Two years after erasing the London ePrix from the calendar, Formula E may return to Great Britain for the 2018/2019 season
As part of his election campaign last year, the Mayor of West Midlands Andy Street said that he would promise to bring a “world-class Electric Superprix” to Birmingham, in order to promote the region’s automotive industry.
The city had been the site of the popular Birmingham Superprix from 1986 to 1990, an event that hosted the British Touring Car and Formula Ford 1600 Championships as well as International Formula 3000 - the old feeder series to Formula 1. The Superprix was ceased amidst cost complaints and frustration from local residents over the noise and closing of main roads in the city centre.
The introduction of Formula E to Birmingham would not only be in keeping with Street’s promise to bring “world-class” street racing back to Birmingham, but also fall under his pledges to “encourage national and international tourism” and “support the development of autonomous and electric cars” in the West Midlands area.
“Over the last year, we have been in negotiations with the organisers of the FIA Formula E Championship about bringing a road race to Birmingham, effectively reviving the Superprix,” Street said, speaking to Autosport.
“We are now in the advanced stages of these negotiations, [and] we are eager for two main reasons.
“First, it means we can showcase to the world the changing face of Birmingham city centre which has seen unprecedented investment in recent years.
“Like many Brummies, I remember the original Superprix fondly.”
Street then went on to refer to his electric car development pledge, believing that the region is a “world leader” in the industry. Statistics in 2016 showed that 1 in every 169 cars in Birmingham is an electric vehicle, placing it in the top ten for ownership in the UK.
“Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it showcases our region’s position as a world leader in next generation automotive technologies,” he added.
“So much of the engineering that goes into the cars already used in Formula E racing comes from the West Midlands, it makes perfect sense we should be hosting such events.”
“If we are successful in concluding the deal, this Formula E race will take place next summer on a route similar to the one used in the original Superprix.”
The UK has been without a Formula E race since 2016, when London saw its contract terminated after residents around Battersea Park opposed the race. Birmingham was considered for the current season after Montreal’s double-header was cancelled, however the series opted to give both Hong Kong and New York two races each on their respective weekends.
The 2018/19 season will see the introduction of the ‘Gen2’ spec cars.