Alexander Sims: electric race driver with a mission
Seven years ago, he fell in love with e-mobility. Now, Formula E rookie Alexander Sims is ready to chase his first points for the BMW i Andretti Motorsport team. His mission: show the world, how ‘cool’ and ‘sexy’ electric cars can be. And save the planet.
If your idea of a racing driver is inspired by the cool and fearless Michael Delaney, played by Steve McQueen, in the 1971 movie Le Mans, you would have some difficulty spotting Alexander Sims among all the engineers and mechanics in his team’s garage. With his boyish face, glasses and beard, Sims could easily be mistaken for a software engineer working long hours behind a computer screen. Nevertheless, the 30-year old Brit from London is what you would call a born and bred racer, with more than 20 years of experience in the business of speed.
10-year-old boy hits the race tracks
Like most of his peers, Sims made his career debut in kart. That was back in 1998, at the tender age of ten. Only two years later, Sims entered into his first successful campaign, winning the Super 1 MSA Cadet Championship, the Kartmasters Grand Prix and the 5 Nations Cup. By the time he turned 18, he moved into single-seaters, where he scored a first place in his first ever race as a driver in the Formula Renault UK 2.0 Winter Series.
Twelve years later and with a myriad of podium finishes under his belt – amongst them his 2016 victory in the 24 Hours of Spa, which put him in the international limelight –, Alexander Sims has entered the all-electric racing world of Formula E. In the upcoming season 5, Sims will race alongside his teammate António Félix da Costa in the new BMW i Andretti Motorsport team.
Formula E is more than just racing
For the man who has raced for many years as a BMW works driver, Formula E is more than just another racing series. Seven years ago, Sims bought his first electric car and was immediately hooked on e-mobility. Since then, he has witnessed the huge development in the area: “At that time, there was no charging network,” he recalled in an interview with BMW. So he used extension cables from hotel bedrooms through the window to charge his car. “Compared to that, the standard we have now is quite impressive and I’m pleased with it.”
Alexander’s passion for e-mobility goes beyond technology. In the UK, he is chairman of the charity organisation ‘Zero Carbon World’. “We provide free charging stations for electric cars to small businesses like hotels, public attractions or car parks.” His biggest dream, he says, is to find a sustainable solution for human beings to exist on the planet. “This may sound like a bold statement. But with the way our planet goes, we really have to act.
“Showcase electric mobility in a cool and sexy environment”
For Alexander, Formula E can contribute to the mission of fighting climate change: “Formula E showcases electric technology in a cool, sexy environment.” This is even more true with the new Gen2 car, he adds. “The car not only looks more aggressive. The systems involved are a lot more advanced, with more power for the driver – something, no race driver will ever complain about,” Sims adds with a smile.
So far, the marriage of his personal passion – racing – with his personal commitment – sustainability – has shown positive results: In last October’s pre-season testing in Valencia, where all 22 Gen2 cars hit the track together for the first time, the Formula E rookie set the fastest time on day one.
It looks like BMW i Andretti is definitely a team to watch. And Alexander Sims a more than promising newcomer to all-electric motorsport.
Video production: Scott McNamara / Daniel Dearing
Formula E People
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