Jean-Éric Vergne becomes 2018 Formula E World Champion as he battles Lucas Di Grassi for top spot at New York ePrix

By Michelle Johnson | 16 Jul 2018 | Speed

The electric motor racing series crowns the 2018 champion at the first ever New York ePrix weekend

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* Jean-Éric Vergne becomes 2018 Formula E World Champion as Lucas Di Grassi claims top spot at New York ePrix

The 2018 ABB Formula E World Championship came to a thrilling conclusion in New York this weekend as last year's champion Lucas di Grassi and his rival Jean-Éric Vergne went head to head for this year's podium finish. Although di Grassi took first place in the event's first electric street race on Saturday – held in New York for the first time – French TECHEETAH driver Vergne won the championship as well as a phenomenal first place finish on Sunday's final race.

Celebrity fans including Liv Tyler, David Gandy and Natalie Dormer were among guests cheering on drivers in the season finale of the electric racing series, watching as Vergne started in 18th position on the grid only to speed four places ahead of his British DS Virgin Racing Team title rival Sam Bird to seal his 2018 championship.

“Things happen for a reason," he told press after his success. "I believe starting nearly last in Zurich helped me understand a few more things about Formula E and things that I put in action in the race. People at the beginning were probably thinking I was not going to make it because I was last after five laps in the race, but the truth is I had like four or five more percent than anybody else in front of me. Then I used that energy to come back through the field.” >>

Related: 24 hours in Paris with Formula E champion Jean-Éric Vergne

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* Jean-Éric Vergne becomes 2018 Formula E World Champion as Lucas Di Grassi claims top spot at New York ePrix

Vergne described the win as the greatest achievement of his career by far, saying that his previous success as a Formula 1 reserve had nothing on his current success. “My position in F1 to what it is now is no comparison. It’s a different world for me. I’m not the same guy either. Not one percent of what I was in F1 I am here today,” he said.

Described as an "electric street racing series", Formula E is the world’s first ever fully-electric international single-seater category in motorsport, speeding into some of the world’s leading cities such as Hong Kong, Paris and Rome. Established in September 2014, the fourth edition of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship saw 10 teams and 20 drivers compete in 10 cities spanning five continents in the fight to be crowned champion.

The championship recently became the first company in motorsport to be awarded the highly-acclaimed International Standard of Sustainability in Events Certification – also known as the ISO 20121. The accolade was granted by SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification and certification company, securing the Formula E's commitment to sustainable practices in events and entertainment. >>

Related: Formula E awarded world first award for sustainability

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* Oliver Cheshire, Natalie Dormer and David Gandy among famous fans at the weekend's Formula E New York ePrix

"I cannot disagree that F1 is number one, but FE is exciting because it's something that motor sport did not expect to happen," Di Grassi told Tempus at the start of this year's season. "It is very dynamic. It's like a very cool tech start-up, coming along with a positive message. It is one of the only sports in the world that promotes a change towards a better environment, a better future. It's been very interesting to be there from the beginning up to now.

Founded by Alejandro Agag in 2014, Formula E has attracted fans including Sir Richard Branson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Adrien Brody and has grown in interest and extravagance with each year. "For many years, I was involved in normal racing with combustion cars in F2 and F1, and I tell you, we were in need for a new motor sport that would be more relevant to the worries of the people and the challenges of the planet," Agag told Tempus earlier this year.

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* Jean-Éric Vergne becomes 2018 Formula E World Champion as Lucas Di Grassi claims top spot at New York ePrix
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