The FIA Formula E Championship will expand its footprint into the Middle East after announcing that the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh will stage the 2018-19 season-opening ePrix, the first event for the hotly anticipated Gen2 cars.

The Riyadh ePrix will take place on a track that will be built on the outskirts of the city, with the city inking a 10-year contract with the all-electric championship.

The deal forms part of Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’ plan to reduce its reliance on oil exports and diversify its revenue streams into areas such as tourism. The city recently hosted the annual Race of Champions event which was won by ex-F1 driver David Coulthard.

“Bringing racing to Riyadh for the first round of the new season is the perfect setting for the next phase of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag.

“An exciting and vibrant country that is focussing on its future, Saudi Arabia will be the ideal venue to mark the competitive debut of the next generation Formula E cars.

“We think Saudi Arabia – with the new vision of Prince Abdulaziz [bin Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority], Prince Khalid [Bin Sultan Bin Abdullah AlFaisal, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation], and the country – is a fitting location to launch the latest chapter of the electric street racing series.

“Many other sports are already increasing their presence in Saudi Arabia and we’re proud that they’ve chosen Formula E over other categories in racing.”

The exact date for the inaugural race is yet to be confirmed, with the FIA World Motorsport Council still to ratify the 2018-19 season calendar.

Image via BCG

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Mitch Timms

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Professional motorsport engineer and all-round tech head.
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