Brabham returns

Legendary racing marque Brabham looks set to return to the track – under electric power.

The Brabham Formula E Racing Team has been incorporated as a limited company in the UK and a holding-page website proclaims Brabham to be a “driving force for environmentally-friendly racing.”

The company has one director, David Brabham, the youngest son of three times F1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham and himself a former F1 racing driver and winner at Le Mans. Its registered address is Innovations House, in Winchester, UK. The building is solely occupied by accountancy firm Tax Innovations, which provides business start up services. A spokesperson wouldn’t comment on the Brabham case but explained that new businesses often use their accountant’s address for privacy reasons.

What does this mean in real terms? Not much more than a signal of intent. Several other teams are much closer to being able to get to the grid but hold out little hope of lining up in the first year, including Bluebird, Vastha Racing and Team Rosberg.

It’s official: Super Aguri joins Formula E

Aguri Suzuki is the sixth team to line up for the first season of Formula E, confirms an official statement today.

The Tokyo based team is a brand new venture for Aguri Suzuki, who brings with him a wealth of Formula One experience as a driver, team owner and mentor. An icon of Japanese motorsport, Suzuki spent eight seasons as an F1 driver between 1988-95 – competing in 88 Grands Prix – and was team owner of Super Aguri F1.

“Today is a new chapter for the Super Aguri name and I’m proud that our team will represent Japan in the inaugural Formula E series,” he said. “Japan has always been at the forefront of cutting-edge innovation and technology and our participation in the series will enable us to promote and develop electric vehicle technology.”

Promoter Alejandro Agag said: “Japan has a long and celebrated motorsport heritage, as well as one of the most prominent and largest car industries in the world, so it’s a real honour to have a Japanese team and we hope this will lead to interest from manufacturers and possibly even a Formula E race there in the future.”

Formula E continues world conquest with second Asia-based team

Today’s announcement that ex-F1 team Super Aguri will be fielding a Formula E team confirms ambitious plans for world domination by series promoter FEH. The Tokyo team becomes the second based in Asia, following China Racing, while the inaugural calendar has three races in that part of the world: the season-opener in Beijing, followed by Putrajaya, in Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

The trend seems to confirm our recent musings that Formula E has the US and the Far East at the top of its target list. The US also has two race dates and two teams. Europe, the traditional home of big brother F1, offers only three dates on the first-year calendar and, so far, two teams.

Super Aguri competed in Formula 1 from 2006 to 2008, led by former F1 driver Aguri Suzuki and with technical facilities in the UK. It was very closely linked to Honda, which throws up the intriguing possibility that the major manufacturer may be eyeing up a constructor’s position in the 2014-15 season (the company is returning to F1 in 2015 too, attracted by smaller internal combustion engines bolstered by advanced energy recovery systems that would play well into the development of a Formula E powertrain).

It’s not just the racing kudos. Formula E is designed to draw an explicit link from race car to road car. That is already happening, albeit in reverse: the electric motors for the first-year spec car are adapted from McLaren’s P1 supercar, and the Michelin all-weather treaded tyres on Oz 18” wheels look like they’re straight from Halfords. With a large EV range to sell worldwide, that’s why Renault is involved.

Current E was concerned that Formula E might be emulating its older siblings a little too closely in shutting out diversity of entrants by confining personnel to mostly Brits and Europeans. This move reveals a different intent altogether. In fact, by bringing together entrants from China, Japan, the US, UK and France, it’s more like a United Nations on the race track. Next stop, world peace (and quiet…).

We’re not entirely won over by the acronym being bandied about however – the Super Aguri Formula E team becomes SAFE. Twee?

Super Aguri: team number six

Former F1 team Super Aguri is set to be announced as the sixth first-season Formula E team, reports motoring journal Autosport. An official announcement is expected from FEH, the promoter of the series, in Tokyo later today.

The Super Aguri name is set to make a surprise return to international motorsport in the new Formula E Championship from 2014. The squad will be known as Super Aguri Formula E, or SAFE. Executive chairman Suzuki will be joined by ex-Super Aguri technical chiefs Peter McCool and Mark Preston.