By Arwa Lodhi
Does Leonardo DiCaprio ever stop?
After having donated $3m to save the tiger and raised many more millions for the environment at an auction at Christies this year, the Hollywood megastar is now set to enter a team in the hot new motor race, the Formula E.
Along with Gildo Pallanca Pastor, owner of electric carmaker Venturi Automobiles, Di Caprio has founded a Monaco-based team to race next year, which he hopes will boost the popularity of electric cars: “The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles,” he said in a statement.
Among several companies investing in Formula E are Renault, McLaren, chassis-maker Dallara, and US technology group Qualcomm, Michelin, and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group.
The racing series will compete in 10 of the world’s leading cities including Beijing, Los Angeles, Miami, Buenos Aires, Berlin and London, and has the backing of the FIA, and also the European Commission, which has pressed the motorsport industry to do more to promote electric cars and make them more appealing.
In the first year, the teams will compete in cars with the same specifications. After that, manufacturers will be encouraged to enter their own specially built cars.
The DiCaprio Venturi outfit is the 10th team to announce it is entering the series.
Alejandro Agag, chief executive of Formula E Holdings, said DiCaprio’s involvement would boost the championship’s profile and interest in electric vehicles: “Very few environmental leaders have helped more than him to spread the message of sustainability around the world. Having people like him and Richard Branson – global ambassadors for the environment – is a privilege for our Championship and will greatly help us to spread the use of electric cars in cities around the planet.”