It's official. The inaugural season of the FIA Formula E Championship will feature an Indian team.
The official website of the fully-electric single-seater racing car series, scheduled to start in September next, lists Mahindra Racing as the "eighth and only Indian team to race in Formula E".
Helmed by Mahindra Group CMD Anand Mahindra and team principal Dilbagh Gill, Mahindra joins seven other teams including E.dams, a Le Mans-based outfit co-founded by four-time F1 champion Alain Prost, Super Aguri, which also competed in F1 from 2006 to 2008, and the Mario Andretti-led Andretti Autosport.
While the driver lineups are yet to be announced, it is reliably learnt that Karun Chandhok will be one of Mahindra's racers. Narain Karthikeyan, India's first F1 driver, was not considered because of his strong links with the rival Tata Group.
In the inaugural season, each of the 10 teams will make use of four Spark-Renault SRT_01E single-seaters, two per driver.
The zero-emission SRT-01E's monocoque chassis is provided by Italian firm Dallara, with the motor, transmission and electronics by McLaren.
The cars will accelerate from 0 to 100kmph in three seconds, with an estimated top speed of 225kmph; noise levels are around 80dB, higher than an average street car (70dB) but lower than buses (90dB) and, of course, F1 cars (~130dB).
The inaugural season will be contested over 10 rounds in major cities around the world, beginning in Beijing in September 2014 and finishing in London in June 2015.
One and done
To minimise disruption to the city, each round will be a day-long affair: an early-morning free practice session followed by late-morning qualifying, with the race in the evening, and in the spirit of F1 Rocks, a post-race concert.
In the qualifying session, each driver will have two attempts in only one of the cars to set the fastest lap time. Full power of 200kW (equivalent of 270bhp) will be available throughout practice and qualifying.
The race, which will last approximately one hour, will see drivers making two mandatory pit-stops to change cars, with the driver running 100m to get into a recharged car.
Engines will be restricted to power-saving mode (133kW; equivalent of 180bhp) except for a predetermined number of 'push-to-pass' boosts that will increase the car's power output to 200kW.