Edmonton

'It's the future of the sport': Local racer chases dream in electric car

Ever since Stefan Rzadzinski can remember, he’s wanted to be behind the wheel on a race track, with the sound of a roaring engine at his back.

'You're missing that sound for sure, but all your other senses take over. It becomes completely normal'

Stefan Rzadzinski poses in front of his Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy series electric race car. (Stefan Rzadzinski)

Ever since Stefan Rzadzinski can remember, he's wanted to be behind the wheel on a race track, with the roar of an engine at his back.

The Edmonton-born race-car driver is doing that now, but these days the car is a lot quieter than what he's used to.

"As I was pulling out of the pits for the first time, the words that came out of my mouth were, 'Weird!'" said Rzadzinski, who signed a deal last week with racing giants Tom Walkinshaw Racing and Techeetah, a Chinese motor-racing team which competes in the electric racing series, Formula E.

"When you talk to yourself in the car, you can't really hear [the car], but you can hear yourself very clearly because it's so quiet.

'Missing that sound'

"You're missing that sound for sure, but all your other senses take over," he said. "As soon as you're racing, it becomes completely normal you don't notice it anymore."

Rzadzinski competes in the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy series, a step below Formula E, which is similar to Formula 1, but with electric cars.

Last week, Rzadzinski was racing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the first of 10 races around the world.   

Despite a good start, Rzadzinski made contact with other cars and finished 12th.

Rzadzinski first made a name for himself racing at the Edmonton Indy, before moving on to NASCAR, then the Canadian Nissan Micra series for several years.

'Road relevant'

Last year he drove for Porsche in the GT3 in Toronto and now he's trying his hand at electric racing, which he believes is the future of motor sports.

"I do personally love internal-combustion engines — those V-10s and V-12s," he said. "If you look at where car manufacturers are allocating their dollars from a production standpoint, motor sports follows where the production cars are going. It's road relevant.

"There's a reason why Mercedes and Porsche are going to be in the series and Audi, Jaguar, and Nissan are all already there. They're not there for fun; they're there to compete and win."

Rzadzinski is home for Christmas, then off next week to Mexico City for the next race. Two more races in China follow in March.

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