He’s already a major star in Hollywood, but longtime environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio is interested in more than just Oscars – he’s in the hunt for a racing championship.
The actor announced he’s entering into a joint venture with Venturi Automobiles to put together a tenth team to compete in the new FIA Formula E Championship. The competition, which begins in September 2014, is the first-ever entirely electric car race series.
DiCaprio’s team, co-founded by him and Gildo Pallanca Pastor, founder and pioneering EV manufacturer of Venturi Automobiles, also includes Bert Hedaya and Francesco Costa. The crew will be based primarily in Monaco.
The next step now is for Venturi Grand Prix to be put forward to the FIA to get approval as the tenth squad in contention for a title in the zero emissions series. Other groups from around the world who are putting their alternative fuel cars on the track are IndyCar outfits Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing, European crews Drayson Racing, e.dams, Audi Sports ABT and Virgin Racing, as well as Asia’s China Racing,Super Aguri and Mahindra Racing.
“The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “Venturi Grand Prix has shown tremendous foresight in their decision to create an environmentally friendly racing team, and I am happy to be a part of this effort.”
While Venturi is currently focused on perfecting the racing vehicle, Venturi’s team also describes itself as a leader in high performance electric cars that will eventually include urban and utilitarian options. The company currently holds the world land speed record for an electric vehicle at 495 kilometers/hour.
Also on the horizon? Venturi’s own Formula E car, using a powertrain based on the one used in its 3,000 horsepower electric streamliner (the Venturi VBB-3) which was unveiled last year in Monaco by Prince Albert II.
“Venturi has been a pioneer in electric high performance vehicles for more than a decade and Formula E gives us the fantastic opportunity to further improve our advanced technologies through motorsport,” Gildo has said. “It also gives us the chance to be part of a new racing program with a project that really shares Venturi’s values for clean mobility, innovation in the field of electric propulsion and energy efficiency optimization.”
So while it’s nice to have a name like Leonardo DiCaprio on your roster, Venturi’s commitment to low emission technologies and greener vehicle alternatives has a long and successful history, with their latest venture poised to be another step toward making the hybrid ideology, dare we say, cool.