Formula E Super Fan – the Ultimate Fan Experience

Formula E introduced the Super Fan in season 3. This is an amazing concept that will drive even more fan dedication for the up-n-coming motorsport series. The new series set itself apart early on as a race series that embraces fans and encourages fan interaction with the eVillage, FanBoost, driver/fan sessions, eRacing, etc. That initiative was reinforced even more with this season by showcasing and spotlighting an ultimate fan. A Formula E fan that goes over and beyond fanaticism got chosen to have a racing experience of a life, and be deemed the “Super Fan!”

The First Super Fan

The Super Fan concept was introduced at the Berlin ePrix at Tempelhof in 2017. The lucky first pick was James Harmon, a 22-year-old Welsh gentleman who is very keen on motorsports. He is a passionate racing fan and was thrilled by the opportunity Formula E granted him in Berlin with being the first SuperFan. Watch the video and see the emotion in his face and hear it in his voice. James is a true Formula E Super Fan and a fine lead-off example of what FE fandom can produce.

I watched the video for the first time shortly after the Berlin race and felt overjoyed for the guy. My past experiences with everyone involved with Formula E were so positive so I was happy to see others enjoying the positive vibe that FE embodies. Appreciating the fan and going that extra step to ensure their good time is one of the big things that drew me to Formula E. It’s been a key selling point of the series since I first encountered FE at Long Beach in season 1.

When Formula E announced the season 3 schedule, I admittedly was very disappointed that Long Beach was axed from the calendar. However, I am an FE fan due to their great efforts in season 1 and 2, so the choice to trek to New York was almost a no-brainer. Hotel got booked, flights locked in, friends notified of arrival in NYC area, and off I went to see the brand new course on the streets of New York City. The track was amazing! The Formula E area was nestled in the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Redhook. The track wound around the terminal area and encompassed some of the local street areas. One of the best areas was the beer garden area where live music played and good beers flowed. Overall, I missed my Long Beach track, but the NYC area as a whole was very inviting and made for a great race location in my opinion.

The Second Super Fan

The high point of the NYCePrix was the total surprise of being chosen as the second Formula E Super Fan. To say I was elated and brought to tears is an understatement. I completely agree with James Hardon when he says in the video that “This is the greatest day of my life.” There’s more to my NYCePrix Super Fan story if you want to read about it and see some great photos. Plus, I met Sir Richard Branson and got it all on video.

I got the chance to speak with Manolo Ortiz-Tallo, Director of FE events while on stageStephen Harvey and Director of Formula E events at NYCePrix waiting for the Formula E drivers and Sir Richard to come up. He was pleased to hear that I traveled all the way from Long Beach, California to be a part of the New York weekend. I told him that the Super Fan experience was a highlight of my life and an initiative that needed to continue.

The Super Fan Experience Must Continue

Now Formula E has 2 Super Fans! Both fully agree that the experience is the best thing that has happened in their motorsport-fan lives. This is a great effort that Formula E can continue. FE can grow their fan base with this effort and truly reward the fans that wholeheartedly support everything that Formula E is showcasing to the world. The Super Fan effort can be even greater when teams like Mahindra and Techeetah reinforce the fan experience with campaigns like #Passioneers and fan contests during the season. Reinforcing all those efforts is what DHL Americas does on Friday prior to the race day/weekend. This is when a lot of the press and PR relations happen. Motorsports journalists and other racing outlet reps are invited in to hear how DHL moves Formula E around the globe. Then directly following, everyone is toured through the FE pitlane. The whole Friday experience really reinforces the die-hard racing enthusiast’s passion for Formula E and helps fans get a deeper understanding of the series.

Being lucky enough to be chosen as Formula E Super Fan is amazing. This is a program that has brought immense joy into two people’s lives leaving them with moments in time they will never forget. The type of moments that will be treasured for a lifetime and talked about for ages. Formula E needs to continue this program of rewarding true FE fans with a lifetime experience. And, work with the teams and logistics partners to make the Super Fan the ultimate fan experience for any racing series.

 

 

Formula E Season 3 Wrap Up


Formula E season three was amaze-balls! This season will go down in history as the pivotal season for the budding motorsport series. It was an eventful season for me with the NYCePrix and being a Super Fan. Here are some other reasons why too!

The ePrix Locations!

The races rival no other series in where they are located. The majority of the races take place on public streets in the heart of metropolitan areas. Two of the best examples of Formula E street courses in the middle of major cities are the New York ePrix and the Montreal ePrix.

This was the first season that these iconic cities were on the calendar, but they once again showed that Formula E can get races into places where other series like Formula 1 and NASCAR and WEC could not even dream of going. Having races in the urban areas really helps to bring the event to the people.

The Racing Action!

This season saw a new FE World Champion with Lucas Di Grassi of ABT Schaeffler Audi Formula E team. He narrowly beat out 2-time FE World Champion Sebastian Buemi of Renault e.Dams Formula E team in the last race of the double header weekend in Montreal. All season long there was wheel to wheel racing with actual passes and a few dramatic crashes (everything turned out ok with drivers). One of the best examples is Di Grassi coming from last place in Mexico City to win the race. Not to mention the massive attrition of cars at the Paris ePrix. Here’s some more great crashes and overtakes from Formula E season 3.

The eRaces!

eSports are on the verge of blowing up as broadcasters like Twitch pop up and major brands begin to get involved with reaching the next generation racer and racing fan. Formula E has done a brilliant job of incorporating the next generation of racing. Beginning at Long Beach season 2, powerful racing simulators were set up in the eVillage. Fans got the opportunity to “run the track” in a sim of the course for that race weekend. Then the gaming got even better and an e-race was put together at CES in Las Vegas in January. There, in Vegas, actual Formula E drivers (Rosenquist, Bird, Di Grassi, etc.) raced against the best-of-the-best top 10 racing sim drivers. The sim drivers went through an esport racing competition to narrow the crowd of entries and the 10 finalist got the opportunity to compete in the VISA Vegas eRace. Bono Huis, an elite sim racer, won the overall race with Felix Rosenqvist, an actual (irl) Formula E driver (Mahindra Racing), finishing a close second. Then, the remainder of the season, sim racing was incorporated into each race eVillage on the schedule. And, as a bonus, Formula E partnered with Real Racing 3 to bring in game app coverage of aspects of the FE race weekend. An added bonus was that fans were able to run FE cars on some street courses via the game. This is one of my personal “love” aspects of this season.

Introduction of the Super Fan!

Formula E Super Fan Stephen Harvey

This is an amazing fan experience introduced at the Berlin ePrix double header weekend. The new Super Fan (hopefully) tradition was continued at the NYCePrix. One fan was chosen at each race event and given the VIP Formula E behind the scenes treatment. With the crescendo fan moment being on the podium and giving away a trophy to one of the top 3 finishers. This immersion in the Formula E culture is great for making fans feel a part of the event, and feel like the racing stars we follow. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as the New York City ePrix Super fan and it will certainly go down as a once in a life time experience for me.

Innovation Around Sustainable Mobility!

Every season the battery technology involved with the cars in improved. The race distances the cars can go have increased. Currently, drivers change cars mid-race because of battery power. However, soon that need will be eliminated and no car change will be required. This is not to mention the fuel that runs the generators that charge all the Formula E car batteries is glycerin. That is a bio-fuel that can actually be consumed by humans.

I got a chance to taste it. My impression was that it is similar in consistency and taste to Karo syrup. Then there is Michelin. The Michelin tires that are on every FE race car are 18 inch, grooved tires similar to what is seen on an average road car. Michelin claims that innovations developed at the beginning of the FE season are likely to be implemented in street tire production by the end of the FE season. There are lots of innovations in Formula E that directly transfer and benefit people in the real world.

Formula E will look back and say that season 3 was the pivotal time for the series. Major manufacturers have jumped on board along with innovative and awe inspiring race experiences. Constant innovation in race technology with batteries and tires coupled with excellent fan experiences like the Super Fan are sure to bring longevity to this budding series. Look for more amazing things to come from Formula E in season 4!

As always, please leave any thoughts or input regarding this article in the COMMENTS section below. Thoughtful and intelligent commentary is always appreciated.

Formula E New York City #NYCePrix


Formula E Super Fan Stephen Harvey
The FIA Formula E New York City ePrix was amazing! And, it made me a happy motorsports fan to attend such a great race weekend in the Big Apple. I flew from Long Beach, California to New York for the inaugural NYCePrix double header weekend.

That’s right! I live in California and have followed Formula E since the all electric series was announced over 4 years ago. The Long Beach ePrix brought me great joy for 2 years. I volunteered both years in the eVillage so I could be closer to the action. It granted me the chance to talk with other people about how great FE is and what it is going to do for everyday vehicles. Seeing the latest in electric mobility and what is just around the corner regarding all aspects of driving made me an instant fan of Formula E.

Granted, when the season 3 schedule was published I was quite disappointed that Long Beach was nixed from the calendar. But, instead of bitching, I bought a plane ticket, made hotel reservations, and planned what to do on a long weekend in New York City. And, now that I’m back in LA, I have to say wholeheartedly that it was worth every penny and second I invested.

Back story… I was fortunate enough due to my online musings and constant social media posting to be invited by DHL Americas to attend the Friday press conference and pit lane walk at the Long Beach ePrix both years. They must have liked the online attention I brought to DHL because I got the invite to attend the Friday events in New York. It is such a privilege to meet, shake hands, get pics with, and hear from the people that make Formula E great.

A personal highlight on Friday for me was not meeting a particular person, but getting to see the DHL #effibot live and in action on the pit lane. The four wheeled cargo wonder just follows you around with stuff. It was really amazing to see.

And here’s a shot of me and Sam Bird (DS Virgin RE Team) as he was leaving the FIA tech station. Little did either of us know that Sam would win BOTH of the NYC double header weekend races and we’d both be on the podium stage at the end of Saturday’s race.

Great to get a pic with the winner of both #NYCePrix races, the talented Sam Bird from the DS Virgin FE team.

Posted by Stephen Harvey on Friday, July 14, 2017

And another celeb-fanboy shot. This time with super talented sports announcer Nicki Shields.

Friday at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal was a good day. But, nothing like what Saturday turned into…

Yes, the entire race was held at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It was off the beaten tourist path and transportation was a bit tricky, but all went well. Formula E ran shuttles (more like full size coaches) from the Barclay’s Center and it made getting there and back relatively easy. There were quite a few local eateries and drinking establishments close by too that helped to pass the time after the race on Sunday. All in all the location felt quite nice and I enjoyed the experience.

Back to Saturday’s event… I mentioned supporting and helping Formula E when they were in Long Beach and that continued on with social media posts and blogging about the New York event too. My efforts did not go unnoticed. I can honestly say that because I was contacted by Formula E staff via Instagram message on Saturday. A phone call happened shortly after the IG message.

The phone conversation was brief but went like this…

Formula E: Hello Stephen, this is Formula E.
Me: Hey, how are you?
Formula E: Are you sitting down? We have a little surprise for you.
Me: Oh really, what is it?
Formula E: We would like to say thanks to you for being a Super Fan. And, want you to present one of the trophies to a driver on the podium today. Is that alright?
Me: <drops phone, begins to tear up, goes speechless for a few seconds, regains composure slightly>
Me: <broken voice> Thank you so much. You don’t know how special this is… of course… what do I need to do.
Formula E: We’ll get back in touch. Stay where you are for now.

Well that brief conversation made me the happiest motorsport fan ever! I saw the Super Fan in Berlin and how ecstatic he was on the podium never thinking that it would be me next. Being picked as the NYCePrix Formula E Super Fan is one of the biggest honors of my life thus far. It’s an experience I will always remember and cherish.

I was fortunate enough to have my better-half right there too! She got the Saturday race podium ceremony video’ed. Take a look and see the perma-grin on my face the entire time. Oh, and did I mention that I was up there next to Sir Richard Branson of Virgin fame.

Formula E Super Fan, Stephen Harvey, presents 3rd place trophy to Stephane Sarrazin of the TECHEETAH FE Team.

All-in-all Formula E is growing in size, popularity, and overall fan experience. The series will continue to grow as electric vehicles take further hold in our everyday commuting lives. I am pleased to be a part of such an innovative racing series that is conducted by a fantastic team of individuals dedicated to the success of the budding all electric race series.

I can honestly say the people in the next picture are a driving force behind the success of Formula E. They are part of the talented team that produces awesome electric racing events that thrill audiences. I can’t thank them enough for my fantastic NYCePrix experience.

Formula E has a dedicated fan in me and I will travel to see and be a part of everything involved with it. I encourage any race fan to do the same. Start exploring here: FIA Formula E and get hooked like I have on FE.

BMW Ultimate Driving Experience Santa Anita Park Ca

The BMW Ultimate Driving Experience never fails to thrill and impress me. Santa Anita Park in California, with a backdrop of beautiful mountains and horse track, was a fantastic mini proving grounds. I certainly felt like an ultimate driver when I left there with a huge smile on my face.

BMW’s UDE didn’t make the rounds in 2016 because of the Olympic focus that BMW had being the official car of the games. So, seeing it again in 2017 after a year hiatus made the driving all that much better.

I went solo because of schedule conflicts, but others there had the same issues and arrived solo too. This worked out well because I was able to make friends quickly and get some pictures taken.

BMW Ultimate Driving Experience driver w Stephen Harvey

The staff, all the way from check-in to the instructors, were the utmost of professionals and always made you feel comfortable and welcome. They gave me the impression that their purpose was to ensure I had a great driving experience behind the wheel of a BMW. Just listen to the expert instructions from my UDE driving coach in the video… he was super patient and very helpful!

 

Posted by Stephen Harvey on Thursday, May 18, 2017

And, they showed me gracious hospitality with on-site food truck dining and a gourmet coffee stand manned with a barista making coffees to order. They even had a photo booth. https://www.thebosco.com/m/7331-B32QXF

BMW Ultimate Driving Experience Stephen Harvey

A personal highlight for me was placing 6th fastest in my group of 21 drivers. I am far from a race car driver so actually going faster than the majority of the group made my BMW experience even better.

All in all, BMW once again crushed it with innovative marketing and getting people into cars. The best way to sell a car is to get someone to drive it. Being able to take an expensive performance vehicle around an autocross track in anger, that will seal a deal. If you want to have a whole lot of fun and potentially purchase a new BMW, then look for the BMW Ultimate Driving Experience when it comes to your neighborhood.

Here’s some more eye candy for ya…

So much fun playing with #BMW today. Thanks @bmwusa for an #ultimatedrivingexperience

A post shared by Stephen (@havarino) on

FIA Formula E VISA eRace in Las Vegas 2017

The worlds of eSports and FIA Formula E were bridged during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 7th, 2017 with the VISA eRace. And, I was there to experience it first hand.

SIM racers and Formula E drivers went head to head in the finale of a season long promotion of eSport racing at select Formula E events over the past 10 months. It all started with the first round of qualification in Long Beach back in April 2016 and it all concluded over January 5,6, and 7, 2017 in Las Vegas at CES2017.

I was privileged enough to attend the eRace in person and got to feel the excitement first hand. It was not a proper motorsport event at a track, but it definitely had lots of energy around it like a “in real life” racing event.

Here are some of the pictures from the race…

After I posted the pictures above on Facebook, my friend and motorsports journalist, Edmund Jenks contacted me about getting my take on the Formula E VISAeRace. I was happy to oblige.

I thought this interview was only fitting because Ed and I actually first met at the DHL “Behind-the-Scenes” pit and paddock tour at the inaugural FIA Formula E event in Long Beach, CA. That was a great time hearing about the great new all electric racing series and seeing the logistics behind getting everything involved with Formula E from race to race.

Here is the SoundCloud recording of the interview.

And check out the full text article “Formula E At CES … Virtual Racing, Sensation Without Skin-In-The-Game Consequence” over on Motorsports Journal.

I am a big fan of Formula E and really like promoting it to others. Feel free to get in touch and we can talk more about FE or motorsports in general.