Is Formula E the future of motorsport? Mitch Evans thinks so
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We are seeing a seismic shift in world motorsport with Formula E fast becoming the premier category in the sport.
Over the past couple of months automotive giants BMW, Porsche and Mercedes have opted to move away from traditional motorsport categories to pursue the electric championship and that will have a major impact around the world.
Kiwi driver Mitch Evans has recently completed his first season in the championship with British outfit Panasonic Jaguar Racing and will announce a multi-year lucrative deal to remain at the team this week.
He believes the future of motorsport is very much Formula E.
"The last few weeks have been huge for the championship and the motorsport industry," the 23-year-old told The Herald.
"At the start of Formula E a lot of people didn't take this championship seriously. Obviously this technology is very, very new and very foreign for motorsport fans and drivers and everyone that is part of the sport but I think as a manufacturer, this technology is the future.
"Like Formula 1 is a testing bed for the manufacturer - in a number of years' time there will only be electric cars on the road.
"As you are seeing with the announcements of these massive manufacturers committing to Formula E, pulling out of championships they've been so loyal to for so many years and committing really heavily into Formula E just shows where the industry is heading."
With street races being staged in the downtown area of the world's biggest cities, the biggest manufacturers and a collection of the world's premier drivers it seems a no-brainer that Formula E will dwarf every other category in the sport including Formula 1 in the near future.
But electric engines go against so many fundamental principles of motorsport and it has struggled to pique interest from the wider community the way more traditional championships do.
Evans thinks that will change over time however.
"People should really take this championship seriously because once all those manufacturers are in - you can't compare it to Formula 1 but it should be very close," he said.
The Jaguar factory team Evans drove for last season has just announced an electric saloon car support series that will begin next year at Formula E rounds.
Evans is currently working on a new contract to return for a second season and he could be joined in the category by more New Zealanders in the coming seasons. Porsche's entry into Formula E could see World Endurance Championship stars Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley make the move back to single-seaters although Hartley has also been linked to Scott Dixon's Indycar team Ganassi Racing.
"That would be amazing," Evans said. "It would be great to have some more Kiwis in the field.
"Obviously coming off their win at Le Mans. I have raced against Earl before but not Brendon so that would be cool.
"There are obviously only two seats per team. If they can get themselves in that Porsche seat in Formula E I think that is where you want to be."
Evans will have a new teammate for 2017-18 with Brit Adam Carroll likely to be replaced by Brazilian Nelson Piquet Jr.
- Dale Budge, NZ Herald