Former Formula E champion Nyck De Vries hunting third Diriyah E-Prix win

JEDDAH: The Union Internationale Motonautique E1 World Championship, the world’s first all-electric race boat competition, is set to make its debut with the E1 Jeddah GP from Feb. 2 to 3, with Saudi Arabia’s Mashael Al-Obaidan confirmed as lead pilot for the Aoki Racing Team.

Presented in partnership with the Saudi Ministry of Sport and the Saudi Water Sports and Diving Federation, the event will take place at Jeddah Corniche on the waters of the Red Sea.

On being selected as pilot for the Saudi-backed Aoki Racing Team, Al-Obaidan said: “I am very excited, it is completely different to what I am used to. I have driven such a boat, but it feels awesome.

“I am super excited, I have been following the initiative since it started as a concept and all the developments that have been going on,” she added.

As well Jeddah, Season 1 will feature six other races taking place in Venice in Italy, Puerto Banus in Spain, Geneva in Switzerland, Monaco, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and Hong Kong.

Featuring mixed-gender teams competing in a one-design fleet of Race Bird electric powerboats, Jeddah will launch the championship with 16 pilots from eight teams, before the competition heads to the six other international legs in Europe and East Asia.

The E1 teams are owned by some of the biggest names in their respective sporting fields and include Tom Brady, Rafael Nadal, Virat Kohli, Didier Drogba, and Sergio Perez, as well as Steve Aoki and Marc Anthony from the world of music and entertainment.

On hosting the inaugural round of the EI World Championship in the Kingdom, SWSDF Chairman Prince Sultan bin Fahd bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud said: “Our partnership with the E1 Series will help accelerate the growth of water sports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“This exciting race, in which the world’s best athletes will participate, serves as an ideal incentive for participation in water sports and a source of inspiration for the 9 million people living on the Red Sea coast. We are proud to host the inaugural event of this exciting global championship.”

Aoki Racing Team recently announced a strategic partnership with the SWSDF for the inaugural season of the UIM E1 Series World Championship.

Steve Aoki, the two-time Grammy-nominated artist, DJ, producer, and co-owner of Aoki Racing Team, said: “I’m thrilled to announce this partnership with SWSDF. From the beginning of our conversation, they brought so much enthusiasm and commitment to this project – I couldn’t be happier to work with them.

“Each of the pilots are true professionals and I’m confident they are going to put Aoki Racing Team on top.

“We’ll collaborate on a shared mission to promote sustainable water sports, champion marine conservation initiatives in Saudi Arabia and establish meaningful partnerships with institutions and enterprises seeking to support sustainability, both in the Kingdom and globally,” he added.

On having Al-Obaidan join his team, Aoki said: “Al-Obaidan is absolutely the No. 1 driver to have. It is not about how fast you can go but about strategy, and she has that.

“She is a great driver on the track and also on the water. We are going to win,” he added.

E1 World Championship 2024 schedule:

May 11-12: Venice, Italy

June 1- 2: Puerto Banus, Spain

June 29-30: Geneva, Switzerland

July 26-27: Monaco

Sept. 7-8: Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Nov. 9-10: Hong Kong

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