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 among 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 Leonardo 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."
Leonardo founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Dedicated to protecting Earth’s last wild places and fostering a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world.
Since 1998, the Foundation has been working on pressing environmental and humanitarian issues through grant making, campaigning and media projects. Areas of focus include; wildlife and habitat preservation, healthy oceans, water access, climate change and disaster relief. The Foundation’s strategic approach to philanthropy for a better planet relies upon active collaboration with effective organizations as well as with other funders who share our goals and can magnify our impact.
Recent philanthropic efforts include;
- Protecting Tigers from Extinction: a conservation effort in Nepal to protect critical tiger habitat led by World Wildlife Fund in collaboration with local communities, and the Nepali government
- Saving the Last Rainforests: a collaborative effort with WWF, Frankfort Zoological Society, the Australian Orangutan Project, Kehati and Eyes on the Forest to save the largest remaining block of rainforest in Sumatra, home to wild tigers, orangutans, elephants and two indigenous tribes
- Protecting Our Oceans: an international funders collaborative called “Oceans 5” dedicated to stopping overfishing and establishing marine reserves, the two highest ecological priorities identified by scientists
- Saving Sharks: a successful effort of six organizations from five different countries to secure international trade restrictions for five species of threatened sharks at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
- Protecting Antarctica: a grant for the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, a coalition of over a dozen organizations working on five continents to secure the largest network of marine reserves on the planet
- Providing Access to Clean Water: a grant to Concern Worldwide, providing 430,000 people in Tanzania, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Darfur with sustainable access to clean water
Justine Winters is Executive Director, she has been working at the Foundation since 2006.
For more information visit www.leonardodicaprio.com.