Cape Town 'has been approached' to host Formula E racing, says mayor Dan Plato
The Mother City might be the newest host to the version of formula racing that is friendly to Mother Nature.
Cape Town mayor Dan Plato announced on Wednesday that the city had been approached by a consortium to explore a partnership to host Formula E racing, the environmentally conscious alternative to Formula 1 that utilises electric-powered cars.
Plato made the announcement at Cape Town Stadium about his expectations for the possibility of the new event, which will add to the already-packed events calendar in the city.
"First we have to test the practicality of hosting that kind of event," said Plato, adding that the consortium would begin determining the feasibility this month. "I want to emphasise that we have not taken a decision."
Still, he is hopeful that the city will move forward with these plans.
"I think just the thinking of it, the liking of it, is in good standing, and sounds very, very positive. My question is, why not for Cape Town?" said Plato.
He was joined by councillor JP Smith, who said the move was necessary to continue raising the stakes.
"We don't want to rest on our laurels, we can’t keep on doing the same thing," said Smith about the city's event schedule. "We have laid a good foundation over the past few years, but we have to up the ante all the time.
"Motorsport events, we think, will be a big part of that growth."
Smith said even though the event was yet to be officially confirmed for Cape Town, he had high hopes for what Formula E could bring to the city beyond the economic impact.
"This will also provide an opportunity to introduce platforms for responsible racing as an alternative to the street racing, which unfortunately continues to claim lives," said Smith.
"I think it’s going to be enthusiastically embraced by the citizens."
The Formula E racing circuit has continued to gain viewership and interest since its inception in 2014, and was viewed by around 300-million fans in 2017-18. The cars run on renewable energy and are quieter than traditional Formula 1 cars.
A race between one of the Formula E electric-powered cars and a cheetah in the Western Cape.
Other stops on the tour include Rome, Paris, Berlin, New York and Hong Kong.
The announcement comes on the heels of Cape Town being named the world's leading festival and events destination for the second consecutive year in 2018. The city has made a conscious effort to invest in events, spending R50m in event support in the past year.
Multiple events have had significant economic impacts this past year and include the men's and women's HSBC Cape Town Rugby Sevens, the annual Cycle Tour and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which have generated hundreds of millions of rands for the economy.
Plato said Formula E would be no different, and mentioned that Hong Kong had seen the event contribute the equivalent of R1.4bn into its economy.
"One could just think what it could do to the economy of Cape Town and the Western Cape."