A new electric racing championship that will serve as a development series and have a focus on both on- and off-track talent development has been launched at today’s Hyderabad E Prix in India.
Set to debut in 2024, the ACE Championship is being led by former Mahindra Racing CEO Dilbagh Gil, with Formula E and Extreme E pioneer Alejandro Agag on its advisory board. The new series promises to provide an “affordable entry into racing for young drivers.”
But it won’t all be about drivers like established feeder categories — ACE Championship will also run a second-tier championship of its own, dubbed the “Challenger Series,” that will serve as a proving ground for engineering talent as well as drivers, giving people across the motorsports spectrum an accessible entry and opportunity at progression in the motorsport world.
As well as helping people develop, ACE Championship aims to improve the commercial viability of the real-world automotive industry by “fast-tracking manufacturing and production opportunities,”according to its official announcement, all while focusing on sustainability and renewable energy.
“The ACE Championship is about innovation in motorsport and about opportunity,” said Gill, founder and CEO of ACE Championship. “We are looking at the ACE Championship to provide representation to people who are interested in driving, and engineers, around the world who have not had the opportunity to date and giving them a chance to level up.”
The races are set to be “short format,” while the championship itself will take the form of a regional series, with it visiting circuits in areas currently underrepresented in existing series. The car, meanwhile, will be an evolution of the second generation Formula E car, offering similar performance. The Gen2 Formula E car had a maximum power output of 250 kW (335hp) with a top speed of around 174mph. The same car will be used for both the ACE Championship and the Challenger Series, albeit with differing power levels.
“The bedrock of ACE Championship is to provide technology, opportunity and a platform to excel,” added Gil. “This is going to be the first championship in the world where one single race car can compete in two different championships — each team can have two different drivers in the ACE Championship and ACE Challenger series, driving the same car, but with two different power levels. We are providing a pathway for our drivers in the ACE Championship, at a low cost, but with high performance.”
Former Formula 1 and Formula E driver Nick Heidfeld has joined the series as an advisor and development driver, and says that the fact it’s the first electric development series is what drew him to the project.
“When Dilbagh talked to me about this program I was interested straight away — an electric junior racing championship has not been done before,” he said. “We want ACE Championship to be fair and affordable, and attract youngsters into the series from all regions of the world to make the step into motorsport. In ACE Championship, we are trying to create something which gives young drivers the possibility to get into the sport on good circuits and move forward in their careers.
“It is a new project, which I enjoy and like. We have a good team behind the championship and I hope to support and advise on all aspects of the series, as well as provide insight from what I have learned from more than 30 years in motorsport.”