Faraday Future is going Formula E, the race series for electric cars. The Chinese-backed carmaker today announced a technical partnership and sponsorship agreement with Dragon Racing, which will be renamed Faraday Future Dragon Racing. Now that’s a name that will strike fear into the hearts of other racers.
The agreement spans three seasons, and calls for Faraday to gradually get more involved in the design of race cars. For the 2016-17 season (Formula E’s third), Faraday’s R&D team will work with Dragon Racing to “improve overall drivetrain performance,” and help with data acquisition and analytics, and simulator design. In season four, Faraday will start testing some of its technology on Dragon Racing’s cars, including a new power controller.
By season five, Faraday and Dragon expect Formula E to introduce a new chassis that will replace the Spark-Renault SRT_01e used by all teams since the series’ launch. Faraday will add its own “powertrain components, software, firmware, and other hardware.” This could include everything from motors to the “FF Echelon Inverter” that will be used in Faraday’s production electric car, which is scheduled to launch by 2018.
This level of involvement is made possible by Formula E rule changes. In the series’ first season, all teams were required to run identical cars. For the current season, which ends this weekend with a pair of races in London, teams were allowed to design certain powertrain components themselves. That trend toward greater design freedom is expected to continue.
Dragon Racing has been competing in Formula E since the start, finishing second in the team-points standings last year. Its pair of drivers include Jerome D’Ambroiso and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Loic Duval, both of whom will return next season. Dragon currently uses powertrain components supplied by French boutique carmaker Venturi Automobiles.
The next season of Formula E kicks off October 9 with the Hong Kong ePrix. In addition to Faraday Future, Jaguar will also join the series. Audi, Citroën sub-brand DS, Mahindra, and Renault already back teams.