Watch this Formula E car race a cheetah in a sprint across the Savannah

By Michelle Johnson | 29 Nov 2017 | Sport

Formula E driver Jean-Eric Vergne takes on a wild cheetah to help protect endangered species

With famous fans including Leonardo DiCaprio, Irina Shayk and Sir Richard BransonFormula E has a growing reputation as a catalyst for change – and now the organisers of the electric grand prix are throwing their weight behind wildlife conservation as Montreal e-Prix champion Jean-Eric Vergne takes on a cheetah in a head-to-head race to highlight the impact on climate change on endangered species. 

The race took part on a remote landing strip on the Western Cape in southern Africa, testing the prowess of Vergne's TECHEETAH car – which is modelled on the cheetah's natural acceleration of 0–100km/h (60mph) in three seconds. Although the cheetah had the home turf advantage, being native to the Savannah, could Vergne pip the stunning creature to the finish line? 

The new series of the FIA Formula E Championship will begin in Hong Kong on 2 and 3 December, and so it was a perfect warm up for the Canadian driver as well as an opportunity to make the motorsports' case to accelerate the replacement of petrol cars with electric vehicles across the globe and raise awareness of the plight of endangered animals like the cheetah, of which there are only 7,000 left in the wild. >> 

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* The cheetah eyeing-up its opponent - the fully-electric Formula E car in the hands of Jean-Eric Vergne

"Both the TECHEETAH Formula-E Team and I want to be part of raising awareness for the wider impact that climate change has on our planet. We do it mostly by showcasing and developing our electric cars across the world throughout the Formula E season, but we wanted to do more outside of the race track," said Vergne, who was delighted to partner with Animal Issues Matter, Cheetah Outreach and Endangered Wildlife Trust. 

"There are only around 7,000 cheetahs still living in the wild and we have a strong desire to raise awareness for the main threats they face, such as illegal trade of cubs for pets, loss of prey due to habitat loss and fragmentation aggravated by climate change. I’m really proud to have participated in this film and stay tuned for some exciting news to come following the documentary."

“We knew the similarities in performance between the Formula E car and a cheetah, so we were curious to see the outcome. But, what’s even more important is to determine the outcome for the future of not only us, but the cheetah and other animals we share our planet with," added Founder & CEO of Formula E Alejandro Agag. 

For more Formula E news don't miss our latest edition of Tempus Magazine, featuring interviews with Alejandro Agag and world champion Lucas Di Grassi



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* The cheetah eyeing-up its opponent - the fully-electric Formula E car in the hands of Jean-Eric Vergne.