Electric street racing takes over Red Hook this weekend
Everything You Need to Know About NYC’s First-Ever Pro Car Race
Topping out at 150 mph, some of the world’s fastest electric race cars will be zipping and zooming around Red Hook this weekend for the city’s first-ever international car race.
The vehicles, which can go from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds, will be racing around a brand new 1.2-mile racetrack inside the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal as part of the Formula E ePRix, the earth’s first fully electric single-seater racing series.
The eminent race has taken place on the streets of several global cities, including Paris, London, Hong Kong, Moscow and Beijing.
Within the U.S., the competition has happened in the streets of Miami and Long Beach, California.
The race’s inaugural championship took place in Beijing in September 2014.
“No city can do big events on a world stage quite like New York City, and Formula E will be a proof point of that,” NYC & Company’s Senior Vice President Chris Heywood told the Brooklyn Eagle.
“We look forward to welcoming Formula E fans from near and far to the beautiful borough of Brooklyn to enjoy this extraordinary sporting event against the stunning backdrop of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. While here, we invite both our locals and visitors to stay longer and support the many local businesses in the area.”
A group of 10 teams will compete in the ninth and 10th legs of the Formula E ePrix car racing championship on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The track will feature 10 turns and will wind its way around Pier 11 and the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.
The terminal has also been outfitted with an “eVillage,” complete with racing simulators, the latest electric cars from luxury brands like BMW, Audi and Renault and opportunities to meet the drivers.
Fans will also have the unique opportunity of driving their own electric vehicles for two laps on the racetrack on Saturday.
“Racing has been around for centuries,” said Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag. “We used to race with horses, then we started racing with gasoline cars and in the future, we will move around with electric cars. Motor sport is just a consequence of the mobility that humans use and they like to race against each other.”
He added, “Electric cars are needed in every city in the world, not just New York … Millions of people die every year from illnesses linked to pollution in the air they breathe in cities … It has a huge cost for human life, and that is something that can be fought with electric cars cleaning the air in cities.”
The racetrack will be entirely off-street, ensuring safety and minimizing disruptions and street closures.
A section of the city’s Greenway, however, will be closed due to race preparations.
The portion of the biking lane along Bowne Street between Commerce and Verona streets will be inaccessible until July 21. Cyclists are encouraged to use Van Brunt Street instead as an alternative path.
To boost the local economy, NYC & Company has created a Red Hook neighborhood guide highlighting local attractions, businesses and restaurants like the Red Hook Lobster Pound and Brooklyn Crab.
At Dolce Brooklyn, a gelato store on Van Brundt Street, patrons can even buy a specialty flavored gelato infused with glycerine, a fuel used to power the e-cars that is also edible.
Formula E also hosted a job fair to provide employment for Brooklynites during the race and is working with local schools to help students learn about engineering, technology and the auto trade.
Choosing a Location
In preparation for the race, Formula E invested millions of dollars into infrastructure improvements at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.
“We had to make quite a significant smoothing of the pavement,” said Agag. “We re-asphalted the whole place, so now the pavement is brand new and it’s going to last quite long.
“We also built an extension of the ferry landing so to improve the access of the people on and off the ferry landing.”
Choosing a location for the racetrack in a city with more than 8.4 million people was an arduous process that took four years to plan, according to Agag.
Governors Island was an initial option, but Formula E opted against it due to a lack of energy supply and difficulties in ferrying people to and from the isle.
Liberty Park in New Jersey was also a choice, but that plan was abandoned because Agag wanted the race to be within the five boroughs.
Central Park was also a possibility, but it would have required cutting down trees, so that plan was also canceled.
“We never wanted to give up, but we were getting a bit frustrated that we couldn’t find a place,” said Agag. “We had great help from NYCEDC and from the city of New York and we were able to get this location in Brooklyn, which is fantastic.
“It has the advantage that it is all within the terminal perimeter, so we don’t close any public roads and at the same time, we have the view of Downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.”
NYCEDC and Formula E have allotted 1,000 complimentary tickets to Brooklynites, which can be picked up at Borough Hall, Brooklyn Community Board 6, Red Hook Community Justice Center, the Red Hook Library and the Joseph Miccio Cornerstone Community Center.
All other tickets cost $85 and can be purchased at info.fiaformulae.com/new-york-city-eprix-en.
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