Formula E

With GenBETA car: Formula E breaks Formula 1 acceleration record

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

Formula E has broken the acceleration record for single-seater racing cars, beating Formula 1. While the "premier class" accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.6 seconds, Saudi racing driver Reem Al Aboud managed it in 2.49 seconds with a modified GENBETA car.

For the record attempt, Formula E and its partners reworked a Gen3 racing car - similar to the indoor record last summer in London. The electric series refers to its "GENBETA" as an innovation and development programme. The record was made possible by an increase in power to 400 kW (normally 350 kW) and modifications by SABIC and tyre manufacturer Hankook. A generative AI - powered by Google Cloud - provided real-time telemetry data.

Saudi Arabian racing driver Reem Al Aboud was at the wheel. Her relationship with Formula E dates back to 2018, when she was the first and youngest Saudi woman to drive a Nissan Gen2 racing car on a Formula E track as part of the Diriyah E-Prix.

Video: Formula E breaks Formula 1 acceleration record


"Being part of this ground-breaking moment is like a dream come true," Al Aboud is quoted as saying in a Formula E press release. "Formula E has given me the platform to make a mark and I am honoured to be a part of this journey towards equality in racing."

Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds explains: "The benchmark achieved by Reem is a testament to what we stand for in Formula E. Innovation, equality and competition: Innovation, equality and competition. Her success is not only a win for Formula E, but a leap forward for equality in racing. We all join her in celebrating this milestone, especially in the run-up to International Women's Day."

Comment from Timo Pape: Why dilute the strong message?

When I read the headline of the press release on Wednesday, I was thrilled. The next moment I thought: Surely a woman from Saudi Arabia was at the wheel. Well. For me, the acceleration record is truly a milestone that Lucas di Grassi, among others, has been dreaming of for many years: beating F1 in terms of acceleration is something! Finally some sporting news that has the potential to be taken seriously in the motorsport industry.

But instead of putting a highly decorated racing driver at the wheel, who also is respected by other famous drivers, Formula E opted for a largely unknown female driver from its beloved desert state. Why? To dilute the strong statement and pack as many messages of aimed values as possible into a press release. However, it is also a fact that no woman has competed in Formula E since Season 2 - almost nine years ago.

So I'm celebrating the sporting achievement of Formula E and am really looking forward to the Gen3.5 car with all-wheel drive that will be coming next year and, above all, to the leap in performance with the Gen4 car in the 2026/27 season. Then, Formula E should be taken more seriously in the motorsport bubble.

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