Remember the sound the alien fighter aircraft made in Independence Day when they went full-scale attack mode on the dwindling U.S. Air Force? Sitting near the final turn of a Formula E race gives a guy flashbacks — Bill Pullman’s president shouting, “We will not go quietly into the night!” is totally accurate. Only this strangely loud race was taking place during a hot, humid day in Red Hook, Brooklyn, so close to Ikea and the Statue of Liberty that you’d swear you could reach out and hug the thing.
“The aim of Formula E is to make its footprint on the environment as small as possible.” A few seasons in, Formula E continues to grow in popularity, and Audi, a company with a solid racing history, is in whole hog. (Or, maybe, whole tofu-ham hog?) As guests of the brand at last weekend’s epic Brooklyn race, we walked the tiny track, saw their team prepping car batteries in the ABT Schaeffler FE02 racers with liquid-nitrogen coolant and witnessed firsthand the development of our own future cars.
Car brands don’t just race for their fan’s entertainment — that’s an excuse, a byproduct. Brands like Audi race in order to develop technology that is durable, proven under harsh conditions. Batteries that can wallop physics for an hour straight at up to 140 mph, one full-blown throttle mash after another, are simply the real-world-tested precursors to what will power your cars in a decade. You may not be a fan of racing or electric vehicles, but Audi and the other teams who invaded my fair Brooklyn borough Saturday and Sunday are putting into practice what we’ll all park in our garages someday soon.