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Formula E Portland

Lotterer backs Tokyo to become a Formula E 'seasonal highlight'

Formula E’s now-confirmed inaugural visit to Tokyo next year will be the “highlight of the season” according to Japanese racing veteran Andre Lotterer.

Andre Lotterer, Andretti Autosport, Jake Dennis, Andretti Autosport

Photo by: Andreas Beil

The all-electric series unveiled its 2023/24 calendar ahead of last weekend’s Portland race, headlined by a long-awaited visit to Japan’s capital city in late March.

Tokyo’s inclusion on the calendar comes as no surprise, as Formula E had signed a memorandum of understanding with the city’s metropolitan government late last year to hold an event in the Ariake area of Koto Ward, near the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition centre.

Andretti driver Lotterer, who was a long-term fixture in Japanese domestic motorsport from 2003-17 with titles in both Formula Nippon - now Super Formula - and SUPER GT, was among those to express his excitement about the Tokyo race last weekend at Portland.

“It’s very exciting; it will definitely be the highlight of the season,” Lotterer told Autosport. “Japan has a great car culture, a great motorsport culture, and for sure the fanbase will be there. 

“I even have fans [from Japan] to come to my races here [in Formula E] so you can imagine it will be huge. I think it will be a success, for sure.

“It’s also a city that represents the future, technology, so everything comes together. Congratulations to Formula E for pulling it off because I know it’s not easy to organise such events in Japan.”

Two other Formula E drivers with extensive backgrounds in Japanese motorsport, Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy and Nissan man Sacha Fenestraz, were similarly enthusiastic about Tokyo’s inclusion on the schedule.

Nick Cassidy, Envision Racing, 1st position, on the podium

Nick Cassidy, Envision Racing, 1st position, on the podium

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“I have so many friends there, and to be able to race in a city where I basically was every day is really cool,” Cassidy told Autosport. “I hope the fans embrace it.

“I hope we can promote it the right way, get attention and draw a crowd, especially because the racing in Formula E this year has been really good. If more people can recognise that, it’s only a good thing.”

Fenestraz told Autosport: "It’s a home race for the team [Nissan], it’s like a second or third home for me. Since the race was announced, I’ve had a lot of messages from people saying they are looking forward to seeing me there. 

“I am really excited about it. I really hope a lot of fans are coming because it’s going to be a great race in the heart of Tokyo.”

Formula E co-founder and chief championship officer Alberto Longo expressed his satisfaction with finally getting a race in Japan on the calendar, which has long been a goal of the all-electric series.

“Let me give you an example - it took nine years to get a marathon in Tokyo approved,” Longo told selected media including Autosport. “So actually I am super-happy that for Formula E, which is a much bigger logistical challenge, it only took a year longer!

“We are thrilled; it has been one of the key markets we have tried to reach. I remember [when Formula E launched in 2014] and we had Amlin Aguri on the grid, Japan was one of the biggest markets in terms of media. Hopefully, that will come back with this race.”

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