Felipe Massa races the fastest animal on earth ahead of Formula E debut


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Felipe Massa races a peregrine falcon

He is preparing for his Formula E debut

The new season starts on Saturday

CNN —  

Veteran driver Felipe Massa has been getting fans in a flap ahead of his Formula E debut.

Ahead of his first appearance in the all-electric race series, the 37-year-old was tested against the fastest animal on the planet – a peregrine falcon.

The bird can reach speeds in excess of 217 mph when diving on its prey, a touch faster than a Formula E car.

But could Massa hold it off to secure his first win in an electric vehicle?

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The winner?

Chasing a lure attached to the back of the new-look Gen2 car, the falcon almost kept up with the Brazilian but Massa did enough to fly ahead.

“It was an incredible experience for me to race against the fastest member of the animal kingdom – it’s not something I will forget in a hurry,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Formula E has tested their machines against the animal kingdom’s fastest beasts.

Earlier this year, Jean-Éric Vergne climbed behind the wheel for a race against a cheetah in South Africa.

Felipe Massa raced a peregrine falcon ahead of his Formula E debut.
ABB FIA Formula E
Felipe Massa raced a peregrine falcon ahead of his Formula E debut.

Fans wanted to see more, so the race against the falcon was organized in Saudi Arabia.

“I like the fact that this idea came from the fans, and Formula E listened and accepted the challenge,” Massa said after winning the race.

READ: Formula E 2019 – ‘The most competitive championship in the world’

Formula E debut

Massa announced his decision to join Formula E team Venturi earlier this year and will make his debut at the Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Ad Diriyah and to start racing. It’ll be my first race in Formula E and I’m eager to get behind the wheel again,” Massa said.

“I’ve missed racing and this series has shown to be one of the most competitive out there.”

Winner of 11 grands prix over the course of a storied 15-year F1 career, Massa is one of a number of drivers to make the switch to Formula E since its inception five years ago.

The all-electric racing series champions the development of electric-powered, sustainable vehicles worldwide. It consists of 10 teams and 20 drivers, visiting 11 cities over seven months.