Panasonic Jaguar Racing team director James Barclay has expressed his excitement at the prospect of a home race in London for his British team while describing the event as “revolutionary” for motorsport.
Yesterday marked exactly one year until the Formula E Championship returns to the streets of the English capital for the finale of the 2019/20 season, and Barclay was keen to underline the significance of the race for his team.
“We are very excited at the prospect of racing here,” he said. “The UK is a key strategic market for us, so we have been waiting for the moment to race in front of both our home fans and our large employee base here in the UK.”
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The 2020 London E-Prix will see motor racing return to the UK for the first time since the Championship hosted a race at Battersea Park in 2016.
Next year’s race will be the first time that an FIA-sanctioned championship event has taken place in and around the streets of the capital, while the unique indoor/outdoor track at the ExCeL London will be a first for top-level international motorsport.
And Barclay, who was speaking at a promotional exhibition, believes it is vital to have London on Formula E’s global calendar.
“This race will be revolutionary for motorsport with the indoor/outdoor track,” he said. “London has been a notable absence from the list of Formula E’s race locations, so it is great to have this fixture for us as a British manufacturer.
“Electrification is so important for the city of London and this allows us to demonstrate the benefits of battery-electric vehicles to a wider UK audience.”
Oliver Rowland, driver for Nissan e.dams Formula E team, echoed Barclay’s sentiments.
“I think the race will grow Formula E in the UK, especially with the indoor/outdoor aspect,” he said. “When you go to Silverstone for the Formula One it is probably the best crowd in the world in terms of people and atmosphere, and I’m sure we will get the same with the Formula E race.
“Hopefully the fans come down and enjoy the day out. From a personal point of view, it is very exciting to have a home race here with all my friends and family in support.”
Rowland, who finished with two podium finishes last season, also spoke about his hopes for season six and believes he can be one of the contenders for the title.
“This year started off difficult but then I went through a period of five or six races that went well, almost too well, and I was qualifying all the time in the front row,” he added. “I moved from a rookie with no pressure, to someone who was expected to qualify at the front – that was a different pressure to handle but I think it has put me in a good position for next year.
“I have one of the best teammates on the grid in Sebastien Buemi (who finished the championship in second position this season) and I think I can challenge him next year.”
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