Leading Formula E team Envision Virgin Racing is aiming to fill the ‘motorsport void’ left by the current lockdown by offering fans some light-hearted entertainment in the form of the world’s first Marbula-E series.
Held in conjunction with Jelle’s Marble Runs and ABB FIA Formula E, the ‘zero emission’ marble racing aims to replicate the all-electric Formula E series, which is temporarily suspended amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Dubbed the ‘pinnaball of motorsport’, the inaugural event takes place this Saturday (April 18) at 11:00 (BST) the original date set for the Formula E Paris E-Prix.
Sylvain Filippi, Envision Virgin Racing’s Managing Director, explained: “Normally, when we talk about marbles in motorsport we’re referring to those fragments of tyre rubber deposited on the track, but in this case we’re talking about something very different.
“Obviously, we are all going through very unsettling times right now but as we’ve seen with the growth of eSports and virtual horse racing, people still need sources of entertainment – and sport plays such an important part of that. As I say to my team, everyone’s mental wellbeing is so crucial during this lockdown period and we hope this puts a virtual smile on the faces of all our fans and many others. People might think we’ve lost our marbles but actually we’re just racing them!”
He added: “The concept might not be that serious, but the production and set-up is. Like the actual races, events will include a qualifying session, scale replicas of the circuits, grandstands, sponsor branding, TV-style graphics and even commentary from the voice of Formula E Jack Nicholls. Races – or M-Prix as we like to call them – will feature 12 marbles. Sadly, there’s no Attack Mode or FanBoost, but we’re working on that!”
Fans can tune in for the first ever event on Saturday from 11:00 (BST) by visiting the team’s Facebook or YouTube channels.