Formula E’s South Africa race set to incorporate Cape Town Stadium

Cape Town Stadium is set to form part of the circuit for the inaugural Formula E race in the South African city next year.

The electric car-racing series confirmed last month that Cape Town would be one of three new races on the 2021-22 calendar, along with Vancouver and Seoul. The South African ePrix is scheduled for February 26 next year.

Although organisers’ initial hopes were for the circuit to run through Cape Town Stadium, logistics have made this infeasible and the track will instead run around the venue, which was built for South Africa’s staging of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The stadium’s 5.3-metre access gate is too small to allow the track to enter, with a seven-metre space needed.

“We’re not able to do that,” Iain Banner, chairman of e-Movement, which led South Africa’s bid for the race, told Motorsport.com. “We’ll look at it in the future. But it’s a big structural issue.  

“We will be racing around the stadium, and between Table Mountain and Robben Island. It’s an exciting ocean-bracing racing track.” 

Motorsport.com reported that a five-year deal has been struck between e-Movement and the South African tourism board to ensure Cape Town’s spot on the Fornula E calendar.

Alberto Longo, Formula E co-founder and chief championship officer, said: “South Africa basically ticks the box of every single thing that we need in order to host a race. We want to go to iconic venues that you can really identify very quickly in one shot on TV. 

“(Cape Town) really offers us one of the best and most amazing locations that we’re ever going to do a race at. Then the passion of South African heritage of motorsport, they just love motorsport. It’s a place where every serious and professional motorsport series has to do a stage.”

Next year’s ePrix will mark the first time an FIA-sanctioned single-seater world championship event has taken place in South Africa since 1993.

Cape Town Stadium is currently in the midst of staging the British & Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa. The first of three Test matches was held on Saturday, with further matches scheduled for July 31 and August 7.

In March, the stadium continued its mission to turn around its financial fortunes by unveiling a new hospitality offering. The Business Lounge at Cape Town Stadium is designed to be a shared-space hospitality experience, divided into three distinct offerings. These have been dubbed the “sports fanatics” section, the “business networker” section and the “family of fans” section.

Image: Alberto Di Maria on Unsplash