Forget in-car cameras and social media, the Formula E electric-car racing series is bringing a whole new meaning to fan engagement.
The organizers recently announced FanBoost, which lets the public vote for the top Formula E driver, and the winner gets more than just a warm fuzzy feeling.
The three highest-ranked drivers will each get a five-second “speed burst” that can be used during the series’ second race in Putrajaya, Malaysia, November 22. Think of it as a democratic version of push-to-pass.
Fans who vote on the Formula E FanBoost site will give those three drivers a five-second burst of 243 horsepower, up from the 202.2 hp their cars make under normal conditions.
This will make passing a little easier, and allow drivers to scoot away from rivals trying to get the jump on them. Formula E rules already allow temporary bursts of extra power under certain circumstances, so FanBoost apparently gives the popular kids an extra advantage on top of that.
All teams this year are using identical Spark-Renault SRT_01E open-wheeled cars, but next year individual teams will be allowed to use cars of their own design.
Until that happens, the video game-like speed bursts will add another variable, making for more exciting racing. It’ll also give Formula E something other series don’t have, perhaps making up for the lack of noise from the cars.
The inaugural Formula E season will comprise 10 races – or “Electric Prix” – in different cities worldwide, including two U.S. stops in Miami and Los Angeles scheduled for the spring of 2015.