Formula E drivers excited for Brooklyn debut, says Jean-Eric Vergne

Jean-Eric Vergne has his sights on earning his first Formula E victory. Next month’s race in Brooklyn, the city’s first FIA-sanctioned open-wheel race in modern history, may be just the right opportunity to break through.

“It would be amazing. It would be in the history books,” Vergne told amNewYork. “ [If] the first race in New York City was won by me? That would be amazing! Hopefully that’s going to happen.”

Vergne, a Formula 1 veteran and former British Formula 3 champion, is looking forward to the all-electric racing series’ trip to NYC on July 15 and 16. And, he believes, he’s not alone.

“I think it’s going to be one of the best races of the season,” Vergne said. “New York is an iconic city, and we got really lucky to race in the best cities in the world. I think all the drivers are excited about that.”

The 27-year-old Frenchman, who drives for Techeetah, has recorded four poles and six podiums throughout his three-year Formula E career. However, that first Formula E win has continued to elude him. He hopes to make his mark in the history books in Red Hook.

The Formula E series is the first racing series in the world that uses fully electric, single-seater, open-wheel cars. Compared with the more well-known F1 cars, Vergne noted that Formula E cars are more difficult to drive, raising the stakes and levels of the drivers involved. The ePrix races take place in city streets, instead of a track, adding sudden turns and sharper corners.

“The level of driving is super high,” Vergne said. “Other cars are modeled the same, so everybody has got a chance to win the race. We come to a race knowing anything can happen, so that makes it exciting. Quite a lot different than Formula 1.”

Formula E also promotes the use of electric cars over gas-powered ones.

“The message you send is you can drive electric cars, but you can also race electric cars,” Vergne explained. “If we can race, we can drive those cars in the street, too.”