cars we are used to watching in IMSA or WEC?

No… not at all. But I’m thinking to the old days of Le Mans where there was variety. And with this series I think the opportunity for “variety” is incredible! Remember when formula cars raced alongside sports cars on the same track… we have the prototypes and GT cars racing together now, having multi-class competitions each competing for the top step on the podium at their own speed, depending on the class. I think it would be awesome to see humans compete against Robocars on the same track in the same race, at the same time.

It would be incredible!

I love the look of this driver-less Robocar:

I will be watching eagerly to see how this plays out in the near future! I for one would love to see more of these cars at the tracks I go to volunteer around the world.

Post Card from the FIA New York City e-Prix

Greetings from Brooklyn… How you doin’?

This was one of my favorite events of the 2017 season. I once said if I only do one race this year it would be this, and it totally didn’t disappoint. I am happy with every aspect of the event. I’ll write in greater detail about it but for now here’s some pix:

All Electric LMP3 Robocar… which did a few laps with the driver, autonomously and all by itself without a driver!

I love the fact the organizers offered a hands on training sessions on Day 1 – Friday in pit lane (for extrication marshals).

Gorgeous view of Lower Manhattan from this temporary street circuit on the grounds of the Brooklyn – Red Hook Ship Terminal.

Speaking of Robocars, this display model was neat…

Back to my office: Pit Lane

I love how Virgin Racing keeps with tradition of naming their cars. They do the same with airplanes too, each Virgin Atlantic flight has a fairy sticker on the front pulling the British Union Jack. In Australia I saw Virgin Blue (now Virgin Australia) have a flying chick on the nose with an Aussie flag.. very cool:

Roborace in progress:

All electric truck used for the driver parade:

So Holly won! (both races)

Bellie didn’t do so well…

But Holly is awesome!

Welcome to Brooklyn ferry and cruise ship passengers and race fans

At the conclusion of the event a fellow Quebec pit marshal and a fellow French went marshal and I went to lower Manhattan for some food. We had Chinese Soup Dumplings in Chinatown and desert in Little Italy!

I really love Joe’s Shanghai!

more to come soon…

Registration for the NYC ePrix in Brooklyn is Open!

It’s important to set goals… my goal earlier in the year was to work the NYC Formula E race in Red Hook Brooklyn… if that’s the only race I do in 2017. Well, it’s 2017 and I’ve done a bunch of races already, multiple trips down to Florida for Daytona, St. Pete, Sebring… a trip to Alabama, VIRginia, thinking of Canada next week… there’s a lot already happened, but NYC ePrix is still my goal!

So for any one of you reading this interested, it seems the recruitment process has started. And for a limited amount of spots advertised, there sure seems to be a ton of promotion for this event. A major caveat is that two night hotel accommodation is included based on double occupancy… so you and a friend or a complete stranger can buddy up and work this race!

Interestingly enough I stumbled upon this event invitation after stubbornly attempting to register for the Macau Grand Prix in November… I was rejected but instructed to keep trying with new president involved in the club there. That wasn’t the only rejection of the day. For the NYC ePrix I wanted to do something different than just flagging. What about scrutineering? A fellow Miata owner I met at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca suggested I reach out to the chief scrutineer in the US. A nice lady named Suzanne that handles these duties for most PRO events on the International level, which means FIA and FIM… which in turn means most of the events are at COTA in Texas. She does WEC, Formula 1, MotoGP, etc.

Her web site is www.Scrutineering.net and I reached out to her to see if I would be so lucky to join her team. The reply was predictable and very much expected. With over 100 people interested in PRO events, the positions are already filled, but spots on the wait list were available. So I requested to be put on this waiting list.

Soon after I shared her web site on my facebook, suggestions to register on MotorsportReg.com started pouring in… which isn’t quite the same thing as that avenue was recruiting people for F&C and Pit marshal roles.

But since I’m determined to work the event practically in my back yard (across a river on the other side of a $15 toll)… I registered there also:

So if you are interested in working a very exciting and super scenic NYC Formula E Grand Prix sign up through whatever channel your marshaling role requires. I personally would prefer to be a scrutineer, but being a pit marshal would be cool too if they accept me. Not sure if I will take advantage of the freebie hotel offer, but I’m sure with friends flying in from around the world it would be neat to spend time right in my “home” city!

Can’t wait for this amazing event to come around… and fingers crossed for Macau too (still… have been trying since 2013).