Beijing: Twenty drivers, including India`s Karun Chandhok, representing 10 teams will kick-start the historic FIA Formula E championship, the world`s first fully-electric racing series, here Sunday when the 270bhp machines will run on a purpose-built circuit around the iconic Bird`s Nest stadium that was build for the 2012 Olympics.
The 30-year-old Chandhok, only the second Indian after Narain Karthikeyan to race in Formula One, will be driving for Mahindra Racing Formula E team with Brazilian Bruno Senna, also a former F1 racer, as his partner.
The grid is brimming with ex-F1 drivers besides two female participants in Italy`s Michela Cerruti and Britain`s Katherine Legge, one of the FIA`s Women in Motorsport Ambassadors.
The championship comprises 10 rounds over nine months in Europe and the US with a grand finale in London June 27, 2015.
The cars were put through five rounds of testing in July and August at the Donnington Park circuit. In the final round of testing Aug 19, both Senna and Chandhok were among the top 10 with the Brazilian fourth quickest and the Indian, seventh. Less than a second covered the top 10 drivers.
All the drivers will be piloting the Spark Racing Technology prepared machines with Dallara monocoque chassis. The car is homologated with sport`s world governing body, the Federation Internationale de l`Automobile (FIA).
The car uses the very latest technology with zero emission while the super-light chassis is said to be very strong, having passed the latest FIA crash tests, the same used to regulate Formula One machines.
McLaren Electronics Systems is providing the electric powertrain and electronics while Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams group of companies that includes the Williams F1 Team, will supply the batteries producing 200kw, the equivalent of 270bhp.
The gearbox is five-speed paddle shift sequential supplied by Hewland, with fixed ratios to help reduce costs further and the cars will be shod with specially designed 18-inch treaded Michelin tyres, suited for both wet and dry conditions.
Chetan Maini, Director of Formula E Racing, said: "The Formula E series has already created a significant interest globally and this race will provide the necessary impetus to the EV ecosystem, serving as a platform to propel R&D around the electric vehicle industry and pave the way for a sustainable future."
The race will be telecast live by Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD from 12 noon onwards Sunday.