ACE electric junior championship announced from 2024 with Dilbagh Gill at the helm
On the sidelines of the Formula E weekend, the ACE championship has been announced as a new electric feeder series that will hope to help build a ladder to Formula E just like F4, F3 and F2 are for Formula 1. The championship has been founded by former Mahindra Racing team principal Dilbagh Gill, with the series due to start racing in 2024. The car to be used in the championship will be the Gen 2 chassis used by Formula E from 2018-2022, and which will have considerable changes made to its body. As per our understanding, the car has already been put through a shakedown test in January, with former Formula 1, Formula E and Mahindra Racing driver Nick Heidfeld leading the development efforts. It also did some demonstration laps at the Hyderabad Street Circuit on the sidelines of the 2023 Hyderabad E-Prix, the first time Formula E has come to India.
The ACE championship will have two tiers, with the “entry-level” Challenger tier and the top tier Championship. Interestingly, The same car will be used in both levels of racing, meaning teams can run four drivers in two championships with two vehicles, although the championship will have different software mappings than the lower tier. Another interesting feature with the ACE championship car will be the creative use of LED lighting to indicate information about the race and car positions. The car will aim to match the performance of the Gen 2 car as it was used in Formula E.
The format will be shorter races than Formula E to encourage more frantic and exciting racing, while also being accessible and environmentally friendly. The ACE championship aims to have more regional races across continents so that it can reach place and people who would otherwise not encounter world-class motorsport. Although it is a feeder series, the ACE Championship will race on purpose-built race track and not street circuits, with a few races to be held as Formula E support races. However, the series is yet to gain FIA accreditation for the series, although that is in the works.
Speaking about the new championship, Dilbagh Gill said, ““The ACE Championship is about innovation in motorsport and about opportunity. We are looking at the ACE Championship to provide representation to people who are interested in driving, and engineers, around the world who have not had the opportunity to date and giving them a chance to level up.”, adding, “The bedrock of ACE Championship is to provide technology, opportunity and a platform to excel. This is going to be the first championship in the world where one single race car can compete in two different championships – each team can have two different drivers in the ACE Championship and ACE Challenger series, driving the same car, but with two different power levels. We are providing a pathway for our drivers in the ACE Championship, at a low cost, but with high performance.”
The series has already got positive feedback from Formula E founder and Chairman Alejandro Agag, who is also on the series’ advisory board, “The ACE Championship is an important initiative. To create opportunities for young drivers to enter motorsport via the ‘electric avenue’ is crucial – and was missing until now.”
According to reports, the championship has already received interest from a host of racing teams and organisations, and will surely be an important addition to the global motorsport calendar.