Jakarta International ePrix Circuit
The Jakarta International e-Prix Circuit is, as its name suggests, the circuit constructed to host Indonesia’s round of the FIA Formula E World Championship. Unusually it is a purpose-built facility, though its layout mimics the street circuit feel of the other venues the championship visits.
Constructed in record time for its debut race in July 2022, the circuit is located at picturesque Ancol Beach – South East Asia’s largest park, welcoming some 40,000 visitors a day. Undulations, bumps and a mix of technical and high speed sections provide a real test.
The circuit’s development is aimed at leaving a lasting legacy in the city, breathing new life into Ancol Beach and kickstarting the city’s post-pandemic tourism comeback. City authorities have also earmarked the location as a potential centre for innovation as Indonesia drives towards a complete EV transition by 2050.
Plans for a Jakarta ePrix were first announced in September 2019, with the city originally intended to hold the event for five consecutive years starting from 2020. The Covid pandemic put paid to those particular plans, as Formula E, like the rest of the world, had to amend its calendars in light of travel restrictions, restricting itself to Europe.
Still the race was being planned for a post-pandemic calendar, and was announced as the ninth round of the 2021-2022 season. In the intervening time, however, political support for the intended location of the race was draining away. Races based around the National Monument and the Merdeka Square were announced and circuit plans revealed, only for these to be rejected by local officials.
Consequently, a new location was required and a total of five prospective venues were considered before the Ancol region was finally settled upon. A parcel of land next to the Beach City shopping mall was identified, though as former swamp land it would make construction that bit tougher.
Work began in January 2022 following a ceremony attended by the Governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan. In a herculean effort, the circuit emerged quickly, being completed just the week before the inaugural race.
A lap of the track
The design of the track was formulated to be in a shape representative of a Kuda Lumping - a flat horse woven from bamboo and decorated with colourfully painted cloth, which is “ridden” as part of a traditional Javanese dance.
The 2.37km, 18-turn circuit kicks off with a tight opening sector after a long run down the start/finish straight. There’s plenty of room for manoeuvre into the right hander at Turn 1 before drivers head into a flowing series of turns that swoop by Ancol Beach City.
The final sector is a tricky complex following a fast right hander at Turn 12 and another long straight into the Turn 13 hairpin. An awkward left-hander at Turn 18 rounds out the lap with a strong slingshot required down that long home straight.
First event proves a success
The track drew praise from the drivers after their initial outing, despite the tricky hot and humid conditions. Jaguar driver Mitch Evans commented: “ The track’s really nice to drive. It’s a good grip level but when you got off line, there’s nothing. You can’t really force the cars into the corner, you have to bring it back a bit because of the nature of some of the combined entries. I’m enjoying the circuit layout though - they’ve done a good job with the track.”
It was Evans who ran out the winner at the first ePrix, with what proved to be a dramatic overtake for the lead. He made a late-race lunge that caught then-leader Jean-Eric Vergne off-guard at Turn 7 on Lap 31. From there, energy management became increasingly critical for the lead duo as they fought between themselves and against searing track temperatures.
That allowed Edoardo Mortara to join the party and look to pick up the pieces as the leading pair squabbled. Evans had some five minutes plus added time to hold the pair off, with the race anybody’s heading into the final turn and his rear tyres fading fast. The Kiwi did hold on, though, to head Vergne home with Mortara right with both of them - all three drivers crossing the finish line within a second of one-another.