Leonardo DiCaprio forms E-racing team


France The Wolf of Wall Street

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has announced he is to field a team in the new electric motor racing championship, Formula E.

The 39-year-old star has teamed up with Venturi Automobiles owner Gildo Pallanca Pastor to create the team, which will be based in Monaco.

Starting next year, Formula E features battery powered racing cars, similar in design to today's Formula 1 cars. Its aim is to attract more car buyers into the electric vehicle market and to speed up development of EVs by manufacturers.

Like Formula One, the series will straddle the globe, with ten of the world's leading cities, including Beijing, Los Angeles, London, Berlin and Buenos Aires, all to host races.

It has already attracted some big names, with F1 heavyweights Renault and McLaren, as well as technology group Qualcomm, tyre manufacturer Michelin and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group all investing in the series.

The new sport, which has the backing of the FIA, will see teams compete in identical cars for the first season, with constructors allowed to enter bespoke, specially designed cars in following years.

DiCaprio, who has long been recognised for his environmental work, said: "The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles," reported the BBC.

Alejandro Agag, chief executive of Formula E Holdings, welcomed DiCaprio's involvement in the sport: "Very few environmental leaders have helped more than him to spread the message of sustainability around the world," he said to the BBC.

"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."