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Happy handshakes all around as Formula E and NBA join forces
Happy handshakes all around as Formula E and NBA join forcesMichelin

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Boston Celtics managing partner Grousbeck and other NBA basketball team owners have invested twenty-one million dollars into Formula E.

Wycliffe Grousbeck told The Associated Press, "We aim to help make Formula E a worldwide sensation. With upcoming races in Los Angeles and Miami, we will help showcase the power and promise of sustainable vehicle technology."

The previous article offers some details about this new environmentally friendly auto racing series, which was initiated to promote alternative transportation through electric-motor sport.

A group of venture capitalists, among them Grousbeck, have raised about $100 million to invest in sports media and entertainment properties; Formula E is Causeway Media Partners first investment target with about one-fifth of the funds raised till now.

"We know the power of competition and entertainment, and will bring our knowledge to the development of the market for electric vehicles. Causeway's mission is to find investment opportunities that benefit from our deep network of NBA and NFL team owners, media executives and professional investors. Formula E is a perfect match," Grousbeck said.

In an email from Malaysia, where Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag joined Prime Minister Najib Razak to announce the second race on the 2014 schedule, the series official said that the investment by American sports team owners is "a game-changer."

"North America is one of the main markets for Formula E," said Agag, adding that there will be two American teams and two American races in the first season. "To have a partner that knows deeply the U.S. sports market places us in a unique position to develop our championship in the Americas."

"Formula E is a completely different proposition," according to Agag. "We see ourselves as a complement, not a competitor, to other series like IndyCar or Formula One."

Auto racing fans the world over have followed Formula One, with Ferrari, Lotus, Mercedes, Redbull, and other famous makes driving the limits of automotive technology forward — supposedly.

Unfortunately, F1’s rules and regulations have stifled innovation “in the name of fairness”, and have turned most races into a parade, because usually the winner is the one posting the fastest qualifying time, and passing is rarely possible.

The Formula E founders are hoping their racing series will reverse the status quo and will make motor-sport attractive to younger fans that are passionate about the environmentally friendly aspect.

According to its founders, “The first generation of the Formula E car will be a uniform vehicle that reaches a top speed of 160 mph, with an electric power unit by McLaren, a wireless charging system by Qualcomm and tires from Michelin that are designed to last the entire race. Batteries will last about 25 minutes; instead of traditional pit stops, drivers will switch between two cars.”

"The spectacle of the drivers running is going to be cool," Grousbeck said.

"We believe the [cars’] sound is going to be one of our big assets," said Agag. "That level is high enough to deliver plenty of excitement, but low enough to allow us to race in the center of cities all around the world. We think fans will love it." The roar of the engines will be replaced by what he called a "futuristic noise" of about 80 decibels, the screech of tires and the whirr of electric motors.

"The [Formula E] championship aims to become the development platform for batteries, [electric] power trains and charging technologies that will trickle down to road cars," Agag said. "We want to make cities more sustainable and healthy by promoting EV's."