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Chinese Formula E racing team NIO 333 moving into pole position

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-05-01 07:52
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MONTE CARLO - The team principal of Chinese Formula E team NIO 333 has embarked on a mission to bring electric car racing to his home turf, saying it will only be a matter of "one or two years" for the country to get its own race.

"With the number of cars we have on the market, there will be more and more car manufacturers thinking about performance and ultimately motorsport in China," Alex Hui told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of this weekend's Monaco E-Prix.

This is backed by the fact that China is the world's largest maker and market for new electric vehicles and is playing a leading role in the electrification of the car industry, he emphasized.

Asked about whether motorsports could witness a similar boom as winter sports which have drawn more than 300 million Chinese to hit the slopes thanks to the Beijing Winter Olympics, Hui said: "The motorsport market in China is growing, there are many new drivers, more teams are entering racing as a business, and our automotive market is doing really well."

"That creates a very strong fundamental for racing. I would say in the next few years this market will keep growing bigger because the percentage of people racing in China is still relatively small compared to some Western countries."

His team has competed in the FIA Formula E Championship since its inception in 2014 and secured the inaugural FIA Formula E Drivers' Championship with driver Nelson Piquet Jr. in July 2015. The current 2021-2022 is the 8th season for the NIO 333 team.


Since its first race around the grounds of the Olympic Park in Beijing in 2014, Formula E has grown into a global entertainment brand with motorsport at its heart. With 11 teams and 22 drivers currently on the grid, the championship has become a destination for some of the world's best motorsport teams and racing talents.

But now, it's time for China to get its own racing series, Hui insisted: "Unfortunately, the races planned to take place in Sanya and Hong Kong were canceled. I was so sad, but I think very soon things will change and hopefully next year we will see a race in China again."

"We are a Chinese-owned team, our title sponsor and major partner are NIO. We definitely want to have our own home race."

He stressed: "Electric racing doesn't have a proper series in China at the moment, but there are some projects we are working on to create the first electric racing in China. I think that will come, it's just a matter of time, maybe in one or two years we will see the coming of electric racing in China."

NIO 333 driver Dan Ticktum told Xinhua that racing for a Chinese team was a great opportunity. "I'm very, very happy to be representing NIO. Hopefully, it's a partnership that will last a few seasons. I think obviously there is big support from the Chinese fans, which is very exciting."

"I'd love to be able to travel to China at some point this year to meet our team in Shanghai. Overall, I'm just very happy to be in the position I'm in. I'm a very lucky man," he said.


On Thursday, Formula E and the FIA, motorsport's global governing body, launched a new third-generation race car in Monaco which executives hope will represent a green leap forward for motorsport and electric mobility.

The Gen3 all-electric car will race in Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and is said to be the fastest, lightest, most powerful and most efficient electric racing car ever built, with a top speed of over 322 km/h.

While this marks a major milestone in the drive for more sustainability in motorsport, Hui said there was still a lot of room for improvement, such as cutting air travel and logistics transportation, as well as the localization of the races. The FIA Formula E series is, however, currently the only sporting Championship to achieve net-zero status since its inception.

"Formula E has a lot of focus on sustainability compared to other championships, but there's always something you can do better," he told Xinhua in Monaco, a small principality and enclave on the Mediterranean coast of France.

"We have a lot of logistics, a lot of people traveling, with races in Europe, America and Jakarta in Asia, so we are looking at ways with Formula E that we can schedule our travel better to avoid unnecessary air freight. That will be good for saving the planet."

The NIO 333 team is managed and operated by motorsports management company Shanghai Lisheng Racing in China, while its European subsidiary responsible for research and development, technical support, marketing and media, is based in Oxfordshire, UK.

Founded in November 2014, NIO is a pioneer in China's premium electric vehicle market, with its global headquarters in Shanghai and domestic headquarters in Hefei.

Earlier this week, NIO's 200,000th vehicle rolled off the production line in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province, according to Qin Lihong, co-founder and president of the company.

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