World’s Fastest Man Takes the Wheel of Super-Fast Formula E Electric Race Car

On January 13, 2024, Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt, famously known as the world’s fastest man, drove the world record-breaking Formula E GENBETA race car a full lap on the track where the 2024 Hankook Mexico City E-Prix was held later in the day. The GENBETA is an electric race car that broke the official world indoor land speed record by over 31 miles per hour (50 kilometers per hour) by reaching a speed of 135.9 mph (218.71 km/hr) at the Excel London.

Bolt’s electric drive

Bolt, the Olympic multi-gold-medal winner and fastest runner in the 100-meter and 200-meter distances, took his lap prior to the first race of the season at the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship competition. The sprinter accelerated from the start line, going from zero to 60 mph in 2.89 seconds and crossing 100 meters in 4.36 seconds, over five seconds faster than his own 100-meter world record time of 9.58 seconds. Bolt was provided with coaching from the current Formula E World Champion, Jake Dennis of the Andretti Formula E team, and former star of F1 and a new Formula E television presenter, David Coulthard.

Driving the full lap

Upon completing his lap, Bolt described the GENBETA as “a rocket ship on wheels.” He said it was a “mind-blowing experience” to have the chance to drive it, adding the power right from the start was a major surprise that got his adrenaline pumping. “I was told that as soon as you drive, you don’t want to stop or get out, and they were right. I would do it every day if I could. If I get more time, I will definitely go faster.” Coulthard was impressed with Bolt’s focus and his desire to make a strong performance. “Once a champion, always a champion,” he said. Formula E CEO, Jeff Dodds, described Bolt as “electric,” noting the appropriateness of bringing two world record holders together. Dodds said the runner came to the race event showing the same determination and confidence as ever in stepping out of his comfort zone. “He’s also asking me if he can come back tomorrow and see if he can go even quicker.”

About the GENBETA

The  GENBETA race car was introduced in the 2022 season as the fastest, lightest, most efficient, and most powerful electric race car ever built. It has a top speed surpassing 200 mph (322 km/h) and is used by 11 teams and 22 drivers in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. To set the new world record, the GENBETA was modified to effectively ‘unlock’ the specifications of the GEN3 race car. The official Guinness World Records title was attained by driver Jake Hughes of the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team. The modifications in the GENBETA project include enhanced battery power, first-time application of all-wheel drive to a Formula E car, softer iON Race tires, 3-D printed front wing end plates, wheel fins, and wind deflector to optimize aerodynamics for its straight-line speed. The car’s driver interface also relied on analytics developed by the artificial intelligence unit of McKinsey & Company that provided real-time through generative AI.

Photo – Usain Bolt