Formula E Putrajaya 36

The first-ever FIA Formula E Championship season has kicked off, and the circus is in town for Round 2, having completed the first race in Beijing last month. That’s right – Malaysia is hosting the second-ever Formula E race tomorrow, and setting the scene is our very own administrative capital, Putrajaya.

While the picturesque city is used to more serious, governmental happenings day-in and day-out, it lets its hair down here, morphing into a street circuit for the world’s first fully-electric FIA single-seater series.

Operating as an ‘open championship’, the series gives carmakers and constructors the chance to showcase their electrical energy innovations in a racing environment. All while meeting FIA specs, of course.

Formula E Putrajaya 13

A total of 10 teams, each with a pair of drivers, will compete in SRT_01E all-electric single-seater racers. Built by France-based Spark Racing Technology, the car features systems integration by Renault, and powertrain and electronics by McLaren Electronic Systems.

The lithium-ion batteries come from Williams Advanced Engineering, the carbon-fibre and aluminium chassis from Dallara, and the 18-inch treaded tyres (designed for both wet and dry conditions) from Michelin.

A ceiling output of 200 kW (270 hp) goes to the rear wheels through a Hewland five-speed sequential gearbox with shift paddles. 0-100 km/h is done in three seconds, and top speed is a respectable 225 km/h.

Think of Renault as the car’s main contractor; sub-cons include McLaren, Williams, Dallara and Michelin

Full power is available during qualifying, but in the race proper, power will be limited to 150 kW (202.5 hp). However, you can vote online for your favourite driver and give him/her a FanBoost – the three drivers with the most votes will receive one five-second power boost each, temporarily increasing their car’s output to 180 kW (243 hp).

The 2.56 km-long ePrix course is located near Perdana Putra, which houses the Prime Minister’s Office, and will use much of the main high street, running along buildings such as the Ministry of Finance. The temporary track will feature 12 corners.

The circuit, put together by the FIA, Formula E and local promoter Formula E Malaysia (FEM), also plies the Seri Wawasan Bridge and Putra Mosque. It will see drivers tackle a mixture of straights, slow to medium speed corners, a hairpin plus a tight first-corner chicane providing good overtaking opportunities.

Teams prepping their cars for the big day; practice, qualifying and race all happen tomorrow

We paid a visit to the Putrajaya Formula E paddock this evening (directly opposite the Ministry of Finance buliding) while the teams were preparing for the big day tomorrow (practice, qualifying and 31-lap race all in one day), and came away impressed by the three-storey temporary structure that housed the pits, media centre, offices and the Emotion Club, Formula E’s version of the F1 Paddock Club.

Not as busy as the Sepang paddock during F1, but it was still pretty interesting to see the teams prepping their machines and pushing them to the FIA inspection room.

Motorsport fans will be excited to see famous names such as Andretti (Andretti Formula E Team), Aguri (Amlin Aguri Formula E Team), Prost (Nicolas, e.dams-Renault driver), Piquet (Nelson Jr, China Racing driver) and Senna (Bruno, Mahindra Racing driver). Audi and VW enthusiasts might want to get the signature of Audi Sport ABT driver Daniel Abt, for his father designed your bodykit.

The Formula E paddock is full of famous racing names; Andretti, Aguri, Prost, Piquet and Senna are all here

Formula 1 fans will notice that a number of ex-F1 drivers are also competing, from old hands such as Nick Heidfeld (Venturi) and Jarno Trulli (racing for his own team) to relative youngsters like Jaime Alguersuari, Karun Chandhok, Charles Pic and Sebastien Buemi. Interestingly there are two female drivers in the field – Brit Katherine Legge (Amlin Aguri) and Italian Michela Cerruti (Trulli).

Head down to Putrajaya tomorrow morning (qualifying starts at 10am, driver autograph session noon, race at 2pm) for live action or tune in to RTM for the live telecast of the race.

GALLERY: Scenes from the Putrajaya Formula E paddock

BMW i8 Formula E Safety Car

Renault Zoe, Twizy and driver meet and greet session