Leonardo DiCaprio forms racing team to help speed up electric car sales

Leonardo DiCaprio

Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio is to enter a team in the new electric motor racing championship Formula E.

He has co-founded a Monaco-based team with Gildo Pallanca Pastor, owner of electric carmaker Venturi Automobiles.

Formula E racing starts next year, with the declared aim of giving a boost to the electric vehicle market.

The actor, an environmental campaigner, said: "The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles."

Among several companies investing in Formula E are Renault, McLaren, chassis-maker Dallara, and US technology group Qualcomm, Michelin, and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin group.

The racing series will compete in 10 of the world's leading cities including Beijing, Los Angeles, Miami, Buenos Aires, Berlin and London.

The championship is intending to showcase electric car technology and speed up development and innovation amongst manufacturers.

It has the backing of motorsport's governing body, the FIA, and also the European Commission, which has pressed the motorsport industry to do more to promote electric cars and make them more appealing.

In the first year, the teams will compete in cars with the same specifications. After that, manufacturers will be encouraged to enter their own specially built cars.

DiCaprio's Venturi outfit is the 10th team to announce it is entering the series.

Alejandro Agag, chief executive of Formula E Holdings, said DiCaprio's involvement would boost the championship's profile and interest in electric vehicles.

"Very few environmental leaders have helped more than him to spread the message of sustainability around the world," he said.

"Having people like him and Richard Branson - global ambassadors for the environment - is a privilege for our Championship and will greatly help us to spread the use of electric cars in cities around the planet."

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