Mercedes-Benz has confirmed its entry into the electric car racing series that is the Formula E Championship.
The German automaker, which in recent years has dominated Formula 1, will be lining up on the grid for Formula E’s 2019/2020 season, the series’ sixth.
Close rival BMW will enter Formula E for the 2018/2019 season, while Audi, which already participates in the series through a partnership with the Abt Schaeffler team, will be fielding its own team when the 2017/2018 season kicks off this December.
Mercedes’ entry into Formula E isn’t a complete surprise. The automaker is less than a year out from launching the first model from its new EQ sub-brand for electric cars, and Formula E offers the ideal platform to demonstrate the performance of its zero-emission technology.
And don’t forget, we learned last fall that Mercedes had a spot reserved in Formula E by the series’ organizers. The automaker says that waiting until the 2019/2020 season to enter Formula E will give it time to properly understand the series.
Other automakers already competing in Formula E are DS, Faraday Future, Jaguar, Mahindra, Nio (formerly NextEV), Renault and Venturi. Porsche and even Ferrari have also been connected with the series.
Unfortunately, Mercedes is ending its participation in the German touring car series known as Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM). The move will leave the series with only Audi and BMW as manufacturers from the 2019 season.
“Our years in the DTM will always be held high as a major chapter in the motorsport history of Mercedes,” Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ motorsport boss, said in a statement. “This new approach will see Mercedes-Benz competing at both ends of the motorsport spectrum: in Formula One, the pinnacle of motorsport combining high technology and the most demanding competitive challenge; and in Formula E, which embodies the transformation that is underway in the automotive industry.”
Formula E is in the final stages of the 2016/2017 season, the series’ third. The championship will host the final two rounds of the season in Montreal starting this weekend. Currently leading the championship is Renault e.Dams and its star driver Sebastian Buemi.