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Formula E to hold first night races in Saudi Arabia

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Formula E to hold first night races in Saudi Arabia
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Formula E will hold its first-ever night races in Saudi Arabia next season using lighting systems powered by renewable energy. 

The third and fourth races of the 14-round 2020/21 calendar will take place on February 26-27 in Diriyah, and both will run in low-light conditions.  

A low-consumption LED set-up that reportedly requires 50 percent less energy than a conventional system will be used to illuminate the track. The remaining floodlights will then be fuelled by “high-performing low-carbon vegetable oil made from sustainable materials”. 

For the championship’s third visit to Saudi Arabia, the race start time will be pushed back from 1500 local time (1200 GMT) by five hours to 2000 (1700 GMT). 

FE co-founder and chief championship officer Alberto Longo said: “We are very proud to partner with Saudi to create Formula E’s first-ever night race. I am confident the race will be spectacular and lead to a style of competitive action we haven’t seen before.  

“As with everything we do, our first thought was about how to bring our sporting vision to life in a sustainable way. Before we innovate our racing product, we must be confident we can maintain the standards of sustainable practice we hold ourselves accountable to.”  

The inaugural Saudi E-Prix was the country’s first major international sporting event, with the 2019-20 races the first FE double-header to be held in the Middle East. 

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, the Saudi Arabia minister of sport added: "In 2018, the ancient historical city of Diriyah made history in hosting the first fully electric race on the streets of the region.  

“The debut event sparked so much joy and energy to our sporting journey and was one of a number of major sporting firsts that have since inspired our people and helped to shine a spotlight on Saudi Arabia's massive transformation under the Kingdom's vision 2030. 

"In 2019, Diryah was the first to host back to back races during a race weekend and now once again we will make sporting history. 

"It is very fitting that a place so ancient will showcase the latest in sustainable technology as Diriyah lights up to shine bright for the world to see. We look forward to the dramatic racing and incredible scenes that are guaranteed to unfold under the lights." 

Formula 1 will visit Saudi Arabia for the first time next year for a street race in Jeddah, which will also take place at night.  

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Series Formula E
Author Matt Kew