Alternative Formula E Racecar Developed by Bluebird | Edmunds

Alternative Formula E Racecar Developed by Bluebird


Just the Facts:
  • British company Bluebird has revealed an open-wheel electric racing prototype.
  • The company hopes to gain approval as a chassis supplier for the new Formula E series.
  • Bluebird's heritage dates from the early 1900s, with the land-speed record efforts of Sir Malcolm Campbell.

PEMBROKESHIRE, England — An entity with one of the oldest pedigrees in motorsport is developing a car for the futuristic Formula E electric-car racing series scheduled to be launched next year.

Bluebird Technologies, a marque that traces its origins to 1912 and the land speed-record efforts of Sir Malcolm Campbell, is developing a car that may be added to the new Formula E electric-car racing series.

Formula E, with Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) sanction, is set to launch next year. Dallara is the provider of the chassis for the open-wheel, single-seat series, but according to Bluebird, it has been encouraged by the FIA to keep developing its own machine.

Bluebird is working to gain approval of its chassis and hopes to field a works team as well as supply cars to customers. Project director Martin Rees told The Engineer Web site in February, "Whether we continue to develop our own car for 2014 or get involved with the project to develop the current customer car is something we'll be discussing with the promoter."

Formula E is currently on tap to start as a one-make series, with Dallara, Renault, McLaren and Williams working with Spark Racing Technology to produce the cars.

Malcolm Campbell set nine speed records, topped by a 301-mph run in 1935 on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Campbell was a part of the land speed-record attempts in the early 20th century that helped put Daytona Beach, Florida, on the motorsports map. Campbell's original Bluebird raced at the old Brooklands racing circuit in England. He also competed in some grand prix events in the 1920s.

Don Wales, head of Bluebird, is the grandson of Malcolm Campbell and nephew of Donald Campbell, who was killed in 1967 on Coniston Water in Great Britain when he crashed during an attempt to break his own water-speed record.

Wales has set speed records with several vehicles, including a Bluebird Electric in which he ran 137 mph on Pendine Sands, Wales, in August 2000. Wales is scheduled to travel to Bonneville this year with a new Bluebird Electric. His goal is a 400-mph run.

Formula E has announced a provisional calendar of eight races in 2014.

Edmunds says: This is the second effort by Bluebird intended for Formula E approval. The first was an ultra-aerodynamic model with closed cockpit and wheel fairings, more closely resembling a sports prototype, revealed in June 2012.

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