Morocco’s Marrakech ePrix on November 12, 2016, will be the first round of the FIA Formula E Championship to be held in Africa. The meeting coincides with the United Nations’ COP22 summit to provide a nice tie-in for Michelin’s sustainable mobility strategy and the spirit behind the world’s first all-electric single-seater motor racing series.
Following Formula E’s successful maiden visit to Hong Kong, attention now turns to Morocco’s historic Marrakech where the defending champion Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.dams) stands out as favourite to win the championship’s first African fixture and add an eighth win to his personal record.
He is likely to face fierce opposition from second-placed Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler) who produced a stunning comeback in Hong Kong to take his score to 14 Formula E podiums to date.
Some of the drivers benefit from previous knowledge of the city’s Moulay El Hassan circuit which has hosted World Touring Car Championship action since 2009. Their numbers include Quing Hua (Techeetah) and Argentina’s Jose Maria Lopez (DS Virgin Racing) who has even won there. The three-time WTCC champion started his debut Formula E race in Hong Kong from third on the grid.
Following its strong qualifying performance on the Chinese island, NEXTEV TCR appears to have cured its reliability issues which will no doubt boost team morale, not to mention Nelson Piquet Jr’s chances of a second title.
As the 14th venue to be visited by Formula E, Marrakech will be new terrain for the Michelin Pilot Sport EV2. This 2.97km semi-permanent track in the city’s popular Agdal district features 12 turns and runs along Mohamed VI Avenue which was entirely facelifted earlier this year. It is also the longest circuit to be visited by the competition after Beijing in 2015.
The ePrix will take place to the backdrop of COP22 (November 7-18, 2016) which makes it a particularly symbolic race, especially since the FIA Formula E Championship is an official partner of the UN climate conference. The meeting will consequently provide Michelin Motorsport and the organisers of motor racing’s first international all-electric single-seater championship with an opportunity to showcase the numerous technology breakthroughs the competition has spawned in favour of sustainable mobility.