The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, experienced a breathtaking new level of speed and acceleration behind the wheel of Formula E’s world record-breaking GENBETA race car in Mexico City on Friday.
Ahead of the first race of the season in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the multi-Olympic gold medalist drove the revolutionary Formula E GENBETA electric race car on a full lap of the track where the 2024 Hankook Mexico City E-Prix will be held later today (Saturday, January 13).
The fastest man ever over 100m and 200m could not resist trying out the sprint capabilities of the Formula E GENBETA, which earlier this year smashed the official indoor land speed world record by more than 50 km/h (31 MPH) reaching 218.71km/h (135.9 MPH) inside the ExCeL London.
Bolt accelerated from the start line on the track at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit, achieving 0-60mph in 2.89 seconds and powering through 100m in 4.36 seconds – 5.22 seconds faster than his world record 100m time of 9.58 seconds.
With current Formula E World Champion driver, Jake Dennis (Andretti Formula E Team) and former F1 star and new Formula E TV presenter, David Coulthard, on hand to provide coaching advice, Bolt was able to experience the 400kW power of the GENBETA at full effect from the start line and along the straight.
The GENBETA features a range of modifications to effectively ‘unlock’ the specifications of Formula E’s GEN3 race car.
Introduced last season, the GEN3 is the fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built. With a top speed of more than 322 km/h (200 mph), the GEN3 is used by the 11 teams and 22 drivers in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Usain Bolt, 100m, 200m and 4x100m world record holder, said:
“The GENBETA race car is like a rocket ship on wheels. Getting the chance to drive it was a mind-blowing experience. The power from the start was such a surprise and the adrenaline you got is on a different level, easily. Driving the GENBETA was like nothing I’ve experienced before. I was told that as soon as you drive, you don’t want to stop or get out and they were right. I would do it every day if I could. If I get more time, I will definitely go faster.”
Jeff Dodds, CEO, Formula E, said:
“Usain Bolt is electric. What could be more Formula E than bringing together two world record holders – Usain Bolt and our GENBETA race car – just to see hat happens? Usain broke the world record 15 years ago, and nobody has come close to beating it since. He came to our race event today with that same determination and confidence to step out of his comfort zone, get in our incredible race car, and see what he could do. He’s also asking me if he can come back tomorrow and see if he can go even quicker.”
David Coulthard, former F1 driver and Formula E TV presenter, said:
“I was very impressed with Usain’s focus and desire to put in a strong performance. Put the world’s fastest man in this incredible race car and he was always going to push it to the limit. Once a champion, always a champion.”
ABOUT THE WORLD-RECORD BREAKING FORMULA E GENBETA RACE CAR:
On July 25 2023, days before the final race weekend in Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the revolutionary Formula E electric race car, the GENBETA, smashed the indoor land speed world record by more than 50 km/h reaching a top speed of 218.71 km/h (135.9 mph) inside a building in London.
- The official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title was achieved by driver Jake Hughes of NEOM McLaren Formula E Team who competed with Mahindra Racing team driver, Lucas di Grassi, to set the world record for the fastest speed achieved by a vehicle indoors.
- The pair went head-to-head in the ‘Duels’ format used in qualifying for Formula E races to see who could set the fastest speed indoors on just 346 meters of straight racetrack, using the same GENBETA car.
- Neither driver had ever been behind the wheel of the GENBETA before, but both beat the previous world record of 165.2km/h (102.65 mph) set in February 2021 on all three of their practice and their official world record attempts.
- The GENBETA car driven by both drivers to set the new world record featured a range of modifications to effectively ‘unlock’ the specifications of the GEN3 race car.
- Introduced last season in Formula E, the GEN3 is the fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built, with a top speed of more than 322 km/h (200 mph) and used by the 11 teams and 22 drivers in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
The modifications to the GEN3 as part of the GENBETA project include:
- Enhanced battery power output of 400kW, up from 350kW in the GEN3, through the activation of the front powertrain kit in traction, delivering all-wheel drive for the first time in a Formula E car. The battery was charged by ABB, the title partner and official charging partner of the Championship.
- New, softer iON Race tire compound allowing faster warm-up and better peak grip, developed by Hankook Tire, official tire supplier of Formula E.
- 3D printed front wing end plates, wheel fins and a wind deflector to optimize aerodynamics for enhanced straight line speed of the GENBETA.
- In addition to technology innovations on the GENBETA car, Google Cloud provided generative artificial intelligence (AI) for analysis of the drivers’ runs. Using their leading platform, Vertex AI, Hughes and Di Grassi were able to interpret real-time telemetry data to generate speed, power and grip recommendations. This gave them the ability to interact and converse with an interface to help fine tune their approach across their three attempts.
- Experts from McKinsey & Company, led by its AI arm, QuantumBlack, built data and analytics components to create the driver interface that analyzed and queried data in real time through generative AI for the record attempt.
- An adjudicator from Guinness World Records monitored the attempts to ensure the drivers met strict criteria. To set the official indoor land speed record, the GENBETA car had to set off from a static start and come to a complete halt inside one continuous building structure.
- The drivers started from a standstill inside the ExCeL London events arena and navigated a 130-degree turn at around 40 km/h before quickly accelerating along the 346m straight of the racetrack.
- The indoor straight is part of the 2.09km track which is unique in world motorsport for extending inside and outside the 100,000 sq/m ExCeL London events arena in the Docklands area of east London which hosted the final two races in Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
- Their speed was measured by a sophisticated speed trap system at a fixed point just five meters before the drivers entered the braking zone – the length of track needed to come to a complete stop and remain inside the building.