This weekend saw the launch of Formula E, a new brand of electric motorsport backed by Swiss watchmaker with a history of automotive timing.
TAG Heuer’s shield logo and colours were on show around the 3.4km circuit inside Beijing’s Bird Nest stadium as 20 Spark Renault SRT_01E electric racing cars got underway and the brand’s timekeeping kept teams, drivers, fans and the media up-to-date with millisecond timing information.
The zero emissions event unfolded as a closely fought 25-lap race, won on the final corner by Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas di Grassi after leader Nicolas Prost (e-Dams-Renault) collided with Nick Heidfeld (Venturi) in spectacular fashion, eliminating both cars.
Franck Montagny (Andretti) and Sam Bird (Virgin) came in second and third respectively.
Heidfeld was uninjured, proving the strength and safety of the Formula E Spark-Renault chassis, and Prost was handed a ten-place grid penalty for the next race in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on November 22, for causing the accident.
Brazilian di Grassi was later spotted on the podium celebrating his win wearing a TAG Heuer Carrera 1887.
Stéphane Linder, chief executive officer of TAG Heuer, said: “TAG Heuer has always been ahead of its time, always attracted by firsts. Formula E is the major innovation in this sport of the last 10 years. Motor racing has been a part of TAG Heuer’s DNA since the very beginning. It is only natural that it would become a founding partner of the first fully electric championship. The first race in Beijing is a dream come true and the first step to a new era.”